Western State College of Law at Argosy University is a for-profit law school owned by Education Management Corporation. The school is located in Irvine, California and offers full and part-time programs. Since 2014, Allan Easley has served as the school's interim dean.
Western State is not a member of the Association of American Law Schools (AALS) but has paid a fee to receive AALS services.
Western State College of Law was founded in 1966 in Orange County, California. It is the oldest existing law school in the county. In 1987, the school applied for accreditation with the American Bar Association (ABA). Although the school was unsuccessful in this attempt, it was at the time accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges and by the California State Committee of Bar Examiners (CBE). The accreditation by the CBE made graduates eligible to sit for the California Bar Examination.
By 1990, Western State had expanded to three campuses in California including locations in Fullerton, Irvine and San Diego. At that time, the school was the largest law school in California. In 1995, Western State again began pursuing accreditation with the ABA for all three of its campuses. In the latter half of the 1990s, the school underwent several changes as part of the accreditation process. In 1995, the school's San Diego campus became the independently owned Thomas Jefferson School of Law and the following year, the school closed its Irvine location and consolidated students to its Fullerton campus. In 1998, the school received provisional accreditation from the ABA and opened a new law library.
In 2000, the college's owners sold Western State to Argosy Education Group, which owned the school for a year before it was purchased by Education Management Corporation. Western State was granted full accreditation with the ABA in 2005, and became the third for-profit law school to receive ABA accreditation.
In April 2012, the school was incorporated as one of the colleges of Argosy University and officially changed its name to Western State College of Law at Argosy University. The same year, the school sold its property to California State University, Fullerton for roughly $18 million.
In January 2016, the campus moved to Irvine, California.
Western State offers both full-time and part-time programs. The school offers two areas of focus through their Business Law Center and their Criminal Law Practice Center, which are aimed at preparing graduates for a career in criminal or business law through additional training, internships and networking with lawyers.
As of August 2013, the school had 321 full-time students and 149 part-time students, and 27 members of faculty. The school's bar pass rate was 79% for first-time takers in July 2012 and 89% for first-time takers in February 2013.
The American Bar Association provisionally accredited Western State in 1998 and conferred full accreditation in 2005.
Western State was listed with a "B+" in the March 2011 "Diversity Honor Roll" by The National Jurist: The Magazine for Law Students.
The total cost of attendance (indicating the cost of tuition, fees, and living expenses) at the Western State College of Law for the 2013-2014 academic year is $64,357 living at home and $59,493 for a full-time student that is self-supporting. The Law School Transparency estimated debt-financed cost of attendance for three years is $251,417.
According to Western State's official 2013 ABA-required disclosures, 33.3% of the Class of 2013 obtained full-time, long-term, JD-required employment nine months after graduation, excluding solo-practitioners. Western State's Law School Transparency under-employment score is 35.8%, indicating the percentage of the Class of 2013 unemployed, pursuing an additional degree, or working in a non-professional, short-term, or part-time job nine months after graduation.
According to law professor blog "The Faculty Lounge", 32.5% of graduates obtained full-time, long term positions requiring bar admission 9 months after graduation, ranking 189th out of 197 law schools.
Based on a 2004–2007 two-year average (2007 and 2004), 75.3 percent of the school's graduates were employed nine months after graduation. In 2013, The National Law Journal reported the graduating class of 2012 had the fourth highest unemployment rate, at 27.7 percent, among all U.S. law schools. This figure represents the number of graduates seeking employment but not finding a job within nine months after graduation.
As of 2005, Western State graduates accounted for 25% of Orange County judges and court commissioners.
Western State alumni include politicians Anthony Adams, a former member of the California State Assembly, Duncan Hunter, a former member of the United States House of Representatives and 2008 Presidential candidate, Ross Johnson, a former long-time California state legislator and Mangala Moonesinghe, a member of the Parliament of Sri Lanka and Ambassador. The school has also graduated several District Attorneys including Bonnie Dumanis, the District Attorney for San Diego County, George Gascón, the District Attorney and former police chief for San Francisco, and the San Diego Superior Court judge Lillian Lim, a graduate of former San Diego Campus.
Other alumni of the school include Bob Chandler, a former American football player, Dick Walsh, a former Major League Baseball executive, Nguyen Cao Ky Duyen, a Vietnamese-American personality and co-host of Thuy Nga's Paris by Night shows, Mike Garrett, a former American football player and former athletic director at the University of Southern California, Ruth Parasol, the founder of PartyGaming, George O. Wood, the General Superintendent of Assemblies of God, Idaho state representative Vito Barbieri, and Houston Rockets owner Leslie Alexander (businessman), a graduate of the former San Diego Campus.