University of Idaho gets OK to add another law school year in Boise

TUESDAY, AUG. 27, 2013

BOISE – Idaho’s state Board of Education approved adding another year of law school education in Boise on Monday, but not before some board members objected to adding more lawyers to the state.

The board voted 5-3 in favor of adding a second year to the University of Idaho’s law school program in Boise.

The vote during a special meeting Monday came after much debate, during which past opponents of the move said they’d support it if it came along with a cap on total UI law school enrollment.

Board member Rod Lewis said bringing UI’s law school programs to Boise will enhance them by allowing students to learn close to the center of the state’s government, courts and business. UI isn’t trying to “significantly expand the size of the school,” he said.

Lewis proposed a cap on total law school enrollment of 360, which is slightly over the average enrollment for the past five years, to accompany the Boise-branch funding.

UI President Don Burnett said Idaho is a net importer of attorneys, with only 28 percent of those admitted to the bar in Idaho in recent years having graduated from UI.

“We are nowhere near saturating the legal education market,” Burnett said.

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