Law Schools

ABA's Legal Ed approves two teach-out plan possibilities for Western State College of Law

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Updated: Two teach-out plans for Western State College of Law, which is part of the embattled Argosy University System, have been approved by the council of the ABA’s Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar.

In the past year, Western State’s parent company, Dream Center Education Holdings, was placed in receivership, and the law school in February lost its federal student loan money.

The council posted one document, with two plans. Under “Plan A” an unnamed institution approved by a regional accreditor plans to file an acquiescence application to acquire Western State College of Law, and if that is approved, the law school “will continue in existence as an ongoing enterprise,” the teach-out agreement states. Under this plan, the law school would remain open but not accept new students “pending the disposition of the institution’s application for acquiescence in a substantive change.”

The law school’s homepage has a tab to request information about speaking to an admission advisor or scheduling a visit, along with accolades about bar prep, student diversity and alumni stories. Information about the receivership, and the fact that the law school has not participated in federal student aid programs since February, can be found under two separate tabs.

“Plan B” of the teach-out agreement, which would apply if Plan A is unsuccessful, “relies entirely on facilitating transfers for as many students as possible and facilitating visiting at other law schools for the students who cannot transfer,” the document reads. It also states that the council would continue Western State’s ABA accreditation through July 1, 2022.

Allen Easley, the law school’s dean, did not respond to ABA Journal interview requests.

Dream Center Education Holdings, a Christian nonprofit, bought Argosy from the Education Management Corp in 2017, and since then it has struggled to convert the for-profit college to a nonprofit, the New York Times reported.

The U.S. Department of Education in February pulled the schools’ federal financial aid, based on allegations that its parent company had used millions in federal financial aid stipends to cover payroll and other expenses. The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio in January appointed Cleveland lawyer Mark E. Dottore as Dream Center Education Holdings’ receiver, and in March he sent a statement to the ABA Journal that a potential buyer had been identified for the law school.

In an April 26 order, a U.S. magistrate ordered that the receivership be terminated by May 31. A subsequent order, dated May 20, stated that Dottore had informed the court that he could not fulfill his duties before May 31, and that keeping that date would “prevent the sale of the law school and the completion of teach-out periods for three other universities.” The May 20 order directs Dottore to submit a proposed order by May 30, with a plan to streamline the receivership and complete the remaining tasks he listed, “all within as short a time period as possible.”

Updated May 28 at 1:34 p.m. to add details about the approved teach-out agreements.

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