Law schools debut new campuses, facilities after pandemic pause

LAW
  • New law buildings opened for students in Houston, Cincinnati this fall
  • Washburn University is slated to complete its new law school campus in December

Sept 21 (Reuters) – Law students at the University of Houston arrived back last month to a campus transformed by a new $93 million building, which legal industry leaders, judges and academics are slated to dedicate on Friday.

About 1,000 miles away, the University of Cincinnati College of Law is also celebrating the opening of its long-planned new campus, taking over the former home of the university’s business school after a $45.6 million renovation.

And Washburn University School of Law in Topeka, Kansas, is on track to finish construction on its $33 million new campus in December.

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It has been a busy fall for new law school facilities, following several years with few new law buildings coming online. One exception was the University of California, Hastings College of the Law’s $55 million Cotchett Law Center building, which opened in August 2020 when classes were being held remotely due to COVID-19. It was the first to open of three new or renovated buildings the San Francisco school has planned.

The University of Houston Law Center’s new five-story, cantilevered building features collaborative spaces and “copious” amounts of natural light, officials said. It is named for the late Houston trial lawyer an alum John O’Quinn, whose foundation has donated more than $16 million to the school.

American Bar Association President Deborah Enix-Ross, Texas Supreme Court Justice Brett Busby and Judge Michelle Childs of the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit are among the speakers lined up for Friday’s dedication conference, which is focused on how legal education and the legal professions can promote democracy.

The University of Cincinnati College of Law dedicated its new building on Sept. 13 with a keynote by Ohio Supreme Court Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor. The renovated 116,635-square-foot building features an expanded library, two-story lobby atrium and second-floor terrace, and a 160-seat auditorium and appellate courtroom.

Washburn Law’s new building will replace the school’s current home, which opened in 1969. The new design includes more classroom space and more flexible areas where students can meet in smaller groups.

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Reporting by Karen Sloan

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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