ASU law school prepares to break ground on downtown location

Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law

The new Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law will be built at the Downtown campus, across the street from Taylor Place, bordered by 1st, 2nd, Polk and Taylor streets. (Photo by Sean Logan)

Arizona Center for Law and Society

The Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law will relocate to the Downtown campus in summer 2016, bringing students closer to professional law firms.

The new $129 million, 260,000-square-foot Arizona Center for Law and Society will house College of Law, as well as a public law library and the ASU Alumni Law Group, the world’s first nonprofit fully privately financed teaching law firm, said Douglas Sylvester, dean of the College of Law.

The center is intended to be more than a law school, with expectations of engaging the political, legal and business communities of the downtown area, Sylvester said.

The Walter Cronkite School of Journalism & Mass Communication relocated in 2008 from Tempe to a new 223,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art journalism education complex in downtown Phoenix, according to the Cronkite School’s website timeline.

“Cronkite’s success was a large part of showing that a move downtown, in the midst of a vibrant and engaged academic community, would be a great move for the College of Law,” Sylvester said in an email interview.

Ed Hermes, who graduated from the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law in 2013, said the move would boost the school’s credibility.

“… Just having it in such proximity to where all the big law firms and employers are (located), will help when the school has legal education seminars,” he said. “It will be easier for lawyers to pop on over and attend seminars at ASU.”

Hermes now works for Quarles & Brady LLP in Phoenix, one of many firms in the Valley that employs ASU graduates.

“It’ll get the ASU alumni and other attorneys in the downtown area more engaged and will give the students a ‘one-up’ on other law grads from out of state who are looking to work in the Phoenix area,” he said.

Groundbreaking for the Arizona Center for Law and Society is scheduled for July 7, with plans of completion in summer 2016. The first semester of classes in the new building are set for fall 2016, according to the ACLS website.

The current enrollment in the College of Law is between 600-650 students, and Sylvester said that isn’t expected to change.

“There is no requirement that the number of JD students increase as part of our move,” he said. There is no expectation, in the near future, that we will increase the size of our classes.”

The Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law has been on the Tempe campus, since its founding in 1967, according to asufoundation.org.

The old law buildings will not be torn down but will be repurposed and continue to be academic buildings at ASU, Sylvester said.

The official address for the Arizona Center for Law and Society will be 111 Taylor St., Phoenix, Arizona, according to its website.

 

Reach the reporter at kssam@asu.edu