PLEASE NOTE: Publication for public comment
is not, and shall not, be construed as a recommendation or approval by the Board
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Proposed Amendments to Accredited Law School Rules and Guidelines for Accredited Law School Rules re Branch Campuses/Satellite Campuses
Rule 4.105 of the Accredited Law School Rules (Rules) currently permit California Accredited Law Schools (CALS) to apply for and receive approval to open a branch campus or satellite campus, and the Guidelines for the Accredited Law School Rules (Guidelines) currently define what constitutes a branch or satellite campus. Under Guideline 15.1 a “branch campus of a law school is a location different from that originally approved where students may complete more than one half of the total number of units required to earn a Juris doctor degree or may graduate with that degree to any law degree that the law school is authorized by the Committee of Bar Examiners (Committee) to offer.” Guideline 15.2(A) establishes the process and timing for the Committee to approve the opening of a new branch or satellite campus. Guideline 15.2(B) requires that “[n]o less than 120 days before the proposed first day of classes at the branch or satellite campus, the Committee must approve or deny the law school’s proposal.” If the materials submitted by the law school confirm that the campus will be in “substantial compliance” with the Rules and all relevant Guidelines “as of the date of its opening,” the Committee will provide its approval . . . .” Thereafter, within 90 days of its actual opening, the law school must submit a report, certified by the Dean, to confirm that the new campus is, in fact, in substantial compliance with the Guidelines.
As provided by Guideline 15.3, an approved branch campus is to be considered “provisionally approved” until the law school is able to demonstrate that it is compliant with “all accreditation standards and operational requirements” found in the Rules and Guidelines. Finally, under Guideline 15.4, “[w]ithin two years of operating as a provisionally-approved branch campus, the Committee must conduct an inspection to determine whether the branch campus is to be deemed approved, continue to be provisionally approved or denied provisional approval.” Students enrolled in a provisionally-approved branch campus are not required to take the First-Year Law Students’ Examination if they successfully complete their first year of law study and are then advanced to their second year of law study.
A provisionally-approved branch campus may open without a pre-opening inspection. To receive Committee approval, “no less than 180 days before the proposed first day of classes of a branch or satellite campus, the law school must notify the Committee.” The notice must inform the Committee whether the new campus is to be a branch or satellite campus and when it will open. The notice must also provide all of the academic and operational documentation to be used by the faculty, students and staff at the new campus. Finally, the notice must have a certification signed by the CALS Dean to confirm that when the new campus opens it will be in “substantial compliance with all relevant academic and operational requirements set forth” in the Rules and Guidelines.
In addition to providing clear operational requirements and a reasonable timetable for processing a request for a CALS to open a new branch or satellite campus, the proposed amendments to the Rules and Guidelines also address the extent to which a new four-year branch campus may rely upon the administrative, academic and operational resources of its “main” campus. Currently, a CALS with multiple branch campuses may collectively share the time, attention and presence of a single Dean and only a part-time administrator at each branch since there is no express requirement that a CALS Dean must be present at any one campus for any specific amount of time. Under the current and long-standing requirement of Guideline 4.1(A), each CALS is only required to have “a competent dean who devotes adequate time to the managing and administering the affairs of the law school.”
The primary goal for making these amendments is to maintain minimum but compliant educational, administrative and operational support standards so that students enrolled at a CALS, regardless of which campus they attend, will receive the same legal education required by the Committee’s accreditation standards.
The Committee approved in principle proposed amendments to the Rules and Guidelines discussed above, subject to a period of public comment. The Board of Trustee’s Committee on Admissions and Education approved the Committee’s request to send the proposed amendments out for a public comment period.
Attachment A: Proposed Amendments to Rules 4.160(H) and 4.165(B) of the Accredited Law School Rules
Attachment B: Proposed Amendments to Division 15 of the Guidelines for Accredited Law School Rules
Committee of Bar Examiners
Sept. 15, 2016
The State Bar of California
180 Howard St.
San Francisco, CA 94105
Fax: 415-538-2304 (Fax)