T14 Law School Making Cuts Over Budget Shortfalls

By William Vogeler, Esq. on November 08, 2018 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Stand-alone schools enjoy a certain independence, but they also fall alone when they run out of money.

Unlike law schools affiliated with larger institutions, stand-alone schools have nobody to fall back on. It's part of the problem that put private schools out of business in recent years, as the stumbling economy pushed down enrollments.

But that's not the problem at Northwestern University's Pritzker School of Law, where administrators have raised nearly $250 million to buoy the law school budget. The underbelly problem is the university is making cuts across the board to finance an athletic facility, a medical research building, and other projects.

Cuts Across the Board

In a special report, Crain's Chicago Business detailed how Northwestern University went awry. The university has devoted hundreds of millions of dollars to initiatives like a new athletic training center and a 30-story biomedical research building.

As a result of a budget shortfall, Northwestern recently cut 80 jobs and ordered all of its campuses to reduce expenses by 5 to 10 percent. Pritzker Law School is cutting staff, lecturer positions, and some clinical programs.

Law dean Kimberly Yurako said the cuts are a result of the university-wide directive to reduce expenses. However, the ABA Journal reported, the school has been operating at a deficit.

That's another story, which dates back to 2015 when the Prtizkers donated $100 million to the law school. That's also when "Northwestern University School of Law," a top 14 law school, was renamed.

Pritzker Not Done -- Yet

Pritzker is cutting back, but far from shutting down. Tenured faculty are not losing their jobs. It is not like these schools:

  • Savannah Law School
  • Valparaiso Law School
  • Thomas Cooley
  • Indiana Tech Law
  • Whittier Law School

They have closed or are in the process. Savannah, which is a branch of John Marshall Law School, is the latest casualty.

John Marshall was a stand-alone school, but is merging with the University of Illinois at Chicago.

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