U Akron, Cleveland State law school merger falls through

University of Akron campus
A decline in enrollment at the law schools at The University of Akron and Cleveland State University prompted the schools to consider the possibility of merging. [University of Akron]

Discussions of a merger between the law schools at the University of Akron and Cleveland State University are officially over.

Crain’s Cleveland Business reports that members of an exploratory committee said the talks “fizzled” almost a year ago.

The schools announced in August 2020 that they would explore a merger amid a decline in law school enrollment.

Steven McGarrity, executive director at the Akron office of Community Legal Aid, said earlier this week that he would have been supportive of a merger so long as it maintained a presence in Akron.

“So much of practicing law is about the relationships you have with other attorneys," McGarrity said. "So, if you remove the law students from the community of the legal professionals that they might end up working with, it’s just much harder for them to create those connections. And for us to have a successful profession.”

McGarrity added that keeping law students in Akron was also important for fostering a sense of community and connecting with local organizations.

The joint statement did leave open the possibility of future collaborations after Akron welcomes a new dean next month.

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