UW Tacoma Law School Feasibility Study Released

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The feasibility study for establishing a separately accredited law school at UW Tacoma has been completed and released, and is available on the UW Tacoma website.

The entire text of the feasibility study of a separately-accredited UW Tacoma law school is now available.

The feasibility study for establishing a separately accredited law school at UW Tacoma has been completed and released, the latest step in a process that dates back to conversations former Chancellor Debra Friedman and UW Law Dean Kellye Testy had with the UW Tacoma and South Sound community in 2011. Since then, the question of establishing legal education here has engaged our legislative delegation, two presidents of the UW and a passionate cross-section of our regional community. The process serves as an example of our commitment to being an urban-serving university.

The study shows merit for establishing a law school in the South Sound in the future. The current market for legal education is down and the job market is less than robust. UW Tacoma plans to revisit these market forces in 2021 when the report projects demand for legal education will rise.

To help lay the foundation for a future law school and to serve the interests of UW Tacoma students and community, the study proposes interim next steps. These include growing pre-law majors, engaging the legal community to address a “justice gap” in access to legal services in diverse communities, and establishing legal clinic opportunities and expanded internships for law students in the region.

The study was prepared under the auspices of university and community groups. A UW Tacoma blue-ribbon task force on legal education was led by Bill Kunz, former interim vice chancellor for academic affairs, and included Thomas Cobb, UW Law faculty on assignment to Tacoma; Elizabeth Bruch, assistant professor in the School of Interdisciplinary Arts & Sciences; Harlan Patterson, vice chancellor for finance and administration; Joshua Knudson, vice chancellor for advancement; and Margaret Shepherd, chief strategy officer in the Office of the President and Provost. The UW task force worked closely with the Tacoma Legal Foundation, led by Bruce Kendall, president of the Economic Development Board for Tacoma-Pierce County and Valarie Zeeck, an attorney with Gordon Thomas Honeywell. The Foundation is committed to advocating for state and private funding that would be necessary to establish a law school at UW Tacoma, as well as to support the interim steps outlined in the report.

The study is available on the Chancellor’s web page.

Written by: 
Mike Wark / February 18, 2017
Media contact: 

Mike Wark, UW Tacoma External Relations, 253-692-5771 or mwark@uw.edu