Professor: campus law school unlikely

A resolution supporting the creation of a law school at TCU passed in the Student Government Association House of Student Representative’s meeting Tuesday, though the university’s pre-law adviser said its creation is unlikely to happen anytime soon.The Resolution to Support the Creation of a Law School at Texas Christian University, which passed 27-5, was co-authored by the SGA executive cabinet and sophomore representative Haley Murphy.

Donald Jackson, the pre-law adviser and political science professor, said there is no objective need for a law school at TCU now, despite student interest.

The resolution was amended at the suggestion of Brian Andrew, recruitment and retention officer, to support “research into the feasibility, practicality and possible benefits of the creation of a law school at TCU.”

“I’m not sure if this resolution will go very far without research behind it,” said Andrew, a senior finance major.

Murphy said the resolution is visionary legislation intended to set goals for the next 10 years. Now that the resolution has passed, Murphy and the executive cabinet will start researching the possibility of a law school and talking with administrators.

“TCU has so many projects going on right now, but when these end, we want to have a direction for the school to go,” said Murphy, a political science major.

Jackson said the chances of creating a law school for TCU anytime soon are highly unlikely.

“The big policy question is, does Texas need another law school?” Jackson said. “The answer is probably not.”

The Board of Trustees considered acquiring the Texas Wesleyan University law school in 2002, but declined following advice from an outside consultant. The consultant suggested that TCU start from scratch in order to create a competitive law school, which is estimated to cost more than $100 million.

“Unless we put huge resources into it, it wouldn’t be a very good law school,” Jackson said. “The ability of this new law school to compete with others in the area would be marginal.”

The University of Texas in Austin, Southern Methodist University, Baylor University and the University of Houston all have law school programs ranked in the top 100, according to the U.S. News’s list of America’s Top Law Schools.

Texas Tech University, Texas Southern University and St. Mary’s University also have law schools.

Though Jackson said there would probably be plenty of students interested in attending law school at TCU, the competitive nature of the field would be problematic for graduates trying to get jobs, coming from a new, unranked law school.