Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Florida may get another law school

The Daytona Beach News-Journal is reporting that a group of investors is considering opening a for-profit, stand alone law school in Daytona Beach.  The school would be located in a former police department building and could be open for business as early as the fall of 2013. One of the principals believes that the Daytona Beach area is under-served in terms of lawyers and that a law school is just the ticket for creating good-paying, professional jobs in an area that needs an economic boost. If successful, this would bring the number of law schools in Florida to 14 including Cooley's plan to open a law school in Tampa.

Law school possible at old Daytona police building

In the fall of 2013, Daytona Beach could become home to a new law school.

A trio of partners from Jacksonville is looking into opening an independent law school in the building at the corner of Nova Road and Orange Avenue that was the city's police department for five decades.

The men interested in starting the school were in Daytona Beach on Tuesday to meet with city leaders and tour the building.

"You can see it as a law school immediately," attorney Steven Nemerson, who would be the school's dean, said after walking through the empty complex that has been added to and renovated a few times over the years. "There's no major structural issues. The tour was very encouraging."

City officials are interested in hearing more about the idea.

"I think your idea has a ton of merit," Deputy City Manager Paul McKitrick said during the meeting at City Hall.

. . . .

"When I talked to people looking for a law school, I said why not Daytona Beach?" Taylor recalled. "I believe the building could easily be converted to classrooms, and it's certainly in a great location."

Taylor said he believes all the building's renovations can be done for less than $1 million.

"It would make a wonderful addition to our city," Taylor said.

Smith, who served on the Jacksonville City Council and in the state Legislature, is a friend of Taylor's and the two have worked together on the idea.

"It's very exciting to us," said Smith, who like Nemerson has been a law school professor. "It's something we thought about for a long time."

The developers' vision is to create a law school that wouldn't be affiliated with any college. They would build their school from the ground up, crafting it into a small institution that would offer plenty of mentoring, lower tuition and quicker journeys to a law degree than traditional law schools.

They foresee starting with about 80 students and 12 staff members, and expanding by their third year.

Smith said they chose Daytona Beach because they had "a hunch it's under-served. This area is ripe for a law school."

He said the group is working on lining up investors in New York, and if all goes well with the city they would pursue an educational institution license from the state and accreditation from the American Bar Association.

You can read more here.


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