February 27, 2023

Concord Law School celebrates 25 years since becoming the nation’s first of its kind

School’s founding dean, Jack Goetz, honored with Founder’s Award for innovating online legal education

ANAHEIM, Calif. – From dial-up to broadband to exploring how to use cutting-edge virtual reality and artificial intelligence in its curriculum, a lot has changed since the first cohort of Concord Law School students logged into their classes in 1998.

Reflections, mixed with a preview of the future, were provided on Saturday (Feb. 25) by Concord Law School Dean Martin Pritikin during the school’s 25th anniversary gala and awards dinner.

“Concord was an audacious concept when it was founded in 1998,” Pritikin said. “But 25 years later, we’re not just surviving, we’re thriving.”

Pritikin said Concord thrives because it is continually combining best practices in legal education with research in adult and distance learning, opening the doors for many students who want to study law but can’t do so at a traditional brick-and-mortar school due to family responsibilities, jobs, geography or other circumstances. Another key factor in the school’s success: It costs about one-third less than a traditional law school.

Jack Goetz, the founding dean of Concord Law School, was honored during the gala with the Founder’s Award for his work in conceiving the nation’s first online law school. Goetz worked with a tech company to custom-tailor a learning management system for Concord. He recruited professors to build the curriculum and teach, helping move the school from a concept to a functioning educational institution. And he served as dean for its first seven years. He is a recognized leader in the field of online learning, with contributions to the legal profession and education throughout his career.

Other awards to alumni and supporters included:

Lifetime Service Award: Dolan Williams of San Diego and a 2015 Concord Law School graduate, who served as commencement speaker this year and two previous times. He has served on the Concord Dean’s Advisory Council for six years and on the Purdue Alumni Association Board of Directors. Williams has also mentored numerous students about law school, legal careers and more, all while maintaining his legal practice in San Diego and spending time with his wife and four children.

Lifetime Service Award: Somita Basu of Santa Clarita, California, and a 2011 Concord Law School graduate, who has represented Concord with distinction in her service to the California legal profession and broader community. In addition to being a co-founder and partner of Norton Basu LLP, she has served as chair of the California Lawyers Association’s Solo and Small Firm Section and co-chair of its Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Outreach Committee. Basu has served as an externship supervisor for multiple Concord students, volunteered with Bay Area Legal Aid and served on numerous philanthropic boards. She was recipient of the California Lawyer Association’s Excellence in Leadership Award, which is presented to a volunteer who demonstrates a commitment to the CLA’s mission to promote excellence, diversity and inclusion in the legal profession and represents outstanding leadership in the practice of law.

Lifetime Achievement in Bar Exam Support Award: Steve Bracci of Monrovia, California, who is an associate dean and professor at Concord Law School. Bracci is one of Concord’s original employees. He is known for providing expert instruction and guidance to law students who have sat for the California bar exam, breaking down complicated concepts and presenting them in a way students can absorb, retain and apply.

Several students or recent graduates were recognized for their outstanding personal achievement:

  • Matt Conaway of Indianola, Iowa, (August ’22) and Condreda Pressley of Longs, South Carolina, (December ’22), both received the Legal Service Award, which honors students who put forth significant effort in helping people in need receive legal assistance.
  • The Sue Lane Award, honoring students from the graduating class who embody a strong work ethic, a compassionate nature and service to the community, was presented to Sojourner Moody of Oxford, Georgia, (April ’22); Sarah Powers of Irving, Texas, (December ’22); Julio Gagnon of Fairfax, Virginia, (December ’22); and Scott Bowen of Charlotte, North Carolina, (August ’22).
  • The EJD Award, given to the student with the highest GPA in the Executive Juris Doctorate graduating cohort, was awarded to Brennan Quintus of Bismarck, North Dakota, (August ’22) and Elizabeth Duncan of Eugene, Oregon, (December ’22).
  • Beth Evans of Redondo Beach, California, (August ’22) and David Douglas of Windsor, California, (December ’22), were recipients of the Jack Goetz Award, which is awarded to the student with the highest GPA in the JD graduating cohort.

Writer/Media contact: Matthew Oates, 765-496-6160, oatesw@purdue.edu; @mo_oates

Source: Martin Pritikin, Beth Smith, Amy Hawkinson

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