Law College Officially Joins MSU

April 30, 2004
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EAST LANSING — The recent name change for the law college at Michigan State University recognizes the growing collaboration between the two schools, officials say.

MSU trustees last month approved re-naming the Detroit College of Law, which has operated as an independent affiliate of the university since 1995, to the MSU College of Law.

The name change "formalizes the fact that the law college is now fully a part of the university in the same manner as the university's other constituent colleges," said Clifton Haley, president of the college.

"The image and reputation of MSU College of Law will now catch up with the significant improvements in academic and professional standards that have been achieved since the affiliation with the university," Haley added.

The law school forged an affiliation with MSU in 1995 and moved into a new facility in the heart of the East Lansing campus seven years ago.

Founded in Detroit in 1891, the law school remains the oldest continuously operated independent law school in the nation.

The affiliation with MSU provided the law school a greater variety of programming and extended its reach, while giving the university a law school that's fully accredited by the American Bar Association.

Through the affiliation, law students can pursue their law degree and another advanced degree at the same time. The university now offers 14 dual-degree programs to law students and reportedly plans several more.

"The college has experienced enormous growth in quality since the affiliation with Michigan State. This reflects all of the work that has been done to integrate our two institutions," said Terence Blackburn, dean of the MSU College of Law.

"The name change will make the college's location clearer to outsiders and increase prestige for both the law school and the university."

Applications to the law school have tripled since the affiliation and enrollment has grown from 744 in 1995 and to 1,008 as of last fall.

Because of space constraints, the law school has been trying to trim enrollment by raising credentialing standards for applicants. Janet Harvey, director of marketing, said the goal is to gradually get enrollment down to about 800 students.

"It's getting harder to get in and that's how we hope to keep enrollment steady — by raising the credentials," she said.           

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