Friday, March 22, 2019

The February 2019 Bar Exam: Western State College of Law is On the Brink of Closing

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Western State is the oldest law school in Orange County, CA.  It was founded in 1966 but only in 1998 did the ABA give it provisional accreditation and finally, in 2005, Western State was granted full accreditation. 14 years later, Western State is on the brink of closing.

Only about 33% of the graduates got full time JD jobs. In July 2018, about 50% of the first time students passed the bar, the repeaters passed at only 25%.

In January, its owners entered into a court appointed receivership, citing massive debt and litigation. Western State is operated by Dream Center Education Holdings, a subsidiary of the Dream Center megachurch. In February, the US Dept of Education cut off federal student loan eligibility because $9 million dollars that was supposed to be distributed to students is missing.

To avoid closing mid-semester, the court has ordered the receiver to fund the school through May, allowing the 3rd year students to graduate, as the school looks for new ownership.

It looks like a grim prospect.  Should Western State close after the spring semester, it would become the 6th ABA-accredited law school to close or to announce plans to close since 2016.

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