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Western to Merge Sites in Bid for Bar OK

In a first step toward reapplying for American Bar Assn. accreditation, Western State University College of Law will close its Irvine satellite campus this year and consolidate school operations at its 4-acre Fullerton campus, officials said.

The shutdown means Irvine’s 535 students will join the 833 students at the Fullerton campus this fall. Western State officials plan to build a new law library in an effort to win approval.

ABA accreditation, which is based upon such factors as student-faculty ratios and the size of legal libraries, is considered one of the most prestigious classifications a law school can obtain. Western State was turned down in its last bid in 1987.

Whittier College Law School will become Orange County’s first ABA-approved law school when it relocates from Los Angeles to Costa Mesa or Irvine this August. Whittier’s arrival will fill a void created two decades ago when ABA-approved Pepperdine University left for Malibu.

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Orange County is one of the most populous areas in the country without an ABA-approved law school. There are about 180 ABA-approved law schools in the nation.

Chapman University, which opened its law school last fall, is also seeking ABA accreditation. School officials hope to obtain it as early as February, a relatively short time since it takes most law schools as long as eight years to win approval.


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