As we near the end of an unprecedented year in education, academic institutions are reflecting on their successes and opportunities for growth. While a majority of the focus has been on adjusting the mode of education delivery in response to COVID-19, at Western State College of Law the acquisition by Westcliff University was a major milestone in the law school’s trajectory.
Western State College of Law is the oldest law school in Orange County, Calif. with a 50+ year track record of producing successful trial lawyers, top judges and legal officials. Now with the support of Westcliff University, the law school is poised to continue to serve the state’s brightest legal minds in 2021 and beyond.
This opportunity for growth comes at a significant time, as LSAT test-takers have a history of increasing during recessions. In fact, between 2007 and 2009, the number of LSAT test-takers increased more than 20 percent. The Law School Admission Council data has already shown a 36 percent increase in applications over 2019, as some feel that a recession is a good time to pursue a law degree as they can ride it out and open the door for future employment opportunities.
As law schools across the country aim to attract the next incoming class, students are likely to seek out institutions that have demonstrated a successful transition to online learning and will continue to make that available in the future. Western State College of Law benefited from Westcliff’s online learning expertise and was able to adjust swiftly in March when classes went remote. Beyond that, Western State has demonstrated a commitment to ensuring current student and graduate success—especially during the pandemic. Here are two ways Western State goes above and beyond to support students:
While enrolled at the university, students have access to advanced legal programs to help them through the academic rigors of law school and feel prepared to enter the legal field. This includes the Strategies to Enhance Legal Learning and Achieve Results (S.T.E.L.L.A.R.) program. This program is led by faculty and guides students as they develop skills needed for academic success–including critical reading, briefing and analytical skills, as well as practical lawyering skills that support them through the bar exam and employment. Programs like this have helped 11,000+ alumni secure notable positions in Calif., such as Erick Larsh, the incoming presiding judge of the Orange County Superior Court and George Gascón, the newly elected district attorney of Los Angeles.
In addition, as COVID-19 era graduates have had to adjust to taking the bar online, Western State accommodated 26 graduates during the October testing dates. The alumni were able to take the bar exam on campus, free of distractions and with confidence in secure Internet connections. The law school is looking at continuing to offer this convenient arrangement if the bar remains online through 2021.
As the pandemic drives more people to consider law school, Western State’s campus culture creates a supportive environment to allow students to balance work, life and education. With the support of Westcliff University, the law school plans for future growth and continuing to provide quality education to the next generation of law students.