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John Marshall Law School in downtown Chicago

University of Illinois at Chicago is in talks about taking over a local law school

Officials are discussing the feasibility of making the John Marshall Law School a part of the university

The University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) has begun discussions about making the John Marshall Law School in Chicago part of the university.

If the law school became part of the university, it would become one of the institution's colleges and schools (it now has 15), and would be the only public law school in the city of Chicago.

"The discussions about this association have focused on the advantages such a relationship would offer both institutions and future students," say Michael Amiridis, university chancellor, and Susan Poser, provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs

They say that absorbing the law school into the university would result in "a wide range of interdisciplinary programs for students, as well as research opportunities for faculty at both institutions that bridge the discipline of law with the disciplinary strengths of UIC, including the health sciences, engineering and technology, urban planning, public administration, the social sciences and business."

"We have also examined carefully the financial feasibility of such an initiative, as well as the immediate and future impact on the operation and strength of the new school," the university officials say. "The initial reports we have received from an external consulting group and from our own internal analysis are positive and have led us to the decision to broaden these discussions to the full constituencies of UIC and JMLS, including faculty, staff, students, alumni, and donors, as well as members of the wider community."

John Marshall is a private, independent law school that was established in 1899. Its campus is in downtown Chicago. UIC's main campus is about two miles southwest of downtown. The university says it anticipates that the law school campus would remain in its present location.

Regarding potential costs of adding the law school, UIC says: "There are no plans to invest state or institutional funds to facilitate [John Marshall] becoming a part of UIC. We are in the process of beginning to consider transition costs, but would make every effort to keep those costs to a minimum."

Before the law school could become part of the university, it would require approvals by the University of Illinois Board of Trustees and The John Marshall Law School Board of Trustees, as well as the Illinois Board of Higher Education, the American Bar Association and the Higher Learning Commission.

The university says that in 1998 it had begun discussing a possible partnership with John Marshall, but negotiations ended in 2001.

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