University of Delaware puts hold on law school plans

The University of Delaware won’t be opening its doors to a new law school anytime soon, after their feasibility study revealed the cost of starting a top-flight law program is prohibitive the school recently announced.

David Brond, Delaware’s Vice President for Communications and Marketing, said capital costs and operating expenses over the next ten years would put the price tag for an elite new school at close to a quarter of a billion dollars. Such an expense would call for a large-scale fundraising effort that the school, which is currently opening a new science lab, athletic complex and bookstore, simply cannot undertake.

“To add this project, at this cost, at this time … would supplant other priorities,” Brond said.

Although the nationwide trends of decreased law school applications and a sluggish legal job market were a factor in Delaware’s decision, they only played a small part, according to Brond.

Delaware’s study took a long-term view of the project, and determined that there is a market for an elite law school in Delaware. Population growth and a recovering economy are the keys to that projection, so the schools does not anticipate the market will go away anytime soon. This means the university won’t completely abandon the project.

“Never say never,” Brond said. “With enough money, it could move up the priority list … but it’s not in our sights at this point.”