Sunday, February 7, 2010

I'm so confused...

I ran into this story on-line and I didn't quite understand what the hell all those Idaho peeps are thinking.  Too many potatoes in their diet, me thinks.  Apparently, University of Idaho, which already has a law school in Moscow, which is 3rd tier, wants to open up a three year program in Boise.  But they seem to already be offering classes in Boise.  So, what gives?  Do they feel they did such a shit job with a third tier toilet in Moscow, Idaho that they want to try again with a clean slate in Boise?

The Idaho State Board of Education rejected this proposition as too expensive, but UI is going ahead with this idea.  UI is still waiting for the ABA to approve this new business venture, a procedure called "acquiescence."  We all know that the ABA will approve them because the ABA approves all law schools.   But the alleged concern of the ABA would be whether this new campus would harm the Moscow Campus' programs.

I don't understand why the University of Idaho, with one third rate toilet under its belt, would like to open yet another.  Also, I don't understand why a state school can ignore the state Board of Education--and go ahead and open this campus.

If UI was so concerned that they are the only state without a campus in the State Capital--like that's important--why don't they just move the campus from Moscow to Boise????

As it stands, it's not like Boise will be without a law school.  University of Portland, Oregon is going to be offering law schools in Boise in 2011.  Of course, the logical question is why would University of Portland, aka Concordia, want to build a school in Boise??

Why Boise? Portland already has Lewis & Clark Law School and nearby there's Willamette University College of Law in Salem. Concordia has a strong connection to Boise because a good number of students and donors as well as several board members hail from there. 

So, let me get this straight.  University of Portland is trying to escape competition with Lewis & Clark and Williamette, so they are opening up a law school in Boise, Idaho.  And UI is going to strangle the market in Boise by opening up a SECOND campus there.  Do they realize that the population of Boise is only 200,000?  How many lawyers does such a small area need?

Admittedly, I don't have a large readership in Idaho... and, if I were a betting person and I must be because I went to Law School and bet that I could have a good life as a lawyer.... I would say that it's because the state is serviced by UI Moscow ONLY which has a total number of 300 students.  So, with the introduction of Concordia and UI Boise, the market for lawyers in Idaho is bound to tank.  Why are they trying to fuck up a good thing?  

Well, it's a matter of time before I'll be welcoming a large amount of readers from Idaho.  Sorry to hear about your loss... loss of jobs, that is.  


  1. WTF? And if Portland really needed a third tier law school -- well, Willamette is a very easy commute.

  2. You said Iowa a couple times near the end when you meant Idaho.

  3. I don't go to Idaho, but I do go to BYU and there are quite a few BYU grads that try to break into the Boise market. From what they have told me, Boise law firms will take an Idaho grad over just about any other school that is not T-14.

    Idaho's stranglehold on the Boise market is pretty much true as far as I can tell unless you are top of your class or T-14. I mean, some of my friends were top third at BYU (ranked 30-45 over the last 10 years or so) and they told me they had no shot in hell at breaking into the Boise market. So I do think that the Moscow campus kids would be pretty pissed off if Idaho opened a branch in Boise.

  4. Angel, towards the end of your post, you confused Idaho with Iowa. I went to law school in frigid cold Iowa - although both are flyover states.

    Anyway, to your point: Idaho certainly DOES NOT NEED another law school (or two). Another factor for Boise and Portland to consider: a lot of LDS students in that state would rather attend "lower first tier" schools in Utah: Quinney and BYU.

    FACT: Law schools are producing far too many grads. The ONLY reason why we see so many schools being constructed is because they are so lucrative. Remember the post you did on Belmont Law School. Nashville Business Journal reports that the school expects to recoup its initial $25 million capital investment by the third year of operation.

  5. So sorry for the mistake. I hate the flu and I'm drugged up on Sudafed. I totally know the difference between the two states.. I am just too stuffy to write. Oh well...
    10:26. That is what makes me mad. These Moscow law students are happy about this. Don't they get it?

  6. Lemme see if I can help with your confusion, most of which is caused by lack of research/information.

    1) Idaho law, until very recently, does not "offer classes in Boise" in the way most people understand it. A few courses, typically 1 or 2 a semester, have been taught via distance education, with the professor in Boise and students in Moscow. This is due to the low supply of qualified adjunct in rural North Idaho. This past summer, Idaho Law offered a summer school class in Boise for the first time. The school's "Semester in Practice" program is actually a semester-long externship with a classroom component. The plan for this coming year would be to offer students the opportunity to spend their whole 3rd year, not just last semester, in Boise and take regular classes.

  7. 2) The Idaho SBOE did not "reject" the law school's proposal. It approved moving forward with the full third-year program and instructed the law school to return with more study on funding for the full branch campus. ( The school isn't "ignoring" the State Board.

    3) I have to assume that you're not from Idaho because anyone from Idaho would immediately know the answer to the question "Why not just move the campus?" It would be a political nightmare that, while probably the best idea conceptually, would very likely cause more harm in the long run. That idea was considered. Go to and click on the "College of Law Statewide" logo on the left to access the 2+ years of research the school has done if you want to learn.

  8. 4) You're right about one thing, Boise isn't exactly a large metro area. Between Concordia, an out-of-state private school with a thin track record with graduate education, and the UI, which has been around for 100 years and had FIVE supreme court justices visit campus...I'm putting my money on the University of Idaho.

    5) Keep in mind that something like half the population of the state lives in the greater Treasure Valley. Boise is also only a 3 hour easy drive from Salt Lake City and psychologically more palatable to west coasters (e.g. Portland and Seattle) than rural Moscow/Pullman.

    6) The number of lawyers in Idaho has grown substantially over the last 40 years, but the size of the law school has been the same. The number of lawyers in a market is driven by the free market, not by the number of law students graduating in that market. UI's argument is that it is better for the state for them to be educated by Idaho's public school.

  9. 7) Trust me, the University isn't going to make any money off of this. They are responding to demand. Students have been wanting a law school in Boise for over 50 years. Even most Idaho students (about 60% of all law students) would rather go to law school in Boise. There are probably also many law students now going to places like Willamette and Gonzaga who are getting the same (more or less) education in exchange for more than twice the debt. As someone who is obviously bitter and regrets their decision to go to law school, seems like having lower student debt is something you could support.

  10. I definitely appreciate your input. Thanks!

  11. So, even though there has always been only one law school in Idaho--why would there be more than enough lawyers in Idaho. IU is adding to the problem. Not helping them by giving them an affordable education.

  12. Idaho has always been a pretty parochial state. The idea is that "homegrown" lawyers are better for the state than "importing" them from surrounding states. The underlying assumption/hope is that Idaho Law's grads will get Idaho legal jobs that are currently being filled by non-residents. There's also a "brain drain" component to the discussion. It's pretty much understood that Idaho loses a lot of Idaho kids who simply don't want to live in the middle of nowhere for law school with no access to jobs for spouses, opportunities for part-time paying legal work, non-summer internships, decent restaurants, etc.

    Also, don't forget the economy isn't going to be crappy forever. Before the recession, Idaho had some pretty fast growing sectors. Lawyers can be engines of economic development. We (I am a lawyer myself) have to fight back against the idea that lawyers do nothing but chase ambulances and sue people.

  13. I think this post is bitterly unfair and ignorant, actually.

    I went to U. Idaho undergrad, then went to a top-15 law school quite easily. The U. Idaho law school is designed for people who want to live and practice in Idaho. It's a perfectly nice school - I know many of the professors - that does a good, solid job training its students. It is also one of the few schools left that has a fairly affordable tuition.

    It was never intended to attract much attention outside of the Idaho / Eastern Washington area, and this satellite program is not a bad idea, if the money can be found to make it happen.

    Don't call it a toilet. You obviously have not been to the area, or understand it, and this kind of prejudice just makes you look rather foolish to those who know the area and like it quite a bit.



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