UD to consider adding law school
If approved, school could open in 2015
Published: Tuesday, December 7, 2010
Updated: Tuesday, December 7, 2010 18:12
The university will study the feasibility of adding a law school within the next five years, officials announced Tuesday afternoon. If formally approved, the law school would likely open in Fall 2015 and annually enroll 200 first-year law students.
"A law school could help support UD's growing prominence and help us gain parity with our peers," university President Patrick Harker said in his semiannual address to the Board of Trustees.
The board voted to authorize the administration to proceed with the study, submit it to the American Bar Association and present it to the board at its next meeting in May. With further permission from the board, officials would spend two years developing a financial plan and designing a curriculum.
Before moving forward to open the law school, the administration would need final approval from the board in 2013. Officials said the university will only go ahead with the plan if its initial review shows the plan would contribute significantly to legal education nationwide and make the university stronger.
Harker said that opening a law school could be beneficial to the state, citing Delaware's role as the nation's corporate law capital.
"By operating a first-class law school in a state known for its considerable influence in corporate law, the University of Delaware could occupy a special niche in the nationwide legal community, attract top-notch students and faculty from across the country and produce future law and business leaders for Delaware," Harker said. "At the same time, a law school would offer extraordinary opportunities to strengthen multidisciplinary research and teaching within UD's existing academic programs."
He said one challenge would be funding the project and noted the university would need to seek donors willing to help fund the creation of a law school.
"Investing in a new law school is expensive," Harker said. "It would require subsidization of operating costs for the better part of a decade, retrofitting a campus building or leasing space for the law school's first decade of existence, and making a substantial one-time start-up investment in library resources."