It is becoming more and more popular these days for law firms to leave their university campuses and move into buildings in their city’s downtown districts in order to be closer to state and federal courthouses, major companies, law firms and government agencies. By moving law schools into downtown districts, The National Law Journal said that law school graduates will find it easier to network and integrate themselves into the legal industry.
One of the most recent schools to approve a move is that of the Oklahoma City University School of Law. On October 24, the school’s trustees approved plans to move the law school to a former high school in the downtown district, which is just three miles from campus.
“I think the trend reflects the changing nature of legal education,” dean Valerie Couch said. “Law schools are responding to the expectation of students and the legal community.”
Couch said that the students will be subjected to the major companies in the health care and energy industries of the city by moving the law school to the downtown district. “Locating a law school in the heart of a thriving downtown community puts our students in close contact with the world they will be working in once they graduate,” she said. It took the school a couple of years to find a location suitable when the former high school building became available. Couch hopes to start holding classes at the new location in 2014.
Downtown Boise, Idaho has welcomed the Concordia University School of Law recently while the Saint Louis University School of Law is working on moving into a downtown building that is being remodeled. The building was donated to the school. Earlier in October, Charlotte School of Law announced its plans to leave its office space on the west side of the city and move to an area uptown that would put it closer to courts and businesses.
For the past couple of years, the School of Law at the University of South Carolina has been raising money so it can move to a new building in downtown Columbia. The University of North Texas Dallas College of Law is working to move from an old department store in downtown Dallas to a renovated former municipal building.
In Memphis, the University of Memphis Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law moved to a refurbished old post office two years ago.
“I thinking moving downtown is a pragmatic approach,” Couch said. “I think we’ll see even more of this.”