A History of the Thomas Jefferson School of Law

A History of the Thomas Jefferson School of Law

by Kenneth J. Vandevelde
     
 

This is the story of a small law school that, through force of will, transformed itself into something quite different. For most of its history, the law school was the branch campus of a for-profit, non-ABA (American Bar Association) accredited, Orange County law school that served principally part-time evening students in the San Diego area. More than half of the…  See more details below

Overview

This is the story of a small law school that, through force of will, transformed itself into something quite different. For most of its history, the law school was the branch campus of a for-profit, non-ABA (American Bar Association) accredited, Orange County law school that served principally part-time evening students in the San Diego area. More than half of the entering class did not survive to graduation and, of those who graduated, fewer than half passed the California bar exam, the toughest in the nation.

Over the space of six years, the law school separated from its parent institution, adopted a new name, became the first for-profit law school in history to gain ABA accreditation, converted itself to a nonprofit law school and attracted a nationally based student body, becoming second only to Stanford among California law schools for its geographic diversity. By that time, the law school was ranked fifth in the nation among all American law schools for the quality of academic life on campus.

Applications for admission rose tenfold, the academic dismissal rate fell to about 5 percent and the pass rate on the California bar exam began a steady climb, exceeding 75 percent when this narrative ends. Graduates were receiving offers from major law firms in New York, Washington, Los Angeles and other cities. The law school became predominantly full-time, but continued to admit significant numbers of nontraditional, part-time students and, as a result of these changes, was able to offer them a better education and a more valuable degree.

This story demonstrates what can be achieved through a commitment to excellence and a belief that people matter.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780615658773
Publisher:
The California Press
Publication date:
05/07/2013
Pages:
452
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.91(d)

Meet the Author

Ken Vandevelde served as dean of the Thomas Jefferson School of Law from 1994 to 2005. From 1996 to 2005, he also held the title of president. Prior to his appointment as dean, he served for two years as the associate dean.

He received his law degree (J.D.) from the Harvard Law School and has a Ph.D. in history from the University of California. In addition to his career as a teacher and as the chief executive officer of an independent law school, he practiced law for a decade with law firms on both the east and west coasts and with the Department of State.

He current teaches Constitutional Law, American Legal History, and International Investment Law & Arbitration, a field in which he has published several books with Oxford University Press and other publishers.

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