Friday, October 10, 2008

News from New Hampshire

According to the story below, Franklin Pierce Law Center and the University of New Hampshire are in talks regarding a possible merger. I wonder if the economic crisis will cause the University to rethink a possible merger.

"Live Free or Die" State's Only Law School Looking to Get Hitched

New York Lawyer
October 10, 2008

By Karen Sloan
The National Law Journal

New Hampshire's only law school has entered merger talks with the state's largest public university.

Franklin Pierce Law Center in Concord and the University of New Hampshire in Durham announced on Oct. 9 that they have formed working groups to explore the "benefits and risks" of a merger.

Officials from both institutions were not immediately available for comment, but said in a joint statement that the idea has been discussed for several months.

Franklin Pierce, a private school, is recognized as having a strong program in intellectual property law. Franklin Pierce's intellectual property instruction stands to benefit from access to UNH's research and engineering programs. Additionally, law school faculty would gain an opportunity to participate in wider research, according to the statement.

"UNH is interested in pursuing this relationship in no small part because of potential synergies with our business and engineering programs, especially in the area of intellectual property, a major strength at Pierce Law," UNH President Mark W. Huddleston said in the statement.

Conversely, partnering with the law school would create opportunities to incorporate law into UNH's existing programs.

"It would provide a tremendous platform for our law school to integrate both legal education and research opportunities into many of UNH's programs," said Franklin Pierce President and
in the statement.

It's not clear if finances are playing a role in the discussions. UNH wrapped up the last fiscal year with a multi-million dollar deficit, with the current year shaping up to be slightly over budget as well, according to the New Hampshire Union Leader.

Huddleston said that any merger would be "cost-neutral" for the university. The schools will form separate working groups that will coordinate with each other. Final recommendations on a possible merge are expected in early spring.

Franklin Pierce grabbed major attention in 2006 when it established a program that enabled gradates to obtain a law license without passing the bar exam.

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