Study recommends no law school for Shreveport: local leaders still fighting

Study recommends no law school for Shreveport: local leaders still fighting
Gavel on sounding block (Source: Gray Television)

SHREVEPORT, La. (KSLA) - A study commissioned by the Caddo Parish Commission, the Board of Regents and the Louisiana legislature recommends no new law school be built in Shreveport; however there are some recommendations.

The group called for the study to see the need in bringing a new law school to serve the region. The study identified possible facilities and recruitment of law school leadership to guide the new school. Although the study identified a need, it assume an $11,000,000 price tag to build new facilities to house the program.

The Caddo Commission responded by asking the Board of Regents to look at using existing space at the Downtown Shreve Memorial Library or Southern University Metro Space. In addition, commissioners ask that Southern University move forward with a part-time and executive law program that is tailored toward working professionals over the course of 3-4 years.

The next recommendation calls for physically relocated the Southern University Law Center. Caddo Commissioners strongly object and call this move offensive and an attempt to disrupt progress on the issue. The group goes on to say they have always advocated for a satellite, part-time, non-traditional campus to operate in Shreveport" inside of existing facilities.

KSLA News 12 has followed this proposal and study since last year.

On April 4, 2019 Parish officials (Dr. Woody Wilson, Erica Bryant, Donna Fraizer, Commission President Stormy Gage-Watts, and Commissioner Steven Jackson), had phone conference with Barry Currier of the American Bar Association along with President Dr. Ray Belton of Southern University System, and Chancellor John Pierre of Southern University Law Center. Mr. Currier noted that SULC can start offering courses immediately without ABA approval up to 18 hours. Students could either start or finish law in Shreveport. The study says, "The consensus was that proposed law schools start out small and scale up over a period of 3-4 years. This would be a satellite site under the leadership of a Dean or campus director. Not an independent school of the system.”

Before the study, commissioners said there was lots of support to bring a new law school to North Louisiana. The study also noted that there is overwhelming support for a new law school as well as a need.

Tuesday, the commission will introduce the results of the study in a work session. Wednesday, several Caddo Commissioners and local leaders will be joined by the Southern University System in Baton Rouge as they meet with the Board of Regents.

The Caddo Commission can formally adopt their response their response to the study on Thursday.

To read the full Board of Regents study and final report click here.

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