Saturday, April 24, 2021
Karen Sloan (Texas Lawyer), Two New Law Schools for Texas? Bills Would Pave the Way for Legal Education Along the Border:
Lawmakers in Texas’ House of Representatives have given their blessing to not one, but potentially two new law schools near the Mexico border.
On April 15, the state House passed two bills that that would allow any of Texas’ university systems to establish new public law schools in El Paso and the Rio Grande Valley. Both bills have been sent on the Texas Senate for further consideration.
Bill sponsors say that those two areas are underserved by lawyers, and that creating law schools there will give locals the opportunity to study, graduate, and remain in those communities to serve those who live there. ...
The closest law school to El Paso is Texas Tech University School of Law, 350 miles away in Lubbock. The nearest option for Rio Grande Valley residents who want to become lawyers is St. Mary’s University School of Law in San Antonio—about 300 miles away. ...
Opening one or even two new law schools would buck the current trend in legal education, where the number of American Bar Association-accredited law schools has been contracting. Six such schools have shuttered since 2016, primarily due to low enrollment and financial problems during an eight-year national downturn in legal education’s fortunes.
As it happens, Texas is already home to the nation’s newest public law school. The University of North Texas at Dallas College of Law opened in 2014. That school has struggled to gain full accreditation by the ABA, and is currently provisionally accredited. The state already has 10 law schools, six of which are public institutions.