The John Marshall LawSchool, located in Atlanta, Georgia, announced in recent days that it had received American Bar Association approval to launch a Savannah branch campus next fall. The new location will be called Savannah Law School.
Alan Boyer, associate dean for recruitment and marketing, was quoted as saying in the December 8th Law.com article, “Law school establishing branch in Savannah”: “There is no other law school serving that part of the southern Atlantic region. As word has got out, we’ve had some applicants to the school here inAtlanta ask to switch over to Savannah.” The region is expected to experience a large population growth over the next ten to fifteen years.
The new campus will probably draw students from over twenty nearby colleges and universities, according to Boyer. The closest ABA-accredited law schools are the Charleston School of Law in Charleston, S.C., and Florida Coastal School of Law in Jacksonville, Fla.. Each is 90 minutes or more away by car. The University of Georgia School of Law in Athens, Georgia State University of College of Law and John Marshall’s main campus are over four hours away.
Over 1,500 judges and lawyers work in the Savannaharea; this gives a strong indication that students would have opportunities for externships and clerk positions, according to John Marshall administrators.
The school plans to enroll almost 100 students next year, with 60 attending full-time and the rest part-time. The part-time program is aimed at doctors, law enforcement officers, paralegals and retired military servicemen and -women. A “noncompetitive” environment will be stressed, which is intended to encourage teamwork; this means there will be no forced grading on a curve.
Richardson Lynn, dean at John Marshall, will oversee operations in Savannah, which will maintain a separate faculty from that at the main campus. He was quoted as saying: “With the new Savannah Law School, students from theSavannaharea and throughout the Atlantic coastal region can begin their legal careers closer to home. And students from around the country and the world can live and learn in a community rich in culture, heritage and southern hospitality.”
The school will begin hiring for the new branch in the spring. Interested students are able to begin the application process this month.
Though the ABA has approved new campus, theSavannahLawSchoolstill needs to get provisional accreditation. Boyer was quoted as saying: “Our plan is to immediately begin that process so that the inaugural class will be able to sit for the bar inGeorgia.”
In addition to the city of Savannah getting a new law school during the next academic year, a small group of lawyers is planning to open the California Desert Trial Academy College of Law in Indio,Calif., in September. As well, plans for other new law schools are underway in the Louisiana and Indiana. In addition, the Thomas M. Cooley Law School has plans to open a new campus inTampa, Fla., next year.
Although some legal educators are skeptical about launching new, additional law schools during a time when hiring in the legal industry has declined, the ABA is of the mind that limiting the number of law schools could pose an issue with regard to antitrust laws.