Whittier Law School
|Whittier Law School|
|Parent school||Whittier College|
|School type||Private non-profit|
|Location||Costa Mesa, CA, US|
|Faculty||49 (See List)|
|Bar pass rate||66%|
|Outlines||0 (See List)|
Whittier Law School is the law school of Whittier College, located on a satellite campus in Orange County in the city of Costa Mesa. Due to Whittier Law School's previous 1st time California bar passage rate, the American Bar Association has recently placed Whittier Law School under probation for two years beginning August 8, 2005. Whittier Law School has taken proactive steps in order to combat the current probation status and as a result, has seen an increase of 19% for 1st time California bar takers.
Whittier Law School was founded in 1966 in Los Angeles in the Hancock Park section of Los Angeles in 1966 as Beverly Law School. In 1975, the Law School became part of Whittier College, established by Quakers in 1887 and named after the famous poet John Greenleaf Whittier. Both institutions are now respected non-sectarian institutions of higher learning. In 1978, the Law School received accreditation from the American Bar Association and became a member of the Association of American Law Schools in 1987. The Law School became a member of the Association of American Law Schools in 1987.
In 1997, Whittier Law School moved to the city of Costa Mesa, California, becoming the first ABA-accredited law school in Orange County. Whittier Law School now boasts a network of over 4,000 alumni practicing in 48 states and 14 countries. The Law School’s location in Costa Mesa, in the center of Orange County, offers the best of Southern California. Cultural and recreational opportunities abound, and the Law School’s central location between Los Angeles and San Diego provides access to the largest concentration of legal employers in the nation. Whittier Law School now boasts a network of over 4,000 alumni practicing in 48 states and 14 countries.
The Law School has nationally recognized centers in Children’s Rights, Intellectual Property Law, and International & Comparative Law, which host fellows, offer externships, and sponsor symposia and workshops. The Law School also has strengths in business law, criminal law, health law, public interest law, and trial and appellate practice as additional options for students wishing to focus their education.
Whittier Law School’s small faculty/student ratio provides opportunities for close interaction with distinguished professors, many of whom are recognized both nationally and internationally as experts in their fields. Complementing classroom instruction, the Law School offers an extensive externship program and a large menu of clinical legal education offerings. Whittier Law School’s clinics serve the public in the following areas: children’s rights, special education, family violence, health care access, and legal policy.
On August 9, 2005, the American Bar Association imposed a probationary period of two years regarding Whittier Law School’s accreditation. During that time their accreditation remains in place, but the ABA will be overseeing the school's efforts to come into compliance with unpublished standards regarding bar passage. According to The National Jurist, Vol. 15, No.5, in imposing Whittier's probation, the ABA cited substantial and persistent noncompliance with two sections of its standards. The ABA said the first-time passage rate for Whittier graduates on the California bar has been below 50 percent on each exam since July 2000. The ABA also said there are limited academic support programs for students with low entering credentials and there is no rigorous upper-class writing requirement. Whittier has countered that there are other California law schools who have been below 50 percent bar pass rates since July 2000 as well as other ABA law schools in other states. In addition, the overall bar pass rate has been around 80% in California. Bar pass rates in states outside of California average around 85% on a first time basis. Whittier states that its mission is to serve the underrepresented community by enabling access to a legal education and its goal to provide ethical quality lawyers across the nation.
According to Sharon Herzberger, President of the College, "Whittier Law School feels that this decision is unwarranted and unnecessary and has so responded to the ABA. First-time bar passage rates at WLS have gone up 10.5 points between July 2003 and 2004, and 9 points between February 2004 and 2005." In addition, Whittier states that the ABA lacked diligence in its initial report when citing that the Law School lacked academic support and legal writing requirements since the Law School has an extensive voluntary academic support program and above average number of required legal writing graduation requirement. The Law School further states that the school is aggressively working with the ABA to reach full compliance and remove its probationary status as soon as possible.
Its bar passage rate did go up for the February 2006 Bar. And the recent results for the July 2006 Bar indicate a bar passage rate of 59%.
Bar Passage Statistics
Sitting, Whittier, All-CA-Bar-Schools
1999-02 56 56 performed better than 7 CA ABA schools
1999-07 43 69 performed better than 3 CA ABA school
2000-02 26 50 performed better than 1 CA ABA school
2000-07 54 74 performed better than 2 CA ABA schools
2001-02 28 50 performed better than 1 CA ABA school
2001-07 50 79 performed better than 1 CA ABA school
2002-02 38 52 performed better than 2 CA ABA schools
2002-07 42 72
2003-02 25 57
2003-07 31 70 tied with Golden Gate Law School
2004-02 24 49 performed better than 2 CA ABA schools
2004-07 41 69 performed better than 2 CA ABA schools
2005-02 33 58 performed better than 2 CA ABA schools
2005-07 40 70 performed better than 2 CA ABA schools
2006-02 38 60 performed better than 3 CA ABA schools
2006-07 59 n/a performed better than 4 CA ABA schools
Source: California State Bar
Whittier has nationally recognized centers in Children’s Rights, Intellectual Property Law, and International & Comparative Law, which host fellows, offer externships, and sponsor symposia and workshops. Criminal Law and Business Law concentrations are offered. In addition, two institutes in Academic Support and Legal Writing were established. Whittier Law School boasts a small faculty/student ratio providing opportunities for close interaction with distinguished professors, many of whom are recognized both nationally and internationally as experts in their fields.
The school has ranked as one of the most diverse law schools in the nation for the past five years and is ranked in the 4th tier of ABA accredited law schools, according to the 2006, 2005, 2004, 2003 US News and World Report
Average LSAT: 154
Average Undergraduate GPA: 3.11
Student Faculty Ratio: 17:1
Bar Passage Rate, July 2006: 59%
Average Starting Salary : $70,000
Tuition: $29,190