- Associated Press - Tuesday, January 14, 2014

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) - Oregon’s only state-funded law school plans to expand its presence in Portland.

Starting in fall 2015, 25 to 30 students from the University of Oregon School of Law will be given the chance to complete their final year of law school at the White Stag building in downtown Portland.

School officials said Tuesday the program will provide students with the chance to study in the Oregon city with the highest concentration of legal professionals, allowing those who want to live in Portland after graduation to network and easily attend job interviews.

For the school, having a full-time student and faculty presence should help it bolster ties with Portland’s legal community and the alumni who flock to the state’s most populous city after graduation.

“The biggest benefit to the school is that it benefits our students,” said Mohsen Manesh, a contract and business law professor who is moving from Eugene to Portland next year as part of the effort. “It’s going to expand curricular and professional opportunities, and that alone is more than enough reason to do it.”

The UO School of Law was founded in Portland in 1884 and remained in the city for about 30 years before moving to the main campus in Eugene. Recently, the school has maintained space in the White Stag building in Old Town near the Willamette River. A few classes are held there, and offices are used by those who plan Portland-area legal conferences and help law students find jobs.

The program still needs American Bar Association approval to start in September 2015. If approved, courses would be scheduled two years in advance, giving first-year students a chance to plan which classes they want to take in Eugene during their second year before heading 110 miles north to Portland.

Some details must be worked out, such as how the school will choose students if more than 30 apply. The Portland program will be open to all third-year students, Manesh said, and not restricted to those focused on a particular area of law.

“I suppose what we would do - if we had more than 30 - is try to determine who had the most compelling reasons for why participating in the Portland program would advance their academic or professional goals,” Manesh said. “If the reason is ‘I just want to be in a big city,’ that probably won’t make the list.”

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