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3+3 JD program provides students with fast track to law degree
Beginning in Fall 2021, students can take advantage of the new partnership between Southeast Missouri State University and The University of Missouri’s law school through the new 3+3 Juris Doctor program.
Provost Mike Godard said participants in the accelerated program can plan to finish their law degree in six years by reverse transferring credits from MIZZOU to complete their undergraduate degree from Southeast during their first year of law school.
Professor of Political Science Laura Hatcher, who spearheaded bringing the program to Southeast, said the university had been approached by other law schools and considered 3+3 programs in the past. However, they were hesitant to get involved due to the untested structure of the programs.
Hatcher said as more schools began to work out the kinks of these reverse-transfer, early-enrolment agreements, the decision was made to approach MIZZOU.
“I knew enough about MIZZOU to feel confident that they would have worked through the issues,” Hatcher said. “It turned out they had. They had good answers to all my questions. They knew how the path was going to work.”
The two universities have a well-established relationship through students who are already interested in the MIZZOU law school and through many MIZZOU law alumni in the Southeast community. Hatcher said many of these alums have reached out in support of the program.
There are many opportunities for new lawyers in Southeast Missouri, and MIZZOU law has been looking for ways to expand into the area, meaning the agreement came with “perfect timing” for both universities, Hatcher said.
“There are fewer lawyers in rural areas, but rural areas really need lawyers,” Hatcher said. “They need lawyers for property conveyances, for land use issues, for environmental permits and various other things, not to mention just everyday stuff.”
Hatcher said students entering into the program must be extremely focused, as they will finish most of their bachelor’s degree in just three years.
“There's no guarantee. When you start this program, you’ve got to get the grades, and you’ve got to get the LSAT score,” Hatcher said.
Godard said students eligible for the program must have a minimum 3.5 GPA. The MIZZOU law acceptance guidelines are looking for students with LSAT scores between 157 and 159 — three points higher than the national median score in 2020.
These high admission standards have given MIZZOU law school the highest passage rate in the state at more than 97% of students passing the bar exam.