California law schools are plenteous, but it’s wise to shop around before you make your final decision. Some of the better schools are hard to get into. They require nearly perfect past academic performance and numerous other achievements. They’re considered the best law schools, but the tuition is high and it’s not always possible to gain admission. Some students interested in pursuing a career in law opt for more affordable institutions that have fewer requirements for admission. While some are indeed suitable options, there are a few that you should think twice about. California allows students to attend unaccredited schools to take the bar exam, but the standards are often not up to par, and dropout rates are high. Spending any amount of time and money that will not prepare you to pass the bar exam may amount to a waste of your valuable resources. We’ve prepared a list of the ten worst law schools in California that are the least favorable options for serious law students.
10. California Western School of Law
California Western School of Law is in San Diego, California. The school has been operated since 1924. The tuition and fees are high at $54,310. It’s not easy to get into this school as the most recent enrollment was just 259 with only 53.66 percent of applicants approved for admission. The bar exam pass rate for first-time attempts is just 49.26 percent. The school is accredited and private offering graduate programs for students with an enrollment cap of 796 students. Although this is a fully accredited institution of higher learning with American Bar Association accreditation, the bar exam pass rate is not as high as one would expect. You would hope that a school that charges this much per year for tuition and fees would have a higher bar exam pass rate. There are law schools that have far better pass rates.
9. Concord School of Law at Kaplan Univerisity
The Concord School of Law is the largest unaccredited law school in the state of California. The university states that it is their goal to provide all students with the education they’re entitled to, however, the graduation rates are not high. Although the tuition rates are $9,984 per year, which is among the most affordable, the exam pass rate is just 42 percent. This school does not require students to take the LSAT to gain admission, according to the LA Times. The Concord School of Law is also known to have a high dropout rate among four-year law students. It may be easier to get into this school, but the odds of completion to become a full-fledged attorney are not in the favor of students.
8. Abraham Lincoln University School of Law
This law school is in Glendale, California. It is a school that is attractive for students who are cost-conscious with annual tuition costs of $16,000 per year after financial aid is applied. it is a private school that is accredited by the Distance Education Accrediting Commission to receive financial aid assistance for its small student populations which number around 54 on average. According to Biz Journals, the pass rate for first-time exam takers is 35.70 percent. Repeat test takers pass the California bar exam at a rate of 9.10 percent for an overall average pass rate of 13.50 percent. The average cost per year before financial aid is $25,576 for undergraduate students and $15,851 after aid. The benefits are low costs of attendance when compared with other law schools, and an online platform for professionals already engaged in employment. On the downside, the pass rate for the California State bar exam is low, with its overall pass rate that is below 14 percent. Investing time and money into education for preparation here doesn’t give students high odds of passion for the bar exam.
7. Larry H. Layton School of Law
According to Bitter Empire, the Larry H. Layton School of Law is one of the worst in California. Since the school opened for business in 2010, it has been reported to only have six students. The annual tuition rate is $15,000 per year. Layton is the only professor teaching at the school. He advertised for students on social media and in local newspapers. Professor Layton claimed that the numbers were higher, but there was a disagreement between his claims and the data released by the California State Bar Association. The headquarters for the school is housed in a strip mall. It’s not a traditional law school, nor does it provide an environment that is conducive to learning. Students with access to an extensive law library and over one instructor receive a higher quality of education.
6. Northwestern California Law School
Northwestern California Law School is another institution that is on the list of the worst law schools in California. The Sacramento-based school has been in operation since 1982. The average annual enrollment is 600 students who engage in virtual classes. They accepted students from around the world at the school. It is correspondence and online school that requires students to complete 864 hours of study annually. Students with questions must post questions online. The responses may come later. If students do not learn what they feel they need, they must pay an extra fee of a couple of hundred dollars to take extra classes. They do not offer extra help from instructors. In 2007, 44% of its students passed the bar exam, but the University did not disclose that there were only four students who passed the exam. The numbers are low and they fluctuate from year to year, some years with zero percent passing their bar exams. Students report that their experience at the school could be better. The school does not evidence a commitment to going the extra mile for its students.
5. Lincoln University
Lincoln University’s law school is in Los Angeles, California. This school is accredited by the American Bar Association since 1978. The cost of tuition is $715 per unit. First-year students take 10 units for a total of $7,150 per semester. The pass rate for graduated students who take the California State Bar Exam for the first time is 20%. Although this is a low pass rate, those who repeat the test only pass at a rate of 11.90% with a total pass rate of 13.50% of the entire graduating class. For an accredited institution, you would expect the school to have a better track record of success in the students they graduate who continue moving forward to attempt the bar exam. On the plus side, the cost of attendance is low, but the overall odds of passing the bar exam are also low. If you’re going to invest four years of your life and a sizeable investment of money, it’s better to attend a school that provides adequate preparation for passing the test that grants you credentials to practice law professionally.
4. People’s College of Law
The People’s College of Law is in Los Angeles, California. The school is private, and it is also unaccredited. Students enroll in this school for the Juris-Doctor degree programs. The school provides working professionals with a four-year evening law program designed for busy adults. It’s a non-profit institution. Its focus is on providing educational resources for people underprivileged and underserved. Although the tuition rates are far more reasonable than the top-rated law schools, this is a school that you might want to think twice about before you enroll. If your goal is to prepare for passing the California State bar exam, it’s wise to check the track record of the school first. Students who complete the course of study and take their bar exam for the first time have a zero percent pass rate. Repeat exam takers pass at a rate of 12.50% with an overall pass rate of 11.10%. These statistics aren’t positive. Some law schools in California have far higher pass rate percentages than the People’s College of Law.
3. Southern California Institute
Southern California Institute has two campuses in Ventura and Santa Barbara. The Ventura campus’ first-time bar exam pass rate of 12.50 percent is low. Repeat attempts passing at an average of 5.10 percent. The overall pass rate of just 6.40 percent. The Santa Barbara campus has even worse rates, with zero percent passing the bar exam on their first attempt. Repeat team takers pass at a rate of 5.60 percent with an average overall pass rate of just 4.30 percent. The lower tuition rates may seem like a better deal, but the odds of receiving the quality education necessary to pass the bar exam are low. Sometimes it’s best to spend the extra money to avoid being stuck when you’re so close to achieving your ultimate career goal.
2. Inland Valley College of Law
The Inland Valley College of Law is in Upland, California. This is a school that offers online and onsite educational resources. It advertises a three-step success plan. Courses help prepare students to pass a certified paralegal and legal assistant status in 24 weeks. The tuition is $3,995 plus books for the program. It provides 30 credits toward an AA degree. The second stage is completing an AA degree that costs $3,000 for 30 units of credit. The third step provides courses to become a professional attorney with a bachelor’s degree program and a Juris Doctorate Degree in law for $25,000 and up. They provide tutoring for students with extra help without additional charges for the services. The tuition rates and fees are low. The program sounds like an exceptional option for students employed or living busy lives. While this may sound enticing for students desiring a career in law, Biz Journals reports that the pass rates for students taking the bar exam are at zero percent for first-time attempts. Repeat exam-takers have a zero percent pass rate for an overall pass rate of zero. These are sobering statistics suggest it’s not the best school to attend if you plan to take the California State bar exam.
1. Pacific West College of Law
The Pacific West College of Law is in Orange, California. According to the official website for the school, the mission of the institution is to provide students with the knowledge and information t to apply it to achievement through a commitment to give students competent legal education along with skills to use the information in real-world environments. Pacific West College of Law provides doctoral-level degrees for students. It also offers Master’s level degrees. It is an unaccredited institution with some programs that do not qualify students to take the California State bar exam. The school has a zero percent pass rate for students taking their bar exams for the first time. The statistics do not improve for repeat test takers with a zero percent pass rate overall. It is one of the worst law schools in the State of California. With such a poor track record, you can make better investments of your money at institutions that provide better odds of preparing you to pass your required tests to become a practicing legal professional.
The ten law schools on our list represent some of the worst-ranked in California. Many of these schools offer low tuition rates and an online option for coursework. While they’re affordable and convenient, the time spent there will not help prepare you to pass the required bar exam to become a professional attorney. If you plan to spend your time and money preparing for a career, sometimes, it’s best to bite the bullet and go with a program that offers the resources you need to gain the knowledge necessary to achieve your goals.