Law School Discussion

Law Students => Online Law Schools => Topic started by: moneymanager on December 30, 2007, 12:23:41 PM

Title: Non-Bar Law Degree
Post by: moneymanager on December 30, 2007, 12:23:41 PM
I am a financial advisor and have numerous clients who have estate planning needs. I have no desire to be a licensed attorney, but I'd like to have the knowledge to inform them of the options available to them, e.g. trusts, etc.

Would an online degree from one of the more reputable schools be a good means by which to accomplish this?

Of course, I'd like to be able to say that I have earned a JD, but I'm more interested in the knowledge than anything.
Title: Re: Non-Bar Law Degree
Post by: joemama on January 14, 2008, 12:55:07 AM
to be a reputable school you need to be aba approved and no online schools are aba approved so save your money, a degree from a non aba school is worthless.  Do not waste your money.
Title: Re: Non-Bar Law Degree
Post by: 1LMan on January 14, 2008, 04:42:45 AM
I am a financial advisor and have numerous clients who have estate planning needs. I have no desire to be a licensed attorney, but I'd like to have the knowledge to inform them of the options available to them, e.g. trusts, etc.

Would an online degree from one of the more reputable schools be a good means by which to accomplish this?

Of course, I'd like to be able to say that I have earned a JD, but I'm more interested in the knowledge than anything.

Not to mention you shouldn't be advising anyone of legal rights without being a licensed attorney.  That could definitely lead to some law suits.
Title: Re: Non-Bar Law Degree
Post by: NeverTrustKlingons on January 14, 2008, 08:20:03 AM
Several schools do one-year 'Master of Legal Studies' programs, either in general law or in a specific area of the law.  If you don't want to spend the three years required to take a bar exam, I suppose it would be a good way to get some basic familiarity with the law?

Programs I know of are Yale (MSL), Albany (MS in Legal Studies w/ Tech Transfer) and Vermont Law School (Master of Science in Environmental Law).  I am sure there are others!

There are lines between using the knowledge you acquire in one of these programs and substantively 'practicing law'... if I had one of these degrees I would contact my state bar and have them spell it out for me.
Title: Re: Non-Bar Law Degree
Post by: 1LMan on January 14, 2008, 08:47:59 AM
Regardless of what degrees you have, one can't be advising clients of their legal rights without being a lawyer.  It simply isn't ethical and a financial planner sure as hell shouldn't be writing a will or trust or anything like that.
Title: Re: Non-Bar Law Degree
Post by: jd2008 on January 22, 2008, 12:26:39 PM
some bar approved law schools have "executive JD" program to those who want to graduate sooner and not practice law or sit the bar. An example is

http://www.scups.edu
Title: Re: Non-Bar Law Degree
Post by: thorc954 on January 22, 2008, 12:34:59 PM
Regardless of what degrees you have, one can't be advising clients of their legal rights without being a lawyer.  It simply isn't ethical and a financial planner sure as hell shouldn't be writing a will or trust or anything like that.


agreed, i would just play it safe, tell your clients to get see an attorney (which is what you should be doing anyway)...

online schools suck.  There is absolutely no point to the degree...  if you want to learn about trust, but a book on it or search through the internet.  Avoid giving legal advice at any cost though.
Title: Re: Non-Bar Law Degree
Post by: jd2008 on January 27, 2008, 11:04:58 AM
I would say play it safe. Dont pretend to be a lawyer if your not licensed, but if you want the education go for it. Many employers will reconise it even if its "executive jd" as long as it is at least nationally accredited. Best of all it would help you as a person if you really do want it. Some employers might even reimburse you, but I'd check first on that with your own boss first.
Title: Re: Non-Bar Law Degree
Post by: jeffislouie on January 29, 2008, 07:40:06 AM
you'd think that the ones that are nationally accredited by DETC which is reconised by the US dept of education would have to meet some standards.

You'd think.
Then again, a quick perusal of the DETC standards and you can see why their accrediation is fairly worthless:
http://www.crnaa.org/CPEC%20Response%20Addendum%20III%20Faculty.pdf

Law schools, graduate schools, and colleges/universities have a higher standard to live up to.  They worry very little about their accreditation standard and focus more on their legacy and reputation.  If they turn out graduates with a high level of knowledge, it reflects highly on them.
On-line universities rarely get referral business.  People rarely go to them to dedicate their efforts to acheive mastery of a topic - most people that attend these on-line colleges do so to qualify for a raise.  I found out the other day that one of my friends worked for phoenix online selling to potential students.  That is not made up.  His job was to convince potential students to sign up and enroll.

To illustrate the issue, put yourself in a hypo:
You are a managing attorney for a boutique firm.  Every year, you are bombarded by hundreds of resumes.  One pops across your desk from a potential employee who graduated from an online program.  Are you going to hire him, or any number of attorneys that went to any real law school?
Let's say you are the ceo of a small but growing company.  You are looking for a competent cfo.  You have candidates with MBA's from the following schools: 1 got his MBA from Illinois State University and the other got his MBA from phoenix online university.  Which would you hire?
When the choices are there to be made, it is pretty clear that the value of the degree from an online institution is questionable at best and a serious disadvantage at worst.
To the OP:  Why do you need to be a lawyer to advise people on trusts and estate planning?
Isn't that something that can be acheived by taking a few classes and getting board certified?
http://www.icfs.com/designations/BCE_Curriculum.html
Title: Re: Non-Bar Law Degree
Post by: DanteHicks on January 29, 2008, 10:36:46 AM
In these times, the reality is that the ABA could be construed as a monopoly on legal education.  While it's true there is a need in the legal profession to have set standards, watchdogs, etc....ultimately it's just a way to charge law students more money.  I have read posts like these time and time again and kept silent but no more.

Is a law degree from a non-ABA school worthless?  Well, what is your definition of worthless?  Can't practice big law, hard to practice outside of the state your non-ABA school was in, stigma; all of these, sadly, are truths of having a non-ABA degree.  Ok, but why is it this way?  Can it be said that overall, the law education received at an ABA school is superior?  If you can say that then can you say that without smirking or can you say that while looking at yourself in a mirror?  I think not.

Here's some ideas to consider (mind you I'm speaking about brick 'n mortar non-ABA schools..not sure yet what to make of online law degrees):

(1)  A non-ABA school (that's worth a flip and yes...there are such schools) utilizes the SAME casebooks, hornbooks, etc.  SAME COMMON LAW, same rules, same principles and by gosh...I would bet a shiny new silver dollar that students from BOTH ABA & non-ABA use the SAME study guides (canned briefs, Gilberts, Glannons..whatever).  Law is law...period.

(2) Students from non-ABA & ABA schools take the SAME...hello...SAME bar exam.  The SAME.  Does the curve get messed with?  Do ABA students get more benefit of the doubt when their essays are graded? Who really knows? Would any of the test graders tell us if they did? Probably not.

(3) Who are your professors?  Of course who am I to judge...yet...think about these facts objectively.  Traditionally, non-ABA schools tend to utilize actual attorneys and judges to teach class whereas ABA schools tend to use professors who mostly live in the academic realm.  More philosophy, more mind games, etc.  Of course there are exceptions and I know that a great deal of ABA professors are legal geniuses and have and do practice law.  In the non-ABA setting, students may get more of a practical education,  particularly in the state-specific area.

(4)  Truth be told....yes 0Ls & 1Ls....by your 3rd or 4th semester...you can TEACH YOURSELF the law!!  Shhhhhh...don't tell anyone.  That's what you do in law school anyways...well plus the hazing and mind-numbing case briefing.  Please don't misconstrue this as egotistical or unfounded gibberish...I'm just a simple, average intelligent guy who happened to notice the truth and will say it openly.  Those of you who are in denial...think about it some more.  I do not know it all and I'm by no means brilliant...just simple obervations.  Does law school have it's usefulness?  Yes of course..it keeps you disciplined, focused, and provides an easy way to measure your progress, but most importantly they give you the basic tools to analyze law and cases.  In the end though...really you're teaching yourself.  So again..ABA...what's the point?  Huge student loans...the price of paying for a name..just like a pair of Levis.

You are paying for the privilege to play lawyer in big arenas.  It's an old elite club where you have to pay your dues.  If that's what you need or what you want...you should grasp it and never apologize!!  For those of you who want to practice the noble profession of law but can't afford it or couldn't go while you're younger and now have to fend for a family...then non-ABA will let you fulfill that dream.

Believe this or not...some young attorneys with mortgage-like student loans have actually said these words when they met other attorneys who attended a non-ABA school:  "Man...I wish I had gone that route".

We all come from different walks of life.  Do not demean someone because of WHERE they got their JD or how much they paid for it!  Walk in someone else's shoe first before you criticize non-ABA schools!

Where do I attend school?  You'd be surprised actually.  Does it really matter where I attend law school?  No...that's my whole point here.

Title: Re: Non-Bar Law Degree
Post by: thorc954 on January 29, 2008, 12:14:17 PM
1) many of the professors at the elite schools practiced at some point or continue to practice while teaching
2) law school learning is somewhat socratic still, and so most of the learning comes from what is said by the students in your class.  That being said, non-ABA law schools are filled with either students that either i) werent smart enough to get into an ABA school, or ii) werent smart enough to realize the importance of going to a school with options upon graduation.  You may say, some people couldnt go to ABA schools because of monetary reasons.  Well, almost everyone at my school could have gone to a tier 2 for free.  In addition, many of them go here for free and done even have to pay for some of their living expenses.
3) very few states allow you to sit for the bar from non-aba schools. who wants to go to a law school and not be able to be a lawyer?


That being said, I will agree that there is a monopoly in the legal education market.  That is a good thing though.  If you read through the posts on this board, there are tier 1 and tier 2 students struggling for jobs for after graduation.  With the state of the economy, tier 3 and tier 4 students must have extreme difficulties finding jobs (except maybe towards the top of their class).  There needs to be a limit on the number of schools.  Not everyone is meant to be a lawyer and non-ABA schools are a way to drink less-then-intelligent people out of money and time.

Now, the OP was talking about an executive-JD which is completely different then what you refer to as non-ABA schools.   I still think it is a waste and dont see the point of it, but that is for the reasons expressed by most people above.

and, I am guessing you go to a t14, cause you write moderately eloquently.  that being said, i really dont care if i am right or wrong.

Title: Re: Non-Bar Law Degree
Post by: jeffislouie on January 29, 2008, 12:17:52 PM
All valid points, but you left one out.
And it's a big one.
In some states, you aren't allowed to sit for the bar unless you attended an ABA accredited law school.
Period.
They don't care if you got the same education.
Based on my lackluster and rather quick research, I found only 7 states that will allow you to take the bar and practice law without an ABA accredited law school degree:
California
Maine
New York
Vermont
Virginia
Washington
Wyoming

And I disagree with you on another point:  the quality of education.  I know that some of my professors are excellent and are recognized experts in their fields.  It is hard to imagine that highly qualified experts would teach at a law school that wasn't ABA approved.
If you think that doesn't matter, I submit that you are wrong.
While you CAN teach yourself the law, it is much more difficult to teach someone to think like a lawyer, fine tune skills and ensure complete mastery.
Before you throw around accusations of unfair treatment, understand that the point becomes:
Would you retain an attorney that you knew didn't attend an accredited law school?
I wouldn't.
For that matter, would you hire a plumber who learned to be a plumber exclusively by reading books about plumbing and had no real world experience?
Of course not.
While I agree the accreditation is strangely monopolistic, it does mean something - namely that the ABA standards for legal education has been met.
However, I'm still not sure that a financial advisor needs a law degree to give clients information and advice about trusts, estates, wills, etc.
You can give the advice, but refer them to an attorney.  Or, be smart about it and set up referral fees with qualified attorneys.  That way, you don't have to spend any money learning everything about the law to give advice about trusts, estates, and wills...
Title: Re: Non-Bar Law Degree
Post by: jd2008 on January 29, 2008, 02:29:58 PM
I for one only plan to practice in CA, although many states would let you transfer after a few year of practice. Several other states also have local only JD programs. I plan to practice private on the real street with real people not corporate raped my daughter and want to get away with it in jamaica type crap. I dont think the average factory worker sueing for back wages will care as long as you are licensed and he can afford you.
Title: Re: Non-Bar Law Degree
Post by: jeffislouie on January 30, 2008, 08:19:49 AM
I for one only plan to practice in CA, although many states would let you transfer after a few year of practice. Several other states also have local only JD programs. I plan to practice private on the real street with real people not corporate raped my daughter and want to get away with it in jamaica type crap. I dont think the average factory worker sueing for back wages will care as long as you are licensed and he can afford you.

That's cool.
But you are wrong about other states.
I'm not criticizing you, per se, but if you honestly think that other states, one's with ABA requirements, are going to allow you to practice under their bar after not following their rules, you are delusional.
I'll try to make this as simple as possible, because it is pretty clear you don't understand how it works.
The bar exam is the entry point to a law license, conferred by a bar association.
In all but 7 ststes, one requirement for taking the bar exam is that you graduated from an aba-approved law school.  On this, there is no wiggle room.
Once you sit for the bar in a particular state, and presumably pass, you are only authorized under that license and in that state.
Now, some states do allow bar members in good standing the ability to practice in other states.  To my knowledge, California (a state where anyone can take the bar even if he got his degree online) will accept most states bar license.  This is not true going the other way (in most cases) PRIMARILY BECAUSE other states don't want lawyers who didn't learn at aba law schools to come to their state and practice.  Bad things can happen. 
As for your arguement that the average factory worker would hire you even though you didn't go to an ABA approved school - how wonderful it is that you think so highly of your potential clients.  What a shame.
People are not always as stupid as you think.
I still believe that given the choice between an attorney with a degree from UCLA law school and a degree from some law school that isn't aba approved, they will choose the aba lawyer over you at least 9 times out of 10.
It's okay that you don't understand the deficiency of a degree from an institution that failed to receive accreditation from the ABA.  It really doesn't bother me that you think that your potential clients will be too stupid to realize that they are hiring an attorney who thinks they are too stupid to choose an aba lawyer over a guy who took his law classes on line and wouldn't be recognized as an attorney is 43 other states.  It's your world....
"ABA accreditation is important not only because it affects the recognition of the law schools involved, but it also impacts a graduate's ability to practice law in a particular state. Specifically, in most jurisdictions, graduation from an ABA-accredited law school is expressly stated as a prerequisite towards being allowed to sit for that state's bar exam, and even for existing lawyers to be admitted to the bar of another state upon motion. Even states which recognize unaccredited schools within its borders will generally not recognize such schools from other jurisdictions for purposes of bar admission."

But you'll never leave California, right?  Ever. 
And it's not like there are any lawyers in California that are members of the aba, went to aba approved law schools, and have the ability to practice in almost any state.
Nope.
The majority of california attorneys went to non-aba approved law schools, took the bar, and practice law.
Right?
Oh, wait.
You must know something that most of the attorney's in cali don't?
Attending an ABA approved law school should be the goal.  Trying to convince people, even tacitly, that non-aba law schools are just as good is an empty, baseless argument that is counterproductive to the legal community at large.
Title: Re: Non-Bar Law Degree
Post by: jd06 on January 30, 2008, 09:08:55 AM
To my knowledge, California (a state where anyone can take the bar even if he got his degree online) will accept most states bar license. 

Slight correction.  CA will allow attorney's licensed in other states to sit for the CA bar exam.  (Attorney's do not have to take the MBE portion.)  Zero reciprocity in CA. 

Agree with most of what you're saying re quality of attorneys but, depending on what kind of law you're practicing, in my experience as a CA lawyer, most clients don't ask nor do they care where you went to school.  Your level of experience is much more important to them (as it should be).  They just want to know how you're going to help solve their problem and how much it's going to cost....
Title: Re: Non-Bar Law Degree
Post by: jeffislouie on January 30, 2008, 12:28:07 PM
Fair enough.
My experience with attorney's is limited as my representation has always been family.  There is no question they were qualified.
I asked a friend of mine in California though to see what he said and he chose his attorney based on discussions with several attorneys.  One of the questions he asked was "where did you go to law school."  If he hadn't heard of the school, he checked with the ABA and saw it as a negative if the school wasn't ABA approved.
It wasn't necessarily THE determining factor, but it is A determining factor.
To restate:  An ABA approved law school is going to provide a better education because they have met or exceeded ABA requirements, have a better draw for educators, and the schools develop some level of prestige.  There is a distinct advantage.  Graduates from ABA approved law schools can apply to sit for the bar or motion for bar admittance, whereas JD's from non-ABA approved law schools are not permitted to practice in 43 of the 50 states in this union, giving aba approved JD's a distinct advantage to live where they want.

Title: Re: Non-Bar Law Degree
Post by: DanteHicks on January 31, 2008, 08:30:58 AM
Excellent...so you all DO agree that the ABA is just a monopoly!

Those arguing that the ABA is superior because the ABA says they are proves my point for me.  Thanks!

Once again I beg the question, please tell me how different is ABA compared to non-ABA education wise?

Again these comments are only my opinions based on observations and nothing more...what I think means nothing to anyone else.




Title: Re: Non-Bar Law Degree
Post by: jd06 on January 31, 2008, 09:24:16 AM
The ABA is not a monopoly.  Each state sets its own standards for admission.  They are free to disregard the ABA.  LSD could set up its own accreditation committee and lobby the state for recognition.  But the ABA, because of the long list of objective/subjective parameters that it requires a law school to satisfy for its stamp of approval, simply serves as a convenient quality control mechanism.  It has a relatively long history as the industry's gold standard. 

If you really want to learn about the difference between an ABA-approved and a non-ABA-approved education, simply do a little research on the ABA's minimum requirements.  I think you'll find that most of those requirements are a strong indicia of a quality legal education and that they help ensure that students are getting what they paid for. Out here in CA, we've got non-ABA, non-CBA, for-profit institutions that charge big bucks and rarely produce a graduate that can pass the bar exam.  Certainly, some of that can be attributed to the quality of the student, but the statistics are so glaring, year after year, that one can't help but assign at least some blame to the instituion. I would imagine the results would be similar in other states were they to adopt our model.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that, even in your world of no accreditation process, not much would change because, while "inferior" schools don't necessarily produce inferior lawyers, they rarely produce a lawyer at all.       
Title: Re: Non-Bar Law Degree
Post by: DanteHicks on January 31, 2008, 11:10:42 AM
Again this is just my opinion.

I have indeed looked at the ABA requirements that make them superior; office for every professor and a seat for every student in the library.

 ;D
Title: Re: Non-Bar Law Degree
Post by: thorc954 on January 31, 2008, 01:22:02 PM
Dante, non-aba law students are too dumb to get into aba law schools.  That should be enough of a reason to think they are inferior.  That is just my opinion, plus that of everyone with a pulse that can think either logically or coherently.
Title: Re: Non-Bar Law Degree
Post by: jeffislouie on January 31, 2008, 03:05:30 PM
Again this is just my opinion.

I have indeed looked at the ABA requirements that make them superior; office for every professor and a seat for every student in the library.

 ;D

sounds like you've already made up your mind, but just in case this isn't flame, here you go:
http://www.abanet.org/legaled/resources/faq.html
http://www.abanet.org/legaled/standards/standards.html

You've boiled it down to offices for professors and seats for students?
Let's assume that is correct (clearly, it isn't) - that means schools without the aba accreditation DON'T have offices for professors or seats for the students.  Sounds like a fun place.  I wonder what it would be like without professors office hours and the ability to sit down and study in the library......
A basic look at the standards reveals a reasonable structure.  Even a cursory glance over the rules should force you to ask the question that as an aspiring attorney, you should have come to by now:  Why ISN'T an unaccredited-by-the-aba school accredited?
Therein lies the answer.  The aba reviewed their school and denied them.  It would be a massive shock to me to think the aba wouldn't provide a school in that situation with a detailed list of reason why.
Which begs the next question:  Why haven't they made the reasonable changes suggested by the aba?
What exactly is the down side of getting an aba accreditation?  since it is clear that 43 of the 50 states in our great union will not allow an attorney even sit for the bar without an aba accreditation, wouldn't it follow that it is in the best interests of the public at-large and the students going to your school to get the stupid accreditation?
I'm sorry, but I haven't heard a reasonable answer to any of those questions that favor unaccredited law schools. 
Feel free to explain it to me, because those answers will be creative ones, likely loaded up with BS, but creative....
Title: Re: Non-Bar Law Degree
Post by: DanteHicks on January 31, 2008, 03:24:38 PM
Dante, non-aba law students are too dumb to get into aba law schools.  That should be enough of a reason to think they are inferior.  That is just my opinion, plus that of everyone with a pulse that can think either logically or coherently.

Oh, a few boos from the gallery.  One broad stroke and that's the end of it eh?  "non-aba law students are too dumb to get into aba law schools."  Said with such finality, yet without much thought.  I happen to know for a fact that there are many very successful attorneys out there, as well as judges, that went to non-ABA schools.

I have a pulse and am coherent...so we are then at a crossroads at opinions, therefore, one of us is right and one of us is wrong.

Again...tell me HOW the law you learn in an ABA school, the ACTUAL subject matter, differs from non-ABA.  Don't tell me "it just does"; elaborate on it.  I've already made some points regarding this.  I've yet to see anyone convince me otherwise yet...and yes I'm open to being convinced.

I will reiterate in brief:
(1) Same casebooks/hornbooks...the same (granted... not every school uses the casebook at every school, eg. a Torts casebook, but even if they didn't the key cases are likely to be the same).  Marbury v. Madison is the same in an ABA school just as it is in a non-ABA school.  Mayhap the ABA school will spend an extra 16 hours on that case [insert smirk here].
(2) Same common law, doctrines, etc.  BarBri is BarBri.
(3) Multi-state & essay finals can't vary that much...I've seen the test bank archives at Harvard...didn't see anything too fancy such as a flaming Harvard logo on the exam...same crap-ola.
(4) Same Bar exam (go figure!?)

To be fair I WILL admit these items:
(1) Bar passage rates certainly are MUCH higher with ABA students when non-ABA students also take the exam with them although I'll need to double check the statistics but I'm failry certain that's an accurate assessment.
(2) ABA schools have Law Review..which is admirable and "good for the balls" as they say (ladies I mean no offense..just an expression..it's good for you too!).
(3) Career options are certainly disproportionate for non-ABA students when compared to their counterparts.

Ok now...but's also be fair...sometimes a person's 2nd career (hell maybe even 3rd) is the law profession.  These group's age range is probably 35-50 (yes wide range but I bet I'm close if you looked at enrollment at non-ABA schools).  Most people in this group will have a job of some sort, have a family with children, etc..  A non-ABA school is probably their only realistic shot at becoming an attorney.  More than likely they will continue to work (at least part-time but more likely full-time) and attend a non-ABA school in the evenings.  They will enter programs that will take them 2.75 - 4.5 years to complete.  They will be exhausted between work and school as well as juggling time for their familys...but from the sentiment I'm hearing in these posts, to hell with them right?  If you're older than 25 forget being a lawyer right?  Why bother?  After all, they're going to a non-ABA school and they're worthless anyways right?

Lack of empathy is a serious deficiency folks...but maybe that's why you're becoming lawyers right?  Walk in someone else's shoes, look at the whole picture objectively...do some research (if you'd REALLY like to know) and see who are the non-ABA lawyers across the U.S. and how did they fare?
 (excuse any typos/misspellings....falling asleep reading about estate taxation)
Title: Re: Non-Bar Law Degree
Post by: DanteHicks on January 31, 2008, 03:45:42 PM
dear jeffislouie:

obviously the remark about offices and library seats was tongue-in-cheek.  I've yet to visit my professors in their offices but that's just me.  i just wanted to point out the discrimination towards non-ABA students...and clearly there is.  One almost feels a sense of a caste system (which still exist in some parts of the world mind you such as in Inida…but things are improving).

it's interesting how people are casting aside the points i've made...they're not absolute...but I can't ignore them either.  will all of you incessantly put down law students in these schools?  regarding your point on why some schools can't get accreditation, some schools probably will never even seek it...how many new univeristies can a city have?  maybe some, sadly, are indeed JD mills.  if a state says "hey if you can pass our bar exam you can practice"  then what's the problem.

one last point.  Jones Law School in AL (attached to Faulkner University, some private, christian school) only just recently got ABA approval (they're on probabtion i think).  now they were seeking approval for quite some time and finally got it.  mostly a vast improvement to their law library sealed the deal.  same program now...same professors  but now ABA approved!  what about the class that JUST graduated before approval?  Will they be grandfathered in?  Nope.  So sad, too bas I guess huh?

I don't want this to turn into a d.ick-measuring contest in here.  this is really not about you or me...it's about the discrimination of good folks who are tryin to become a lawyer.  stop the bashing is all.

these were only my opinions based on what i thought were just neutral observations.  if you want to be a poster-child for the ABA that's your business.  if you really want to shake this hornet's nest...do some research on articles that question whether or not passing a bar exam proves anything...you may find some interesting comments...perhaps slanted, sure...but "what if?".
Title: Re: Non-Bar Law Degree
Post by: thorc954 on January 31, 2008, 04:44:52 PM
the thing is, not everyone is suppose to be a lawyer.  anyway, the education differs because of both the socratic method (learning from less intelligent students is less likely to benefit you, and, the quality of professors is severely disproportionate at unaccredited schools).  That being said, the bar passage rates are unbelievably disproportionate which suggests that both the professors and the students have serious problems.


1) The argument (these are second career people, etc, etc.) isnt really going to cut it, because lots of tier fours have part time programs and so do many state schools which means that both people on a budget and people with lower lsats have options.

2) Its crazy to me to think that anyone would chose a non-aba school over an aba school when they really have a desire to be a lawyer.  Its like going in to the lsat and choosing, voluntarily, to only fill out half the exam.  It just doesnt make sense.


3) Anyway, I will agree that some things are comparable at both schools, but clearly some things are not (level of education, quality of students, job opportunities).

4) anyway, on the point of schools choosing not to be accredited, the dean of liberty(I think?) was saying a while ago that he didnt want to be accredited because he didnt want to deal with the requirements and regulations that the aba has.  I think it was liberty, forgive me if I am attributing that statement to another school.


5) Anyway, even if it is the same casebook in a class, the professor wont teach it as well and the student wont comprehend it as well.

6) And, same bar exam, but ill pass it my first try and get a job, and those students, if they are even allowed to take it, are not likely to pass if they even graduate and are even more unlikely to get jobs as lawyers.

Oh, and I agree with you completely on one thing, tax puts you to sleep.  however, i am going to go back to it for now.

if you get a chance, explain why anyone logical would want to go to a non-aba school
Title: Re: Non-Bar Law Degree
Post by: DanteHicks on January 31, 2008, 07:50:40 PM
some interesting points thorc...i will respond since you took the time to chime in (according to your numbered comments):

1) true....how does the "no work" (wink wink) psuedo requirement from ABA work on these part-time programs (i honestly don't know ..would have to research it)
2) while i agree with your point here to a degree, it would be for the same reasons i mentioned before; plus maybe someone couldn't muster LSAT, GPA, etc.
3) i agree with your examples in parens... except for the level of education one; quality of students is assumed to be higher based on reasons you give in # 2, and i agree 100% job opportunities blow away non-ABA...with that said also consider that many non-ABA seek a solo practice or to create a small partnership (usually with fellow non-ABA classmates)
4) would be interesting to know all the schools applicable here and reasons for being non-ABA...mayhap I'll reseach it further one day (hell who's got time now..aside from writing these posts hahaha?)
5) i have to totally disagree with your point here; until it could be shown otherwise
6) it seems to be true that ABA students will more than likely pass the bar on their 1st attempt whereas non-ABA struggle..but...again need to look at states with non-ABA schools and look at the passage statistics to see if the trend is still there or if things are improving.  jobs as lawyers...see my comment at the end of # 3

why anyone logical would want to go to an a non-ABA school?  well, i have 2 answers for that.  (a) circumstances only permit as such & (b) who said they actually "wanted" to go...might be their ONLY option....we all do things in life we don't "want" to do.

later gator.
Title: Re: Non-Bar Law Degree
Post by: jeffislouie on February 01, 2008, 11:00:27 AM
"it's interesting how people are casting aside the points i've made...they're not absolute...but I can't ignore them either.  will all of you incessantly put down law students in these schools? "

I'm not putting down students who attend non-aba accredited law schools (and I don't believe I ever did - if so, please accept my apologies).

I am also not casting aside points you've made.  Some of them have been valid - others not so much.

For instance, you talk about "same bar exam"....
That, of course, is only true if you sit for the bar in one of the 7 states that will allow you to sit.  And no other state will accept your law license.
Perhaps I should be a bit more clear:
Here are the major disadvantages to a non-aba approved law school (an incomplete list):
1)  You are limited to 7 states for practice.  That means you can't move.  Ever.  Unless of course you move to another of the 7 states, and then (in most cases) you may have to sit for their bar.  While it is not uncommon for states to allow for petition for bar standing from bar holders from out of state, there is no state with the aba/bar requirement that will allow such a petition.  That is probably the biggest negative.
2)  Quality of educators.  Given that the majority of well-qualified instructors will likely NEVER consider teaching at a non-aba approved school, the likelihood that you get a top flight instructor is minimal at best.  This means you will never be taught by a yale alum.  While I learn contracts from a professor who did graduate from yale. 
3)  Recognition in the industry.  The truth is that MOST attorneys DO graduate from aba approved schools.
4)  Bar passage rates.  While I cannot produce the numbers, it is widely held and a safe assumption that non-aba approved law school graduates have a lower bar passage rate.  If you can find hard numbers comparing aba and non-aba approved schools bar passage, I'd sincerely like to see them.  I don't have the time for in depth research on this topic, but I couldn't find the information I was looking for.

This opinion piece probably sums up the non-aba vs. aba issue:
http://www.abestlawyer.com/cal/cal-lawyers.htm

It would appear from this piece that non-aba approved law schools focus on black letter law, which is only part of the equation, and bar passage prep, not quality legal education and a 'think like a lawyer' mindset.  That right there is a HUGE negative.

That said, if you choose a non-aba approved school, best of luck to you.  I harbor no ill will, as I suspect most of us don't.
and please take this next statement on it's face, it is not reflective of anything but what most of us believe to be true:
When you non-aba approved law school graduates meet us in court, we stand a good chance of winning.  Therefore, it is to our advantage that so many non-aba approved law schools exist, churning out graduate after graduate ill prepared to represent their clients best interest.

Regardless, I commend you for your desire to learn the law.  Best of luck.
Title: Re: Non-Bar Law Degree
Post by: jd2008 on February 03, 2008, 12:06:05 PM
You say that professors who graduated from aba schools wouldnt teach at non-aba schools. There are many flaws with that. For starters then why are graduates from high level regionally accredited schools like harvard teaching at online nationally accredited colleges such as calcoast U? That alone should prove some points.

As for the average joe careing about aba, give me a break. All that counts is results, and let me tell you why in real world examples. Most people who have CDL's get them from truck driving schools, but some get a "TIP" and learn at under a friend without schooling. My friend got his CDL that way. At first NO ONE would hire him without schooling due to limited experience. I payed for the school, and found that he was able to get hired in quicker than me at that point, becuase even though I had the school  he had found a place to hire him for awhile at a low wage for experience and after that experience spoke louder than a diploma from a school.

If a lawyer wins cases for his clients, they give "word of mouth" and they keep coming in. You may  have to tighten that belt for a few years while proving yourself, but you will prove it. Also, if an ABA lawyer wants $100 an hour and blue coller Joe cant afford it, he may want it, but wont get it, period.  If you offer him it at $50 an hour, he will take what he can afford if he really needs it. Walmart sells stuff way cheaper than other stores yet has a higher profit due to bulk sales. You may want to drive a BMW but if you cant afford it then you will drive a geo to get around, dispite your thoughts on what you'd prefer if you weren't who you are. Period.

If no non-aba lawyers can find work, then why do they? Why dont they all strave to death or committ group suicide? Tell me why if you know so much about it.

If non-aba is so bad, then why do other starts also have non-aba program in some other states also.(Its not just Cali if you actually look it up). Tell me that too while your at it.
Title: Re: Non-Bar Law Degree
Post by: thorc954 on February 03, 2008, 12:17:41 PM
that was painful to read... its is readily apparent from your writing that you go to one of the non-aba schools and are getting overly defensive about it. 

First, I go to an ABA school and clients will pay 300+ an hour for my time, but thats irrelevant.

Second, your commentary on truck driving school is in no way relevant to law school as lawyers and their clients are prestige whores (my brother got his CDL and got hired right away with some place, not sure how he did it, but doesnt matter).

I can understand your comment about non-aba lawyers being cheaper and people having no options, but I can almost guarantee that there are plenty of tier 4 grads willing to work for 50 an hour, probably even many top tier grads as well.

And, its not an issue of non-aba lawyers not being able to find work, its the fact that most of them will not find work as lawyers.  I dont know any non-aba grads, because I live in a city that requires you to have one, but I couldnt imagine they could get any jobs with any more relation to the legal market then as a paralegal.  There may be a few willing to hang a shingle, but I would imagine that most people without money to afford a lawyer would go to a clinic and get assistance or to a PD rather then to some guy who cant spell and bought his degree online. 

Thats really all I have to say about that.  Now, I am back to work since I actually have to go to class tomorrow...
Title: Re: Non-Bar Law Degree
Post by: olive on February 03, 2008, 01:35:06 PM
Non-ABA schools may use the same books and study guides and teach similar classes, but then again you can always buy those books on your own and teach yourself. A major reason people go to law school (aside from a "quest for legal knowledge") is to get a job - this involves being able to sit for the bar, and for most people the ability to get hired.

Going to a non-ABA school greatly affects your ability to sit for the bar and your ability to get hired. If want to practice in a state that allows non-ABA graduates to sit for the bar and have a job lined up at a relative's firm or want to go out on your own, maybe the difference won't be as dramatic.

I'd say virtually every applicant would choose an ABA accredited school over a non-ABA school if they had the option. A non-ABA school might be better than nothing (depending on your circumstances it might not) but a lot of it comes down to self-selection. If the top professors and students are choosing ABA schools and most employers are hiring from ABA schools, that alone says something. You learn from your classmates, and also build relationships with them and alum from your school.


I'm not saying non-ABA schools have never produced a successful attorney, but I find it hard to believe that anyone thinks non-ABA schools are on the same level as their ABA counterparts. I can't really speak to ABA schools like Cooley, etc but I'd imagine there's more to ABA accreditation than the number of seats in the library.


Title: Re: Non-Bar Law Degree
Post by: jd2008 on February 03, 2008, 02:13:38 PM
Heres the real question folks. If you have ABA preference then why waste your time on the non-aba section of this forum that is meant for people who are into it? That would be like someone who hates state defence forces going to http://www.vajoe.com 
Title: Re: Non-Bar Law Degree
Post by: thorc954 on February 03, 2008, 02:20:55 PM
DEFENSE.  I figured you love learning online, so I'd give you a mini English less for free.
Title: Re: Non-Bar Law Degree
Post by: thorc954 on February 03, 2008, 02:58:43 PM
"I noticed some posts about Novus. Has anyone actually enrolled in it? How much did you pay before finding out the truth? What about other fake schools(non bar approved). Lets vent about it folks, lets here it."

quote from you from another thread.

tool.
Title: Re: Non-Bar Law Degree
Post by: olive on February 03, 2008, 03:45:11 PM
Heres the real question folks. If you have ABA preference then why waste your time on the non-aba section of this forum that is meant for people who are into it? That would be like someone who hates state defence forces going to http://www.vajoe.com 

I didn't realize this post was in a non-ABA section until after my post went through -- I clicked on it because it was one of the "most recent posts" on the main page. I didn't even know there was a whole area dedicated to non-ABA schools until today. I feel a little guilty now, but I stand by everything I said.
Title: Re: Non-Bar Law Degree
Post by: jd2008 on February 03, 2008, 05:14:30 PM
  First of all, you added the (non aba approved) part. Second, if you hate the bar laws so much, gee lets see......act like the lawyer that you want to be and get it changed. As for Novus, if it makes me a "tool" to want to discuss a law topic on a law forum, then I guess the tool I am is the plunger you need to remove the stick from up your ass. ;D

"I noticed some posts about Novus. Has anyone actually enrolled in it? How much did you pay before finding out the truth? What about other fake schools(non bar approved). Lets vent about it folks, lets here it."

quote from you from another thread.

tool.
Title: Re: Non-Bar Law Degree
Post by: thorc954 on February 03, 2008, 07:38:11 PM
Umm... anyone that doesnt believe that was there, check through his old posts.  I didnt add anything, nor would I.

Umm.. I dont hate the bar laws, I think that non-aba schools scam students and they are a waste of money, but whatever.

you called them fake schools yourself.  you also talked about venting about it.  how quick you change your mind.
Title: Re: Non-Bar Law Degree
Post by: jeffislouie on February 03, 2008, 10:16:30 PM
You say that professors who graduated from aba schools wouldnt teach at non-aba schools. There are many flaws with that. For starters then why are graduates from high level regionally accredited schools like harvard teaching at online nationally accredited colleges such as calcoast U? That alone should prove some points.

Link please?  And I didn't say they DON'T teach there, I said they were unlikely to consider teaching there.  As in their preferred institution would be aba-approved.  As in there is a preference for employers, which you cannot refute because it is a truth.


[/quote]
As for the average joe careing about aba, give me a break. All that counts is results, and let me tell you why in real world examples. Most people who have CDL's get them from truck driving schools, but some get a "TIP" and learn at under a friend without schooling. My friend got his CDL that way. At first NO ONE would hire him without schooling due to limited experience. I payed for the school, and found that he was able to get hired in quicker than me at that point, becuase even though I had the school  he had found a place to hire him for awhile at a low wage for experience and after that experience spoke louder than a diploma from a school.
[/quote]

Completely irrelevant.  An educated customer is the best customer.  Deal with it.  Allow me to offer a more relevant and accurate "real world" example...

You get into a car accident and need body work done.  While looking for shops, you come across two with wildly varying rate structures.  One shop has employees that are all trained and certified by a governing body.  All the people who do the body work attended an accredited body repair school.  They quote you $1000 to do the work.  The other shop is staffed by a guy who took an on-line correspondence course in body repair and quotes you $500.  Which body shop do you go to?
Duh.

[/quote]
If a lawyer wins cases for his clients, they give "word of mouth" and they keep coming in. You may  have to tighten that belt for a few years while proving yourself, but you will prove it. Also, if an ABA lawyer wants $100 an hour and blue coller Joe cant afford it, he may want it, but wont get it, period.  If you offer him it at $50 an hour, he will take what he can afford if he really needs it. Walmart sells stuff way cheaper than other stores yet has a higher profit due to bulk sales. You may want to drive a BMW but if you cant afford it then you will drive a geo to get around, dispite your thoughts on what you'd prefer if you weren't who you are. Period.
[/quote]

Mmmm.  Lovely scenario you have built up.  Tell me, how many attorneys fit your description?  $100 an hour?  Yeah.  Right.  "According to recent article in the National Law Journal, last year, 119 of the nation's 300 largest law firms provided billing rate information for the NLJ's annual survey. Among firms reporting average and median rates in both 2006 and 2007, average firmwide billing rates increased from $321 to $348 per hour last year, with the median rate jumping from $324 to $347 per hour."
http://wagelaw.typepad.com/wage_law/2008/01/average-billing.html

But anyway....  Cheaper, ESPECIALLY IN THE LAWYER WORLD, does not always mean better.  My brother is a practicing attorney and he just RAISED his rates.  He was working with a group that specializes in marketing lawyers in his speciality.  They asked him what he was charging and they laughed at him.  They gave him the phone number of an area attorney who was charging 30% more and he called.  The attorney told him what he charged.  Shocked, my brother asked him how much business walks out of the attorney's door and his response was "less than 10%.  I'm so busy, I have to refer a ton of business."  My brother decided to raise his rates and quote 30% higher for a month to test the concept out.  Guess what?  The first three times he quoted his price, the client wrote a check on the spot.  He remains at the higher rate, noted no decrease in business, and now makes MORE MONEY for the same work.
The moral of the story, which I realize you are free to ignore, is that like every other sale, pricing too low SHOULD and DOES cause suspicion.  Pricing properly leaves the client with a degree of confidence that he isn't dealing with a moron who is going to lose the case because he knows he isn't worth more money.  Attitude is a big part of lawyering.
That said, feel free to bust your ass while charging half what other attorney's charge hoping that the low rent, low class clientele you earn provide you with referrals.  What a bunch of nonsense.

[/quote]
If no non-aba lawyers can find work, then why do they? Why dont they all strave to death or committ group suicide? Tell me why if you know so much about it.
[/quote]

Jeebus - I NEVER SAID that no non-aba law school graduates find work.  I was merely pointing out an obvious issue that comes from attending non-aba law schools, which you have clearly chosen to either ignore or excuse.  Sure, you can find work.  But so far, you haven't really sold me on the idea of attending a non-aba law school if I can get into an aba-approved one (which I have).
Your pro's are:
-It is cheaper
-You can charge your clients less
-Your clients will be too stupid to realize or care that you went to a school that isn't accredited by the ABA
-You can earn less for longer
and your negatives are:
-you don't seem to see any

what a salesman.

[/quote]
If non-aba is so bad, then why do other starts also have non-aba program in some other states also.(Its not just Cali if you actually look it up). Tell me that too while your at it.
[/quote]

Ok.  I will.  Of the 50 states that make up this, the greatest country in the world - The United States of America, only
SEVEN
allow you to SIT FOR THE BAR.  Each of those states have a reputation for having three kinds of lawyers:
-Good
-Bad
-Worse
And the fun doesn't end there, either:
Your law degree from a non-aba approved law school allows you to sit for the bar in one state only.  Period.  And I am fairly certain that no other state will honor your license, particularly the 43 states that don't allow graduates from non-aba approved law schools sit from the bar.  I'm fairly certain that states that DO allow you to sit for the bar (of which there are seven) won't even allow you to petition to practice without taking their bar exam first.  This means that if you want to move, you are limited to states that don't have an aba law school requirement (seven states), and then you have to take their states bar exam.
Enjoy that.  Nothing is more fun than deciding to move and having to take the bar exam again.  And I know you wish to ignore this, but statistically speaking, lawyers from non-aba approved law schools have to take the bar multiple times to pass.
Sounds like awesome.

I will say it ONE MORE TIME:  enjoy law school.  I wish you well.  I'm confident that you will make the most of your non-aba approved program.  You should know that there are issues that may arise later, which you either don't care about or refuse to recognize.  There are options:  for instance, you could transfer into an aba approved law school and take a requisite number of credits there and not have this issue slapping you around for the rest of your life.
Title: Re: Non-Bar Law Degree
Post by: jd2008 on February 05, 2008, 12:04:14 PM
Dumbass. I said that they are fake if not bar approved. Online ones are bar approved. I never changed my mind. Learn to read.

you called them fake schools yourself.  you also talked about venting about it.  how quick you change your mind.
[/quote]
Title: Re: Non-Bar Law Degree
Post by: thorc954 on February 05, 2008, 12:35:40 PM
Dumbass. I said that they are fake if not bar approved. Online ones are bar approved. I never changed my mind. Learn to read.

you called them fake schools yourself.  you also talked about venting about it.  how quick you change your mind.
[/quote]

The bar is the American Bar Association, and there are no online aba-accredited schools.

now, i am done talking about this bull, i dont argue with idiots.  If for some reason I ever go to one of those seven states and you actually manage to pass the bar, I look forward to making you look like a fool in court.
Title: Re: Non-Bar Law Degree
Post by: jd2008 on February 05, 2008, 12:49:14 PM
Bar stands for whatever state bar you are in. There is no american bar exam, just the state bar exam that includes the multistate bar exam in it. Hell even I know that. Look on the books. Bar approved, Bar accredited. Both are definitions on non-aba approved colleges is CA.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The bar is the American Bar Association, and there are no online aba-accredited schools.

now, i am done talking about this bull, i dont argue with idiots.  If for some reason I ever go to one of those seven states and you actually manage to pass the bar, I look forward to making you look like a fool in court.
[/quote]
Title: Re: Non-Bar Law Degree
Post by: jeffislouie on February 06, 2008, 03:14:01 PM
Bar stands for whatever stand bar you are in. There is no american bar exam, just the state bar exam that includes the multistate bar exam in it. Hell even I know that. Look on the books. Bar approved, Bar accredited. Both are definitions on non-aba approved colleges is CA.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Please explain what the F*(K you are trying to say, because nothing you wrote in this post makes a lick of sense, especially in light of the conversation to this point.
What does this sentence, by itself, mean?
"Bar stands for whatever stand bar you are in."
Please?  Because this sentence makes no sense... Did you mean "Bar stands for whatever state bar you are in"?  then it still makes no sense.
Do you mean to say this: "A bar association is a professional body of lawyers. Some bar associations are responsible for the regulation of the legal profession in their jurisdiction; others are professional organizations dedicated to serving their members; in many cases, they are both."
Well, in that case, the only bar association of any real importance in terms of taking the bar exam is the ABA.  why?  Because in 43 states, you cannot sit for the bar unless you graduated from an ABA-approved school.
Which is the whole damn point.
Which makes this sentence "There is no american bar exam, just the state bar exam that includes the multistate bar exam in it. Hell even I know that." stupid.  There may not be an american bar association bar exam, but that doesn't stop 43 states from adhering the the aba rule.  And once again, without an aba-approved law license, you cannot practice in any other state.  Ever.  Unless, of course, they are one of 7 states that don't have an aba rule, and then you have to sit for a whole new bar exam.  Attorney's in good standing with the ABA can petition to have their license extended to another state.
Bar approved is meaningless unless it has the word "american" before the word bar and the word "association" after it.
Same with bar accredited.
You are arguing a moot point that is meaningless.  Why?  Because no one cares or recognizes any other accreditation, save for 7 states, and those licenses are severely limited.
One question:
Why are you still arguing this?  Study more, work harder, and stop defending your non-aba-accredited school.  You (and others) should be aware of the limitation of the degree and the limitations your degree puts on you.
As a future graduate of an aba-approved law school, I can sit for any bar, in any state, at any time.  All 50.  I can practice in California, then decide to move to Texas.  Or New York.  Or Georgia.  Or Washington.  Or Utah.  Or Idaho.  You cannot.  You will forever be limited to one of 7 states,  Additionally, I have a chance that by appeal, my license can be recognized in other states.  You have no such opportunity.

Here's a few fun facts you should also know:
- Overall bar exam pass rates tend to hover between 35% and 55%, and are always the lowest in the United States
- Many pundits postulate that one reason for the low pass rates is that California allows graduates of law schools that have not been accredited by the American Bar Association to take its bar exam
-  Graduates of ABA schools have a first-time pass rate of approximately 69%, while graduates of non-ABA schools pass at a rate of about 25% on the first try (in 2005, first-time takers who attended non-ABA schools passed at 25.9% rate).
- When asked about this issue by a journalist, law professor Rory Little bluntly stated, "We've got a lot of hack people taking the exam who [sic] you really wouldn't want to pass. We've got enough hacks."
- Another reason for the low passage rate is that repeat takers may take the exam as many times as necessary to pass;[34] approximately 15% of repeaters pass the exam on each administration
(all from wiki)



Title: Re: Non-Bar Law Degree
Post by: amberadams on March 22, 2008, 07:22:00 AM
This debate is utterly pointless. It's along the same lines of Pepsi v. Coke, Democrat v. Republican, or Yankees v. Red Sox. Both sides are convinced they're right and no amount of arguing is going to change their minds, because when it comes down to the final tally both sides are right and both sides are wrong. Law school is a personal choice, and as reassuring as it might be to "prove" your school is objectively the bestest place in the whole wide world, there are too many subjective factors that go into that decision to truly make one school better than another.

Obviously, not everyone can go to Harvard. But let's suppose for a moment that things like time, money, geography, grades, and other challenges that often prevent admission to the top-rated law schools wasn't an issue. Would everyone still want to go to Harvard? I submit that the answer to that question, if we could answer it, still doesn't matter, because the question exists in a vacuum. Admissions committees aren't the only ones making the decisions in these situations. Students have their own priorities, too.

I only applied to one law school. It was a non-ABA night school, with a long and established relationship to the local community. I easily met the admissions standards. I might have applied to some ABA schools, and I probably would have been accepted to a few of them based on my grades and LSAT score, but frankly I studied it out and decided that the non-ABA school was the only place that met my needs. Time, money, and geography were my major concerns. I needed to have a regular job so I could continue supporting my family while I went to school, and ABA schools range from discouraging regular work to disallowing it (and for good reason). I could not justify going tens of thousands of dollars into debt for a degree, especially considering that the job prospects (even with an ABA degree) were not guaranteed. I also needed to stay close to home, which limited my choices to only a few schools from the outset.

Of course, there are tradeoffs for going to a non-ABA school. It's true that your degree is not as portable as it would be if you went to an ABA school. You are limited to immediately taking the Bar exam in only a few states, primarily your own. You might be able to expand that number if you're willing to make a special petition, and you can take the Bar in about half the states after you've been practicing for a few years. This was actually one of my least concerns. My family has lived in our state for a couple hundred years. I'm happy to live here for the rest of my life, too. I already work in the legal field and don't feel the need to establish myself in some other community. It's possible that some unforeseen circumstances in my future might inspire me to move somewhere else, but it's equally possible that I might decide not to be a lawyer. The risk does not outweigh the benefits in my case.

There is also a limitation on your job prospects. Some firms simply will not hire graduates of non-ABA schools. I wasn't very concerned by this because I don't want to work for those firms, anyway. I have a friend who went to Duke. He works for one of the more prestigious firms in town. His firm doesn't hire graduates from my school. He's earning money hand over fist, but he's miserable, primarily because he's stuck where he's at because he has to pay for his degree, and he doesn't enjoy the kind of law he's practicing or the ungodly hours he's expected to put in. It doesn't take very long in the real world to realize that money doesn't equal happiness. My job prospects are good enough with my degree that I can have a satisfying career in law and make a decent income, and those things are precisely what I want. Working for the more competitive firms that require an ABA degree does not appeal to me and is not the reason I decided to become a lawyer.

It all basically comes down to an issue of prestige. Since the ABA has not accredited our school (even if the school has never sought it) the assumption is that something in it must be lacking, and that will make our degree inherently less valuable. Other lawyers will not respect you and judges will think you're a hack. I think the people who raise this issue are typically being disingenuous. At least in my community, over half the judiciary graduated from my school, and over half the Bar is composed of its graduates. The firms that will not hire us are a minority. I think there is an understanding among professionals that after everyone has passed the same Bar, it's the lawyer you trust more so than the degree. That is undoubtedly different in areas where non-ABA schools are less accepted, but it is certainly the case where I will practice. Many of the attorneys in our community even regard graduates of my school as more prepared to practice law than the ABA school graduates, probably because our professors are practicing lawyers and judges (the majority of whom went to ABA schools), and they make a special effort to provide a practical curriculum as well as legal theory.

The truth is, law school is an investment, and like all other investments, there is a gamble involved. Students who attend an ABA school are taking a higher risk financially than those of us who do not, and therefore they need to believe that their risk is going to pay higher dividends than the dividends those of us who decided to be more conservative in our investment are going to receive. When these students start sniping at my degree, I try to keep in mind that it's their own insecurity as much as any actual concern that's doing the talking. I rest easy in the knowledge that I did not make my choice unwittingly. I took in all the information, weighed out the factors, and came to the right decision under the circumstances. If I end up being wrong, I didn't risk anything that I would regret losing later. If you can honestly say those things yourself, then your law school is right for you.
Title: Re: Non-Bar Law Degree
Post by: jd2008 on March 23, 2008, 11:19:34 AM
very nicely written. Very good points based on life experience.
Title: Re: Non-Bar Law Degree
Post by: breakingthelaw on April 17, 2008, 02:42:57 PM
I totally and completely disagree with those of you who say that those enrolled in non-aba schools were too dumb to get into aba accredited schools. That remark is so close minded and stigmatized, I couldn't believe anyone with a brain would write that. I know many successful lawyers and judges who graduated from non-aba schools, while still maintaining to keep their integrity, which must be hard considering the degrading comments posted on this site. I wish you guys would take a step back and actually re-read what you have written. You should be ashamed.  We all have to pass the bar regardless of where we went to school (if the state allows). If one can manage to do that with an education from a non-aba school, then as far as I am concerned, they are just as smart as someone who graduated from UCLA's law school.
Title: Re: Non-Bar Law Degree
Post by: jeffislouie on January 27, 2008, 11:41:22 AM
While it may seem attractive to have somewhat of a legal education, this is the wrong way to go about it.
On line educations are typically worthless.  Think of it this way - if they don't have any educational requirements and accept everyone who applies, the degree is going to be worthless and the education is going to be limited, to say the least.
Plus, if you do graduate from a non bar approved law school, you won't be able to practice, which means you won't be able to give any legal advice whatsoever (well, maybe once then jail and a serious fine).
My best friend was conned into taking on-line courses in an attempt to get his masters degree.  Nevermind that the degree isn't worth the paper you print it on.  He was lumped into a group of people that he would be 'learning' with until graduation.  Their class assignments were required to be completed as a group.  My friend is smart.  The others were not.  He once emailed me a copy of part of a paper they had to compose.  He sent me an unedited section from a guy in rural alabama who was attempting to make his point by saying "That's like hooking up a horse trailer and loading it up with cows."
I'm not joking.
There is no quality of education in the online schools, which is why most aren't accredited by anyone.
That said, if you want to be able to advise your clients as to their estate planning needs, I'd recommend hooking up with a competent attorney and making a financial arrangement for referrals.
If you want to do it yourself, attend law school part time and get an actual JD from an accredited law school.  You can't cheat your way into a law degree, and going online is cheating.
OR, move to a state that doesn't require you to attend law school and take the bar.
Be warned....
Here's an article for your perusal....
http://www.boston.com/news/local/maine/articles/2008/01/19/self_taught_lawyers_vanish_as_more_states_require_law_school/
Title: Re: Non-Bar Law Degree
Post by: jd2008 on January 27, 2008, 03:13:10 PM
you'd think that the ones that are nationally accredited by DETC which is reconised by the US dept of education would have to meet some standards.
Title: Re: Non-Bar Law Degree
Post by: Challenger3 on March 15, 2009, 01:31:04 PM
the thing is, not everyone is suppose to be a lawyer.  anyway, the education differs because of both the socratic method (learning from less intelligent students is less likely to benefit you, and, the quality of professors is severely disproportionate at unaccredited schools).  That being said, the bar passage rates are unbelievably disproportionate which suggests that both the professors and the students have serious problems.


1) The argument (these are second career people, etc, etc.) isnt really going to cut it, because lots of tier fours have part time programs and so do many state schools which means that both people on a budget and people with lower lsats have options.

2) Its crazy to me to think that anyone would chose a non-aba school over an aba school when they really have a desire to be a lawyer.  Its like going in to the lsat and choosing, voluntarily, to only fill out half the exam.  It just doesnt make sense.


3) Anyway, I will agree that some things are comparable at both schools, but clearly some things are not (level of education, quality of students, job opportunities).

4) anyway, on the point of schools choosing not to be accredited, the dean of liberty(I think?) was saying a while ago that he didnt want to be accredited because he didnt want to deal with the requirements and regulations that the aba has.  I think it was liberty, forgive me if I am attributing that statement to another school.


5) Anyway, even if it is the same casebook in a class, the professor wont teach it as well and the student wont comprehend it as well.

6) And, same bar exam, but ill pass it my first try and get a job, and those students, if they are even allowed to take it, are not likely to pass if they even graduate and are even more unlikely to get jobs as lawyers.

Oh, and I agree with you completely on one thing, tax puts you to sleep.  however, i am going to go back to it for now.

if you get a chance, explain why anyone logical would want to go to a non-aba school This is a very interesting discussion. You rely heavily on your theory about the Socratic method. Why don't we use a little philosophy here. I think your assumption is flawed in the first place. The assumption that any student who gets into an ABA Accredited Law School can get into any ABA Accredited Law School. That is not the case when they all have different standards. Does that make them dumb? All it means is someone had a higher LSAT or GPA. Even though that might be the case Law Schools use diversity policies in their admissions. Some students get in that way. All of them don't fail. So your statement that they are all dumb is flawed on that premise too. You are free to respond.
Title: Re: Non-Bar Law Degree
Post by: thorc954 on March 15, 2009, 03:10:33 PM
Wow, way to dig up posts from three months ago and attempt to get me into a debate.  I'm not doing getting into this argument.  This is clearly no way to convince you that going to a bad school is a bad idea.  I'm looking around my school name and watching kids less than 70 days from graduation that do not have jobs yet and really dont have leads.  They went to a good school.  How are people from non-accredited schools going to find anything to do in this economy?  If you want to take a gamble, take it.  I wont try to persuade you otherwise.
Title: Re: Non-Bar Law Degree
Post by: planman on March 13, 2010, 02:23:43 PM
Im a 45 year old investment advisor in NYC. Im considering Northwestern online law program in CA.  My reasons are simple, I cannot justify spending over 100K plus what ever income reduction I suffer due to my studies, Which could be as high as another 100-300K on getting a law degree.   Does anyone here know about Northwesterns online program its prices right at only $2850 year, but as many on the board have noted, price in not the only consideration.

My primary purpose in getting a law degree is increase my skills representing clients in New York based securities arbitrations.  As some may be aware you do not need to be a lawyer at all to represent clients in arbitration in New York.  New York has long held that representation by a non lawyer in arbiration is not the unauthorized practice of law.  Unlike Florida,GA, AZ and CT which have deemed non lawyer representaion in arbitration is a violation of their state UPL statues.

Thanks in advance for your comments
Title: Re: Non-Bar Law Degree
Post by: jacktrader38 on March 15, 2010, 06:05:44 PM
Im a 45 year old investment advisor in NYC. Im considering Northwestern online law program in CA.  My reasons are simple, I cannot justify spending over 100K plus what ever income reduction I suffer due to my studies, Which could be as high as another 100-300K on getting a law degree.   Does anyone here know about Northwesterns online program its prices right at only $2850 year, but as many on the board have noted, price in not the only consideration.

My primary purpose in getting a law degree is increase my skills representing clients in New York based securities arbitrations.  As some may be aware you do not need to be a lawyer at all to represent clients in arbitration in New York.  New York has long held that representation by a non lawyer in arbiration is not the unauthorized practice of law.  Unlike Florida,GA, AZ and CT which have deemed non lawyer representaion in arbitration is a violation of their state UPL statues.

Thanks in advance for your comments


Hey I am a registered principal at a firm in FL and am in my 2nd yr at NWCU... I passed the BB on my first go around and would be happy to answer any questions for you. I have testified in several FINRA arbs. and am surprised to hear that one can represent in NY... many sec. lawyers I know here in FL won't touch a NY case due to UPL.

Anyway I am happy w/ what I have learned and scored an A on the FYLSE, which despite what many on this site may think is not the easiest of feats, especially while overseeing an office. 
Title: Re: Non-Bar Law Degree
Post by: GovLaw on March 18, 2010, 12:42:57 PM
I’ve not been on here in a long, long time, but the ignorance displayed in this thread is appalling.  I’m amazed that many of you are getting thorough law school with your apparently non-existent research skills. 

I just want to clear up a couple of points which have apparently been accepted as fact by the “research challenged”.

1.No state except the seven listed will allow a non-ABA graduate to practice under any circumstances – didn’t you bother to do any research?  Were you more preoccupied with bashing non-accredited schools than with facts?  Most states will allow non-ABA graduates to take their bar (and practice if they pass) after five years of active practice in a state where they have passed the bar.  While I have not checked exhaustively, I know of none which will not.

2.Online degrees are worthless, in any field – many fully regionally accredited universities now offer degrees online which are no different than those offered on campus.  I am not discussing law degrees here, as all online law degrees lack ABA accreditation and generally the offering schools lack any form of meaningful accreditation.  If a university has legitimate regional accreditation then it reasonable to assume the degrees granted are of a high caliber.  Many of these are state flagship universities.  Some of these institution offer programs such as Master of Science in Law degrees – perfectly legitimate for their intended purpose, but which will not allow you to practice law.

3.DETC - For online institutions DETC accreditation is better than nothing, but does not appear to present much in the way of standards.

4.Non-ABA Degrees are worthless – no, I don’t think so, but you have to go into it knowing what you can and cannot expect from the degree.  Some of the schools offering these degrees seem misleading and overall extremely dubious, so a great deal of caution would be advised.
Title: Re: Non-Bar Law Degree
Post by: cooleylawstudent on March 18, 2010, 03:19:20 PM
Taft (and others) are online Nationally accredited lawschools
and AVE Maria which is ABA is only national, so factor that in.


If you want Regional accrediting Kaplan has an online lawschool that is Cal apporved and they are regional.
Title: Re: Non-Bar Law Degree
Post by: nealric on March 18, 2010, 05:19:12 PM
Quote
Taft (and others) are online Nationally accredited lawschools

That's a bit misleading. Taft is not ABA approved and will not enable you to take the bar outside of California. It is only "nationally accredited" by the Distance Education and Training Council.
Title: Re: Non-Bar Law Degree
Post by: cooleylawstudent on March 18, 2010, 08:06:28 PM
No duh, this whole section is on "Non-Bar law degree" I was pointing out that some are accredited and even nationally/regionally. You'll note that I mentioned the Cal bar in reference to Kaplan which is regionally accredited, taft being only nationally. (nationally accredited being lower than regional)

Thats why I mentioned how Ave Maria is ABA and only national too(to show that regional/national isnt always a reflection of ABA status)

Not sure how that makes it misleading. We're all Grad students here for pete's sake. I think we're smart enough to know the difference between ABA and DETC.

Quote
Taft (and others) are online Nationally accredited lawschools

That's a bit misleading. Taft is not ABA approved and will not enable you to take the bar outside of California. It is only "nationally accredited" by the Distance Education and Training Council.
Title: Re: Non-Bar Law Degree
Post by: FiloSofik on March 20, 2010, 04:36:20 PM
Interesting debate.  For what its worth, I'll share my experience.

I've been a paralegal for 15 years and graduated at the top of my class.  I worked at the top law firm in my state alongside Harvard, Columbia and several other top tier law graduates.  I specialized in securities;litigation; corporate and dabbled in just about every other field of law you can imagine.

I'm nearing middle age and the last three job moves I've made were due to layoffs from aba-approved educated lawyers who mishandled their case load and lost major clients.  The bloodletting always starts with the paralegals first.  The most recent experience was especially frustrating because I literally tried everything I could to save the practice.  Drafted memorandums he didn't know how to draft; spotted issues to alert him to act and researched law.  He was a nice guy; generous to boot but no amount of law school was going to help him be a good lawyer and what can I say; "we all rise to the level of our own incompetence".  He lost it all and we were let go.  Believe me, he was not the only attorney whose butt I saved many times over.  But I did want and needed that job to last.

I am now working for arguably one of the best AV rated attorneys in the state and region for that matter.  Seriously, he is in our legal ed books in paralegal school.  On my second day on the job I turned in a writing assignment to him and he told me, "You're already a top-notch lawyer, if you can do this, work part-time and go to law school.  I need you on my litigating team."  Did I mention I'm nearing middle-age; supporting one kid in college and about to send another?  I have a hubbie who is saving furiously for retirement despite my using the funds for our kids; a small business that failed with the economy and other family emergency bail-outs.  You can guess where this is going.  So, I'll wrap it up quick and say this.  If you are going to law school to get a job--get an aba approved degree. 
You'll need it because reality bites and you'll have to compete.  Having my certificate in paralegal studies and graduating top of my class definitely helps me get the job offers especially in the current economic climate. 
If you are committed to the practice of law because a lawyer is who you are--then it doesn't really matter.  Be assured you will also find your destiny and do well. 
As for me, I'm already where I want to be and although there are no guarantees; I plan to attend Northwestern California correspondence law school.  I've already got top law firm experience and my supervising attorney is willing to proctor me and use me in the firm.  If it doesn't work out with him--I'd be happy to move to CA and hang out my own shingle.


Title: Re: Non-Bar Law Degree
Post by: jacktrader38 on March 21, 2010, 06:26:12 PM
well put... I go to NWCU and have found it to be an enriching experience. If you ever have any questions let me know.

Good luck.
Title: Re: Non-Bar Law Degree
Post by: cooleylawstudent on March 21, 2010, 09:29:04 PM
Best of luck to you all.
Title: Re: Non-Bar Law Degree----help needed ASAP
Post by: susanblaw on January 05, 2012, 07:14:38 AM
Good morning!

I graduated from a non aba school in KY. Does anyone know of any states that will allow me to take the bar exam in their state? i called CA and they said that the school had to be from their own state.

If anyone can help me that would be great. Please respond. My biggest fear is that all that money went to waste. I would go to any state and take their exam.

Please help me!
Title: Re: Non-Bar Law Degree
Post by: jjensen on January 07, 2012, 02:25:58 AM
I am looking at a non ABA Law School.  Actually I am comparing a few schools and am considering the professors educaiton as well as how the course is ran.

I already know what I am going to do, so Im not worried about getting hired or leaving CA.

Currently I work for a Real Estate Attorney in CA as a legal assistant, not one of my clients ask me about my education or my attorneys education.

What they want to know if can i do what they are retaining me to do. 

I have heard that a lot of law schools do not teach pleading practice which to me doesnt make sense.  I guess a ton of briefing and going over cases but the thing I like about the law school I am considering is they teach you how to do a complaint, motions etc...

To me, your complaint  or lack therof is one reason why a case gets dismissed. 

The fact that this school is considerably less expensive than a traditional law school means I wont need to charge my clients $350 per hour.

For specific reasons non aba law schools can be an excellent choice..
Title: Re: Non-Bar Law Degree
Post by: legalpractitioner on January 07, 2012, 05:34:52 AM
I agree in California, the law school won't make any difference if you have a post bar exam plan.  Real clients could care less about the attorney's education, they only want the job done economically.
Title: Re: Non-Bar Law Degree
Post by: nonabastudent on January 17, 2012, 11:49:48 AM
are there any states that allow non aba non state approved students to sit for the bar exam?

please help! we just need 1 state
Title: Re: Non-Bar Law Degree
Post by: legalpractitioner on January 17, 2012, 02:09:54 PM
Yes, that state is called California, all the DL schools are not state approved, they are registered with the state. 
Title: Re: Non-Bar Law Degree
Post by: nonabastudent on January 17, 2012, 02:44:33 PM
you cant in california unless u attend a non aba school from california.

my school was approved by the state of education..does that help?
Title: Re: Non-Bar Law Degree
Post by: legalpractitioner on January 17, 2012, 04:59:53 PM
Might help if you provided one teeny weeny piece of information like the name of the school?
Title: Re: Non-Bar Law Degree
Post by: Cher1300 on January 18, 2012, 09:57:34 AM
My two cents whether anyone cares or not would be this:  Do your homework!!  If you have to go to a non-aba school, at least make sure it's state approved so you can take the bar.  I've seen a couple of posts where someone went to a non-aba in a state where they are not allowed to take the bar exam?  That is a MAJOR scam.  I'm in California that has many state bar approved schools, some online, some not, but you are allowed to take the bar.  The pass rate is low for the online schools, but at least you have the opportunity.   Honestly, I'm surprised there are non-aba schools in states that don't allow you to sit for the bar.  Isn't that the point?  If you couldn't get into an ABA school, why spend time and money on a school that isn't at least state approved? 
Title: Re: Non-Bar Law Degree
Post by: legalpractitioner on January 18, 2012, 03:09:37 PM
Anyone who can't figure out their school's status is not going to pass the bar either way. Non ABA is trolling.