SHREVEPORT, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – Law school will be available to students in north Louisiana for the first time ever starting in Spring of 2022 under a pilot program approved Wednesday by the Louisiana Board of Regents.
The Board voted unanimously to allow Southern University to launch the “Semester in Shreveport” pilot program inside the Shreve Memorial Library in downtown Shreveport.
“I’m just head over heels, this has been talked about for decades, it’s well needed,” said Board of Regents member Wilbert Pryor.
The pilot program is part of a three-phase plan to bring a full law center to Shreveport.
Phase one would allow students in their final year of law school to complete up to 16 hours at an off-campus instructional site in Shreveport in Spring 2022 and 2023.
This “Semester in Shreveport” pilot concept would allow for students to prepare for the Louisiana Bar exam and to pursue experiential-learning opportunities and potential opportunities for employment.
“We believe this is an opportunity to bring legal education to Northwest Louisiana, in a way that’s measured and in a way that can ultimately prove to be successful,” said Southern University Law School Chancellor John Pierre.
Night and weekend classes will take place at the downtown Shreve Memorial Library and a law clinic will open at the SUSLA Metro Center.
“You have a corridor from that block. From the law clinics to the law school, so there will need to be a book store there, coffee shops, snacks shops, places for people to eat so it’s gone bring a whole new life to downtown,” said Pryor.
This pilot program will help with funding of the law center.
“This gives them an opportunity as Dr. Belton said to test the market for local financial support to sustain this longterm,” said Dr. Reed.
Funding for the pilot program is awaiting approval from the Caddo Parish Commission.
“January 1, 2021 to December 31, 2021 budget, we are planning to put those costs into their budget,” said Chancellor Pierre.
The chancellor of Southern law school in Baton Rouge will make a presentation at the Caddo Parish Commission meeting Thursday, June 18.
The Board of Regents says the second phase of the plan would begin in 2023-24 and 2024-25 academic years and transition the program from an off-campus instructional site to a separate location. This would allow students to complete between 17 and 41 hours of their program during fall, spring, and summer sessions.
This would involve the installment of faculty, library resources, academic and career advising staff, and facilities and technologies needed to support student learning.
The third and final phase would commence in Fall 2025 whereby the campus would be considered a branch campus. A branch campus is one where more than two-thirds of credit hours required for the Juris Doctorate degree can be completed.
SULC would submit a business plan and a prospectus outlining students’ needs and demands, describing the branch campus program’s curriculum and faculty resources, and describing how SULC will meet physical facilities and financial viability standards of SACSCOC and the ABA.