EL PASO, Texas (KVIA) -- Officials with the University of Texas at El Paso provided an update on a possible law school in El Paso. This comes as the Texas Supreme Court visited UTEP Thursday to hear oral arguments in two cases based in El Paso.
"We are at the beginning of a feasibility study here at UTEP to determine the feasibility of a law school. And the Supreme Court coming here is a great example of the judicial system and how far it reaches," said Andrea Cortinas, the Vice President and Chief of Staff at the university.
UTEP students and El Paso residents had the opportunity to gain insights on Texas' highest court during this time. University officials said they were happy about Thursday's turnout.
"I think it was very meaningful for the Supreme Court of Texas to visit El Paso and to have oral arguments at UTEP. It gave our students a great opportunity to witness our court system in action. It's one thing to read about how the court system works. It's quite another to actually see it working in person, in your hometown," she said.
Cortinas explained to ABC-7 that many UTEP students have expressed interest in studying law in El Paso.
"We need to see what the numbers show us, what the what the study says before we can make a determination of whether there should be a law school in El Paso right now," she said.
Justice Jimmy Blacklock spoke to ABC-7. His mother is an El Paso native and Burgess High School alum. He was asked about the possibility of a law school.
"This is a unique and special part of our state. It's a beautiful part of our state. It's historically and culturally unique, but it is just as much a part of Texas as anywhere else in our great state. And I can't see why we wouldn't want there to be as many educational opportunities in El Paso as there can be. And we would feel the same way about anywhere else in our state," he said.
Cortinas said Thursday's event is another opportunity for students to be able to see what they can one day achieve.
"It definitely opens their, their eyes to the possibility that they, too, could aspire to these types of positions," she said.
Students also got to participate in a question and answer segment with some of the justices.
This is the first time since 2019 the court is traveling outside of Austin for official case proceedings.
"Conducting oral arguments in diverse locations not only enhances transparency but fosters a deeper public understanding of the Third Branch of government, and helps this Court spread its message of accessibility to justice to all corners of our great state," said Chief Justice Nathan L. Hecht.
The hearings are happening from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. at the El Paso Natural Gas Conference Center on the UTEP campus.
"It’s a great opportunity for our students to learn more about our state judicial system and envision future careers for themselves," said UTEP President Heather Wilson.