Savannah Law School opened in 2012 with the promise of building the next generation of legal minds. At least that’s what students in the first graduating class would have told you. Our cameras were there in May of 2015 when the first class graduated. At the time, there seem the promise of years of graduating classes to come.
Fast Forward to today. Students have been told the school is closing as of May. “Basically they told us that the school isn’t profitable so they’re selling the building,” said Erica Drew, a third year student who talked to us outside the law school on Drayton Street.
The school is housed in the old Candler Hospital which has been refurbished. Drew and others says the word about lack of profits translated into admissions for some, but she believes the numbers were good considering the fact that some students say the Admissions staff has been cut in the past two years.
“So I can’t imagine that our numbers aren’t going up and increasing so it really seems like it was more that the property was more valuable than our legal educations apparently,” said Drew.
Drew was complimentary of the faculty saying it’s an “all star staff.”
She says first and second year students have been told that they can finish their education in Savannah but that no one yet knows “where classes will be held next year, what classes will really be offered and how many faculty will be retained.”
Drew says she has worked hard and is pleased she will be able to graduate in two months in Savannah. But she says there’s something bittersweet about being a member of the last official graduating class, ” The saddest thing is going to be not having a place to come back to. And I’ve built some life-long bonds and I have mentors that I am so appreciative of and I’m just sad that the place that it all happened isn’t going to be there anymore.”
The Savannah Law School Campus was opened six years ago by the John Marshall Law School in Atlanta.
On Thursday, the school sent out the following letter:
The Board of Directors of Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School has made the difficult decision to discontinue operations at its branch campus in Savannah – Savannah Law School. Since the branch was first established seven years ago, there has been an unforeseen national decline in both opportunities for legal employment and a corresponding decline in the national law school applicant pool. The Board’s decision was prompted by the continued small student enrollment at the branch. As such, it was the
Board’s responsibility to acknowledge that a viable program of legal education could not be sustained at that location.
Current students at the Savannah campus will be given options and ongoing support. Each student will have the opportunity to complete his or her legal education at another site in Savannah. Alternatively, any student may complete his or her degree at the Atlanta campus. Regardless of which of the two options a student elects, he or she will retain all academic credits earned and current scholarships. The Law School is proud of both of its current students and alumni and wishes them continued success in
their studies and the practice of law. We know that the community that was built by Savannah Law School will continue to thrive.