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University of La Verne College of Law to Pursue State Bar of California Accreditation

Exterior of the College of Law campus

In October, the University of La Verne Board of Trustees directed the administration and faculty to examine the American Bar Association (ABA)-accredited law program in the College of Law and to provide recommendations on the future direction of the program.

This review was intended to determine whether continuing with the ABA-accredited law program in its current configuration, or an alternative, would be both financially sustainable and aligned with the mission and values of the university.

After considering those recommendations and upon thoughtful and extensive deliberation, the board, on Nov. 18, 2019, instructed the administration and faculty to transition out of the ABA-accredited law program and to move forward with a high-quality law program accredited by the State Bar of California.

“This transition will allow the University of La Verne College of Law to continue strongly into the future,” University of La Verne President Devorah Lieberman said. “It also honors the 50-year-history of the College of Law and returns the college to its roots.”

The La Verne Law program was accredited by the State Bar of California prior to obtaining ABA accreditation. During that time, the program produced excellent lawyers to serve the Inland Southern California region.

As it did then, the newly-proposed State Bar of California accredited program will continue to serve the legal needs of the community, be financially sustainable, and increase access to a legal education.

It will also be academically rigorous, preparing students to pass the bar examination and work in the legal field. Graduates from a State Bar of California accredited law program are entitled to sit for the bar examination in California and 19 other states.

“We are fully committed to working with the ABA on this transition, which will include a timely and orderly teach out for the approximately 240 current law students in line with ABA standards,” University of La Verne Provost Jonathan Reed said. “We expect that all students currently enrolled will be able to graduate from an ABA-accredited La Verne Law program and will be entitled to the full range of benefits that affords.”

The Board of Trustees has asked the administration to launch a search for a dean for the College of Law and to present a plan on next steps for the transition by no later than Dec. 16.

The College of Law continues to accept applications for future terms. Admission decisions will be made after the Board of Trustees reviews and approves the transition plan to State Bar of California accreditation and accreditation and that accreditation has been secured.