Friday, October 1, 2010

Pace Law School phasing out part-time evening program

The rumors are true.  Dean Michelle Simon sent out a letter to alumni this week confirming that after this fall there will be no more part-time evening program.  Dean Simon writes

There has been, however, a confluence of factors over the years that has caused us to re-evaluate our evening program and nudged us toward the conclusion that under the circumstances, those resources need to be reallocated so that the law school can continue to evolve in non-traditional and flexible ways.  ... While we are sorry to be letting go of a program that has been a touchstone of the Pace Law legal experience, and has resulted in a cohort of such talented, successful, and supportive alumni, we are confident that the benefits far outweigh the losses and will result in your Pace Law degree becoming even more valuable.
I hope this is true, but as a 2003 graduate of the evening program at Pace Law School, I am sorry to see it go.  I understand the decision but don't agree with it.  Evening students participate in so many aspects of law school life, e.g. moot court and law review, and bring unique life experience to the classroom.  Many evening program students I know would not have been able to attend law school were it not for the part-time evening program.  I'll miss the interesting students it brought to the law school.

To other Pace Law alums and current students--what do you think?


  1. I have to agree with you Cynthia. I was also a graduate of the evening program and am disheartened to see it go. As a student, I had to work while obtaining my law degree. The evening program gave me an opportunity to pursue my career aspirations. The experience was tremendous. I fear Pace Law will lose a segment of it's student population that can provide a lifetime of experience.

    As an evening student, I took criminal procedure class with actual police officers seeking law degrees. I took law classes with engineers, doctors (even the Westchester County Health Commissioner) and other professionals. These types of students provided a welcome balance to the school's population made up of recent college graduates.

    You can't find that kind of insight in a book. In any event, I hope the change will help Pace achieve the higher ranking it deserves.

  2. A pity - lost opportunities for both evening and day students!

    Having studied biology and in parallel taken classes in law in the past, I have seen how different a student body can be when it includes seasoned students from a variety of careers. I attribute the beneficial effect to the presence of actual professionals among students passing along considerably more than their academic knowledge and networking opportunities.

    At Pace I am making similar observations comparing day, evening and mixed classes. Day students will often have time for more detailed class preparation. However, taking “crimlaw” having a police detective in your class, health law with a doctor present or patent law with a couple of patent agents thrown in does add a bit of spice. The secret is in the mix, and every student benefits.

    Current and prospective evening students are not the only Pace students who lose. Day students will be impacted considerably as well.

  3. I am a 3L full-time, day student, and have not heard anything about this until now. I am curious to know what the implications are. Are they still going to accept part-time students? Are there going to be any classes offered in the evening hours? Because even every full-time student I know has taken at least 1 "evening" class. My biggest complaint about Pace is that there has always been a lack of communication with the students and a lack of seeking input from students. I am sorry to hear this has happened without anyone knowing about it.

  4. As an evening student, I have to say I am more than disappointed to see the program go. I wouldn't be able to attend law school if it were not for the evening program, and I know the same is true for most of the people who are in my classes. I can understand Pace Law trying to change the dynamic, etc., of the school for ranking purposes, but I absolutely do not believe it is fair to make one section of the students suffer more than the others (here, evening v. day). I always felt that the evening students were offered less than the day students, but I never had a serious problems since less time and evening hours make some thing impractical. However, to get rid of an entire program is, in my opinion, the wrong way to go to improve the school. I think this is truly sad, and I hope the rest of my time here is not sorely affected by this change (that is, if I stay).

  5. I'm baffled by this decision. If it's all about the rankings, than why cancel the program that will graduate the most qualified professionals? In fact, where have many of the recent Grand Moot winners, valedictorians, and other prominent students come from? If you guessed the evening program, you'd be right.

    I think Pace needs to stop and take a moment to recognize not just what the school loses, but what White Plains, Westchester County, and New York City loses. This is NOT the economy with which professionals in the city can step away from their jobs for three years to attend law school. In fact, taking Pace out of consideration for them leaves all of New York City with a scant handful of less-prestigious or higher-cost evening programs.

    History is littered with unfortunate decisions made in a vacuum, without full comprehension of the costs, and without full recognition of alternatives. Had any administrator at Pace approached us evening students and said "hey, enrollment is down. we need to recruit more professional and capable people from the business world. will you help us?", Pace would have an instant army of enthusiastic people at the ready. But instead, nobody approached us for ideas (as they seldom approach us for anything else), and we discover they've acted on what they thought was their only solution.

    It's a shame, really. I can only take solace in hearing that Pace remains committed to the current classes of evening students. I hope that keeps up, and I don't plan on leaving this school and entering the workforce without making this school proud.

  6. I am deeply disappointed in the way that the law school administration handled breaking the news to the law school community. Although I started off in the PT Evening program I transferred to the day program, and since I am now "officially" a day student I received no official notification from the school and heard the news from classmates. Although the administration can obviously do what they feel is best in running Pace Law School we that are here now are still a community and should be treated as such. Even though it may not effect everyone, every member of the Pace Law School community should be aware of a change this big being made.

  7. @ Karen B. I looked into why you had not heard about this decision, especially as a current student, an active part of the community. It appears that the information about this decision was given only to those on a "need to know" basis - that being current p/t students. I looked into this lack of communication and it seems you are not the only one to be surprised by this decision. In fact, our SBA president didn't even know. I fear that this decision was made by a select group of faculty and administrators following their own personal perspectives. What input was generated by students (day and part-time), alumni - at least the alumni association and - the board of visitors. The letter informs us that it was an internal decision, made by faculty, what were the pros and cons considered. I am interested to learn more about the decision making process. What are these "confluence of factors over the years" that lead to this decision.