Legal Education

New Idaho Law School Names Dean, Hopes to Open in 2010

Concordia University, a private religious-affiliated institution headquartered in Portland, Ore., has hired as the first dean of its planned new law school in Boise, Idaho.

“Cathy Silak, 58, will take the helm on Monday, though the law school won’t open until the fall of 2010 at the earliest,” reports the Oregonian. “In the meantime, she’ll work on developing the program, gaining accreditation through the American Bar Association and raising funds.”

A University of California-Berkeley law graduate, she is a former justice of the Idaho Supreme Court.

Concordia and the University of Idaho have been in something of a competition to establish the first law school in Boise, and the announcement of Concordia’s appointment of a dean seemingly puts the private Lutheran university in the lead, according to the Idaho Statesman.

Although both institutions have been planning law schools in Boise for some time, the state school’s effort has suffered a setback because of funding concerns. At present, it is struggling to establish a Boise program for third-year students only, the Statesman explains.

“Silak received her B.A. from New York University, her master’s degree in city planning from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, her law degree from the University of California at Berkeley School of Law and a master of law degree from the University of Virginia, Charlottesville,” recounts a 2004 press release (PDF) by the Idaho Community Foundation announcing her then-appointment as the group’s president and chief executive officer.

She served on the state Court of Appeals and Idaho Supreme Court from 1990 to 2000, the Statesman notes.

Concordia, which is associated with the Lutheran church, has about 1,700 students. In addition to the planned new law school in Boise, it has graduate programs in Bend, Klamath Falls and Medford, Ore, according to the Oregonian. The Statesman says Concordia hopes to open the law school with about 70 students, and later expand the student body to about 250.

Presently, the closest law schools to Boise, which is the state capital, are the University of Idaho at Moscow, hours away in the state’s panhandle, and the University of Utah, in Salt Lake City.

Earlier coverage:

Concordia U Plans to Open New Law School in Boise, Idaho

Up to 10 New Law Schools Planned; How Many Are Too Many?

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