Law Schools

Puerto Rico Law in a Hurricane of Hurt

Thumbnail image for Puerto Rico law Westlaw boycott.JPGPuerto Rico You lovely island
Island of tropical breezes
Always the pineapples growing
Always the coffee blossoms blowing

And no law school going.
According to tipsters, Puerto Rico School of Law is being shut down:

The University of Puerto Rico School of Law has been unexpectedly shut down for a week. Law students protested today (Tuesday) in streets during rush hour.

It’s hardly surprising if there are student protests. They have no place else to go. Our tipster reports:

The law school’s closure is not the only one. The president of the University of Puerto Rico has placed the entire system, except for its affiliated hospitals, on academic and administrative recess for a week in an effort to cut costs. This includes dormitories; students were ordered to vacate their dormitory rooms. The timing of the announcement came as a surprise, as students had expected that a vote by the student assembly set for today (Tuesday) would determine whether the school would be put on recess.

We’ve heard of workers being forced to take a furlough because of the recession, but not an entire university system.
Then again, maybe they don’t even need law school in Puerto Rico anymore.
More details after the jump.

Another tipster reports that the Puerto Rican government is no longer requiring lawyers to obtain bar membership. Sorry, I just have the Spanish version of the story, but luckily we do have bilingual tipsters. One offers this translation of the key points:

Last night, the governor [of Puerto Rico] Luis Fortuno signed the act which releases lawyers from compulsory affiliation, arguing that he did not feel represented by the State Bar.
“I felt obligated to pay dues that would end up promoting ideas with which I did not support”, stated the governor in an interview with Univision News….
The governor said that the State Bar will now have to offer an excellent service with new alternatives to convince lawyers to join the group [State bar]. He cited as examples the activities he receives from the American Bar Association, which he said, motivate him to belong to the institution voluntarily.

Our source notes that just because Puerto Rican lawyers no longer have to be members of the State Bar, they still have to pay dues:

Lawyers in PR can now choose to affiliate with the State Bar or simply pay their dues to the Supreme Court for pro bono work.

Hmm … maybe Puerto Rican lawyers can pay their dues to the Puerto Rico School of Law, so it can stay open. Two birds with one stone?
If that doesn’t work, law students at Puerto Rico are trying to keep the school open as best they can:

Two third-year law students have sought a preliminary injunction compelling the university to reopen by the end of the week.

If they are filing to reopen the school, it sounds like they don’t trust that the school is only going to be closed for a week.
We know we have a lot of Puerto Rican readers. Let us know what is happening on the ground.
Earlier: Westlaw Printer Access Restored for Puerto Rico!

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