Paul L. Caron

Saturday, March 23, 2019

Western State May Be Sixth ABA-Accredited Law School To Close Since 2016

Western State LogoFollowing up on my previous posts (links below):  The Recorder, Federal Judge Throws Sinking Western State Law a Short-Term Lifeline:

It seems the beleaguered Western State College of Law won’t become the first American Bar Accredited-law school to shut down midsemester after all.

A federal judge in Ohio on Tuesday ordered the receiver tasked with winding down the Orange County, California, school to extend enough funding to allow it to remain open until May 29—giving the 77 students in their final semester the ability to complete their legal studies and graduate. The judge also extended the time period for the law school to secure a new owner by a month, until April 26. But the school's long-term prospects remain grim.

It was a much-needed bit of good news for the law school, which was thrown into chaos in January when its owners—facing massive financial losses and litigation—entered into a court-appointed receivership. The situation worsened in late February when the U.S. Department of Education cut off federal student loan eligibility in response to reports that the law school’s parent entity, Argosy University, was withholding federal loan disbursements from students. Western State students have been in limbo as law school administrators scramble to salvage the remainder of the semester and, hopefully, the school’s long-term viability. ...

Western State is the oldest law school in Orange County—it was founded in 1966 and has transferred ownership three times over the past two decades. Should Western State close after the spring semester, it would become the sixth ABA-accredited law school to shutter or announced plans to close since 2016 [joining Arizona Summit, Charlotte, Indiana Tech, Valparaiso, and Whittier]. ...

Among the ABA-accredited law schools that have indicated a willingness to accept Western State transfer students are Southwestern Law School; Thomas Jefferson School of Law; Chapman University Dale E. Fowler School of Law; the University of La Verne College of Law; and Loyola Law School, Los Angeles, according to Keller’s email to students. Several California-accredited law schools, as well as the online Concord Law School, have also said Western State students may apply to transfer.

Prior TaxProf Blog coverage:

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