Paul L. Caron

Friday, December 1, 2023

Golden Gate Will Terminate Its JD Program In May 2024; 1Ls And 2Ls Can Complete Their Degrees At Other Law Schools

Update: ABA Rejects Golden Gate Law School's Plan To Terminate Its JD Program

Golden Gate University Newsroom, Update on Golden Gate University JD Program:

Golden Gate Logo (2023)After months of discussions with numerous stakeholders and a thorough review of data, the Golden Gate University Board of Trustees voted to discontinue the University’s American Bar Association-accredited Juris Doctor degree and offer a teach-out option to current JD students. We will not admit additional students to the JD program.

To be clear, this decision applies to one program in the Law School. While the JD program will sunset, the Law School will continue serving students with standout legal education, as it has since its founding in 1901. GGU Law will continue to offer degrees at the graduate [Master of Law Studies (MLS), Master of Laws in Environmental Law (LLM), Master of Laws in Estate Planning (LLM), Master of Laws in Intellectual Property Law (LLM), Master of Laws in International Legal Studies (LLM), Master of Laws in Taxation Law (LLM), Master of Laws in US Legal Studies (LLM), SJD in International Legal Studies (LLM)] and undergraduate [BA in Law] levels.

The University is committed to ensuring that our current GGU Law students in the JD program will be able to complete their ABA-accredited degrees through arrangements with partnering institutions. Current JD students who choose to continue their education with these partnering institutions will earn an ABA-accredited degree from GGU and will pay the same tuition rate they currently pay. ...

Our decision on the JD program comes amid an especially challenging period for legal education. Unfortunately, many law schools across the country have faced a persistent, decade-long decline in JD applications — and enrollment — as the job market for JD graduates in the field shifts. In addition, for several years GGU Law has failed to meet the ABA’s current bar pass compliance standard (the ABA requires that 75% of students must pass the bar within 2 years of degree completion). Financial exigency in the Law School was officially declared on May 31, 2023, and we subsequently gave notice to Law School faculty regarding their future employment at GGU.

The Recorder, GGU Law Sunsetting Its JD Program at End of '23-'24 Academic Year:

Total enrollment in the J.D. program dropped during the past five years from 531 in 2018 to 489 in 2019, 484 in 2020, 422 in 2021 and 298 in 2022, according to the school’s ABA 509 reports. [1L enrollment has dropped from 320 in 2010 to 43 in 2022.]

The ABA requires that 75% of students must pass the bar within two years of degree completion—considered ultimate bar passage—but GGU Law’s bar passage rate was 62.7% for 2020 graduates who sat for the bar within two years of their graduation date; 66.7% for 2019 graduates; and 57.5% for 2018 graduates, according to ABA bar passage reports from 2023, 2022 and 2021.

Prior TaxProf Blog coverage:

Legal Education | Permalink