Gov. Butch Otters proposed budget leaves the University of Idahos second-year Boise law school program unfunded.
The U of I College of Law requested $400,000 from the Legislature to start a second year of law school curriculum in Boise, which was not included in the governors proposal Jan. 7.
Don Burnett, dean of the school, said the decision was a result of insufficient resources and a misunderstanding of need in the legal profession. Idaho ranks 49th in the nation for the number of physicians per capita, but that low rank is the same for lawyers, Burnett said.
People have a stereotypical notion of what lawyers do because they only see litigation on TV, but most work done by lawyers is different from that, Burnett said.
The existing one-year Boise program focuses on business law and entrepreneurship, two economic factors Burnett said he hopes will get more attention in the future.
The college will continue to pursue a second-year program in Boise and has received support from the private sector, but Burnett believes it will need public support to succeed.
In a related matter, Otter recommended a continued investment in restoring the former Ada County courthouse, where the college holds classes and runs the state law library. Burnett said he hopes this signals support for public legal education.
Estelle Gwinn: (208) 882-5561, Ext. 301, firstname.lastname@example.org