Last week a letter from the Southern New England School of Law was sent to the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth offering to donate the school to UMass. While Dartmouth has not accepted the donation, they are in the process of coming up with a proposal after reviewing any financial and, or legal issues. If UMass accepts, it would give Massachusetts its first public Law School.
What does this mean for Worcester?
District Councilor Joff Smith has been a long-time advocate for opening a law school in Worcester. With the donation to UMass Dartmouth, Smith says “it will be great to have a public law school in the state” but doesn’t change his view that Worcester still needs one of its own. “It (opening a school) still makes great sense because we’re still lacking a law school in Central Massachusetts.”
Smith says Worcester has “been in discussion with other law schools” about opening one in the city. The old, now empty, Court House on Main Street is his proposed location for the school. Not only would transforming old court rooms into law studies classrooms make sense, Smith also believes it would be the first big step for the city’s economic development push.
So maybe the donation doesn’t mean anything for us Worcesterites on the surface, but any sort of talk of new Law Schools opening can give Joff Smith, and other supporters a glimmer of hope for our future development.