On June 30th, 2014, The Center For Advanced Legal Studies at Suffolk University will close its doors and cease operations. The news was distributed this past Friday in an email announcement from the program’s Director, Carole Wagan, Esq.
The ALS shutdown comes after 33 years of existence as the only CLE (continuing legal education) program offered by an accredited Law School in Massachusetts. The Center was founded in 1982 with the goal of “bringing the world of the judiciary and practicing bar into the life of our Law School.”
Extended learning programs offered by ALS have been offered free of charge for current and recent graduates, with discounts offered to alumni more than a year removed from their studies at Suffolk University. The ALS curriculum closely mirrored the concentrations emphasized at Suffolk, with courses designed to supplement and extend legal education in the subjects offered on campus.
In the announcement, Wagan explains that while ALS will no longer exist in name, “some limited programming will continue organized by me under the auspices of the Law School.” No information has been distributed yet on what form these programs will take, though updates have been promised in the near future.
For the next generation of lawyers pursing CLE in Massachusetts, not all of the ALS course content is permanently lost. The free podcast curated by ALS (warning: link opens iTunes) is an invaluable CLE resource, with 30 excerpted & complete lectures recorded from past programs offered by ALS.
Dean Nelson reflects on the closure: “This is a challenging time for law schools and we must adjust to refocus on our commitment to our students and to better align to our strategic plan.”
We asked legal marketer John Cass of McDougall Interactive what it is about the current legal climate that might prompt Suffolk University to pare down its continuing education services. He cited stiff market competition and a dwindling pool of new applicants looking for law degrees, and offered some thoughts on how to adapt:
This closing highlights the difficulties faced by attorneys in the industry from competition and the changing market. Working in Legal Marketing, one opportunity for attorneys to counter such competition is to bolster their digital marketing knowledge, and understand of how the eco-system of the web influences pricing strategy and client acquisition. Acquiring digital marketing knowledge around legal client buyer behavior is important for both new graduates and law firms to be successful.
To learn more about the now-defunct Center for Advanced Legal Studies, stop by the Suffolk University website or follow @ALS_SuffolkLaw on Twitter.
Photo credit: rappaportcenter / Foter / Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)