Monterey College of Law 

A Tradition of Excellence since 1972

Message from the Dean

Denying Legal Education to Local Veterans and Eligible Dependents

 

Monterey College of Law, San Luis Obispo College of Law, and Kern County College of Law are examples of successful California accredited law school programs that have served our local veterans and their eligible dependents through the GI Bill educational program for more than 40 years without a single complaint being filed. Under the authority of the California Supreme Court and the regulatory supervision of the State Bar of California, our hybrid online JD was one of only two accredited hybrid online JD programs that provided geographic flexibility for veterans and their families who live in more rural and remote areas. Now, due to a recent change in federal law, MCL―along with the other 22 California accredited law school locations across California―are no longer eligible to participate in the program.

What happened? Last December, a national Veterans lobbying group―calling California accredited law schools like MCL, KCCL, and SLOCL “fake law schools”―convinced Congress to amend Title 38, Section 3676 of the GI Bill to deny Veterans and their eligible dependents their right to use GI Bill educational program benefits at any non-ABA law school.

What are we doing about it? MCL is leading the California accredited law school efforts to convince Congress to reverse this decision. Step one on this difficult path is to convince the California legislature to support our California accredited law schools. State Assemblymember Mark Stone, who also serves as Chair of the Assembly Judiciary Committee, has agreed to sponsor a Joint California Assembly/Senate Resolution supporting California accredited law schools and calling on Congress to reestablish California Veterans’ rights to attend the law schools of their choice (click here to see the draft resolution).

What can you do to help? Please contact your local California Assemblymember and Senator to ask them to join as a coauthor of the proposed resolution. For our Veteran Alumni, please contact one or more of the California Veteran Service Organizations, sending them the draft resolution, and asking them to speak out against this denial of GI Bill educational benefits to California Veterans and their eligible dependents.

First Generation Law School Program
and Scholarship Fund

 

First-generation students are risk-takers who step outside of their comfort zones to embark on a journey that no one in their family has taken.  Law school can be daunting for traditional students, and first-generation students face some additional challenges and barriers. They are more likely to attend part-time, experience social and cultural differences, fall behind on networking and mentoring opportunities, and report feeling a lack of support and direction through their legal education.  First-generation law school students tend to borrow up to 23% more―and spend up to 40% more time working to pay tuition―than traditional students.

Because first-generation law students are more likely to attend smaller, regional schools, Monterey College of Law and our affiliated campuses have an opportunity to serve this population better and create opportunities for them to succeed in law school, and in their legal careers. To do this, we are creating powerful support services and resources.

First-Generation Law School Program

New this semester, the First-Generation Law School Program focuses on first-generation students and is open to any student on our campuses. The program concentrates on three key areas:

  • Connecting with our first-generation students to discuss their needs
  • Developing programs to meet and interact with legal professionals
  • Creating a mentorship program with a network of professional volunteers.

Our goal is to offer activities to foster internships and work opportunities for students, giving them the necessary professional modeling essential to their success as practicing attorneys.

First-generation students held their first meeting in February. They expressed interest in having workshops to help build their portfolios, develop interview skills, and foster mentorship opportunities with attorneys and judicial officers. And in March, Austin, TX-based attorney Jill Murphy with Ruffner Schoenbaum Murphy Banaszak met with students for a virtual discussion on the challenges first-generation law school students and attorneys face. Jill discussed how students should use their non-traditional backgrounds and experiences to demonstrate why they are a good fit with a different skill set to potential employers or internship coordinators. Jill also covered important work-life balance issues and tips for getting through law school and networking in a virtual world.

Are you interested in helping us develop the mentorship match program? If any alumni or partners of Monterey College of Law and our affiliated campuses would like to help, please contact Jeanine Kraybill, the First-Generation Program Coordinator at jkraybill@montereylaw.edu

Give to our First Generation Scholarship Fund

First-generation law school students tend to borrow up to 23% more―and spend up to 40% more time working to pay tuition―than traditional students. A recent $5,000 gift from a generous donor has created an opportunity to match their gift and raise $10,000 to help provide financial help for qualifying students. Invest in our students and DONATE now. Thank you!

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