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Wilmington University introduces law school, applications for 2023-2024 school year open

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Rachel Sawicki
/
Delaware Public Media
Wilmington University Law School ​​Phillip Closius

Wilmington University is launching Delaware’s newest law school.

Applications opened Thursday for the school’s first round of students, who will begin in the 2023-2024 school year at just $24,000 per year.

It’s also offering part-time and night-time class options to make getting a law degree more accessible.

Dean of WilmU Law Phillip Closius says it's part of the Delaware Supreme Court’s initiative to diversify Delaware’s bench and bar, and new Delaware Courts DEI officer Kaelea Shaner says the program will even affect K-12.

“It's going to be kind of a big, holistic picture from starting with K-12, building that pipeline up to the law school here. So being able to work in tandem and make that construction of the pipeline as seamless as possible is going to be really exciting.”

Closius says students of color are severely underrepresented in Delaware, and it’s up to leadership to close that gap by helping its students succeed while learning in the First State.

“Our job is not to tell people we want 35% of you to be in Delaware. That’s not what we do. But our job is to make sure that they get an experience in Delaware and the Delaware experience I think will sell itself.”

State Secretary of Education Mark Holodick says there is a strong equity component in the school’s plan and the need to provide more opportunity.

“I love the overall vision for their core values being tied to the curriculum itself. And how they are going to gear students up for the bar through their personal and professional experiences here in Delaware.”

Students can take around one-third of their classes online too, but per ABA accreditation guidelines, which WilmU will apply for in the spring of 2024, some must be taught in person.

Wilmington University also plans to build a new facility for the law school to aid its accreditation application. It is estimated to be completed by January 2025.

Rachel Sawicki is Delaware Public Media's New Castle County Reporter. They are non-binary and use they/them pronouns.