Frequently Asked Questions – updated May 25, 2017

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 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. Whittier Law School alumni have pledged their support for students, recent graduates, and fellow alumni to help with networking and employment opportunities.

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 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?
As part of the plan, we are re-examining the course schedule and making adjustments in teaching assignments. 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.

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 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.

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