Whittier Law School Changes Bearing Fruit

School makes strides in recognition, employment, bar pass and enrollment

COSTA MESA, Calif. – February 20, 2014 — It’s a new day at Whittier Law School, as some of the major changes implemented within the last few years are now proving successful. According to Dean Penelope Bryan, who spearheaded these changes, “We have deliberately shaped our entire curriculum around our students and their career ambitions.”

New Curriculum Receives National Attention
Whittier Law School is introducing a ground-breaking new curriculum called “Experience the Law.” The majority of required courses are taught in an “experiential” manner so that students apply the concepts they learn in class. This has attracted national attention to Whittier Law School as one of the most innovative law schools in the United States by several national magazines. Students are also receiving hands-on experience in the Kiesel Advocacy Center, Whittier Law School’s state-of-the-art courtroom which opened last Spring.

Employment Figures Increase Dramatically
According to Dean Bryan, “Helping students attain employment is one of the highest priorities at Whittier Law School.” In July 2011, the Career Development Office (CDO) was completely restructured to help meet students’ employment needs. The office dramatically increased the number of employers who participated in on-campus interviews, and focused on a broader range of legal jobs in the government, public interest and private sectors. For the class of 2012, 63% attained legal and professional jobs within nine months of graduation. This figure for the class of 2011 was 46%, reflecting an increase of almost 17% in one year. For those specific jobs requiring bar passage, the figure rose from 25% in 2011 to 40% in 2012.

Bar Passage Figures Up
The California Bar is widely known to be the most difficult bar exam in the country, with a first-time pass rate of 75.9%. (July 2013). In 2011, the passage rate for first-time test takers from Whittier Law School was 56%. The school revamped its Bar Prep Program in 2011, and saw the passage rate shoot up to 70% in July 2012 for first-time test takers. In July 2013, the passage rate was 65% —although a lower figure, still one of the highest in Whittier Law School’s history.

Success Attracts Students
Law schools nationally have suffered an 11% average drop in enrollment in fall 2013, and some California schools have seen a drop as much as 37%. Whittier Law School has been building its reputation, and has only suffered a 2.6% drop in enrollment this year. “We have seen a lot of interest from prospective students so far this year,” says Tom McColl, the Associate Dean of Enrollment Management. “Word has gotten out about the innovative things we’re doing here at Whittier Law School. People have noticed we’re on an upward trajectory.”

About Whittier Law School:
Founded nearly 50 years ago and accredited by the American Bar Association since 1978, Whittier Law School offers a practical, hands-on legal education with experiences in the legal field to prepare lawyers for today’s practice. U.S. News and World Report ranks Whittier Law School the third most diverse law school in the nation. The school is located in Orange County, California. For more information, visit www.law.whittier.edu or call (714) 444-4141 ext. 131.

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