In a move to reduce the cost of law school, which can reach six figures, two colleges in New York are partnering to offer accelerated law degrees.
Albany’s College of Saint Rose and Pace University School of Law in White Plains have teamed up to enable qualified Saint Rose students to earn both a bachelor’s degree and a law degree in six years. Dean of Pace Law School David Yassky says it is his school’s first partnership with an outside college.
“The goal here is to make law school as affordable as possible for young people. In this economy, every penny counts and if you can shave a year’s tuition off of a student’s education, that’s a material savings,” says Yassky. “And the demand for lawyers is quite high. We still have large need for lawyers to serve especially middle-income and lower-income people.”
For Saint Rose, it’s the third joint degree program. It has offered a similar program with Albany Law School since 1986 and with the Western New England University School of Law in Springfield, Massachusetts since 2013. Al Chapleau is the college’s chair of the Department of Sociology and Criminal Justice.
“It has the benefit of attracting highly motivated, well qualified students to the College of Saint Rose and they get something in return,” says Chapleau. “What they get in return is an opportunity to reduce the cost of their ultimate career training and also reduce the amount of time that it takes them to obtain a license to practice law.”
He says adding a third partner adds choice of both geography and law school specialty to students. Albany Law School has a niche in governmental law; Pace, in environmental law.
“Part of that is also to also give our students the opportunity to pick to a law school if they do have a particular area of law they want to go into, to give them a choice for that also,” Chapleau says.
Again, Pace Law School’s Yassky.
“I think this partnership is terrific because it works well for both parties,” Yassky says. “For Saint Rose students it is an opportunity to come to law school in the New York City area, the largest legal marketplace in the world, and also to take advantage of some of our specialty areas, including environmental law and criminal law.”
The new 3+3 program allows qualified students who are interested in pursuing law as a career to take their first three years at Saint Rose and then, upon acceptance, begin their law courses at Pace during their senior year. Students will receive their bachelor’s degrees from Saint Rose upon finishing their first year at Pace. Completion of the full six-year program will lead to a Pace law degree. Here’s Yassky.
“It’s really a twofer, less debt and you begin working earlier to start paying off that debt,” says Yassky.
The first students accepted into the Saint Rose/Pace Law School program would be for the 2015/2016 academic year.