We are delighted to extend our family of non-profit, accredited law school locations to serve the communities of Kern County. The County represents one of the largest regions in California that does not have local access to an accredited law school program. With a regional population of almost a million people and an economy fueled by the energy, agriculture, and ranching industries, we see this as an important opportunity to respond to the education needs of a large underserved population. As a part-time, evening program, our law school provides traditional and non-traditional students the opportunity to pursue a quality legal education.
Unlike many for-profit schools, our program’s focus is on providing community education, not corporate or individual profit. We think that this distinction makes a real difference in the quality of education that we provide. It is the foundation for building a long-term, collaborative relationship with the people of Kern County.
We are pleased and excited that C.M. “Bud” Starr has agreed to serve as our founding campus dean for the KCCL campus. Dean Starr recently retired after 29 years as Deputy District Attorney in Kern County and eight years as a law professor at a previous accredited law school. Our additional local faculty members represent some of the most highly respected lawyers and judges in Kern County.
Monterey College of Law was founded more than 44 years ago by a group of local lawyers and judges who wanted to bring quality legal education to a region that they felt deserved its own accredited law school program. Our current Board of Trustees feels the same way about Kern County.
Our school is unique for several important reasons. First – under California law, as a state-accredited law school, applicants are not required to have a bachelor’s degree. This means that high-achieving students from CSU Bakersfield and Bakersfield College who have successfully completed their A.A., or at least 60-units of undergraduate studies are eligible to apply. Second – because we are an accredited law school, our students are not required to take and pass the First Year Law Student Exam, otherwise known as the Baby Bar. This is an important distinction between accredited and unaccredited law schools, because students who fail the Baby Bar after three tries are dismissed and ineligible to re-enroll in any other law school for at least two years.
I encourage you to consider what our program offers. If our program is a good fit for you . . . we look forward to having you join our law school community.