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Merger Discussions Underway Between UNH And Franklin Pierce Law Center

October 15, 2008

President Mark W. Huddleston and Franklin Pierce Law Center President and Dean John D. Hutson have announced that their institutions would both form working groups to explore the feasibility of Pierce Law merging with UNH.

"Both UNH and Pierce Law officials are excited about this opportunity and have been discussing the idea for several months," Huddleston said. "Although there is a long way to go before a final decision is made, we have established a working group to examine all of the benefits and risks. UNH is interested in pursuing this relationship in no small part because of potential synergies with our business and engineering programs, especially in the area of intellectual property, a major strength of Pierce Law," Huddleston added the move would be cost-neutral to UNH.

Hutson said, "The University of New Hampshire is a leading, world class university with a rich and broad curriculum, enhanced by an active and forward thinking educational community. It would provide a tremendous platform for our law school to integrate both legal education and research opportunities into many of UNH's programs. Being part of a research university of UNH's stature could enable our faculty to join a wider community of scholars and engage in significant interdisciplinary empirical research. We need to explore this opportunity fully to see if it makes sense. I look forward to working with our integration exploration team and with UNH as we consider this merger."

Since its founding in 1973, Pierce Law has been a global leader in innovative legal education. It has earned nationwide accolades for the Daniel Webster Scholar Honors Program, an intensive, practice-based curriculum developed in conjunction with the New Hampshire Supreme Court that a select group of students pursue during the last two years of law school. The law school's internationally-renowned intellectual property program boasts one of the largest full-time faculties in the field and the only academic intellectual property library in the nation. U.S. News and World Report consistently ranks Pierce Law among the top intellectual property programs in the nation and, last year, ranked the program fifth in the nation, in the company of Stanford, Columbia, Berkeley, and George Washington University.

The UNH working group, comprised of faculty and administrators, will analyze the feasibility of merging Pierce Law with UNH, including exploring the most promising areas for programmatic collaboration and integration in both undergraduate and graduate programs. The UNH team will coordinate with the Pierce Law team. Final recommendations will go to Huddleston and the Pierce Law Board of Trustees in the early spring.


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