In another major step toward bringing legal education to Alaska, Seattle University School of Law has reached an agreement to house its satellite campus at Alaska Pacific University (APU).
Alaska is the only state in the country without a law school. The SU law school intends to launch its program, which would allow Alaskan students to spend summers and their entire third year in their home state, in fall 2015, pending approval by the American Bar Association. The ABA conducted a site visit at Seattle University in early May.
"We are so proud to partner with APU, and we look forward to continuing to meet the needs of Alaskan students and the legal community in the state," Dean Annette E. Clark said. "Seattle University has been committed to Alaska for over 12 years, and housing a satellite law school campus at APU is a natural extension of this commitment."
APU President Don Bantz echoed Clark's thoughts, saying, "This partnership fits perfectly with APU's founding commitment to help Alaskans achieve higher education that contributes to Alaska's well-being. We look forward to a long relationship with Seattle University School of Law and helping more Alaskans achieve their goal of earning a significant part of their law degree in Alaska."
Jonathan Rubini, founder and CEO of JL Properties Inc., has made a generous gift to APU earmarked for Seattle University to house the law school's satellite campus at APU. Mark Kroloff, a principal with First Alaskan Capital Partners, also has provided significant strategic and logistical support to the law school's endeavor.
The law school already has formed strong ties with the Alaska court system, the Alaska Bar Association and individual lawyers in Alaska. The Alaska court system has entered into an agreement to allow the law school to use its law library as well as its courtroom for some evening and weekend classes, and for moot court and other competitions.
Chief Justice Dana Fabe wrote a letter to the ABA expressing enthusiastic support for the program, which she says will provide training and experience to benefit lawyers who practice in Alaska and help diversify the Alaska bar. Of the approximately 4,000 lawyers in the state, Alaska Native attorneys make up only a tiny percentage.
"We anticipate that the satellite campus will open the door to legal and judicial careers to many more Alaskans and will have a direct impact on increasing diversity in our profession," Justice Fabe said.
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