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Stony Brook May Buy New York's Touro Law School

By David Reich-Hale
LI Business News

Touro College is in discussions to sell its just-opened Central Islip law school to Stony Brook University.

Touro's Jacob D. Fuchsberg Law Center moved into the state-of-the-art campus adjacent to the federal court house in Central Islip last year. Independent appraisers are calculating the value of the school and are expected to issue reports in a matter of weeks.

Sources said the property itself would net Touro north of $35 million, so an outright acquisition of the law school could fetch in the $70 million range.

The sources also said Touro founder Bernard Lander would like to open a new law school in New York City to compete with law schools such as Fordham and New York University.

The Touro facility would be the New York State university system's second law school the first is in Buffalo and a signature addition for Stony Brook, the system's largest and fastest-growing campus.

Last year, Stony Brook added an innovative journalism program and acquired Long Island University's Southampton campus. It also announced an aggressive expansion to its medical school and is building centers for alternative energy and wireless technology.

The Island's only other law school is at the private Hofstra University in Hempstead.

Touro Law School Dean Lawrence Raful said "I have no comment at this time on this story."

Touro Law School was founded in 1980 and operated in Huntington until its move to the 180,000-square-foot Central Islip campus last year. Touro officials tout the school as the nation's first institution to tie legal curriculum with day-to-day operations of a court.

The parent, Touro College, was founded in New York City in 1970 and has branches in California, Nevada, Florida and New York. Its international operation includes operations in Berlin, Moscow and Israel and the school is planning an expansion into China. Total student enrollment is about 28,000.

Touro sold its on-line operations last year for $180 million.

Touro founder Bernard Lander, 93, is an ordained rabbi who has been involved in educational and Jewish causes dating back to the early 1950s. He holds a doctorate in sociology from Columbia University.

In the mid-1940s, he served on the unity committee of former New York City Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia.