The state’s only private law school plans to grow five times larger in the next three years, but it won’t be in Scottsdale, where the campus is now located.
The Phoenix International School of Law, commonly known as PhoenixLaw, announced this week it plans to move from the Scottsdale Airpark to central Phoenix. The school has been open for about a year and has fewer than 100 students enrolled.
PhoenixLaw Dean Dennis Shields said the new location would put the students right next to state government offices, local courts and many large law firms.
“The central location makes it an easier commute from all areas of the Valley,” he said.
Shields said he expected the school to grow from 94 students to about 500 in the next three years, attracting students and faculty from all over the state and the nation.
“I suspect that over time this school is going to have a tremendous impact on the Valley,” Shields said.
The school’s relocation won’t have much of an impact on Scottsdale, said David Roderique, the city’s economic vitality director.
“We don’t like losing any business,” he said. “But it was a fairly small operation.”
School officials always had their sights on Phoenix, but needed a place to settle while they searched for a permanent location. The Scottsdale facility previously housed classes for Scottsdale Community College, so it was a natural fit, said property owner Bill Arthur.
The school will move to the first three floors of a tower at 4041 N. Central Ave. in Phoenix, where it will feature a 20,000-square-foot law library, computer lab, five classrooms and administrative offices. Faculty offices, a student lounge, a law clinic and additional classrooms will be housed in an adjacent courtyard building.
The school is in the process of applying for accreditation from the Arizona Bar Association, and expects to be approved by 2007, one year before its current students will graduate.
Once accredited, the school intends to compete with the public law schools at Arizona State University and the University of Arizona.
“There are only two law schools in the state, and neither offers a part-time or evening program,” said Jodi Weisberg, PhoenixLaw spokeswoman. “The niche is with the working professional.”
Since the property was built with a school in mind, Arthur said it would work well for a similar institution.