Icy Weather Didn't Spare Law Schools, Even in the South

, The National Law Journal

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You know it’s stormy weather when law schools in Atlanta; Austin; Chapel Hill, N.C.; and New Orleans close under coats of snow and ice.

Universities across the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic suspended classes during the week’s massive winter storm, the latest extreme weather phenomenon that left law students among those barricaded in their homes.

“We’re of course accustomed to closing for hurricanes on occasion, but not for winter weather,” said David Meyer, dean of Tulane University Law School in New Orleans, which canceled classes all day on Tuesday and Wednesday. “We’re unequipped for dealing with the roadways. That’s the real challenge.”

Meyer said the law school was quiet on Wednesday, save for a few administrators and students who had come in to study as snow fell outside. Tulane likely will shift its class schedule for several days and hold Saturday classes to compensate for the cancellations, Meyer said.

Loyola University New Orleans School of Law; the University of Georgia School of Law; Emory University School of Law; the University of Texas School of Law; and the University of North Carolina School of Law are just a few of the schools that closed early or canceled full days of class between Monday and Wednesday.

Of course, schools in the Midwest have borne the brunt of the weather, suffering extended periods of below-freezing temperatures. The John Marshall Law School in Chicago was closed for four days thus far in January, due either to snow or extreme cold, said spokeswoman Christine Kraly. Northwestern University School of Law closed for two days when a snow storm blanketing the region on Jan. 6 and 7 and has added two make-up days the end of the semester, spokeswoman Hilary Hurd Anyaso said.

Even hearty Minnesotans have sheltered at home rather than battle the elements. The University of Minnesota Law School closed on Jan. 6, before classes had resumed for the semester, then again on Monday and part of Tuesday this week, communications director Cynthia Huff said. Administrators were weighing options for making up lost class time.

The University of Michigan and its law school cancelled classes on Tuesday as temperatures hit minus-10 degrees; the last time classes were cancelled in Ann Arbor due to weather was 1978. Other activities at the law school continued.

Legal gossip blog Above the Law poked fun at the Indiana University Maurer School of Law–Bloomington Monday for an email sent to students that lightheartedly urged them to “hope for an early spring.” Administrators had sent the email to let students know they were working to resolve a heating issue in the school’s law library.

Still, the school hasn’t seen as many class cancellations as most of its counterparts farther to the north—it’s been closed for only two days this month, and both were before students arrived back on campus, according assistant dean for communications Ken Turchi.

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