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VALLEY ROUNDUP | Woodland Hills

Law School Reverts to Original Name

September 20, 2000|STEPHANIE STASSEL

The San Fernando Valley College of Law will celebrate a return to the use of its original name at a ribbon-cutting ceremony tonight.

The Valley's only law school, founded in 1962, merged with the University of La Verne in 1985, making it the University of La Verne, San Fernando Valley College of Law campus. The university also runs a law school in Ontario that next month will apply for American Bar Assn. approval.

Because the university is seeking ABA approval for only the Ontario campus, known simply as the University of La Verne College of Law, the ABA insisted there be a greater distinction between the two schools.

"They didn't want any mistake that would link one with the other in terms of their approval," said Stephen Morgan, University of La Verne president. "They instructed us to build a wall between those two schools and that's what we did."

So, the Oxnard Street campus will again be known as the San Fernando Valley College of Law, which pleases Mark Blackman, president of the 1,800-member San Fernando Valley Bar Assn.

"They're going back to their roots to promote themselves as a law school, which is good for us," said Blackman, who practices law in Encino. "Since they want to concentrate on the Valley, we will have a better chance of working with them on volunteer projects."

The San Fernando Valley College of Law, which is accredited by the Committee of Bar Examiners of the State Bar of California, may someday also try for ABA accreditation, Morgan said.

To be accredited by the ABA, a school must meet several criteria, including ownership of its physical facilities, having a specified number of volumes in its library and a faculty salary structure that is in line with other ABA-approved law schools, said Yvette Underdue Murph, director of marketing and admissions for the San Fernando Valley College of Law.

"I would not want to close the door on [ABA accreditation], although we don't have definite plans at this time and don't want to make that commitment," Morgan said.

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