MOSCOW, Idaho – The University of Idaho College of Law’s efforts to begin a first-year law program in Boise have come to fruition, after the American Bar Association gave the plan its seal of approval this week, the UI announced Wednesday.
Mark Adams, dean of the Menard College of Law, said the development follows years of effort.
“It’s the fulfillment of a very long planning process,” he said.
Adams said that process included “working with various stakeholders, with the state board, key members of the legislature, the governor’s office, the university, the faculty.”
Efforts to expand the program to Boise have been in the works since about 2008, when former Law Dean Don Burnett first began to pitch the idea, which gained unanimous approval from the UI faculty senate.
Not everyone was happy, as many interpreted it as an intention of moving the entire program to Southern Idaho.
In a 2015 interview, Adams said he agreed that would be a mistake.
Adams said he sees the new model as creating more of an expansion of the law school than merely an option of where to attend, and he sees no reason for Moscow to be concerned about losing students.
In fact, all indicators are pointing to a boost in enrollment.
“We’re in a position to have some modest increase in our enrollment, while ensuring student quality and still providing scholarships for students,” he said.
The UI started offering classes to third-year law students in Boise in 2008, and second-year students in 2012.
“We expect to have 60 students at Boise and approximately the same number in Moscow next year,” Adams said. “There’s a really strong demand for both locations.”
Adams said each campus offers distinct benefits: Boise is surrounded by the business and legal community, while in Moscow students benefit from “the advantages of deep ties to other programs, dual degrees on UI campus and also at WSU.”
Other Moscow benefits include externships, relations with area tribes and opportunities in Western Washington.
The College of Law is accepting first-year applications for fall 2017 at both locations.