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New Dean of Law School in Texas is Veteran Judge
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The long-stalled plans for the University of North Texas Dallas College of the Law have been out back into motion. It was announced on January 11 by university administrators that the school has hired Judge Royal Furgeson Jr. Judge Furgeson Jr. comes from the United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas. He has been hired as the dean for the law school, beginning in April of 2013. The plan is to open the law school in August of 2004.

The idea for the law school has been discussed for years, with the project being authorized by the Texas Legislature back in 2009. The original plans were to open the doors of the law school sometime in 2011, but budget problems slowed the plans for the school.

  
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School officials are hoping to renovate a former department store in downtown Dallas this year at a cost of $24 million. The former department store will become the new law school for at least three years. The length of time the law school is at the department store location depends on how long it takes to renovate the law school’s eventual location in Dallas’ Old Municipal Building.

When the law school opens, it will be the only public law school in the northern part of Texas, which is home to Texas Wesleyan University School of Law in Fort Worth and Southern Methodist University Dedman School of Law in Dallas.

In order to fulfill his responsibilities as president of the Federal Judges Association, Ferguson will stay on the bench for 15 months. While he remains on the bench, the work he performs for the law school will be limited. University of North Texas System Vice Chancellor Rosemary Haggett will be responsible for getting the law school up and running.

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“Our extensive search brought us into contact with many highly regarded legal educators,” said Chancellor Lee Jackson. “But Judge Furgeson, besides possessing a fine legal mind, brings the kind of broad range of practice experience we were looking for. He’s a distinguished judge well known throughout Texas, a respected litigator, and he shares our vision of providing students with an affordable and accessible, high-quality legal education.”

Bill Clinton appointed Ferguson to the federal bench back in 1993. Before that, he was a shareholder in the litigation section of the law firm Kemp, Smith, Duncan & Hammond for 24 years.



“Several colleagues have asked me why I would give up a lifetime appointment to take on a start-up law school during these tough economic times, when tuition is rising and demand for lawyers is declining,” Furgeson said. “But the prospect of pioneering a new law school that addresses these issues head-on was too challenging and exciting to pass up.”



 

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