Paralegal School Is Closing The Philadelphia Institute Shuts Friday, As 92 Full-time Students Finish Their Training.

Posted: January 20, 1996

The Philadelphia Institute, a paralegal training school on Arch Street, plans to close next Friday after 25 years because its owners cannot find a buyer, the school's dean said last night.

Ninety-two full-time students are expected to complete their four-month training programs on the institute's last day. More than 70 other part-time students will see their training aborted in midstream, according to the dean, Henry Dantzig Jr.

Students said rumors of a shutdown began circulating through the school on Tuesday, when the accounting office informed part-timers that they could not register for new programs.

Dantzig, who is also the institute's director of education, confirmed the bad news during a personal visit to each of the five daytime programs yesterday.

``I know that you will join us in our sadness at this development,'' he wrote in a seven-paragraph memorandum delivered to students.

Dantzig and students said the shutdown means the school's pending and past graduates will lose what was to have been a prime benefit of enrollment: the school's highly successful career development center.

``I don't have a job yet, and I figured that I could lean on the career development center if I had trouble landing a job,'' said Kristin Tweed, 23, of Morris County, N.J. ``I guess I'm a little afraid that I'm going to have more difficulty without them there.''

Dantzig said the institute opened in 1970 and is owned by two principal shareholders from Bethesda, Md.: Jessie W. Keiser, the president and chairman of the board, and her son, Matthew W. Keiser, the secretary and treasurer.

Dantzig said he did not know the extent of debt the Keisers were incurring to keep the school open and to keep its full-time staff of 15 working.

``There is considerable overhead in running a school like this,'' he said. ``They struggled to make this tough call. I know they have tried to do everything to move the company and keep the place afloat for as long as they could. They got to a point where they couldn't do it any longer.''

Students said they did not blame Dantzig or other staff for the closing. But they still feel betrayed.

``I paid $6,500 for not only the education, but the guarantees that were given to me for after I leave,'' said Eric Kirkessner, 27, of Hershey. ``I'm more than satisfied with the education. It's just the way this was handled.''

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