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University of Massachusetts officials have revived talks aimed at creating the state’s only public law school by merging the Dartmouth, Mass., campus with the Southern New England School of Law. A proposal to combine the two Dartmouth institutions, which are located five minutes apart near the Rhode Island border, could be considered by the UMass board of trustees at their next meeting Nov. 10, according to UMass officials. A spokesman for UMass President Jack Wilson said Thursday that Wilson was aware of the law school proposal, but that no decision would be made until he and the trustees could answer questions about the law school’s finances and academics. “There are a lot of people … who like the idea, and there are some exciting possibilities … but there’s a lot more work to be done,” spokesman Robert Connolly said. In 2001, UMass offered to buy Southern New England for $12.5 million, but did not receive legislative support. The Southern New England School of Law is not accredited by the American Bar Association, which helped defeat the merger plan. John Hoey, a spokesman for the UMass-Dartmouth campus, said the proposed merger would be aimed at addressing the growing need for attorneys willing to practice in low-paying public service roles. Critics said the state already has enough law schools. “How much should the state expend resources on training young lawyers given the number of law schools there already are in the state?” said Northeastern University School of Law Dean Emily Spieler. Copyright 2004 Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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