TaxProf Blog

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

Monday, January 15, 2018

Group Pushes For New Texas Public Law School In El Paso

El PasoFollowing up on my previous post, Texas Legislators Push For New Public Law School In The Rio Grande Valley Because 'Everybody Has A Law School':  KFOX14, Group of El Pasoans Continue Fight to Bring Law School to the Borderland:

A group of El Pasoans is fighting to bring a law school to the Borderland.

The El Paso Law School Initiative was formed in August 2016 to begin the process of bringing a law school to the Sun City. ...

The El Paso Law School Initiative met Saturday morning to continue efforts to bring a law school to El Paso. They’ve met multiple times over the past year and a half.

In that time, they’ve managed to get some substantial backing from Texas lawmakers. ...

“An international law school makes a lot of sense, because anybody who graduates with a law degree and specializes in international law will be much sought after by large companies in the U.S. to represent their companies abroad,” [Ray] Mancera said.

The group has the rest of 2018 to prepare for the next legislative session, so in the meantime they’ll continue to strategize in order to make it happen.

“It’s not just the economics, it’s not just the education. It’s also about family. Why should they have to leave when they can stay here and keep enjoying mom's cooking, and what El Paso has to offer?” Mancera said.

The group meets the second and fourth Saturday of each month at El Paso Community College on Viscount.

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Law schools grads coming out of a new public law school in El Paso will never be able to compete with UT grads in Dallas, Houston, or Austin, but they might be okay on the regional market if there were trained and set up properly. The next nearest law school to El Paso is over 250 miles away in NM. If you could set up a small law school with a narrow curriculum based on thorough market research, it might have a shot.

If we were in a better market overall, I'd encourage that kind of experimentation. As is, it's hard to say that Texas needs another law school even if the whole field could learn from them trying something new.

Posted by: LSAP | Jan 15, 2018 10:34:58 AM

Demand for Texas law school grads, class of 2016:

- South Texas College of Law: 175 of 331 grads (52.8%) found full-time, long-term, license-required jobs at any salary within ten months of graduation.

- Texas A&M Law: 121 of 205 grads (59%)

- St. Mary’s: 144 of 238 grads (60%)

- Texas Tech: 125 of 182 grads (68%)

- Baylor: 122 of 158 grads (77%)

- SMU: 176 of 234 grads (75%)

- U. Houston: 162 of 240 (67%)

- Texas Southern: 79 of 151 (52%)

- Texas-Austin: 286 of 362 (79%) (Headline: ten years after the Recession, the 15th-highest ranked law school in the United States still can’t manage to place 4 in 5 graduates into the legal profession).

- Statewide average: 1,390 of 2,101 grads, or 66%.

Perhaps more to the point, there were more than enough Texas law school graduates still unemployed ten months after graduation than needed to fill a new law school in El Paso. Maybe fix that before starting up new sinecures, I mean law schools. And say, haven't most of the recent law schools that opened because of a hyper-local need for a law school since closed down?

Posted by: Unemployed Northeastern | Jan 15, 2018 4:24:53 PM

A new law school is fine if it's priced to put the low performing Texas schools out of business, and focused on a realizable niche. Cross-border transactions? Not so much. Immigration, family, and drugs in southeast New Mexico and west Texas? Sure, but again, aim to have graduates who leave with 40k of debt and aim not to grow to more than the market actually demands.

Posted by: Kyle McEntee | Jan 15, 2018 7:48:17 PM