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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