Frequently Asked Questions – Updated July 20, 2017

What is the latest update regarding the Teach-Out plan?
Whittier Law School’s accrediting agencies, ABA and WASC, have approved the teach-out plan and it is proceeding accordingly.  The fall schedule is available, and students are encouraged to review it and make any needed changes to classes expeditiously. 
 
Which faculty members will be teaching in the fall?
WLS is maintaining most of the faculty – including tenured/tenure-track and Legal Skills – and is supplementing these professors with adjunct instructors who bring special expertise. Students with any particular concerns about being able to complete their degree on time or about the courses they need should discuss these with the deans, and we will attempt to accommodate you. 
 
Will Bar Preparation continue to be offered?
We understand the need for graduates to study in an appropriate setting and we want you to be successful. We encourage students to take full advantage of the services currently provided. We will keep you updated on any changes to the ASP program and on our planning forward.

What were the reasons the board decided to close the Law School?
Across the country, legal education is in a period of transition, with many schools reducing the size of their student body and faculty. The board explored many options for the future of the program, ultimately making the difficult decision to discontinue it. The bar pass and employment record are among the factors that have prompted the decision. 

What was the process that led to the decision to make the announcement at the time it was done (two weeks before finals)?
In reality, there was not an “ideal” or “right” time to make the announcement. The board has been considering the best path forward for more than two years and every decision was made after extensive deliberation, research, and consideration. Once the board reached its decision, we felt it important to alert the Law School community and admitted students as soon as possible.

There was a new bar preparation program in place to help passage rates. The board made the decision to close without seeing the results of the new program. Why?
The Bar preparation program was implemented while we were operating in good faith that the law program would continue. The new program will continue to help our current students as they prepare to take the Bar.

How does the closure affect my degree’s value in the eyes of a hiring law firm?
Whittier Law School is ABA-accredited and if you graduate from Whittier Law School, your degree will be from an ABA-accredited school, even after the law program is discontinued.

Can alumni “transfer” their degrees to another school?
JD degrees cannot be “transferred” to another school. All degrees given at the Law School will still be from Whittier Law School, an ABA accredited law school.

Can Whittier merge with another school?
The decision to close the Law School has been finalized and we are now moving forward with plan implementation. Merging with a law school was one of the options explored during the past two years. For a number of reasons, it was not a feasible option.

Is there any possibility that the school will stay open?
The decision to close the Law School has been finalized and we are now moving forward with the plan. The Law School will remain open and operating on the Costa Mesa campus through the 2017-18 academic year. For the students who will remain after that, we are exploring whether to continue to offer needed classes and services in the fall of 2018 on the Costa Mesa campus or on another convenient campus or location. We will share that information as it becomes available.

Are current 1Ls and 2Ls going to receive the classes needed to graduate on time (including concentrations)?
We are committed to offering students the opportunity to complete their JD degree in a timely fashion and will offer needed classes and support services.  We may, at some point and due to low enrollment, arrange for students to complete classwork with the help of another law school.

Will the classes I signed up for be offered for fall?
We will let students know about any course changes as soon as possible, and no later than early July will ask students to re-examine their course selections.

When will I learn whether the courses I am registered for will be offered next year?
We plan to offer all required courses, all highly recommended courses, and sufficient electives to enable all students to fulfill requirements for concentrations and fellowships. Students will be able to fulfill experiential requirements and participate in clinics and externships, as well as participate in various honors offerings. We will know the schedule within the next few weeks.

I am a fellowship student and with decreases in courses already, it’s nearly impossible to fulfill my requirements. Will the requirements be changed to accommodate the already declined classes available and in consideration of future declines?
We do not anticipate at this time that the requirements will be changed. We are committed to offering students the opportunity to complete their JD degree in a timely fashion and will offer classes needed for students to complete concentrations.  We may, at some point and due to low enrollment, arrange for students to complete classwork with the help of another law school.

Will I be required to relocate to complete my degree?
No

We heard that current faculty are being fired and replaced in fall 2017 by lower-cost faculty. Is this true?
We intend to retain quite a number of the faculty currently employed by the Law School. However, with the small enrollment anticipated next year, we do not need as many faculty as we currently have. Faculty will be offered generous severance as they leave the program.

We also heard that the faculty have been asked to reapply for their positions if they want to teach at the Law School in 2017. Is this true?
No, the faculty have not been asked to reapply for their positions. We have asked all tenured and tenure-track faculty whether they want to retain their positions for 2017-18 and to rethink which courses they might teach next year. In this way, we can determine in a fair manner which faculty will be retained and ensure that we can offer both high quality courses and sufficient number of courses.

When will I know my future plan at WLS?
Very shortly you will be invited to meet to plot the path to earning your degree. This will help us meet your individual needs for 2017-18, as well as plan for years beyond that for those who are continuing. We are committed to ensuring that each student has the opportunity to complete their JD and to do so in a timely fashion.

What does “timely fashion” mean?
Timely fashion means that students will have the opportunity to complete their JD in the timeframe anticipated before the decision to discontinue the program.

Bar preparation is held on the Costa Mesa campus this summer; where will it be held in summer 2018?
We do not know where the bar preparation services will be held in summer of 2018, but will resolve this question well before graduation in May 2018.

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