Paul L. Caron

Sunday, October 28, 2018

Michigan State Law School To Fully Integrate With University

Michigan State Logo (2013)Lansing State Journal, MSU College of Law, Previously Private and Independent, to Become a Part of the University:

Despite its name, the Michigan State University College of Law is a private school that's affiliated with the university but not part of it.

That's about to change.

MSU's Board of Trustees voted Friday to fully integrate the College of Law into the university.

“Our goal is to have a law school that can kind of be special and can pick up on land-grant traditions and really think about excellence in certain specific areas," interim President John Engler said Friday morning.

Autonomous vehicles, food and healthcare law were three examples he gave as areas where MSU's law school could focus. He also pointed to the proximity of the school to the capital, saying more needs to be done to tighten relationships with all three branches of government.

Trustee Dianne Byrum said that, like law schools nationally, the MSU College of Law has struggled financially in recent years.

"It’s an asset," Byrum said. "We wanted to make sure that the faculty at the law school knew that they would have stability in employment," adding that while they made the announcement Friday, it will likely take a year and a half to finalize the process. ...

Since becoming affiliated, MSU and the private, independent college have further entwined with one another. MSU's president and provost are also the president and provost for the MSU College of Law.

Lawrence Ponoroff, dean of the college, said the move was the next logical step. "Since the original affiliation in 1995, the relationship between the university and the law college has grown increasingly closer and, at each stage, resounded in benefits to both institutions," he said.

The move will end up saving money, officials said, because the MSU College of Law will no longer have to pay for its own auditors, legal counsel, insurance and benefits for employees. For students, the move will reduce barriers and make it easier for cross-disciplinary programs to flourish.

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