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A&M to acquire law school for $20 million

Published: Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Updated: Wednesday, July 25, 2012 19:07

Texas A&M University is beginning a new venture in the world of academia: law school. After at least 40 years of contemplation, the University is making a move to purchase a law program in partnership with Texas Wesleyan University.

Texas A&M has proposed to purchase the school for $20 million or more.

“Last October, Texas A&M System Chancellor John Sharp approached me about a unique strategic partnership,” Texas Wesleyan President Frederick G. Slabach said. “After months of careful consideration, we both consider this to be a mutually beneficial collaboration with limitless possibilities.”

The proposal has been approved by the Texas Wesleyan University Board and is awaiting approval from the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board. Jason Cook, vice president of marketing and communications for Texas A&M University, said the System Board of Regents meets Friday and is expected to vote on the matter. If approved, the agreement will be executed by June 1, 2013.

The partnership will change the name of the school to the Texas A&M School of Law at Texas Wesleyan University. The school will remain in Fort Worth, and the curriculum and staff will be regulated by Texas A&M University.  

One advantage to the program is a 3+3 program, which will allow students to earn a joint law school JD and Texas Wesleyan MBA.

This could be extremely advantageous to students, as many law students don’t enter the field they expect after graduation.

“From the last year’s report, it’s been shown that there are less lawyers being hired by firms once they graduate. A lot of people don’t end up doing the actual job they graduated to do,” Victoria Mora, senior business major and campus representative for Kaplan Test Prep.

The Texas Wesleyan Law School lacks the prestige that comes with the Texas A&M brand. The Texas Wesleyan School of Law is ranked in the lowest tier amongst law schools, meaning it is outside of the top 150. Texas A&M, on the other hand, is ranked 58 in the nation. This brings the question of whether or not this will diminish Texas A&M’s reputation.

“I don’t know how fond I am of the deal but it seems like we’re putting a new name on an old reputation. We’ll just have to see how things sort themselves out,” said Gary Lynn, senior business major and member of the Pre-Law Society.

In a press release, University President R. Bowen Loftin said the partnership is part of Vision 2020 , a strategic plan to make Texas A&M a consensus top-10 public university by 2020

“Expanding Texas A&M’s graduate professional programs is one of the key tenets of Vision 2020, our long-range plan to become one of the country’s top 10 public institutions by the year 2020. If you look at the top universities — our peer institutions — most of them have a law school,” Loftin said.


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