November 29, 2007
Should SUNY Binghamton Start a Law School?
Posted by David Zaring

While Brian Tamanaha bemoans the surplus number of JDs out there, SUNY Binghamton is planning to start a law school.  I understand why California wanted to start a second state-supported law school in the southern part of the state (though I'm surprised it didn't do so at UCSD).  And I know that New York, with only two state supported law schools, has fewer than Florida and Texas.  And I even know we're in an era of law school growth.  So yes, yes, there's all that.

But I don't get why the state should invest in Binghamton.  Don't the law schools in Syracuse and Buffalo have that part of the state covered?  To say nothing of Albany?  And as for the downstate market, there's ten-odd law schools in the NYC area that would both get better students and be easier to recruit at (Pace, Hofstra, St John's, NYLS, NYU, CUNY, Columbia, Fordham, Cardozo, and Touro would be the ones in New York state that come to mind - but there's others in New Jersey and CT).  SUNY is chronically underfunded; does New York need another fourth tier law school?  And I know Binghamton claims to be the flagship institution and all that, but if you started the thing at Stony Brook, at least you could leverage the law and courts strength there.

But best of luck to you, Binghamton Law School.  May you reverse the many strikes against you with something truly creative, something that will make you the unlaw school.  Maybe you will hire a faculty composed entirely of Ph.D-no-J.D.'s, maybe you'll have students who go on "rounds" in traffic court, or maybe you'll institute a laser-like focus on networking and job acquisition from orientation day 1.  Maybe.

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Comments (5)

1. Posted by Jason on November 29, 2007 @ 18:22 | Permalink

But more likely, as you seem to fear, it'll just be another cash cow pouring out JD's who find themselves not landing the appellate clerkship and Wall Street firm job they thought were theirs for the taking.

(Also, not to nitpick, but: Binghamton, no P, and Touro. I attend the school people like to call "Cardoza" so I'm a bit sensitive.)

2. Posted by David Zaring on November 29, 2007 @ 18:27 | Permalink

One might think that. And thanks for the nits - ooof. I knew something looked wrong on the way I originally spelled the uni. I even googled it. But failed to learn the lessons. It's corrected now.

3. Posted by Bruce Boyden on November 30, 2007 @ 15:13 | Permalink

Well, I'm not sure Syracuse and Buffalo (along the Erie Canal corridor) would really cover Binghamton, which is in the Southern Tier. But there's another school that's even closer -- Cornell! It's like, 40 miles away.

If they want to glom on a law school to a SUNY in an underserved area, how about SUNY Plattsburgh?

4. Posted by David Zaring on December 2, 2007 @ 14:40 | Permalink

I know - nothing against Cornell, but I'm not sure they're providing the area with a lot of locals. And yep, the Plattsburgh part of New York/New England basically only has one law school, as far as I can tell, and it's a private one - Vermont.

5. Posted by rip n run on October 17, 2008 @ 13:47 | Permalink

New law school = totally ridiculous. Binghamton has very little legal work to go around, and is NOT underserved. There are too many lawyers already, most coming from syracuse, albany, and buffalo law. Not every city needs a law school. Obviously just a ploy to hoodwink potential students out of $30K a year.

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