The American Bar Association has officially approved Penn State's application to split its law school into two schools. The State College campus will continue to use the Penn State name. The Carlisle campus will lose the Penn State name, and revert to the original name of the whole operation: the Dickinson School of Law. The split will formally begin with students admitted in Fall, 2015. Apparently, students from both schools will receive degrees with the title "The Dickinson School of Law of the Pennsylvania State University", but the now-separate institutions will be marketed under distinct brand names.
We'll be watching to see if the schools develop very differently. We don't know how these institutions inter-relate for budgetary or administrative purposes. Will one school - say, Dickinson - be permitted to subsidize the other? I could imagine Penn State deciding to keep its massive subsidy of State College Law, and thus maintain a very strong entering cohort. At the same time, it might provide little or no subsidy of Dickinson Law which might result in a far weaker entering class in Carlisle. (It's fair to assume that, having lost the patina of the Penn State name, both students and US News voters may revert to prior perceptions of Dickinson Law.) The success or failure of Dickinson to retain both reputation and tuition subsidies will have a big effect on Widener-Harrisburg, its local competitor.
And the State College story isn't simple either. Penn State Law - at least one in which Carlisle has no part - has precious few alumni and no signficant local employment market. I wonder how supportive Carlisle alumni will be of State College grads when they can again hire Dickson alumni.