Western State College of Law
|Western State College of Law at Westcliff University|
|Parent school||Westcliff University|
|School type||Private, For-profit|
|Location||Irvine, California, United States|
|Enrollment||198 (full-time) |
|USNWR ranking||148th-194th (bottom 25%)|
|Bar pass rate||58% (July 2019 exam, first-time takers)|
|ABA profile||Western State College of Law profile|
Western State College of Law at Westcliff University is a private, for-profit law school in Irvine, California. It offers full and part-time programs and is approved by the American Bar Association. Western State pays a fee to receive services from Association of American Law Schools (AALS).
Western State College of Law was founded in 1966 in Orange County, California. It is the oldest existing law school in the county. In 1987, the school applied for accreditation with the American Bar Association (ABA). Although the school was unsuccessful in this attempt, it was at the time accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges and by the California State Committee of Bar Examiners (CBE). The accreditation by the CBE made graduates eligible to sit for the California Bar Examination.
By 1990, Western State had expanded to three campuses in California including locations in Fullerton, Irvine and San Diego. At that time, the school was the largest law school in California. In 1995, Western State again began pursuing accreditation with the ABA for all three of its campuses. In the latter half of the 1990s, the school underwent several changes as part of the accreditation process. In 1995, the school's San Diego campus became the independently owned Thomas Jefferson School of Law and the following year, the school closed its Irvine location and consolidated students to its Fullerton campus. In 1998, the school received provisional accreditation from the ABA and opened a new law library.
In 2000, the college's owners sold Western State to Argosy Education Group, which owned the school for a year before it was purchased by Education Management Corporation. Western State was granted full accreditation with the ABA in 2005, and became the third for-profit law school to receive ABA approval. In April 2012, the school was incorporated as one of the colleges of Argosy University and officially changed its name to Western State College of Law at Argosy University. The same year, the school sold its property to California State University, Fullerton for roughly $18 million. In January 2016, the campus moved to Irvine, California.
In October 2017, it was announced that the college of law was sold, along with the rest of Argosy University, to the Dream Center Foundation, a subsidiary of the Dream Center megachurch. The transaction was funded in part by the Najafi Companies, a private equity firm. Critics have claimed that the sale and shift to non-profit status was designed to evade consumer protection regulations focused on for-profit institutions.
In 2019, a federal court approved Westcliff University's plan to purchase the school and revert it to for-profit status. The ABA allowed continued accreditation under the ownership of Westcliff University in December 2019.
Western State offers both full-time and part-time programs. The school offers two areas of focus through their Business Law Center and their Criminal Law Practice Center, which are aimed at preparing graduates for a career in business or criminal law through additional training, internships and networking with lawyers. The law school also offers certificates in Immigration Law, Family Law, and Real Estate.
The school's bar pass rate was 58% for first-time takers of the July 2019 California bar exam. The Ultimate Bar Pass Rate, which the ABA defines as the pass rate for graduates who sat for a bar exam within two years of graduating, is 76.63% for the Class of 2018.
US News and World Report ranks the school in the quartile known as #148-194. Among all law schools, Western State has the third-highest Diversity Index, as reported by US News and World Report. In addition, it received an A+ for Diversity in National Jurist's Best Law Schools.
The total cost of attendance (indicating the cost of tuition, fees, and living expenses) at the Western State College of Law for the 2018-19 academic year is $63,692 for a student living at home and $77,126 for a full-time student that is self-supporting.
According to Western State's ABA-required disclosures, 74% of the Class of 2018 obtained employment nine months after graduation. 62% of the class obtained JD-required or JD-advantage employment. Excluding solo practitioners, 45% of the class obtained full-time, long-term, JD-required employment.
- Anthony Adams, a former member of the California State Assembly
- Leslie Alexander (businessman), former owner of the Houston Rockets
- Vito Barbieri, an Idaho state representative
- Roger T. Benitez, a United States District Judge of the United States District Court for the Southern District of California
- Bob Chandler, a former American football player
- Bonnie Dumanis, the District Attorney for San Diego County
- Mike Garrett, a former American football player and former athletic director at the University of Southern California
- George Gascón, the District Attorney and former police chief for San Francisco
- Duncan Hunter, a former member of the United States House of Representatives and 2008 Presidential candidate
- Ross Johnson, a former long-time California state legislator
- Mangala Moonesinghe, a member of the Parliament of Sri Lanka and Ambassador
- Nguyen Cao Ky Duyen, a Vietnamese-American personality and co-host of Thuy Nga's Paris by Night shows
- Ruth Parasol, the founder of PartyGaming
- Dick Walsh, a former Major League Baseball executive
- George O. Wood, the General Superintendent of Assemblies of God
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