New law school launches with small class but big expectations
“I just overestimated it,” said Phillip Closius, the dean of the Wilmington University School of Law (center, wearing yellow tie). “I had no experience dealing with a school that was new and seeking accreditation.” Photo from the Wilmington University School of Law.
The Wilmington University School of Law, the nation’s newest law school, started classes Monday with just 20 students.
While the Delaware institution hoped to attract 65 students to its inaugural class, Phillip Closius, the law school’s dean, told Reuters that recruiting for a new school that hasn’t yet been accredited by the American Bar Association was difficult. He noted that the Wilmington University School of Law only received 103 applications.
“I just overestimated it,” Closius told Reuters. “I had no experience dealing with a school that was new and seeking accreditation. We didn’t get in front of enough people to produce those numbers [of students].”
However, Closius also said this year’s small numbers aren’t indicative of the law school’s success in the future. He hopes that the law school will eventually recruit hundreds of students after it becomes eligible for provisional ABA accreditation in 2025. He also expects that its low tuition, currently set at $24,000 per year, to be a major draw.
Reuters reports growing interest in legal education, despite closures of at least seven law schools because of financial shortfalls, low enrollment and other issues in the past decade. In August 2022, the Jacksonville University College of Law in Florida opened with 14 students. It has 27 in its second-year class.
High Point University in North Carolina plans to open its law school next August.
Hat tip to Above the Law.