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Concordia law school in Boise to close

School officials say a deal to transfer the school of law to another university in Minnesota fell through, forcing them to close.

BOISE, Idaho — Concordia University, which has operated a law school in Boise since 2012, announced Thursday that it is closing its door permanently at the end of the summer term.

Concordia University in Portland announced back on Feb. 10, 2020, that it was shutting down at the end of spring. That left an uncertain future for students at the Concordia University School of Law in Boise.

Ten days after that initial announcement, interim dean Latonia Haney Keith said a new parent school would run the Boise law school. That was to be Concordia University, based in St. Paul, Minnesota.

However, school officials say although the university signed a letter of intent to transfer the law school to Concordia St. Paul, the deal could not be worked out.

Haney Keith said the decision to close the law school is devastating.

"We are absolutely heartbroken for our prospective and current students, our alumni, our faculty and staff, and our supporters and donors who have worked so hard over the last eight years to build a law school up from scratch. I can't thank everyone enough for their work, energy, and commitment to this law school and the values we stand for," she said. 

The American Bar Association and other accrediting bodies have been informed of the development. A teach-out plan previously approved by the ABA is no longer viable.  

To ensure current students can complete their education, the law school is modifying its teach-out plan that it will submit to the ABA for approval.  

Students will no longer be admitted for the fall semester. The school's admissions team will be working closely with each student to find them a new path for their legal education.

Concordia Law earned full ABA accreditation in 2019 and was ranked among the nation's most affordable law schools.

Haney Keith said law students worked hard to bring legal counsel and representation to the region's underserved communities, fighting against the socio-economic disparities in housing law and advocating for reforms of the criminal justice and immigration systems.  Pro bono legal services were offered to individuals and families most in need, including battered women, veterans, refugees and the homeless.

She added the closure "leaves a significant gap in access to justice in this community." 

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