Low bar passage, high debt claims latest law school victim

bar-exam-620Just as law students are gearing up for finals, aspiring attorneys at a California law school have one more thing to worry about: the law school they paid six-figures to attend will cease to exist after graduation.

On Tuesday afternoon, Whittier Law School in Costa Mesa, California, told its students that the school is not admitting an incoming 1L class in the fall and that it was discontinuing its legal education program, Above the Law reported.

“As is well known, the last few years have been extremely difficult for law schools across the country. Whittier Law School felt those challenges keenly and we took significant steps to address them. Sadly, our sponsoring institution opted to abandon the Law School rather than provide the time and resources needed to finish paving the path to ongoing viability and success. We believe this action was unwise, unwarranted, and unfounded,” the law school’s administration said, Above the Law reported.

“While we are terribly disappointed with the Board’s decision, we are firmly committed to honoring our obligation to our current students and ensuring they successfully complete their education,” the administration said.

Earlier this year, the college’s Board of Trustees sold the land on which the law school was built, for $13 million. The faculty was allegedly led to believe that money would be invested in the law school. However, the Board of Trustees is now claiming that there is no way to keep the law school viable.

The numbers don’t bode well for the law school either. Only 22 percent of its graduates passed the California Bar exam in July and just under 30 percent of the class of 2016 had a long-term job that required bar passage even 10 months after graduation. Average pre-interest debt upon graduation was $179,000.


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