FRANK’S LAW SCHOOL

LAW Behind the unpretentious waifs of a yellow brick building leased from the University of Dallas in Irving is a daring-some would say risky-educational enterprise: the Dallas/Fort Worth School of Law, which seeks to fill a void left when SMU discontinued its night law school in 1969. Until D/FW opened in the fall of 1989, this was the largest metropolitan area in the country without a night law school, says Dean FRANK ELLIOTT, a highly respected former law professor at UT Austin and later dean of the Texas Tech law school.

Elliott was among a group of area lawyers who conducted a marketing survey to determine whether a new night law school would be feasible. The results were “overwhelmingly positive.” he says.

Among the 150 or so enrollees at D/FW (average age: 37) are bankers, doctors, engineers, and police officers. But the students have at least one thing in common: each is willing to take a calculated risk.

That’s because D/FW School of Law. with a tuition rate of $250 per semester hour (as compared to $419 at SMU), has not yet received certification from the American Bar Association, which will evaluate the school using myriad criteria such as qualifications of the faculty and size and content of the library. Elliott is confident that the school will be certified before the first class graduates in 1992, but he acknowledges that “there is no guarantee.”

Should the certification fail to materialize, the D/FW graduates will be ineligible to take the state bar exam, after having invested $22,500 in tuition and untold hundreds of hours of study.

Who knows? Maybe that’s a good way to initiate young lawyers into the perils of working on contingency.

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