Blog and Recent News
Wow! Just finished our first mid-term for Fall 2013. What a relief!
My expectations have been far surpassed at CDTA as John Patrick Dolan’s vision for a Coachella Valley law school becomes a reality. CDTA features an impressive array of knowledgeable and experienced faculty who have made educating trial lawyers their top priority.
In addition, CDTA’s Registrar/Director of Admissions, Irene Garcia Dolan, adds a personal touch to the educational process with her concern for each student and her efficiency in administration. I highly recommend CDTA for anyone interested in pursuing a legal education.
Douglas J. Roger
Yes, they're still opening law schools
My experience attending CDTA has been unique, enjoyable and rewarding. While trying to make the decision on whether to apply to CDTA, there were several different factors that I had to consider: the cost, the convenience, and the quality of education I would receive. CDTA has exceeded my expectations in every aspect.CDTA is the best choice because it combines affordability, a strategic course facility and a practical learning opportunity.
At CDTA, student’s benefit from a diverse and experienced group of professors and the classes are of an exceptional quality of education. The professors are all very knowledgeable of their respective areas and are willing to assist you in any way possible. The fact they are all practicing attorneys is effective; they don't just teach from theory, they are able to bring their real life experiences to class and apply it to what they are teaching. Not only are the professors knowledgeable, they really care about the students and want to see each of us succeed. Furthermore, the faculty is supportive of each student’s future plans and committed to the achievement of our goals.
CDTA provides the students with the support we need to succeed. I am pleased and proud to be a part of CDTA College of Law.
Nicole L. Ebarb
by Karen Sloan
California Desert Trial Academy, COLLEGE OF LAW
Attorney John Patrick Dolan met plenty of skepticism when he unveiled his vision for a law school in California's Coachella Valley that would focus on preparing students for trial advocacy. Detractors argued that California doesn't need any more lawyers or law schools, but Dolan saw unmet demand in Indio, about 70 miles away from the next closest law school — the California Southern Law School in Riverside, Calif.
Dolan and local supporters pushed forward and in early September welcomed 16 students to the California Desert Trial Academy. In June, the State Bar of California recognized the project as a registered, unaccredited, fixed-facility law school that can confer J.D.s, but administrators ran into a snag when it came to financial aid for students. Without accreditation by the state bar, the American Bar Association or another regional accrediting body, students are not eligible for federal education loans. The 16 students who are enrolled are paying the $12,000 annual tuition out-of-pocket, Dolan said.
"The financial aid is an obstacle we need to overcome, and we're working on resolving that," he said. "We would have had a class of about 25 students this year, but some people said they couldn't do it without access to federal loans." Dolan plans to ask an accrediting agency to evaluate the curriculum and facilities this year. Pending accreditation, students will have to sit for California's First Year Law Students' Exam, also known as the "baby bar," following their first year.
This year's crop of students comprise almost entirely career changers, including a real estate agent, a doctor, a political aide and a court clerk. The average student is "well over 30" years old, Dolan said. The curriculum is designed to take four years to complete.
For now, classes are held in the local law library, but the school is in the final stages of purchasing a building and Dolan expects renovations to be completed in time for the next academic year. Keeping with the trial-advocacy theme, the renovated building will include several mock courtrooms.
Dolan hopes to enroll between 100 and 120 students within four years. The 10 faculty members are practicing attorneys. "We're interested in being an ABA-accredited law school, but that's probably a decade down the road," Dolan said.