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Jefferson law school's dean admits school's errors

Expense of new building, "indecipherable scholarship policy" noted in memo

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.

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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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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.

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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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