Pros: Good parking, good lighting.Adequate security at night.Fairly reasonable tuition amount and payment plan.
Cons: Misrepresentation of instructors' credentials; doesn't follow State Rules/Regs.Bakersfield attorneys don't respect C-P.
I attended C-P School of Law because it is in Bakersfield, and I was unable to travel any substantial distance to go to law school. It's as simple as that: location.
I enjoyed going to class and being in class. Most of the instructors knew their stuff pretty well. Some, like those at any kind of school, anywhere, I guess, just liked to talk about themselves. It got tiring especially for those of us who worked all day, to listen to bragging and unrelated narratives by people who called themselves law PROFESSORS, for 3 hours while not advancing our knowledge of the law. The credentials of at least one were misrepresented in the school's promotional literature. Exams were actually photocopies of multiple choice tests that had been given over the years at other law schools all over the place and were being circulated among current law students. At C-P the students with the most money could purchase these as well as tapes of certain workshops and do very well in class and on tests. Frequently, information provided by certain instructors was inaccurate, and one had to seek out the correct information elsewhere.
C-P did not follow the guidelines set out by the agency that oversees post-secondary education for the State of California. This would actually be okay for most students. It would have been okay for me as well had I not had a complication in my law education immediately after my first year.
Prior to second year I had worked full-time as an RN-risk manager at a large hospital in the days, going to law school at night, and studying constantly weekends and late week nights. I was paying my tuition every month on the right day and getting 80s and sometimes 86s on tests, including contracts. I never missed class.
For professional reasons attached to my work as a nurse and as a patient relations manager for a hospital, I actively chose not to take the baby bar. I wanted to pursue only the JD offered by C-P School of Law.
It happened that at the time I was also involved as representative of the hospital in a med mal case in which the owner of the law school represented the plaintiff. I worked very hard on this defense, developing and assisting witnesses, gathering subpeonaed documents, transporting people, writing summaries, doing research, explaining court procedure to nurses and medical things to lawyers, reporting to administration, completing tasks for our LA lawyers, etc. (while handling 40-50 other med mal claims and lawsuits), and we got a defense verdict. It was a big deal.
At the beginning of my 2nd year I was allowed to attend class and to pay 2 months' tuition. One evening in the second month I was called into the president's office where the president accepted my tuition check for the current month and then summarily kicked me out. There was no appeal process in place as required by State Post-secondary Rules and Regs. I asked for a meeting with the only person I was allowed to see about it, the owner of the school. The morning of the scheduled meeting, my husband took off work and we both achieved what turned out to be the huge accomplishment of getting to the owner's massive, opulent office. We were made to sit and wait in the reception area with its towering ceilings, lush furnishings, and ornate decorations for about 45 minutes before a secretary told us that the owner would not be in because he was sick.
We set another appointment and kept it. It was horrible. No one talked to us but the owner; no one else was there. I cited my having been told before my admission that one could, consistent with school policy, choose to pursue only the JD. This man yelled at us. He remained standing throughout the whole meeting and postured and shouted and in every other way indicated that discussion was not on the agenda. He refused to refund any of my money, and I had given that school a lot of it for nothing but a case of anxiety, depression, shame, grief, and high blood pressure. The message I got from the meeting with the owner was that if I made an issue of my expulsion he would squash me like a bug. He was extremely intimidating.After a couple months I received a call from a classmate who was offering to, along with some other classmates, help me catch up and get back into school; however, too much time had passed, and I wasn't up to it. I was still in shock, disbelief, and grief over having been robbed of my dream of getting a JD, being an RN/JD (it had sounded so splendid to me).
Most students at C-P will probably be okay, but it is very important with this little mom & pop school to be vigilant. Get the California Post-secondary Rules and Regs and make sure they are followed. Find out the real bar requirements and watch carefully for conflict of interest within the faculty and administration. Let administration know when you notice that your exams look obviously like copies of old "multi states". Don't hesitate to call Post-secondary in Sacramento with any and all concerns.
Only when I am asked, do I tell anyone I attended C-P Law. I am ashamed of the appearance of my transcript (California-Pacific School of Law in BAKERSFIELD? and for only one year?). My loss and shame have followed me through until now. Not only have I been out all that money, but my reputation has been permanently injured. While I have come up with a story that sort of covers my time there and my having been kicked out, I still feel profound hurt and anger at that place and the State for allowing the fraud, conflict of interest, and mismanagement to occur. Much of the time people laugh at such a thing as a law school in Bakersfield, but I believe that pretty much regardless of where you have gone to school, you can use the JD well to enhance your career (as I tried to do). Further, over time, one can show by hard work, her abilities.
My advice to prospective students: don't go to C-P Law School unless you absolutely can't go anywhere else. Vet the instructors and owners yourself, and discover any and all formal complaints against the school; some day a prospective employer might do just that. Don't be satisfied by only an acceptable bar exam pass rate. Realize the school is within the regulatory power of Post-Secondary Education, State of California, the same folks who look at beauty schools and auto mechanics schools, and get to know these people. Have them send you their rules and regs for little law schools. Start a student organization; get to know your classmates. Find out the reputation of the school, in Kern County and even outside California, over the years and recognize that your future in the law might be a long one - you can only hope. Do you want to forever be known as a graduate of California Pacific School of Law? Be aware of what the school does to your classmates because that treatment will become, like it or not, a permanent part of your own resume. Imagine what would happen to you if you won a case against the person who owns the school or against one of your instructors. Establish communication with that part of the California Bar Association that has interest in little, privately-owned law schools.
California Pacific School of Law took my money, and worse than that, they took my precious time. I only recently threw away my class notes and case briefs. I still grieve and sting from the mortification. I finally left Bakersfield, my birthplace and the birthplaces of my grandchildren (7 generations we were) because of it. The very worst is, C-P stole my dream.
I wish I had done all the things I am suggesting to you. But at the time, they left me broken and scared.