UNH School of Law?
Trustees agreement paves the way for affiliation with Franklin Pierce Law Center
Published: Monday, April 5, 2010
Updated: Wednesday, February 13, 2013 15:02
Trustees for the University of New Hampshire and Franklin Pierce Law Center approved an affiliation agreement last month, moving the two institutions one step closer to full merger.
The agreement, which was unanimously approved by the Pierce Law board on March 4 and the University System of New Hampshire Board of Trustees on March 15, is the result of discussions that have been ongoing for the past two years.
"Because this is a complex endeavor, it took much time and effort to fully explore the advantages of an affiliation and to assess any challenges," said Barbara Wilson, associate director of Communications at Franklin Pierce Law Center, in an email. "Once both institutions decided that an affiliation would be in their best interests, an agreement was reached to begin the integration process."
The affiliation is effective July 1, 2010, or upon approval of the affiliation by the American Bar Association and the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, whichever is later, according to Erika Mantz, Director of UNH Media Relations. If and when that occurs, the affiliation will become official, and Franklin Pierce Law Center will be renamed the University of New Hampshire School of Law.
The agreement allows for a merger vote by the UNH Law board to take place as early as Jan. 1, 2013.
"It is at the point of merger that the former Franklin Pierce Law Center comes completely under the auspices of UNH," said Wilson.
If a vote to continue the affiliation or approve a merger does not take place by Jan. 1, 2015, the affiliation will be terminated.
Under the current plan, Franklin Pierce Law Center would remain in its current location in Concord for the time being. Pierce Law is regarded as having one of the top intellectual property law programs in the nation, and also has programs in commerce and technology law as well as international criminal law and justice. Franklin Pierce Law Center is not affiliated with Franklin Pierce University.
Both institutions stand to benefit from the partnership.
"Affiliating will allow us to begin exploring the many ways we can enhance the university's academic programs, create clinical education opportunities and encourage joint research," said UNH President Mark Huddleston in a press release. "UNH is also pleased now to have a stronger presence in Concord."
The affiliation and merger could ultimately lead to joint degree, certificate, and accelerated degree programs for UNH students, in addition to raising the university's national profile. Pierce Law's emphasis on intellectual property law could help UNH expand its efforts to commercialize the products of its science and engineering labs.
For the approximately 450 Pierce Law students, the affiliation will allow increased access to UNH resources, from libraries to interdisciplinary research, according to Wilson. It would also provide greater opportunities for learning outside the classroom, such as new externships and collaborations with UNH programs in areas of common interest. The affiliation will also open up an expanded employer and alumni network for both schools.
"This is an exciting time for both institutions," said Wilson.
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