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Thomas Guernsey, who has been dean of the ailing Thomas Jefferson School of Law since July, has sent a memo to staff admitting past sins and revealing massive pay and staff cuts.

Among the troubled school's missteps has been a growth in the size of the administration and "building a facility as grand as ours," says the dean. Jefferson built a new building that is now a monetary drag on the institution.

The 2014 budget has been slashed by $4.8 million. Jefferson laid off 12 staff members, "eliminated many more unfilled positions, cut staff salaries by a minimum of 5% and cut faculty salaries by a minimum of 8%," says the dean.

Jefferson has consistently had among the lowest bar-passage rates of California law shoals. It was last among 21 schools in 2012 and the school has been slow to address the problem, Guernsey says in his memo. Sweeping changes to help students pass the bar are under way — as well plans to help those who are repeat takers.

"Students have had a legitimate complaint about our often indecipherable scholarship policy," he says, and steps are being taken to address that fault. As earlier reported, Jefferson's bonds have plunged into junk bond territory.

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Comments

MURPHYJUNK Dec. 13, 2013 @ 8:32 a.m.

wow, a lawyer admits something even when faced with the facts?

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Don Bauder Dec. 13, 2013 @ 10:43 a.m.

Murphyjunk: Some who got his memo had a similar comment: What's this? A lawyer admitting the truth? Of course, Guernsey has only been there since July. Best, Don Bauder

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Brian_T_Peterson_DVM Dec. 13, 2013 @ 9:16 a.m.

I was curious if TJ School of Law received a redevelopment agency subsidy for its new building in East Village. In my Google search I ran into this result: “Sickening Fourth Tier Stench Pile: Thomas Jefferson School of Law.” (http://thirdtierreality.blogspot.com/2010/10/sickening-fourth-tier-stench-pile.html ) Nice title. The “Third Tier Reality” website starts with a nice, one-paragraph overview suggesting why someone, who is not 100% deluded, would go to a school like TJ. Anyway, I could not find any information suggesting that TJ received a subsidy. So, maybe this was one thing CCDC actually did right.

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Visduh Dec. 13, 2013 @ 9:32 a.m.

That link to a blistering indictment of the school is amusing to read--IF you are a spectator. It is really not as bad as the commentator says it is, but the reality is not a pretty picture. A few of the grads actually will have good, remunerative and successful legal careers. And they may not be those who placed highest in their classes. That's reality and how there is a disconnect between academic success and career success.

I do have one question and that is the dean's reference to their "scholarship policy." The term "scholarship" can refer to different things, although the usual reference is to the granting of scholarships in the form of reduced fees, tuition, and even assistance with living expenses. Another meaning is "learning; knowledge acquired by study; the academic attainments of a scholar." Maybe he's not talking about their system of allowing some students to avoid paying the full freight to attend, but rather is referring to their methods of teaching, grading criteria, etc. What you may be reading there is some legal obfuscation masquerading as clear commentary. Who knows?

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Don Bauder Dec. 13, 2013 @ 10:47 a.m.

Visduh: Good questions. I assumed he was referring to students who receive financial help of some kind. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder Dec. 13, 2013 @ 10:44 a.m.

Brian: Any building that went up in East Village could well have been subsidized. Best, Don Bauder

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Burwell Dec. 13, 2013 @ 1:41 p.m.

The TJ building project was listed on the CCDC website at one time as a taxpayer subsidized project.

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Don Bauder Dec. 13, 2013 @ 4:32 p.m.

Burwell: Many thanks for the sleuthing. This may be another example of how subsidized businesses can flop if there is no real need for the structure. I wonder if the folks at the former CCDC pressured the school into building a structure it cannot afford. Best, Don Bauder

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