1. U. of Puget Sound Law School gets bought by Seattle U. and moved the joint up north to Seattle from Tacoma.
2. Tacoma is now desperately devoid of attorneys and other legal professionals.
3. Committee is formed to bring branch of the University of Washington law school to Tacoma (at UW-Tacoma)
In 2002, just three years after the law school left Tacoma, a UW survey of 77 legal employers in the South Sound region showed most of them said they struggle to recruit and hire new lawyers.
According to a survey by the Washington State Bar Association cited by the committee, a quarter of the state’s practicing attorneys plan to retire in the next five years. Almost three-quarters of the WSBA membership is 50 years old or older.
Every one of the dozen attorneys interviewed by The News Tribune acknowledged the contradiction [between local need and national oversupply], but noted that any law school in Tacoma likely wouldn’t produce lawyers until several years from now.
“The present demand for lawyers is less relevant than what it will be.”
In the two decades since the South Sound region lost its law school, attorneys in Kitsap and Thurston counties have been creative about recruitment and hiring, particularly to ensure interns are available year-round. The Thurston County prosecutor’s office has a program for legal interns designed to draw students from across the country, including working with schools who allow students to work entire semesters in exchange for class credit.
Kids, these arguments will not die. These people KNOW there is a major oversupply of attorneys nationwide. Washington has an excess of 300 new attorneys every year over the amount of jobs. But that's "less relevant" because in 5 years everyone's going to retire, and damn it, we want our free interns back in Tacoma!
Friends, you can't kill mythology. A 300 annual lawyer job shortfall goes poof with little more than threadbare conjecture. So don't be shocked when this committee pumps $2.25 million into building a 30-student-per-class division for evening students across the Sound from two full-sized law schools.
Let's just put a law school wing in every county with more than 100k and get it over with.