UO law school is finding new ways to boost enrollment

Law books

The legal profession is in a bit of a crisis right now with more attorneys than job openings, but outgoing UO law school dean Michael Moffitt sees some signs the school is moving in a positive direction.

“Our applications are up significantly this year,” he told Oregon Business magazine recently, “but not anywhere near where they were in 2011. There has been a market reshaping.”

The problem, to Moffitt, is law schools advertised one thing: a law degree. This was all well and good when there were plenty of applicants, but it ignores people who would like some legal knowledge but not necessarily to become a lawyer.

“We’re seeing a more sophisticated consumer who wants to learn what they need to know to be better at their job,” Moffitt said. “Someone who wants to start a business wants to learn about contract law. A school superintendent should know something about employment law.

To meet these changing demands, the UO has begun to offer a master’s degree in conflict resolution and the undergraduate program has been “thriving.”

For more, see “Lawyers are back: Law schools retrench” in Oregon Business.

Moffitt has been dean of the UO law school since 2011 and a member of the law faculty since 2001. He specializes in conflict management, arbitration and negotiation — he was previously the clinical supervisor for the mediation program at the Harvard University law school and taught negotiation at Harvard and Ohio State University.

Marcilynn Burke will take over as dean of the law school on July 1.