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Editor: Paul L. Caron, Dean
Pepperdine University School of Law

Saturday, March 31, 2012

New Daytona Beach Law School Plans Fall 2013 Opening

Daytona BeachNational Law Journal, Plans Are in the Works for a New Law School in Daytona Beach:

Daytona Beach, Fla., is better known for spring break and NASCAR than moot court and blue books, but that could change.

Two Florida attorneys and a developer hope to open a law school in Daytona Beach, possibly as early as fall 2013. The team met with city officials on March 27 to discuss the possible sale or rental of a vacant police station to house the school.

The project is still in the early planning stages, said Eric Smith, an attorney in Jacksonville and former career services dean at Florida Coastal School of Law, one of partners in the project. Steven Nemerson, a lawyer who has taught at the University of Minnesota Law School, Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law and Florida Coastal, is on tap to become dean, he said. ... They hope to enroll 80 students during the inaugural year and eventually as many as 600. The plan is to eventually secure accreditation by the ABA.

The closest existing law school — Florida Coastal — is about 120 miles away. Daytona Beach is large enough to support a law school and is home to health care and aeronautical professionals who might be interested in studying the law, Smith said. In fact, he added, those two industries are possible areas of focus for the school.

The partners plan to contain costs by using the former police station as a location. And instead of paying faculty to produce massive amounts of scholarship, the focus will be on classroom teaching, Nemerson said.

"There will be no one teaching law and literature," he said. "At many law schools, there are too many "law and" or vanity courses. It takes limited school resources that could be better used on core law courses and keeping tuition down."

Smith said that he and his partners are fully aware that law school applications have declined dramatically nationwide during the past two years. Not only that, but the Thomas M. Cooley Law School will soon open a campus in Tampa.

"The reaction you get from some people is, 'There's too many lawyers already,' " Smith said. "My reaction is that we are in a nation that prides itself in living by the rule of law. There's always room for more excellent lawyers."

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The profusion of new law schools suggests that one sure way for lawyers to make money is to open a law school. Caveat emptor.

Posted by: Jake | Apr 1, 2012 8:22:03 AM

April fools! Good joke Paul. I almost fell for it.

Posted by: Brian Tamanaha | Apr 1, 2012 3:11:42 PM

This is as weird as, say, some law school wanting to operate at a nice beach town like Mailbu, except it doesn't have NASCAR races.

Posted by: Woody | Apr 2, 2012 7:42:11 AM

Really? The next closest law school is 120 miles away? Maybe they forgot about a small and not well-known city 50 miles away known as Orlando that has not only 1 but 2 law schools within 5 miles of each other.

Posted by: Nicole | Apr 2, 2012 8:41:07 AM