Non-profit

Peoples College of Law

PCL-logo (link)
Website:

www.peoplescollegeoflaw.edu/

Location:

LOS ANGELES, CA

Tax ID:

95-2901087

Tax-Exempt Status:

501(c)(3)

Budget (2017):

Revenue: $185,740
Expenses: $201,580
Assets: $552,117

Peoples College of Law is a law school located in Los Angeles, California. It is notable for the priority it places on left-of-center activism among students and graduates, and for its historic connections to the American radical left especially through the radical-left-aligned National Lawyers Guild. [1]

It is not accredited by the American Bar Association, but its students may qualify to take the California Bar Examination. [2]

History

Peoples College of Law (PCL) grew out of radical-left movements of the 1960s and 1970s. Originally named “The Guild Law School,” it was founded in 1974 by the National Lawyers Guild, La Raza National Students Association, the Asian Law Collective, and the National Conference of Black Lawyers. [3] In 1975, The New York Times described PCL as a “product” of the National Lawyers Guild, [4] and one of the school’s co-founders was former National Lawyers Guild president Henry di Suvero. [5]

The National Lawyers Guild of the early 1970s was heavily influenced by radical-left movements, and its membership included “communists, Maoists, Trotskyists and other assorted radicals.” [6] Some National Lawyers Guild members were active in terrorist groups such as the Weather Underground and the May 19th Communist Organization. [7] At its 1973 convention, the year before PCL was founded, the National Lawyers Guild declared that “the main component of the socialist revolution in the United States will be an organized revolutionary working class.” [8]

Recognized as the “only radical law school in the country” by 1975, PCL admitted former members of Students for a Democratic Society and was “virtually run by [its] students.” [9] According to a staff member at the time, PCL was unsure whether it would seek accreditation from the state of California, since that “would mean flunking people, and we’re not sure we want to do that.” [10] PCL did seek provisional accreditation in 1983, but withdrew its application the following year. [11]

Today, PCL’s declared objective is “liberating the working class.” [12] It explicitly seeks to train attorneys who will be “dedicated to securing progressive social change and justice in society.” [13] It maintains a “strong relationship” with the Los Angeles chapter of the National Lawyers Guild. [14]

Admissions and Academics

PCL is an unaccredited degree-granting law school and maintains a “philosophy of open access and non-competitive learning.” [15] The academic curriculum at PCL features standard law school course offerings such as torts, contracts, constitutional law, criminal procedure, and legal writing. [16] Graduates of the school receive a Juris Doctor degree and are eligible to sit for the California Bar Examination. [17]

The school emphasizes left-wing activism in its recruitment. Admitted students “must demonstrate a commitment to progressive social change” and “be willing to employ the skills gained at the school to further these progressive causes in their own way.” [18] PCL admissions efforts are “strongly directed toward socio-politically conscious” minority students, and it strives to maintain a student body that is “at least half women and two/thirds Third World People.” [19]

Graduates from PCL have struggled to pass the bar examination relative to the state average. Disclosures required by the State Bar of California reveal that fewer than 10 percent of the 65 graduates who took the California Bar Exam between July 2014 and July 2019 passed. [20] Additional information released by PCL reveals that pass rates have ranged between zero and 42.9 percent for classes graduating from 2015 through 2019. [21] The overall pass rate for all takers of the California bar in recent years has ranged from 26.8 percent to 50.1 percent. [22]

Funding

PCL is funded in large part through tuition payments. Annual tuition is $5,000, and the estimated total first year cost of attendance for students is $6,921. [23] This is significantly lower than the average cost of law school in the United States. [24]

The organization files its IRS Form 990s under the name “The Guild Law School,” doing business as Peoples College of Law. [25] In 2018 it reported $215,822 in revenue, with $85,578 of that coming from tuition payments. [26] In 2017, it reported $185,740 in revenue, with $131,215 of that coming from tuition payments. [27] In 2016, it reported $116,200 in revenue, with $80,600 of that coming from tuition payments. [28]

PCL has also received occasional grants from nonprofit organizations, including $40,000 from FOIC Charity in 2014,[29] and $2,000 from the Fertig Freedom Foundation in 2017. [30]

People

Gloria Perez-Stewart is the chair of PCL’s board for the 2019-2020 term. [31] An alumna of PCL, she is an attorney specializing in disability law and the special education needs of children and families. [32] She has also worked for the ACLU of Texas, the National Council of La Raza (now UnidosUS), and the Industrial Areas Foundation. [33]

Ira Spiro is the dean of PCL for the 2019-2020 term. [34] He is an attorney specializing in employee-side employment relations, particularly wage and hour class action suits. [35] An alumnus of the University of California, Berkeley School of Law, he has served as a member of the ethics committee and the alternative dispute resolution committee of the State Bar of California. [36]

Notable PCL alumni include UCLA Labor Center director and California Federation of Teachers vice president Kent Wong,[37] California State Senator and former labor union executive Maria Elena Durazo (D-Los Angeles),[38] and former Mayor of Los Angeles Antonio Villaraigosa (D), who reportedly failed the bar exam four times and never passed. [39] Radical-left activist and former Black Panther Party member B. Kwaku Duren graduated from PCL in 1988,[40] practicing law in the Los Angeles area before the California Supreme Court disbarred him in 2017. [41]

References

  1. “PCL Admissions Booklet 2019-2020.” Peoples College of Law. Accessed September 16, 2020. Available at: http://www.peoplescollegeoflaw.edu/admissions/admissions-booklet/ ^
  2. “Disclosure Statement.” Peoples College of Law, June 27, 2020. http://www.peoplescollegeoflaw.edu/admissions/disclosure-statement/. ^
  3. “PCL Admissions Booklet 2019-2020.” Peoples College of Law. Accessed September 16, 2020. Available at: http://www.peoplescollegeoflaw.edu/admissions/admissions-booklet/ ^
  4. “A Radical Law School Enters its 2d Year.” The New York Times. October 16, 1975. Accessed September 17, 2020. Available at: https://www.nytimes.com/1975/10/16/archives/a-radical-law-school-enters-its-2d-year.html ^
  5. “Unaccredited Law Schools Face Scrutiny on Coast.” The New York Times. April 16, 1979. Accessed September 17, 2020. Available at: https://www.nytimes.com/1979/04/16/archives/unaccredited-law-schools-face-scrutiny-on-coast.html ^
  6. Klehr, Harvey. “Far Left of Center: The American Radical Left Today.” (New Brunswick. Transaction Books. 1988), pp. 162 ^
  7. Klehr, Harvey. “Far Left of Center: The American Radical Left Today.” (New Brunswick. Transaction Books. 1988), pp. 162 ^
  8. Klehr, Harvey. “Far Left of Center: The American Radical Left Today.” (New Brunswick. Transaction Books. 1988), pp. 163 ^
  9. “A Radical Law School Enters its 2d Year.” The New York Times. October 16, 1975. Accessed September 17, 2020. Available at: https://www.nytimes.com/1975/10/16/archives/a-radical-law-school-enters-its-2d-year.html ^
  10. “A Radical Law School Enters its 2d Year.” The New York Times. October 16, 1975. Accessed September 17, 2020. Available at: https://www.nytimes.com/1975/10/16/archives/a-radical-law-school-enters-its-2d-year.html              ^
  11. “Disclosure Statement.” Peoples College of Law. May 2020. Accessed September 16, 2020. Available at: http://www.peoplescollegeoflaw.edu/admissions/disclosure-statement/ ^
  12. “PCL Admissions Booklet 2019-2020.” Peoples College of Law. Accessed September 16, 2020. Available at: http://www.peoplescollegeoflaw.edu/admissions/admissions-booklet/ ^
  13. “About PCL” Peoples College of Law. Accessed September 16, 2020. Available at: http://www.peoplescollegeoflaw.edu/about-pcl/ ^
  14. “Student Handbook & Catalog.” Peoples College of Law. June 2020. Accessed September 17, 2020. Available at: http://www.peoplescollegeoflaw.edu/academic-requirements/student-handbook/ ^
  15. “PCL Admissions Booklet 2019-2020.” Peoples College of Law. Accessed September 16, 2020. Available at: http://www.peoplescollegeoflaw.edu/admissions/admissions-booklet/ ^
  16. “Schedule of Courses 2020-2021.” Peoples College of Law. Accessed September 16, 2020. Available at: http://www.peoplescollegeoflaw.edu/schedule-of-courses/ ^
  17. “PCL Admissions Booklet 2019-2020.” Peoples College of Law. Accessed September 16, 2020. Available at: http://www.peoplescollegeoflaw.edu/admissions/admissions-booklet/ ^
  18. “About PCL” Peoples College of Law. Accessed September 16, 2020. Available at: http://www.peoplescollegeoflaw.edu/about-pcl/ ^
  19. “About PCL” Peoples College of Law. Accessed September 16, 2020. Available at: http://www.peoplescollegeoflaw.edu/about-pcl/ ^
  20. “Disclosure Statement.” Peoples College of Law. May 2020. Accessed September 16, 2020. Available at: http://www.peoplescollegeoflaw.edu/admissions/disclosure-statement/ ^
  21. “California Bar Exam Pass Rates for Recent Graduating Classes.” Peoples College of Law. Accessed September 18, 2020. Available at: http://www.peoplescollegeoflaw.edu/admissions/bar-exam-pass-rates-by-graduation-year/ ^
  22. Zaretsky, Staci. “With Record Low Pass Rate, Almost Everyone Fails California Bar Exam.” Above the Law. May 11, 2020. Accessed September 16, 2020. Available at: https://abovethelaw.com/2020/05/with-record-low-pass-rate-almost-everyone-fails-california-bar-exam/ ^
  23. “Tuition at PCL.” Peoples College of Law. Accessed September 15, 2020. Available at: http://www.peoplescollegeoflaw.edu/admissions/tuition/ ^
  24. Hess, Abigail. “Only 23% of law school grads say their education was worth the cost.” CNBC. February 21, 2018. Accessed September 15, 2020. Available at:               https://www.cnbc.com/2018/02/21/only-23-percent-of-law-school-grads-say-their-education-was-worth-the-cost.html ^
  25. Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax (Form 990). The Guild Law School. 2018. ^
  26. Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax (Form 990). The Guild Law School. 2018. Part VIII (Statement of Revenue). ^
  27. Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax (Form 990). The Guild Law School. 2017. Part VIII (Statement of Revenue). ^
  28. Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax (Form 990). The Guild Law School. 2016. Part VIII (Statement of Revenue). ^
  29. Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax (Form 990). FOIC Charity. 2014. Schedule I. ^
  30. Return of Private Foundation (Form 990-PF). Fertig Freedom Foundation. 2017. Part XV (Supplementary Information). ^
  31. “Community Board.” Peoples College of Law. Accessed September 15, 2020. Available at: http://www.peoplescollegeoflaw.edu/about-pcl/community-board/ ^
  32. “Gloria Perez-Stewart: Bio and Professional Experience” GPS Law Office, PC. Accessed September 15, 2020. Available at: https://www.gpslaw.net/new-page-1 ^
  33. “Gloria Perez-Stewart: Bio and Professional Experience” GPS Law Office, PC. Accessed September 15, 2020. Available at: https://www.gpslaw.net/new-page-1 ^
  34. “Community Board.” Peoples College of Law. Accessed September 15, 2020. Available at: http://www.peoplescollegeoflaw.edu/about-pcl/community-board/ ^
  35. “Ira Spiro.” Spiro Law Corp. Accessed September 15, 2020. Available at: http://www.spirolawcorp.com/ira-spiro/ ^
  36. “Ira Spiro.” Spiro Law Corp. Accessed September 15, 2020. Available at: http://www.spirolawcorp.com/ira-spiro/ ^
  37. “PCL Admissions Booklet 2019-2020.” Peoples College of Law. Accessed September 16, 2020. Available at: http://www.peoplescollegeoflaw.edu/admissions/admissions-booklet/ ^
  38. “Biography.” Senator Maria Elena Durazo. Accessed September 15, 2020. Available at: https://sd24.senate.ca.gov/biography ^
  39. Song, Jason; Kim, Victoria; and Poindexter, Sandra. “Times Investigation: Nearly 9 in 10 students drop out of unaccredited law schools in California.” Los Angeles Times. July 25, 2015. Accessed September 15, 2020. Available at: https://www.latimes.com/local/education/la-me-law-schools-20150726-story.html ^
  40. “PCL Admissions Booklet 2019-2020.” Peoples College of Law. Accessed September 16, 2020. Available at: http://www.peoplescollegeoflaw.edu/admissions/admissions-booklet/ ^
  41. “Attorney Licensee Profile B. Kwaku Duren #147789.” The State Bar of California. Accessed September 16, 2020. Available at: http://members.calbar.ca.gov/fal/Licensee/Detail/147789 ^
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Nonprofit Information

  • Accounting Period: August - July
  • Tax Exemption Received: July 1, 1977

  • Available Filings

    Period Form Type Total revenue Total functional expenses Total assets (EOY) Total liabilities (EOY) Unrelated business income? Total contributions Program service revenue Investment income Comp. of current officers, directors, etc. Form 990
    2017 Aug Form 990 $185,740 $201,580 $552,117 $1,595 N $0 $155,740 $0 $0 PDF
    2016 Aug Form 990 $116,200 $144,430 $566,362 $0 N $0 $86,200 $0 $0 PDF
    2015 Aug Form 990 $115,969 $153,430 $594,592 $0 N $0 $85,969 $0 $0 PDF
    2014 Aug Form 990 $189,750 $119,945 $632,053 $0 N $53,000 $106,750 $0 $0 PDF
    2013 Aug Form 990 $153,512 $126,875 $562,397 $0 N $3,487 $114,500 $0 $0 PDF
    2012 Aug Form 990 $160,710 $141,000 $590,180 $0 N $0 $122,560 $0 $0 PDF
    2011 Aug Form 990 $145,901 $164,657 $558,822 $0 N $1,535 $139,151 $0 $0 PDF

    Additional Filings (PDFs)

    Peoples College of Law

    660 S BONNIE BRAE ST
    LOS ANGELES, CA 90057-3710