Concordia gets new parent university

A law school has been saved. And that’s something of a rarity in this day and age — when a number have closed or lost American Bar Association (ABA) accreditation.

Concordia University School of Law, which is based in Boise, Idaho, seemed to be on that cusp, given the upcoming closing of its affiliated university, Concordia University-Portland, which had opened the law school in 2012.

In this case, another private Lutheran school, Minnesota-based Concordia University, St. Paul, has agreed to take over the law school. ABA approval is necessary.

The Portland School, which is more than a century old, recently announced its closing, a move that caught many by surprise.

In a statement, the interim president said that the Board of Regents “concluded that the university’s current and projected enrollment and finances make it impossible to continue its educational mission.”

That announcement immediately raised concern over the law school’s future. The Portland school started a law school in Boise partly because there was no law school in that city, Idaho’s largest, at the time. (University of Idaho now offers courses in Boise.) Additionally, there is a law school already in Portland, Lewis & Clark Law School.

The small law school appeared to be on solid footing. Indeed, it is one of only three schools with an ultimate bar passage rate of 100% for the Class of 2017. You might have heard of one of the other schools with that same distinction. It’s called Yale.

Law school closings no longer send big shocks. Nearly a half-dozen have closed because of the challenges facing legal education. One of the biggest of those challenges has been a drop in admissions.

But Concordia’s plight seemed to be similar to that of another law school, Western State College of Law in Irvine, Calif. It nearly closed when its owner, Dream Center, a mega-church, went bankrupt.

Another Irvine-based school, Westcliff University, which is a for-profit enterprise, took that law school over, saving it from closure.