SLO law school gets new owner

A local part-time law school is changing ownership, merging with the Monterey College of Law.

The University of San Luis Obispo, a registered unaccredited law school now located in Morro Bay, will become a new branch of the Monterey College of Law, a law school accredited with the Committee of Bar Examiners of the State Bar of California.

The new branch will be called the San Luis Obispo College of Law.

The start of weekday night classes in the new operation is planned for the fall, pending final approval of the branch by the State Bar. The new school has begun accepting applications.

The school has received approval from the San Luis Obispo Planning Department to hold classes in the basement suite at 733 Marsh St. The existing San Luis Obispo law school — which has been operated by Charles Porter, a retired Kern County judge, since 1999 — will cease operations in July.

Porter, 75, said he was planning to wind down his work and he decided that joining with the Monterey College of Law was the best option.

“I was approached by the school’s president, Mitch Winick, about having them take over, and the idea made sense for me,” Porter said. “The agreement between our two law schools provides an opportunity for my students to transfer to a respected accredited law school program and for me to play a role in establishing the first accredited law school in San Luis Obispo.”

The Monterey College of Law has 120 students, with its main campus located in Seaside and a firstyear program in Santa Cruz that feeds into the Seaside program.

Porter’s program has 20 students.

Winick said the new San Luis Obispo branch plans to use local lawyers and judges to serve as adjunct faculty at the new operation.

“One of the greatest strengths of our program is that we have experienced, practicing attorneys and judges teaching our students,” Winick said. “This model has worked for more than 40 years at our main campus, and we expect it to be equally successful in San Luis Obispo.”