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Akron, Cleveland State law school merger falls through, but only for now

Student Union, University of Akron
University of Akron
A decline in enrollment at the law schools at The University of Akron and Cleveland State University prompted the schools to consider the possibility of merging.

Discussions of a merger between the law schools at the University of Akron and Cleveland State University are officially over.

The schools announced in August 2020 that they would explore a merger amid a decline in law school enrollment.

Steven McGarrity, executive director at the Akron office of Community Legal Aid, said earlier this week that he would have been supportive of a merger so long as it maintained a presence in Akron.

Steven McGarrity of Community Legal Aid, Akron
Keeping law students in Akron

“So much of practicing law is about the relationships you have with other attorneys," McGarrity said. "So, if you remove the law students from the community of the legal professionals that they might end up working with, it’s just much harder for them to create those connections. And for us to have a successful profession.”

McGarrity added that keeping law students in Akron was also important for fostering a sense of community and connecting with local organizations.

Crain’s Cleveland Business reports that members of an exploratory committee said the talks “fizzled” almost a year ago.

The joint statement did leave open the possibility of future collaborations after Akron welcomes a new dean next month.