The trustees of Whittier Law School have announced that the perennially crappy private institution will close its doors.
The Whittier College Board of Trustees announced the closure last week.
The law school, located amid the endless suburban sprawl of Orange County, California, will not enroll any new students this fall, the trustees said in a statement.
“We are committed to ensuring that students currently enrolled will have an opportunity to complete their degree in a timely fashion,” the trustees explained. “At the appropriate time, the program of legal education will be discontinued.”
In July 2016, 174 Whittier graduates took California bar exam and only 40 of them passed. That’s a bar-passage rate of just 23 percent.
Among first-time bar takers in July 2016, Whittier had a bar passage rate of just 22 percent.
The statewide average among the vast multitude of California law schools was an abysmal 62 percent in 2016. This rate is a 32-year low, according to Above the Law.
Whittier came in last in the critically important category of bar passage in 2016, behind 20 other law schools approved by the American Bar Association.
Also, just 45 percent of Whitter’s 128 law school graduates were able to find jobs actually requiring a law degree last year.
Despite very frequently being unable to pass the bar or find any job requiring a law degree, the average Whittier Law School student currently takes on a staggering student-loan debt amount of $179,056, according to data collected by Pepperdine University law professor Paul L. Caron.
Whittier currently charges $45,350 for a single year of full-time law school tuition and fees. This hefty amount does not include room and board, books, transportation, health insurance, loan fees or, in fact, anything else.
Interest in Whittier among prospective law students has dwindled dramatically in recent years. Whittier accepted 1,579 students in 2013. By comparison, the school accepted just 934 students in 2016.
Whitter currently enrolls 371 students. About 150 will graduate in May.
Many other law schools around the country have experienced similarly steep acceptance and enrollment declines.
Law school applications are down around the country by almost 50 percent since 2005.
Whittier’s trustees have not yet announced a closing date for the law school.
Whittier recently finalized the sale of the 14-acre law school campus for $35 million — and a tidy $13 million profit.
A group of law professors sought a temporary restraining order preventing the sale but a judge refused to grant it, according to CBS Los Angeles.
About 100 students gathered on campus to demonstrate in the wake of the announcement that Whittier Law School will soon depart from this vale of tears, reports the Whittier Daily News.
The demonstrators carried lots of signs reading, for example, “We want answers” and “Don’t shut us down.”
Many students expressed anger.
“They just dropped this bomb on us a week-and-a-half before finals without any regard to how we would react or feel,” third-year Whittier law student Stephanie Rigoli told the Daily News.
“Their indifference to us as a student body is unacceptable,” another third-year student, Kristina Edrington, told the newspaper.
Law school officials weren’t happy, either.
“As is well known, the last few years have been extremely difficult for law schools across the country,” law school officials said in a statement. “Whittier Law School felt those challenges keenly and we took significant steps to address them. Sadly, our sponsoring institution opted to abandon the Law School rather than provide the time and resources needed to finish paving the path to ongoing viability and success. We believe this action was unwise, unwarranted, and unfounded.”
It seems like only yesterday when The Daily Caller officially designated Whittier Law School as the worst ABA-accredited law school in the United States. (RELATED: Gulags: The 10 Worst ABA-Accredited Law Schools)