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Concordia Law School in Boise announces new partnership with Concordia University, St. Paul

Amid threat of closure, Concordia Law in Boise welcomed it's new parent institution, Concordia University, St. Paul.

BOISE, Idaho — Concordia Law School in Boise now has a new a new parent organization, a move that will save the school from closure, officials said.

According to interim dean Latonia Haney Keith, the new parent school is Concordia University, St. Paul in Minnesota.

Concordia University in Portland announced on Feb. 10 it will be closing its doors at the end of spring 2020, leaving the future uncertain for Concordia Law in Boise. 

The Boise school was given a chance to find a willing parent institution to avoid closure.

"We are delighted to join forces with an institution that enjoys such a stellar reputation and remain part of the Concordia System," Haney Keith said. "Concordia University, St. Paul is an excellent fit with the law school's mission and values and our commitment to providing affordable, high-quality legal education for the next generation of servant leaders."

The search didn't take long - just about 10 days.

"We were able to talk and really realize all the alignment we had with this institution," the interim dean said. "To get through a board vote and all the way through today, I'm very thrilled."

Though it was just 10 days wait, it left an uncertain future for law students.

"So, it was a little surprising at first just to hear Concordia Portland was closing," student Alexander Hatfield said. "I didn't really feel terrible about it at all, it didn't impact me whatsoever. I knew that Dean Keith had everything under control."

It turns out she did. Haney Keith told KTVB the transition for students like Hatfield should be seamless.

"Both in terms of our existing programs and legal education, that's going to remain the same," she said. "The only changes I think will be in the growth and the support and services, and the support we're going to get from Concordia St. Paul."

RELATED: 'We are very optimistic': Portland's Concordia University closing, leaving future uncertain for Boise law school

Dr. Eric LaMott, provost and chief operating officer of Concordia University, St. Paul, said becoming the parent institution of Concordia Law in Boise aligns perfectly with the school's commitment to expanding the university's educational programs.

"The value, growth and success of Concordia Law, it's educational philosophy, and the similarities we share at Concordia University, St. Paul will help ensure a smooth and successful transition," LaMott said Thursday morning. "We are committed to the existing program of legal education and to Concordia Law continuing with business as usual, particularly with respect to staffing, tuition and fees, scholarships, and the 2020-21 academic calendar."

The move presents itself to be a homecoming for LaMott. He grew up in Boise and graduated from Bishop Kelly High school and Boise State University. 

"This is a homecoming on multiple levels," he said. "I come to Boise a lot to visit family and friends, but this case to be able to mesh an academic discipline that's going to fit perfectly well with our St. Paul campus."

Both schools are part of the Concordia school system. There are nine schools across the United States affiliated with the Lutheran Church -- Missouri Synod. The system offers over 160 undergraduate and 50 graduate programs.

This is one reason that'll help make the transition smooth.

"This wasn't blind to us, we saw what was going on we saw the opportunity and the metrics fell in line very quickly," LaMott said.

Concordia Law School was granted full accreditation by the American Bar Association in February 2019. Just this week, the school was recognized for achieving a 100% bar passage rate for the second consecutive year. 

They join two other universities that have accomplished this. They are Yale Law School and the University of Wisconsin School of Law.

The schools do need to continue going through the accreditation process since this is a big change. According to Haney Keith, the school needs to go through the Higher Learning Commission which is the regional accreditor for Concordia University St. Paul.

The same goes for the ABA. The school needs to file an acquiescence application and go through that process. Haney Keith told KTVB the plan is to be in front of the ABA board in their August meeting to have everything lined up for Fall semester.

RELATED: Concordia University students walk out, stage sit-in at president's office

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