Paul L. Caron

Monday, June 3, 2013

Widener Offers Buyout Packages to 21 Law Profs

Widener LogoDelaware Law Weekly:  Widener May Split Its Campuses Into Two Law Schools:

Widener University School of Law is mulling a plan to split its Harrisburg, Pa., and Wilmington campuses into separately accredited entities. Although sources claim the plan is a cost-saving move to reduce expenses as law school admissions decline, the university challenges that notion, saying the decision is strictly for accreditation purposes. ...

The plan is coming back under active consideration just a few months after buyout packages were offered to 21 law professors. ... In February, the university offered buyout packages to 21 law professors ... 16 were based in Wilmington and five were located in Harrisburg. ...

"The packages were offered as a proactive method to ensure the university's financial health," [said Mary Allen, public relations officer for Widener University School of Law]. "We need to balance our budget and there is no secret that fewer people are going to law school around the country. We are taking steps to keep our finances in balance and this was one of those steps." In addition, the school is said to be very prudent about filling any vacated staff positions and plans to keep open any vacated positions that the law school does not deem essential to its operation.

(Hat Tip: Above the Law.)

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I agree - usually one thinks of mergers as offering administrative efficiencies by allowing elimination of redundant functions to save costs.

The only way this plan works is if Widener administrators anticipate that one of the spun off entities (with its faculty salary obligations) goes away - perhaps the analogy to amputating a leg to save the rest of the body might be apt.

Alternatively, it could just be utter incompetence by their dean.

Posted by: ts | Jun 8, 2013 5:00:47 PM

I frankly don't understand the split. Two law schools probably means more overhead. I thought Rutgers was combining law schools to save on costs.

Posted by: HTA | Jun 4, 2013 7:57:54 AM