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The convergence of the twain



And as the smart ship grew
In stature, grace, and hue,
In shadowy silent distance grew the Iceberg too.

As I predicted a year ago, Hamline’s law school is merging with William Mitchell. Hamline was a prime candidate for extinction, as it has suffered from massive enrollment declines despite slashing effective tuition (nearly half the student body was paying less than half of sticker tuition last year), and it’s part of a small, modestly endowed university, that’s in no position to carry a professional school that’s bleeding red ink with no end in sight.

The Twin Cities’ legal market is not much larger than Denver’s, so it made no sense for it to try to support four law schools. Should have been done long ago.

(h/t to several LGM readers)

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  • Craigo

    What do you call an extinct law school? A good start.

  • MacK

    Merging into extinction will be the main early way that law schools close – there are a number of cities where this will happen – Philadelphia, Chicago, Washington, etc. Look for pairs of struggling law schools physically near one another.

  • NewishLawyer

    Do you suspect that the plan will be merge and then close doors entirely?

    • Paul Campos

      From the description of the merger, it sounds as if Hamline is ceasing to exist.

    • MacK

      Merger is a face-saving solution for the parent schools, they can (as is the case here) try to present it as a positive development, an ability to offer more courses, etc. So in reality one school closes, but in appearance it simply merges. This is going to be the Mitchell-Hamline School of Law after all, but in reality, one school vanishes.

      • MikeMikeMike

        No no, it’s the Mitchell | Hamline (or maybe Mitchell|Hamline) School of Law. If that branding doesn’t say “merger of equals,” I don’t know what does.

        (But you’re right, Hamline’s law school is vanishing.)

  • ichininosan

    Hamline’s law school is vanishing. The merged school will be an autonomous, non-profit institution. That’s what William Mitchell is, and Hamline is not, currently.

    It’s a little harder to pitch closure as a merger when there is no stand-alone school — the Drexel – Temple law school? Presumably a non-starter to either parent institution. That scenario would probably just be a more transparent closure of Drexel.

  • PaulB

    Can students at Hamline refuse to go to the merged law school and have their government loans canceled on the grounds that the school they enrolled in has ceased to exist?

    • CSI

      You don’t think they will let any student debtors off that easy do you?

    • BoredJD

      It seems as if the schools have agreed to retain a “shell” school. I read the law as actually closing the school, not just closing it for all practical purposes.

  • MDrew

    How bad is this for the careers of recent Hamline Law graduates, exactly? (He asked, disinterestedly…)

  • NewishLawyer
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