- Associated Press - Friday, February 13, 2015

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - William Mitchell College of Law and Hamline University School of Law announced Friday that the two schools plan to merge.

The schools said the merger could happen as early as this fall, pending approval from the American Bar Association.

The new school will be called Mitchell-Hamline School of Law. It will be located mainly on Mitchell’s campus in St. Paul and headed by Mitchell’s new dean, Mark Gordon.

The Star Tribune reports (https://strib.mn/1zd8QJN ) the announcement comes at a time when law school enrollment is at a 40-year-low nationwide, and demand for law school graduates has also declined.

Hamline saw enrollment drop by a third in the last five years, to 439 students in 2013-2014. Mitchell’s enrollment dropped 17 percent over the same period, to 809 students.

The schools released a joint statement saying Mitchell-Hamline will offer more enrollment options than other law schools in the country, including full-time, weekend and part-time programs, as well as a hybrid on-campus and online option.

“What this is going to do is give the combined law school a sufficient size to be able to offer a truly robust program of legal education,” said Eric Janus, who is stepping down as Mitchell’s dean this summer.

Janus said the merger will result in some faculty and staff cuts, but said he hoped layoffs could be avoided through voluntary attrition.

The new school will have about 900 students, Janus said.

There are two other law schools in Minnesota - at the University of Minnesota and the University of St. Thomas.

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Information from: Star Tribune, https://www.startribune.com


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