Monterey College of Law

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Monterey College of Law
Established1972
School typePrivate Law School
DeanMitchel L. Winick
LocationSeaside, CA, US
36°35′48″N 121°53′29″W / 36.59667°N 121.89139°W / 36.59667; -121.89139Coordinates: 36°35′48″N 121°53′29″W / 36.59667°N 121.89139°W / 36.59667; -121.89139
Enrollment235
Faculty112 (Adjunct Only)
Bar pass rate53.7% (2020 Cumulative Pass Rate), 54.3% (2019), 47.9%(2018 [1]
WebsiteMonterey College of Law

Monterey College of Law (MCL) is a private, non-profit law school founded in 1972 in Monterey, California. It provides part-time evening J.D., Master of Legal Studies (M.L.S.), and LL.M. degrees.[2] The school is accredited by the Committee of Bar Examiners[3] of the State Bar of California. The school is not an American Bar Association approved law school.[4] J.D. graduates of the Monterey College of Law are eligible to sit for the California Bar Exam, and upon passing, be licensed to practice law in California. To be eligible to be licensed in other states candidates must follow the licensing rules and requirements of each separate jurisdiction.[5]

History[edit]

Monterey College of Law was started in 1972 as a 501(c)3 nonprofit by a group of local lawyers and judges. The early years reflected a modest operation that frequently moved, using temporary rented classrooms in schools, churches, and the local Naval Postgraduate School. As founding Dean David Kirkpatrick once described, “the law school was in session when I pulled up to a rented classroom and carried the box of school supplies in from the trunk of my car.”[6] Secretary Leon Panetta, long before serving as a U.S. Congressman, White House Chief of Staff, Director of the CIA, and Secretary of Defense served as the new law school’s first Torts professor.[7]

In 1995, Dean Karen Kadushin negotiated a permanent home for the law school, obtaining 3.2 acres and two abandoned army buildings adjacent to CSU Monterey Bay on the former Fort Ord.[8]  By 2005, Dean Frank Hespe  had converted the first of the two buildings into a 12,000 sq. ft. renovated classroom, library, and administration building within the higher-education enclave being developed on the former Fort Ord Army base,[9] joining California State University, Monterey Bay, Hartnell College and the Monterey Peninsula College. In April 2010, the school opened its second building, a Certified LEED Platinum Community Justice Center[10] that became home to its clinical programs[11] and the Mandell Gisnet Center for Conflict Management.

In 2010, the law school opened a first-year satellite campus in Santa Cruz, California.[12] After successfully completing the first-year curriculum, Santa Cruz students commuted to the main campus in Seaside, California to complete their degree programs. In May 2020, upon adding and expanding an online Hybrid JD program, the Santa Cruz satellite campus was closed because local students could take classes online and not have to commute to Seaside for their upper-division courses.[13]

In early 2015, Monterey College of Law acquired the University of San Luis Obispo School of Law, a registered unaccredited law school formerly located in Morro Bay, California. The new law school became an accredited branch of Monterey College of Law, was moved to a new campus in downtown San Luis Obispo, and renamed the San Luis Obispo College of Law.[14] [15] In 2017, the law school opened its second accredited branch campus, Kern County College of Law in Bakersfield, California.[16]

Curriculum and Technology[edit]

Over the past decade, the law school broadened its curriculum as the first California-accredited law school authorized to offer a Master of Legal Studies degree, concurrent MLS/JD degrees, and an LL.M. advanced law degree.[17] In 2010, MCL became the first U.S. law school to provide iPads for every student and professor.[18] In 2017, the law school was one of the first two California accredited law schools and one of only a few law schools in the nation to be approved to offer an accredited online hybrid JD program.[19]

Academic Leadership[edit]

Mitchel L. Winick, the current President and Dean of the law school, joined the school as Dean in August 2005.[20] He previously served as the Assistant Dean at Texas Tech University School of Law. A former Assistant Attorney General of Texas, Winick received his J.D. from the University of Houston Law Center and his B.A. (with emphasis in economics and political science) from the University of the Pacific.[21] Dean Winick has been active in the regulatory rule-making process of the Committee of Bar Examiners of the State Bar of California, serving on the California Law School Council, Chair (2017-2018), Vice Chair (2009-2011); Rules Advisory Committee, Chair (2016-2017), Member (2009-2012); Standing Committee for Delivery of Legal Services (2014-2015); and Task Force on Admissions Regulation Reform (2013-2015).

Following the example of founding Dean David Kirkpatrick,[22] respected local lawyers, including Marian Penn, Joel Franklin, Rodney Jones, Al O’Connor, R. Lynn Davis, and Fred Herro served as part-time deans for the first twenty years. In 1995, Dean Karen Kadushin ushered in the era of full-time deans. She also negotiated a permanent home for the law school, obtaining 3.2 acres and two abandoned army buildings adjacent to CSU Monterey Bay on the former Fort Ord. By 2005, Dean Frank Hespe remodeled the first of the two buildings into a 12,000 sq. ft. renovated classroom, library, and administration building, and Dean Winick converted the second building into a Platinum LEED Community Justice Center in 2010.

Unique Community Clinics[edit]

It is unusual for such a small law school to provide a broad range of clinical programs. Started in 1992 by former Dean Marian Penn, the original Small Claims Advisory Clinic program has grown into more than a dozen different advisory clinics in which supervised law students provide free legal advisory services in the areas of small claims, conservatorship, guardianship, domestic violence, immigration, landlord/tenant, mediation, family law, neighbor disputes, elder law, collections, workers' compensation, social security, and probate law.[23] In 2010, these clinics and the Mandell Gisnet Center for Conflict Management moved into a second building that was renovated as a Platinum LEED Community Justice Center.

Mandell Gisnet Center for Conflict Management[edit]

The law school’s unique community mediation program is another integral part of its heritage. Bill Daniels, one of the founding “fathers” of the law school, facilitated the creation of the Mandell Gisnet Center for Conflict Management  through a local bequest. Organized in 2004 by founding Executive Director and current California State Senator Bill Monning,  the Center has subsequently provided mediation certification and training for almost 1000 law students, local lawyers, and community mediators. The Center coordinates the local court-directed mediation program, the Neighbor Project, and numerous other mediation programs for city, county, and community groups.

The Heisler, Andreen, and Wiseman Moot Court Programs[edit]

Since 1984, during their final law school year, all students have participated in a Constitutional moot court program as part of the trial advocacy skills training. The Heisler Moot Court  was established as a public forum for students to advocate pressing issues of constitutional rights in front of practicing judges and justices. The program was named to honor the legacy of Francis Heisler, a respected advocate for Constitutional rights and his wife, Friedy Heisler, a psychiatrist and noted civil libertarian. Upon opening the San Luis Obispo College of Law, the moot court program expanded to include the Andreen Moot Court,  named in honor of the late Justice Kenneth Andreen of the Fifth District California Court of Appeal.[24] During his lengthy legal career, Justice Andreen was a Central Valley civil rights activist who proudly marched with Rev. Martin Luther King. With the addition of Kern County College of Law, the moot court program expanded again to include the Wiseman Moot Court,[25]  named to honor retired Justice Rebecca Wiseman of the Fifth District California Courts of Appeal. Throughout her lengthy judicial career, Justice Wiseman was a glass-ceiling breaking female jurist who also served as a Kern County Municipal Court judge and Kern County Superior Court judge.

Bar Exam and Bar Passage[edit]

The law school has been an outspoken advocate requesting that the California Supreme Court adjust the scoring of the California Bar Exam from an arbitrarily high minimum passing score (“cut score”) to a score closer to the national norm.[26][27] Statistics recently published by the State Bar of California have shown that California’s scoring policies have had a disparate impact on the basis of race/ethnicity and have played a significant role in restricting diversity in the California legal profession for decades.[28]  The California Supreme Court issued an order on August 10, 2020 adjusting the California “cut score” from 1440 to 1390, much closer to the national norm of 1350.[29]

California Accredited Law Schools (CALS) must “maintain a minimum, [five-year] cumulative bar examination pass rate” of 40 percent or more, as calculated under Rule 4.160(N) and Guideline 12.1 of the Guidelines for Accredited Law School Rules. Monterey College of Law has had a Cumulative Pass Rate on the California Bar Exam of 47.9% in 2018, 54.3% in 2019, and 53.7% in 2020.[30]

References[edit]

  1. ^ https://www.calbar.ca.gov/Portals/0/documents/admissions/Education/MinimumPassRateStandardCumulativePassRates.pdf
  2. ^ "General Information - Monterey College of Law | Quality Legal Education". Monterey College of Law. Retrieved 2018-12-03.
  3. ^ "Law Schools". The State Bar of California. 2012. Retrieved 31 December 2012.
  4. ^ "ABA-Approved Law Schools by Year". ABA website. Retrieved April 1, 2011.
  5. ^ "2020 Comprehensive Guide to Bar Admission Requirements" (PDF).
  6. ^ "Legal eagles: Monterey College of Law reflects on its first 40 years at graduation". Monterey Herald. 2016-05-29. Retrieved 2020-09-05.
  7. ^ "Honorary Chair Leon Panetta". Monterey College of Law. Retrieved 2020-09-05.
  8. ^ "Ord Forward". Ord Forward. Retrieved 2020-09-05.
  9. ^ "An Evolution of BRAC Remedial Programs." Volume 1 No. 1. Fort Ord Reuse Authority. http://www.fora.org/Reports/ESCA_Vol_1_Issue_1%28final%29.pdf Archived 2011-07-16 at the Wayback Machine. Accessed July 17, 2010.
  10. ^ Kera Abraham (2010). "Monterey College of Law presents its ultra-green Community Justice Center". Monterey County Weekly. Retrieved December 31, 2012.
  11. ^ "Workshops - Monterey College of Law | Law School | Monterey, Ca". Monterey College of Law. Retrieved 2020-09-05.
  12. ^ "Monterey law school to open satellite campus in Santa Cruz". Retrieved 2017-11-01.
  13. ^ "Monterey College of Law Announces New Hybrid Online J.D. Degree Program". PRWeb. Retrieved 2020-09-05.
  14. ^ Nick Wilson (2015). "SLO law school gets new owner". San Luis Obispo Tribune. Retrieved July 31, 2017.
  15. ^ "Ready to practice: SLO College of Law graduates first class". New Times San Luis Obispo. Retrieved 2020-09-05.
  16. ^ hpierce@bakersfield.com, HAROLD PIERCE. "New Kern County law school offers local 'nontraditional' students a path to a legal career". The Bakersfield Californian. Retrieved 2017-11-01.
  17. ^ "Degrees". Monterey College of Law. Retrieved 2020-09-05.
  18. ^ Nagel, By David; 08/25/10. "Monterey College of Law Pilots iPad Programs for Students and Faculty -". Campus Technology. Retrieved 2020-09-05.CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  19. ^ "Monterey College of Law Announces New Hybrid Online J.D. Degree Program". PRWeb. Retrieved 2020-09-05.
  20. ^ "Executive Profile - Mitchel L. Winick". Bloomberg.
  21. ^ "UHLC alumnus Winick '78 serving as dean of three California law school campuses". www.law.uh.edu. Retrieved 2020-09-05.
  22. ^ "Legal eagles: Monterey College of Law reflects on its first 40 years at graduation". Monterey Herald. 2016-05-29. Retrieved 2020-09-05.
  23. ^ "Workshops - Monterey College of Law | Law School | Monterey, Ca". Monterey College of Law. Retrieved 2020-09-05.
  24. ^ "San Luis Obispo College of Law names annual moot court program after Justice Kenneth Andreen". San Luis Obispo Chamber of Commerce. 2018-05-10. Retrieved 2020-09-05.
  25. ^ "Kern County College of Law". www.facebook.com. Retrieved 2020-09-05.
  26. ^ Marino, Pam. "Monterey College of Law presses Supreme Court to lower state's bar exam scores". Monterey County Weekly. Retrieved 2020-09-05.
  27. ^ Winick, MItchel. "Highest Performers but Lowest Pass Rate, There is Something Seriously Wrong in California".
  28. ^ "Bar Exam Cut Score Is Failing Communities Of Color". Impact Fund. Retrieved 2020-09-05.
  29. ^ "California Supreme Court makes changes to bar exam". Monterey Herald. 2020-07-22. Retrieved 2020-09-05.
  30. ^ "2020 Cumulative Minimum Bar Examination Pass Rates (MPR) for California Accredited Law Schools" (PDF).

External links[edit]