Phoenix School of Law Course Receives National Recognition

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American Bar Association Gives Award to PhoenixLaw Course

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The GPS course is an important part of our law school's efforts to develop in our students the professional values and skills needed for the practice of law.

Phoenix School of Law is proud to announce that the American Bar Association (ABA) Standing Committee on Professionalism has awarded the school's General Practice Skills (GPS) course the E. Smythe Gambrell Professionalism Award. The annual award recognizes projects by law schools, firms, bar associations and other law related organizations contributing to understanding of professionalism among lawyers. PhoenixLaw was among only three award recipients recognized this year.

"It is an honor for the General Practice Skills course to be recognized by the Standing Committee on Professionalism of the American Bar Association," said Stephen Gerst, Associate Professor of Law and the GPS Program Director. "The GPS course is an important part of our law school's efforts to develop in our students the professional values and skills needed for the practice of law."

"PhoenixLaw's GPS program reflects the spirit of the Gambrell Awards, and is a creative approach to making professional skills and values integral to the education of prospective lawyers," said Melvin F. Wright Jr., chair of the ABA committee.

The award-winning GPS course is a one-semester, capstone class that PhoenixLaw students take during their third year. The course is unique as it is taught by teams of practicing lawyers, under the supervision of the program director. The lawyers teach identified skills and values that are essential in daily legal practice. During the course, students complete skill exercises and resolve client problems in small group law firms as well as individually.

The GPS acronym was intentionally chosen; just as a Global Positioning System (GPS) helps people find their way in the real world, the GPS course helps orient students to the profession. Extremely popular with students, the course equips them with the confidence to accept client representation in a professional and skillful manner after graduation. Students who take the course are on the verge of becoming practicing lawyers and gain valuable experience while still in a classroom setting. What's more, the course also gives students the opportunity to meet and form relationships with practicing attorneys who are recognized experts in the different fields of law.

The E. Smythe Gambrell Awards were established in 1991 and are named for E. Smythe Gambrell, ABA and American Bar Foundation president from 1955 to 1956. Gambrell founded the Legal Aid Society in Atlanta, where he practiced law from 1922 until his death in 1986.

About Phoenix School of Law
Phoenix School of Law is Arizona's only law school offering full-time, part-time and evening classes. The School received provisional approval from the American Bar Association in June 2007. PhoenixLaw's mission pillars are to provide student-centered education, produce professionally prepared graduates, and serve the underserved. For more information about PhoenixLaw, visit or call 602-682-6800.

About the American Bar Association
With more than 400,000 members, the American Bar Association is the largest voluntary professional membership organization in the world. As the national voice of the legal profession, the ABA works to improve the administration of justice, promotes programs that assist lawyers and judges in their work, accredits law schools, provides continuing legal education, and works to build public understanding around the world of the importance of the rule of law.


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