Students, faculty reflect on news of Savannah Law School closing

SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - The news that Savannah Law School is closing has had a day to sink in, and now, many students are wondering what's next.

Students and faculty alike were notified Wednesday for the first time that the school will be open until the current graduating class finishes in May. After that, continuing students will have to finish their education elsewhere.

We're told that students were emailed an offer to transfer credits and scholarships to the Atlanta location at the John Marshall Law School, which Savannah Law School operates under, along with a one-time additional $2000 scholarship to make the move. Still, the notion of the school - open since 2012 - closing its doors for good at this location isn't sitting well with so many who've spent countless hours honing their craft inside these buildings.

"The potential here is just immense, and it's hard not to feel like the value of the real estate outweighs the value of educating future legal minds. It's a great school, a great vision, but it just didn't have the support," said Senior, Erica Drew. "Shock, heartbreak, and devastation."

Those feelings are at least how Drew feels about the sudden and jarring news. It's the nature of the closing that has several local law groups looking into the reason why.

"We feel like the students have a right to know what precipitated this, and if it was a knowing move to protect those with the financial state in it while disadvantaging dozens of students who put their lives on hold and made huge altercations," said Eric Roden, Roden Law.

A call to the dean's office at the Atlanta John Marshall Law School has gone unanswered.

Some students have already sacrificed a lot to attend this school, either by moving here from abroad or investing time, effort and money, the notion of starting over is a lot.

"To double, in some of these student's cases, potentially, the amount of time it takes to get to that point and to double the debt incurred, it would be daunting, and we just think that they need a voice, somebody to just stand up and say, 'hey, if you didn't do anything wrong, that's fine, but we want to know what you knew, we want to know when you knew it, and we want to know why it wasn't communicated to the people who it was going to hurt the most," Roden said. "We have heard, through the grapevine, things that have been said. If a lot of it turns out to be true, there is potentially a very egregious backstory here, but where we've heard it, and what's been said, we're not going to comment on right now until we can substantiate it because it wouldn't do the students any good, and it wouldn't do the case any good, We do have reason to believe that as we move through the discovery process, we'll be able to answer a lot of questions."

Roden says he and members of the Harris Lowry Manton Law Firm have met with about a dozen students already, and he's looking at the possibility of filing either individual suits or a class action lawsuit as early as next week so they can officially start investigating.

As for the fate of the property, we haven't confirmed on the record who could be buying the prime real estate, but as soon as we know, we'll update you on air and online.

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