ULV College of Law

General discussions concerning institutions and degree programs.

ULV College of Law

Postby Roald » Thu May 22, 2014 7:25 am

An update to an old thread concerning the University of La Verne College of Law.

ULV, as some of you may remember, failed in their bid to acquire full ABA approval in 2011. They lost, then quickly regained Provisional ABA approval in 2012, which is in place until 2017.

The sticking point was first time bar passage rates. The ABA's new(ish) rule requires a school's first time rate to be within 15% of the statewide ABA first time rate, or to reach a cumulative threshold of (I believe) 75% over three years. For California, this means you need to average at least 60%. ULV's rates from 2009-2012 were something like 36%, 47%, 50%, 53%. Far below requirements.

After the July 2012 bar exam, ULV began a new bar prep program under the leadership of a truly dynamic professor. In 2013 they hired a new dean, formerly of the University of Baltimore, who instituted major changes.

The bar pass rate for July 2013 increased to 68%, and the newest numbers from February 2014 show an 87.5% first time pass rate. That's quite a turnaround.

Now, in the interest of full disclosure I'm a ULV grad, so I'm not exactly objective. However, I'm very pleased that ULV has managed this while maintaining relatively low academic attrition (about 8%). Other low ranked CA schools have posted similar numbers, but attrition is often in the 30-50% range. It's too early to say whether this is fluke or a trend, but having spoken with many faculty and staff I think they've finally started to figure it out.
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Re: ULV College of Law

Postby SteveFoerster » Thu May 22, 2014 12:19 pm

You may be biased, but I'm not and I agree that's great news!
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Re: ULV College of Law

Postby nosborne48 » Thu May 22, 2014 5:00 pm

Has the school had to reduce tuition rates?
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Re: ULV College of Law

Postby Tark » Thu May 22, 2014 5:19 pm

The bar pass rate for July 2013 increased to 68%, and the newest numbers from February 2014 show an 87.5% first time pass rate. That's quite a turnaround.

The July 2013 pass rate is clearly an improvement. The February 2014 pass rate looks great superficially, but it may or may not be meaningful, because typically there aren't many people taking the Bar in February. The full stats for Feb 2014 don't appear to be publicly available yet, but there were only 21 first-time takers from La Verne in Feb 2013, and only 16 in Feb 2012.
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Re: ULV College of Law

Postby Roald » Thu May 22, 2014 5:45 pm

nosborne48 wrote:Has the school had to reduce tuition rates?

I doubt it!

And of course, none of this means that the newly minted lawyers will find employment.
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Re: ULV College of Law

Postby Roald » Thu May 22, 2014 5:51 pm

Tark wrote:
The bar pass rate for July 2013 increased to 68%, and the newest numbers from February 2014 show an 87.5% first time pass rate. That's quite a turnaround.

The July 2013 pass rate is clearly an improvement. The February 2014 pass rate looks great superficially, but it may or may not be meaningful, because typically there aren't many people taking the Bar in February. The full stats for Feb 2014 don't appear to be publicly available yet, but there were only 21 first-time takers from La Verne in Feb 2013, and only 16 in Feb 2012.


Yes, the February numbers are small. I believe this February had 27 bar sitters, of whom 24 passed. (I might be wrong about the numbers). However, although the sample size is small the pass rate seems too high to be accidental. Historically, ULV's February rates are better than July, so there could very well be a reduction in the July pass rates.
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Re: ULV College of Law

Postby Roald » Fri May 23, 2014 9:00 pm

http://law.laverne.edu/news/raising-the ... me-takers/

This is the announcement from the school's website. I was wrong about the number of test takers. 16 took the exam, 14 passed. Obviously, that's a very small cohort. The real test will be if they can replicate the results in July.
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Re: ULV College of Law

Postby Tark » Sat May 24, 2014 4:35 am

Has the school had to reduce tuition rates?

They issued this press release in March:

Flat, No-Discount Tuition Advances Affordability and Accessibility of Legal Education

In the face of soaring U.S. legal education costs and an ever-widening wealth gap between scholarship and full-tuition law school students, the University of La Verne College of Law today announced its adoption of a flat, no-discount ‘True Tuition Model’ in effect for the 2014-2015 academic year and beyond. Set at $25,000 per year for full-time students, the new tuition rate and structure address the affordability and accessibility of an ABA accredited legal education in Southern California. ...

“The time has come to tell the truth about the cost of legal education,” said Gilbert Holmes, newly appointed Dean of La Verne College of Law. ...

La Verne College of Law full-time tuition had held constant at $39,900 for the past four years, with students eligible for various discounts. Effective for the 2014-2015 academic year, La Verne College of Law tuition will be $25,000 per year for all full-time students, and $19,600 per year for part-time students. This rate will be fixed for all three years of full-time students’ legal education, or all four years of part-time students’ education, with a provision for performance-based, outside-funded scholarships in the latter years. ...

At a flat $25,000 for all students, the geographically driven La Verne College of Law will hold the distinction of the most affordable ABA accredited legal education in California. Holmes is the first to acknowledge that the new tuition rate could come across as an enrollment ploy.

“We are, undoubtedly, seeking to increase enrollment. But it’s not solely about driving numbers. It’s about enrolling more and more students from diverse backgrounds who embrace the values of social justice and equal opportunity, and who will not only be good law students but also upstanding guardians of society,” Holmes said.

So no one should be cynical enough to think that they only cut tuition because of falling enrollment.
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Re: ULV College of Law

Postby nosborne48 » Sun May 25, 2014 4:57 am

$75,000 total tuition for an ABA approved J.D.? That's about half of what a good many schools charge and not more than double what the degree might actually be worth.

If you did it part time and worked to support yourself...as I say, it's still too expensive but they're on the right track.
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Re: ULV College of Law

Postby Roald » Sun May 25, 2014 7:33 am

nosborne48 wrote:$75,000 total tuition for an ABA approved J.D.? That's about half of what a good many schools charge and not more than double what the degree might actually be worth.

If you did it part time and worked to support yourself...as I say, it's still too expensive but they're on the right track.


Keep in mind that a student with a decent LSAT/GPA can still qualify for substantial scholarships. I would think that with a 155+ the cost of attendance could probably be cut in half.
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Re: ULV College of Law

Postby SteveFoerster » Sun May 25, 2014 3:35 pm

Roald wrote:Keep in mind that a student with a decent LSAT/GPA can still qualify for substantial scholarships. I would think that with a 155+ the cost of attendance could probably be cut in half.

Although as the press release Tark posted says:
La Verne College of Law full-time tuition had held constant at $39,900 for the past four years, with students eligible for various discounts. Effective for the 2014-2015 academic year, La Verne College of Law tuition will be $25,000 per year for all full-time students, and $19,600 per year for part-time students. This rate will be fixed for all three years of full-time students’ legal education, or all four years of part-time students’ education, with a provision for performance-based, outside-funded scholarships in the latter years. ...

So, discounts in the latter years, maybe, but not to start.
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Re: ULV College of Law

Postby Roald » Sun May 25, 2014 8:07 pm

SteveFoerster wrote:So, discounts in the latter years, maybe, but not to start.


Right you are! This is what I get for not reading the entire press release.

Lowering tuition is great, but getting rid of merit scholarships is a terrible. How else can a school like ULV can attract well qualified applicants without offering scholarships as incentive? Sure, they may be available after the first year but applicants with decent numbers will likely have a few scholarship offers. They're going to take the money that's on the table now rather than the chance that money will be available in the future.

Most of the best students in my graduating class attended ULV because they were offered large scholarships. Many turned down admission to places like Loyola or USC in order to get a cheap/free J.D. I chose ULV for the same reason. I understand the purpose of this policy, but if someone has a 50% scholarship offer from Western State or Chapman (both of which are fully ABA approved) vs. sticker price at ULV, they'll take the fully accredited school nearly every time regardless of stipulations.
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Re: ULV College of Law

Postby nosborne48 » Sun May 25, 2014 10:11 pm

Well, that depends on what you mean by a well qualified candidate. If you mean someone young with the talent and connections to come out at the top of the class and score a federal clerkship, big law associateship, or faculty appointment, the answer is, you won't. Offering free tuition and a stipend won't attract such a student because s/he knows full well that such a career needs Harvard, Yale, Stanford, Chicago or Columbia. Or one or two other such schools I suppose.

If you merely mean someone who will do well in law, tuition reductions are important but other things like location and convenience also matter.

In its upper reaches, law is a prestige-obsessed field. Insanely so, actually.
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Re: ULV College of Law

Postby Roald » Tue May 27, 2014 8:48 pm

Yes, I agree.

Applicants with the numbers to get into Stanford, Berkeley, Yale, etc. are simply not going to bother with a school like ULV regardless of financial incentives. For that matter, academic superstars usually aren't going to bother with an even more established local school, especially if they're young and single.

An acceptance letter from an elite law school opens the door to so many otherwise unobtainable career possibilities, not to mention social prestige, that most people will gladly accrue the massive debt. I've had good friends who debated the pros and cons of a free degree from a decent state school, or a massive debt from Michigan or Penn. The elite school won each time.

When I refer to "well qualified" applicants I don't mean the Ivy League crowd. I'm referring to people who have numeric qualifications which place them well among the ULV applicant pool.

They aren't trying to decide between ULV and Stanford, but they may very well be trying to decide between ULV and Southwestern/Loyola/Pepperdine, etc. In those cases, although sticker price at ULV is cheaper, they may decide that full ABA accreditation is worth the added expense. In the past, merit scholarships attracted a number of such applicants to ULV and helped raise the bar pass rate.
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Re: ULV College of Law

Postby Tark » Thu May 29, 2014 12:39 am

Check out the new pricing at Thomas Jefferson School of Law, in San Diego. They are taking the opposite approach from ULV -- where ULV has the flat rate, TJSL is quite explicitly/transparently basing the rate you pay on your GPA/LSAT. And the initial rate is guaranteed for three years (four years for part-timers).

If your LSAT is 158+, and your GPA is 2.5+, then you get a $44,000 annual scholarship. TJSL tuition is nominally $44,000/year, so that's a free ride.

The scholarships drop with lower LSATs and GPAs. But there are still merit scholarships all the way down to the LSAT 140-144 range. No merit scholarships for LSATs in the 120s or 130s.

Looks like the median entering TJSL student in Fall 2013 was in the LSAT 145-147 category, GPA 2.5-2.99 category. So $10,500 discount, which amounts to $33,500/year. This is more expensive than ULV's flat rate, but since the TJSL rates drop dramatically with better LSAT/GPA, you can see where TJSL might be more attractive to a higher scoring applicant.
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