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New plan would create two separate Penn State Law schools

Written by Megan Lello, witf Reporter and Producer | Nov 21, 2012 4:35 AM

(State College) -- Penn State is changing its plans for prospective students in its law program.

The university's law school has rescinded a plan to consolidate its first-year law program at the University Park campus.

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Instead, Law School Dean Philip McConnaughay tells witf he's asking the American Bar Association for permission to create two separate schools: a program in State College, and one in Carlisle.

He says he thinks Penn State Dickinson in Carlisle would be successful "as long as the school remains modest in size, maybe 100 J.D. students per year, and as long as the school was judicious about admissions." He adds, "It would need to relax standards a little bit, but also focus strengths of students outside of GPA or LSAT."

Approval from the American Bar Association could take a year-and-a-half to receive.

Students would begin to receive separate degrees from either Penn State Dickinson in Carlisle or Penn State Dickinson in University Park only after 2015.

The Cumberland County commissioners, many law school alums, and Governor Corbett all opposed the initial plan to require all first-year students to attend class in State College.

But Commissioner Jim Hertzler says he's glad the school's reconsidered the plan, and thinks a separate school in Carlisle would thrive.

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