Law School Discussion

Law Students => Online Law Schools => Topic started by: financialandtaxguy on June 27, 2011, 08:47:57 PM

Title: Alternative to University of London - Northumbria University
Post by: financialandtaxguy on June 27, 2011, 08:47:57 PM
If you had a bad experience at the University of London (External Degree Program) as I did, you may want to explore and research one of their competitors in England, Northumbria University.  Totally distance and online legal education leading to a LLB which is equivalent to our JD.  You will notice in the chart provided by "passaroa25" topic name "Comprehensive Guide to Bar Admission Requirements," foreign law school graduates are mentioned and can sit for some of the States' bar exams. 

The LLB program costs at Northumbria are very reasonable at 3900 british pounds (approx. $6300) for the entire four years.  Here is the link http://www.northumbria.ac.uk/sd/academic/law/courses/ug/llbol/prog_structure/?view=Standard
Title: Re: Alternative to University of London - Northumbria University
Post by: passaroa25 on July 02, 2011, 09:10:15 AM
The school looks good, but what about having to memorize two justice systems to take a state's bar exam?
Title: Re: Alternative to University of London - Northumbria University
Post by: financialandtaxguy on July 02, 2011, 02:02:59 PM
The school looks good, but what about having to memorize two justice systems to take a state's bar exam?

Remember, most of our common law came from England.  The experience I had at the University of London was very thorough, from the history of the legal system in England, the different levels of courts and how they work, and lots of free legal references online, to how to argue your case with practical wisdom.  The problems I had with their program were the requirements to memorize case citings verbatum (aside from knowing the case content) and only one exam at the end of the year (i.e. no homework, midterms, or other assessments) to decide your fate for the year - ridiculous!  The grading of the exams were very subjective where the essay required the student to express a lot of his or her own opinion, but the grader grades your opinion???

I also could only use a registered US college (registered with U of L) to go take my exams, over two hours driving one way, not very convenient as there are attorneys, judges, and other colleges nearby that could have been used for proctors.  Maybe I'm whining too much because I put a lot of time into the studies only to walk away at the end of the year with failing marks, which U of L has some expectation of those results and that's why they allow you to keep extending, but only to go through the same system again the following year!  I suggested taking a look at Northumbria, because they may be different in their approach to legal education.  By the way, the costs for either college is very, very, reasonable, about $2800 US dollars per year.

You get a good taste of the European Convention on Human Rights, which is the "constitution like" document for all of their member countries, which has helped their citizens protect their freedoms similar to our constitution but not as Christian based as our US Constitution.  Remember I posted a link on my other topic I started "Helpful Online Law Learning Resources - Free!," which takes you to the European Court of Human Rights website, with video recorded cases you can watch oral arguments.  It's good exposure for any serious student of law to see what another large free world justice system is doing.

From what I have read (you can google it or look at what you posted), most of the U of L graduates take an LLM program here in the USA before sitting for the Bar, but they don't have to in some states, as long as your LLB from a common law country qualified you to become a lawyer in that respective country.  I would say that a Bar Exam Prep Course would suffice for those LLB graduates from UK/England and similar common law countries.

It would be nice to see responses from students that actually were successful at U of L, Northumbria, or any other foreign online law program!

Title: Re: Alternative to University of London - Northumbria University
Post by: passaroa25 on July 02, 2011, 03:51:40 PM
I think that many schools give students a hard time because they don't want to be perceived as being too easy. I didn't think that you were whining.  I thought that you were stating the cold, hard facts of what it is like to deal with yet another online law school that wants to have a reputation of being another Harvard law school.  It would behoove those of us looking at any online law school to study for a year before enrolling.  I know that is hard to do.  But it will give us a better chance at passing any end-of-year exams.  I studied with the University of Leicester.  I went all the way through with passing grades in their MBA program.  And, after 3 revisions, the school decided it didn't like my dissertation.  I spent $10,000 for nothing.  The University of Leicester also has an online law school.  I didn't look into it because $10,000 was all I had.
Title: Re: Alternative to University of London - Northumbria University
Post by: financialandtaxguy on July 04, 2011, 11:57:56 AM
Another reason I would not recommend the University of London is because they do teach Sharia Law, and I am more adamant about not supporting that now than I was in the past.  I don't know how many times England will shoot themselves in their feet, because many terrorists were being harbored in England due to their previous lax policy on immigration.  To offer Sharia Law is like committing societal suicide.  I don't think Northumbria offers Sharia law, but I'm not absolutely sure.
Title: Re: Alternative to University of London - Northumbria University
Post by: financialandtaxguy on July 08, 2011, 05:28:05 PM
I recently read that Northumbria is the largest law school in Northeast England and has a good reputation for distance law school education.
Title: Re: Alternative to University of London - Northumbria University
Post by: lucianp on October 16, 2012, 11:33:57 AM
I also started with U of L.  I am not sure that it was a wise move.  The books were good but anonymous grading and no feedback makes it difficult to know whether you are learning
1) the law or
2) U of L grading game

Does anyone know whether the degrees awarded at Northumbria are by the law school or University? I have seen nothing but positive posts from students there.
Title: Re: Alternative to University of London - Northumbria University
Post by: legalpractitioner on October 18, 2012, 09:17:25 AM
In the US, UofL would be only one with name recognition.
Title: Re: Alternative to University of London - Northumbria University
Post by: Maintain FL 350 on October 18, 2012, 09:52:04 AM
In the US, UofL would be only one with name recognition.

My understanding is that while a standard University of London degree would qualify the holder to take the bar in a few states (CA, NY, and maybe a few others), the U of L online degree would not. Is that correct?
Title: Re: Alternative to University of London - Northumbria University
Post by: lucianp on October 19, 2012, 04:19:54 PM
Thanks.  I agree with you about the name recognition.  Globally, I think people would indeed more likely recognise LLM.  But do they recognise the academic differences?  ( e.g.  it is a university award generally and not from a law depart or law school).  There is also no real research involved ( no thesis or research papers)  However it does follow a recognized curriculum just like the individual colleges.

The same seems true of MBA's today.  There are so many flavors and access seems easy.  Many of the administrative assistants in my last job had MBAs and it was really hard to tell which ones add value to one career.

As far i can tell, the U of L external LLB would not, in general,  qualify for NY Bar exam. There has been a lot of discussion around this on other sites.


I can say that my interactions with Northumbria have been  very impressive.  Whilst not a top 10 or even top 25, they have a unique approach to distance learning. 


Thanks again for rejuvenating this discussion.  I hope it is of value to others.
Title: Re: Alternative to University of London - Northumbria University
Post by: cusc2011 on October 20, 2012, 05:34:31 PM
I just finished my first year at Northumbria School of Law via distance learning.  I did my homework in researching distance learning law schools.  I'm glad I chose Northumbria, for the money you spend it is an unbelievable value, total cost less than 5k for 3 yr program.  You have access to online lectures, PowerPoint presentations, additional readings, etc.  You have to make an assessment of your situation.  I have a successful career and make a decent living and still have a lot of up rise in my career. However, I have a burning desire to get a legal education but paying 100K to go to law school is not an option for me at this stage of my career.   If you decide to go the distance learning LLB track, California will be the best place to take the bar.  Once, you pass the California bar, there will be more options to enter other states.  However, once you complete a LLB, you must then enroll in an LLM program in American Legal Studies / US Legal Studies or complete one year at a California law school.  There are 3 good online programs that gear their program for students to take the California bar.  The law schools that offer the online LLM are Florida Coastal,  Regent University, and John F. Kennedy Law School.  They all offer the required courses that meets the California requirements.  I hope this helps.
Title: Re: Alternative to University of London - Northumbria University
Post by: legalpractitioner on October 21, 2012, 08:16:14 AM
One little fly in the ointment, you still need to get a practising certificate if you are US citizen. Not very likely a non EU citizen will land a training contract.  Additionally, the US LLM requires a lot of time and expense.  Much easier for a US citizen to get a 3 year ABA law degree, then practice 2 years and pass the QLTS?

With a  foreign degree and PC, I'd also recommend trying for the Illinois bar which has something like a 85% pass rate versus California's which is under 50%.

http://www.ncbex.org/assets/media_files/Comp-Guide/CompGuide.pdf
Title: Re: Alternative to University of London - Northumbria University
Post by: cusc2011 on October 27, 2012, 12:16:15 PM
It's not difficult to get certified to take the California bar, California has the most difficult bar exam true enough, but I just want a shot to become an licensed attorney.   I am 40 yrs old and I make a 6 figure income and my career is still on the up rise.  Quitting my career to gain a 100K debt by going back to school is not an option, when I can be saving that for the next 3 yrs.  Also, I make more than the average lawyer working today.   I went to an ABA law school over 12 yrs ago and had to drop out within my 1 st semester because I did not have the funds to attend the out of state school I was going to,..  So for me , this is just something personal to me of unfinished business.   As far as cost, my LLB is costing me less than 5k and you can get a LLM from Florida Coastal for 15K and change.  So, no it's not the ideal route, but for a person that has an established career and family, then you have to make the best out of the situation that is presented to you.  For a person that's in their 20's - to early 30's then, I recommend going to a ABA law school.   I'm cool with the obstacles I will have to face going the route I'm traveling.  I feel it can only help me, I'm already in a senior leadership position for a Fortune 500 company.  I have 2 master degree with one being a MBA from a very good ACC school, so I'm not light on education credentials.
Title: Re: Alternative to University of London - Northumbria University
Post by: legalpractitioner on October 27, 2012, 04:06:11 PM
This is an interesting plan:

Rule 4.30 Legal education in a foreign state or country
Persons who have studied law in a law school in a foreign state or country may qualify as general applicants provided that they
(A) have a first degree in law, acceptable to the Committee, from a law school in the foreign state or country and have completed a year of legal education at an
American Bar Association Approved Law School or a California accredited law school in areas of law prescribed by the Committee
; or
(B) have a legal education from a law school located in a foreign state or country without a first degree in law, acceptable to the Committee, and
(1) have met the general education requirements;
(2) have studied law as permitted by these rules in a law school, in a law office or judge’s chambers, or by any combination of these methods (up to one year of legal education credit may be awarded for foreign law study completed); and
(3) have passed the First-Year Law Students' Examination in accordance with these rules and Committee policies.

Assuming you can convince the Bar examiners your online LLB qualifies at the very least you are looking at a year of law school in the US acceptable to the Examiners.  An online LLM degree may or may not satisfy the Bar Examiners.  The plan rests on the Bar examiners accepting the LLB which is at their discretion.  Somehow I think Cal Bar Examiners might balk at a foreign distance learning program.  You see, bar Examiners are gatekeepers, just because they can do something does not mean they will.

I would be concerned that if you are a US citizen or resident, the Cal Bar Examiners would view this plan as a dodge of their own distance learning regime and the FYLSE.
If this is uncharted territory, then this procedure is highly advised:

Rule 4.33 Evaluation of study completed or contemplated
An applicant may request that the Committee determine whether general or legal education contemplated or completed by the applicant meets the eligibility requirements of these rules for beginning the study of law, the First-Year Law Students’ Examination or the California Bar Examination. The request must be submitted on the required form with certified transcripts and the fee set forth in the Schedule of Charges and Deadlines.
10 of 25
A written response indicating whether or not the education is sufficient will be issued within sixty days of receipt of the request.
Title: Re: Alternative to University of London - Northumbria University
Post by: legalpractitioner on October 27, 2012, 07:06:39 PM
All right here in back white and gray:

http://admissions.calbar.ca.gov/Education/LegalEducation/ForeignEducation.aspx
Title: Re: Alternative to University of London - Northumbria University
Post by: cusc2011 on October 28, 2012, 08:52:14 PM
I have met several people in my reserach that have gone the distance learning foreign track and 2 recent graduates of this track that are currently studying for the California bar.  I read a lot of messages on this board and its real funny to me that most people on this board is negative.  I know the rules and have done my research.  Thanks for your input.  Education is what you make of it, I'm already living proof of that, life includes obstacles, and I'm up for any challenge that comes my way.

Title: Re: Alternative to University of London - Northumbria University
Post by: cusc2011 on October 28, 2012, 09:26:41 PM
John F. Kennedy, Florida Coastal, and Regent all gear their online LLM program in American Legal Studies for the California bar.  Look at their course curriculum, they all have the same courses and all 3 programs offer California Professional Responsibility course and 2 of the schools are not even located in California.  FCSL and JFK both have on their web-site that students that complete their online LLM in American Legal Studies are eligible to sit for the California Bar.  Regent doesn't make this claim but if you look at their online curriculum the California Professional course is there, so  a Virginia Law School has a California course in their curriculum.  There are other states like Wisconsin that will let a person sit with an LLM in American Legal Studies but it has to be completed on ground in a classroom setting.   New York it has to be on ground plus your LLB needs to be on ground as well. 

However, California has always been liberal, its the home of distance learning and corespondent schools.   JFK is a California Law school and their online LLM program in United States Legal studies, a non ABA school meets the requirements for LLB graduates to take the bar in California.
Title: Re: Alternative to University of London - Northumbria University
Post by: legalpractitioner on October 29, 2012, 06:33:31 AM
My point is that the prudent thing to do is use Rule 4.33 to ensure that the proposed course of study is acceptable to the bar and register as a law student.  I am an online law school grad and work in online education, students fail to realize that bar examiners are incredibly hostile to online education.  The Bar is not your friend and if a rule can be construed against you, it often is.  As for the California Bar being "liberal", it is different alright, but just as rule oriented as any other bar. 
Title: Re: Alternative to University of London - Northumbria University
Post by: cusc2011 on October 29, 2012, 11:31:09 AM
Below is the most current  and accurate information for those who have a foreign law degree.  This comes straight from the California bar examiners.

http://admissions.calbar.ca.gov/LinkClick.aspx?fileticket=1tegD1eQse0%3d&tabid=2267
Title: Re: Alternative to University of London - Northumbria University
Post by: legalpractitioner on October 29, 2012, 01:39:30 PM
Only difference between the LLB and the JD, is that the LLB is an undergraduate degree.

But:

"Obtain from a credential evaluation service approved by the
Committee a certificate that the applicant’s first degree in law is
substantially equivalent to a Juris Doctor degree awarded by a law
school approved by the American Bar Association or accredited by the
Committee"

Since no correspondece or distance learning JD is approved by the ABA or accredited by the CalBar (the California ones are registered not accredited) , I wonder how a distance leaning LLB will go down?
Title: Re: Alternative to University of London - Northumbria University
Post by: cusc2011 on October 29, 2012, 02:20:57 PM
The rules are for people with foreign law degrees.  In Europe there is no JD degree only a LLB and it is common law based.   I have a friend that's studying for the Cali bar as we speak and their law degree is from Sweden which is civil law based and they have an online LLM and yes, you have to register as a law student with the Cali bar examiner, once you start the LLM program or Cali program.

The below info is part of the Cali Bar rules, and based on the below rules the distance learning LLB would meet these requirements.  The LLB is a qualifying law degree in Europe no matter if you got it on ground or distance learning.

(B) Obtain from a credential evaluation service approved by the
Committee a certificate that the applicant’s first degree in law meets
the educational requirements for admission to practice law in the
foreign state or country in which it was obtained
Title: Re: Alternative to University of London - Northumbria University
Post by: legalpractitioner on October 30, 2012, 06:48:58 AM
Well good luck with that.  It would seem to be a better route than a California DL degree in my estimation.  If it doesn't work, you can always take a training contract and become a solicitor in England and then take the Cal Bar as well as a foreign attorney.
Title: Re: Alternative to University of London - Northumbria University
Post by: Maintain FL 350 on October 30, 2012, 10:32:39 AM
I've pondered this issue before, and I'm still somewhat skeptical.

Rule 4.30 deals with foreign law schools, but says absolutely nothing about foreign-based distance learning programs. That leads me to believe that the issue is open to interpretation by the state bar. If so, there are several ways they could go. They could cobble together a rule from several existing rules and find that 1) since a Northumbria degree qualifies the holder to practice in the U.K., and 2) since CA accepts both LL.Bs and distance learning degrees (usually), the Northumbria LL.B qualifies.

Conversely, they could find that since foreign DL degrees are not mentioned in Rule 4.30, the rule is inapplicable. They could also find that as a non-ABA/non-CBE/non-registered foreign DL program, Northumbria cannot be found to be equivalent to an ABA/CBE degree.

I know that there's a lot of anti-DL sentiment on these boards, and that's not the basis of my skepticism. It's that Calbar, as liberal as they may be, don't seem terribly interested in allowing foreign DL degrees to qualify. I've met several CA attorneys with foreign degrees (U.K., Ireland, Phillipines), but never a foreign DL degree.

There is a very simple test you can do before spending time and money on an LL.B/LL.M in hopes of getting admitted: contact both Calbar and Northumbria and ask if any Northumbria distance learning LL.B grads have been admitted in CA. That should clear up the issue pretty fast.
Title: Re: Alternative to University of London - Northumbria University
Post by: Maintain FL 350 on October 30, 2012, 01:06:39 PM
I have met several people in my reserach that have gone the distance learning foreign track and 2 recent graduates of this track that are currently studying for the California bar. 

I would find out whether these grads were first admitted to practice in the U.K., or were able to go straight from the DL LL.B to the CA bar.
Title: Re: Alternative to University of London - Northumbria University
Post by: legalpractitioner on October 30, 2012, 03:35:08 PM
The poster seemed to brush this suggestion aide which leaves me scratching my head:

Rule 4.33 Evaluation of study completed or contemplated
An applicant may request that the Committee determine whether general or legal education contemplated or completed by the applicant meets the eligibility requirements of these rules for beginning the study of law, the First-Year Law Students’ Examination or the California Bar Examination. The request must be submitted on the required form with certified transcripts and the fee set forth in the Schedule of Charges and Deadlines.
10 of 25
A written response indicating whether or not the education is sufficient will be issued within sixty days of receipt of the request.

Before sinking 3 years into a program in England, surely one might be a wee bit curious if the Bar examiners would accept it first.

If I were a bar examiner, I'd surely want to know if the applicant was a US citizen or foreign national, and why they went to a foreign DL law school instead of a California one.  Was it to avoid the FYSLE for example?  And then going to a LLM online, yes indeed I'd be skeptical.  At the very least, I'd have them take the FYLSDE just to make sure everthing was on the up and up.

No reference to the poster but foreign law degrees from certain countries would be entirely suspect altogether, it is not unusual for the sons of the very well to do in Eastern Europe and developing countries to simply purchase the degrees from the local university.

But  I like the idea, the LLB plus LLM allows one to go online and avoid the bias against california DL schools however in my experience if it seems to good to be true, it likely won't work.

Title: Re: Alternative to University of London - Northumbria University
Post by: cusc2011 on October 30, 2012, 05:09:08 PM
The one from Sweden is not liscense attorney, we can go on and on, on this, so this will be my last message..  I provided the actually document from the California Bar, it's no info from some condensed bar requirement guide, its is straight from the source with contact info.

Also there is another school, University of Washington, they have an online LLM in American Legal system, they dont make claim on their web-site but in a recent article, they did say their online LLM degree would probably meet the requirements for the California bar.  So, there is JFK, FCSL, University of Washington all have indicated that their online LLM degree would meet the California requirements.  Also, Regent doesn't make any claims, but if you look at their curriculum, the California Responsibility course is offered, why would a Virginia Law School be offering a California course unless their program would meet the requirement.

You indicated that you got your JD online, you should be happy that there are other avenues for people to achieve their goals but I digress.  If my option doesn't work, I'm fine with it but I'm still proceeding as plan.

I have a good career and I don't have any intentions of leaving it.  My career is still on the up rise, so, this is my best route, and the most cost effective, all I would be out of 20k (LLB/LLM combined) and the possibly to enhance my corporate career to VP / SR. VP level not that I need it with 2 master degrees from very good brick and motar schools and great experience. Best of luck to you.
Title: Re: Alternative to University of London - Northumbria University
Post by: Maintain FL 350 on October 30, 2012, 05:18:55 PM
Sorry, I wasn't trying to be argumentative. The info you provided says absolutely nothing about foreign distance learning degrees. Since the rules appear to be silent on the issue, you shouldn't assume that a foreign distance learning LL.B plus an American LL.M will confer CA bar eligibility. I'm not saying it's impossible (or even unlikely!), it's just unclear.

Good luck with everything, let us know what happens!
Title: Re: Alternative to University of London - Northumbria University
Post by: cusc2011 on October 30, 2012, 05:40:00 PM
Will do.
Title: Re: Alternative to University of London - Northumbria University
Post by: Maintain FL 350 on October 30, 2012, 07:26:10 PM
Jon:

Whenever these threads about bar admission rules get going, I always remember something you once wrote regarding Novus. It was something like "Imagine a pro per plaintiff latching on to 2-207." That really stuck with me, and I think of it every time the discussion turns to statutory interpretations. It's a great comment, and really sums up the problem.
Title: Re: Alternative to University of London - Northumbria University
Post by: legalpractitioner on October 31, 2012, 06:43:36 AM
My experience with Bar Examiners or their equivalent  abroad is that if there is an issue open to interpretation, it can and will be construed against the Applicant much of the time. And if the applicant is from out of jurisdiction, make that 90% of the time.
Title: Re: Alternative to University of London - Northumbria University
Post by: cusc2011 on October 31, 2012, 05:18:27 PM
ABA Journal article published in 2012 - short article on Online University of Washington LLM program in American Legal studies.  The Online LLM program is set to launch in 2013.  Newspaper article says Online LLM program will probably allow graduates to take California bar.  Online Program doesn't launch till 2013,

http://www.abajournal.com/news/article/washington_university_law_school_offers_online_ll.m._for_foreign_lawyers/
Title: Re: Alternative to University of London - Northumbria University
Post by: legalpractitioner on October 31, 2012, 07:20:02 PM
It says foreign lawyers not law students:

"ABA Journal article published in 2012 - short article on Online University of Washington LLM program in American Legal studies.  The Online LLM program is set to launch in 2013.  Newspaper article says Online LLM program will probably allow graduates to take California bar.  Online Program doesn't launch till 2013,

http://www.abajournal.com/news/article/washington_university_law_school_offers_online_ll.m._for_foreign_lawyers/
Title: Re: Alternative to University of London - Northumbria University
Post by: cusc2011 on October 31, 2012, 07:37:39 PM
LOL!  I can always count on you lol Yes, thats what the news article says, but I'm sure their application will say LLB or first law degree.  Articles on FCSL say the same thing but the actual application and all the other LLM schools in US / American Legal studies only require LLB degree except for John Marshall in Atlanta.  There currently is no info on the exact requirements on their web-site regarding the online LLM program without registering on their site.
Title: Re: Alternative to University of London - Northumbria University
Post by: legalpractitioner on November 01, 2012, 06:39:01 AM
Are you able to point us to one attorney in the United States who obtained an online LLB, who did not qualify as a solicitor first, and then was admitted in the US on the strength of an online LLM?  If such a person exists, UofL or Northumbria should be able to supply their name(s) since bar membership in the US is a public record.
Title: Re: Alternative to University of London - Northumbria University
Post by: cusc2011 on November 01, 2012, 10:48:47 AM
I  disagree, the online LLB plus the online LLM in American Legal Studies will work in California as of today. Yes, they are people that have taken the distance learning route in foreign law school plus a LLM from a ABA school that are lawyers.  Just as there are some that have read the law, they just not all out in the open on the internet with their info but they are plenty that are out there. 
Title: Re: Alternative to University of London - Northumbria University
Post by: Maintain FL 350 on November 01, 2012, 11:04:03 AM
Like I said, I  might be totally wrong. Personally, I love the fact that CA offers alternatives to the traditional ABA-dominated route to bar admission. I think our state accredited schools are an especially good example, and one which other states would do well to emulate. I really do wish you the best of luck. 

Just curious, why not get a J.D. from one of the online or correspondance CA schools, which would definitely meet eligibility standards? The cost would probably be about the same if you factor in the LL.M, and some (like Taft) seem to have okay bar pass rates.
Title: Re: Alternative to University of London - Northumbria University
Post by: cusc2011 on November 01, 2012, 11:15:02 AM
I contacted the California Bar Examiners, they indicated that you need to prove through one of the evaluation services that you have obtain a first law degree from a foreign country.  I asked if a distance learning LLB degree would qualify.  They said that all you need is a first law degree, plus take a ABA LLM or a state accredited LLM that has the required California courses.
Title: Re: Alternative to University of London - Northumbria University
Post by: cusc2011 on November 01, 2012, 11:18:48 AM
The California bar examiners said don't get caught up in the rules, that yes, the rules doesnt mention distance learning LLB.  They said you have to prove that your foreign law degree is a first law degree period.  Below is the evaluation form that needs to be filled out.

http://admissions.calbar.ca.gov/LinkClick.aspx?fileticket=MYbZ-mwkN50%3d&tabid=2267
Title: Re: Alternative to University of London - Northumbria University
Post by: legalpractitioner on November 02, 2012, 06:30:17 AM
OK:

"Yes, they are people that have taken the distance learning route in foreign law school plus a LLM from a ABA school that are lawyers."

1.  You cannot name a single lawyer who went this route

2.   You are incorrect, foreign law school graduates absent a foreign license to practice, will be looked at carefully - otherwise why not go to school in Zimbabwe or Nigeria, that's even cheaper and the common law?

3.  Bar examiners don't get caught up in the rules?  You've got to be kidding.


Title: Re: Alternative to University of London - Northumbria University
Post by: cusc2011 on November 02, 2012, 07:11:10 AM
I spoke to the California Bar Examiner on 11/1/2012, the person I spoke with, is the person that wrote the California Bar Eligibilty Rules. Let me repeat, I spoke to the person that wrote the California Bar eligibility rules.  They were very helpful, they went over the requirements, and they walked me through everything regarding eligibility.  I asked would a distance learning llb qualify because it is silent and that it is not mentioned.  They said they wrote the rules and not to get caught up in the rules, they said they have the same conversation all the time with people.  They said no the distance learning llb is not mentioned.  They lead me to the evaluation form online and said that you have to prove your LLB is a first law degree period plus you need  either ABA LLM or a state accredited LLM with the required Califorinia courses.

I took your advice and called the California Bar Examiner and I'm glad I did because I got a chance to speak with the person who wrote the rules, no better person to make clarity.  So, that's all I need to hear, I hope the info I provided will help or encourage others that there are other avenues. As of today, you can have a distance learning LLB from the UK and a online ABA LLM or state accredited school with the required Cali courses, and as long as you can prove that it is a first law degree you will meet the requirements.  Call the California Bar examiners to get clarity that you need. I hope this info can be helpful to someone, because there are a lot of negativity on these boards, seek the knowledge for yourself and follow your dreams, when one door closes another opens.
Title: Re: Alternative to University of London - Northumbria University
Post by: Maintain FL 350 on November 02, 2012, 09:11:44 AM
That's good, always better to get your info straight from the source.

So, in other words, your foreign degree will be evaluated and a determination will be made as to whether it qualifies, it doesn't qualify, or if an LL.M is required. The point is, the bar does have latitude in accepting or denying a foreign degree (unlike an ABA/CBE degree, which is automatically accepted). Thus the degree evaluation form.

They lead me to the evaluation form online and said that you have to prove your LLB is a first law degree period plus you need  either ABA LLM or a state accredited LLM with the required Califorinia courses.

A U.K. based degree is obviously legit and should receive favorable treatment, in my opinion.

But would a six month-long online course from Jamaica or Uganda (also common law nations) be acceptable as long as it results in the first degree in law? I would be surprised if the evaluation ceases once it's determined that such a degree is the first degree in law.

I hope this info can be helpful to someone, because their are a lot of negativity on these boards, seek the knowledge for yourself and follow your dreams, when one door closes another open.

I agree, there is a huge bias against distance learning on these boards and in the legal profession itself. Some of the criticisms are fair, and others are based on ignorance. Here's what you have to understand, though: if you seek a path to bar admission which is somewhat circuitous and completely different from the path that 99.9% of your future colleagues follow, people are going to be skeptical. Maybe it's unfair, but that's the price of following such a route.

 
Title: Re: Alternative to University of London - Northumbria University
Post by: cusc2011 on November 02, 2012, 11:06:29 AM
I agree with you of the challenges that one will face going the distance learning route.  In my case, I'm not really concerned, I'm already established in my career, this something I just want to do without interrupting my career.  I hope to be licensed in 2 countries is my goal.  Once, I pass the bar in the United States, I plan to take the QLTT exams to become a solicitor in the UK.   The QLTT allows 22 jurisdictions in the United States to take their exams and California is one of those jurisdictions. Again, getting a legal education is just a goal of mine but I don't want to break the bank or disrupt the progress I've made just to get another degree and the debt that comes with it.
Title: Re: Alternative to University of London - Northumbria University
Post by: Maintain FL 350 on November 02, 2012, 11:21:47 AM
I hope to be licensed in 2 countries is my goal.  Once, I pass the bar in the United States, I plan to take the QLTT exams to become a solicitor in the UK. 

I think that's the biggest advantage to the LL.B. Once licensed in the U.K., you could probably get licensed in New Zealand, Australia, etc. Not bad at all.
Title: Re: Alternative to University of London - Northumbria University
Post by: legalpractitioner on November 02, 2012, 05:48:11 PM
But again I ask the question - is there even one California attorney who obtained a LLB online and then passed the bar w/o becoming a solicitor in England first?

And if you do get a bar ticket, you have a 17% chance of passing according to the 2012 statisitics:

http://admissions.calbar.ca.gov/Portals/4/documents/Statistics/FEBRUARY2012STATS.pdf
Title: Re: Alternative to University of London - Northumbria University
Post by: legalpractitioner on November 13, 2012, 06:27:11 AM
I queried Northumbria about their online LLB being eleigible for the US bar, here is their answer:

You would be best advised to contact a University in the State in which you wish to practise in the US.  You can work in New York with a UK Law degree but you have to do their Bar exams first.  That doesn’t require a practising certificate for you to do them.  A search on the internet should give you the answer.

They seem to be saying you can take the New York Bar with online LLB from Northumbria, not a bad at all. I'd rather have the New York than California license any day and the bar will be marginally easier.
Title: Re: Alternative to University of London - Northumbria University
Post by: Maintain FL 350 on November 13, 2012, 09:07:54 AM
Did Northumbria disclose whether any of their online grads have actually been admitted to any U.S. jurisdiction? Being allowed to apply and getting admitted are two different things. I wonder if any graduate of any foreign online school has been admitted?

I'm not sure if people realize how little U.S. bar preparation they'll receive in most LL.M programs (as opposed to three to four years of J.D. study). Hence the 17% pass rate (which presumably includes Canadian lawyers, whose legal education increasingly resembles a U.S. program).

Title: Re: Alternative to University of London - Northumbria University
Post by: legalpractitioner on November 13, 2012, 04:53:35 PM
That was the whole answer from the Assistant Administrator School of Law.  Does not exactly inspire confidence but does indicate that the degree may be accepted by the NY Bar Examiners when coupled with a LLM.  I am a bit troubled that she refers to a UK law degree in general and not a Northumbria online LLB however.

New York is  a strong ABA state - I think I would think twice before trying an online LLB/LLM combo without becoming a solicitor first.

And again I would stress that English law (Northern Ireland and Scotland are different jurisdictions) does not actually equate to US law. The terms are familiar but the rules are often the opposite as here. Additionally, there is an emphasis on EU law, conveyancing, estates, accounting etc. which has little or no relevance at all to the US.  No US case law will be utlized at all. No Constitutional law.  Criminal and Torts will be different etc. If the goal is to pass the bar, looks like a foolish way to go given the problems with online learning to begin with.

On the other hand, I do think the online LLB would be an excellent degree for some one not actually practicing who needs a law degree as an alternative to a MBA.  The English online LLB will not carry the stigma a US online degree does.
Title: Re: Alternative to University of London - Northumbria University
Post by: cusc2011 on November 17, 2012, 06:40:47 PM
You can sit for the bar in California with a UK degree LLB whether its online or ground along with ABA LLM or state accredited LLM as long as it has the required California courses.  The bar exam is basically your first year of law courses plus the California Professional Responsibility course.  The LLM in American Legal Sudies  or US Legal Studies all have the first year courses that are tested on the bar exam.

I spoke to the California Bar Examiners and the person I spoke to was the person that wrote the actual rules for the California Bar eligibility to sit for the Cali bar exam.  As long as you have a qualifying law degree that the foreign country recognized along with the ABA LLM or state accredited LLM along with the required courses you will be fine.  The person I spoke to said, they get these questions all the time from people trying to interpret the rules that they wrote.  There are several credentialing agencies that the California Bar examiners allow you to use and the evaluation form is pretty simple and straight forward form.  The option that most would fall under is the law degree a recognized qualifying law degree.  I asked all the questions that were on this forum, the questions that indicated that the California Bar Examiners would look down on.  Bottom line you can sit for the California Bar exam. 

Title: Re: Alternative to University of London - Northumbria University
Post by: legalpractitioner on November 18, 2012, 05:08:00 AM
Before I would recommend spending three years on a program, I'd want something in writing not a phone conversation with someone who may not be there three years from now.  California has a procedure for getting approval of prospective alternative law studies why would you bypass it? Your logic is flawed.

Rule 4.33 Evaluation of study completed or contemplated
An applicant may request that the Committee determine whether general or legal education contemplated or completed by the applicant meets the eligibility requirements of these rules for beginning the study of law, the First-Year Law Students’ Examination or the California Bar Examination. The request must be submitted on the required form with certified transcripts and the fee set forth in the Schedule of Charges and Deadlines.
10 of 25
A written response indicating whether or not the education is sufficient will be issued within sixty days of receipt of the request.
Title: Re: Alternative to University of London - Northumbria University
Post by: legalpractitioner on November 18, 2012, 05:17:26 AM
"The bar exam is basically your first year of law courses plus the California Professional Responsibility course.  The LLM in American Legal Sudies  or US Legal Studies all have the first year courses that are tested on the bar exam."

Wrong! 

According to Wikipedia the exam currently tests 17 different subject areas:

 Constitutional Law (Federal)
 Contracts (Common Law and Uniform Commercial Code)
 Criminal Law and Procedure
 Evidence (Federal Rules of Evidence and the California Evidence Code)
 Real Property
 Torts
 Wills (California law)
 Trusts
 Civil Procedure (Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and the California Code of Civil Procedure)
 Community Property (California law)
 Professional Responsibility (California law and the ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct)
 Business Associations (Corporations, Agency, all forms of Partnerships, and Limited Liability Entities)
 Remedies
Title: Re: Alternative to University of London - Northumbria University
Post by: cusc2011 on November 18, 2012, 07:28:38 AM
The point I just want to make  to folks interested in the foreign distance learning route is you can take the California Bar with LLB plus LLM.  My advise is to contact the Bar Examiners in each state that that is of interest.  Don't take my word or anybody on this site.  A lot of comments on here are mostly anti distance learning especially foreign distance learning  and they hate the fact that there are other alternatives to gain admission.  I  got my answers I needed from the California Bar Examiners.   There are LLM programs that specifically  gear their program for people who want to take the California Bar.  I can agree this site makes you think but at the end of  the day, get the information from the California Bar Examiners..  Regardless of what the haters say, you can take the California Bar exam and have a few other options as well.

Title: Re: Alternative to University of London - Northumbria University
Post by: legalpractitioner on November 18, 2012, 07:37:52 AM
I wrote to Northumbria with that very same question, this is what they wrote back which said nothing about California or anywhere else except New York:

You would be best advised to contact a University in the State in which you wish to practise in the US.  You can work in New York with a UK Law degree but you have to do their Bar exams first.  That doesn’t require a practising certificate for you to do them.  A search on the internet should give you the answer.

Kind regards

[name redacted]
Assistant Administrator

School of Law


 
Title: Re: Alternative to University of London - Northumbria University
Post by: legalpractitioner on November 18, 2012, 07:45:02 AM
My point is not to discourage anyone, I am attempting to state that one should get written confirmation that the contemplated course of study will actually work before investing the time and money. Phone conversations are not evidence of anything while a written ruling by the bar would be binding. especially when a procedure already exists for getting that approval.
Title: Re: Alternative to University of London - Northumbria University
Post by: cusc2011 on November 18, 2012, 07:57:47 AM
I did my research on California and I was referring to California bar exam only, but I do plan to contact the NY bar examiners. Again, my point is that a person can take the California bar going the foreign distance learning route. However,  I  have spoken to a  couple 2011/2012 graduates from a US LLM program on ground that have LLB degrees from all over the world not just the UK but in  countries that civil law is their law.  Most of these folks were not lawyers in their country.    The students I spoke with are taking the NY bar, however their ABA LLM is a program that is taken on ground only.  Also, I dont know how they obtained their LLB.  I don't plan to take the NY Bar, but I will plan to do my own research as I did with the  California Bar exam egibility.  However, they are several schools that gear their LLM program to NY bar exam but those program have to be taken on ground but there is still that option for someone to go that route.
Title: Re: Alternative to University of London - Northumbria University
Post by: cusc2011 on November 18, 2012, 07:59:18 AM
Bottom Line you can take the California Bar and their are a couple LLM programs and some that are online that gear you to take the California bar.
Title: Re: Alternative to University of London - Northumbria University
Post by: Maintain FL 350 on November 18, 2012, 11:23:52 AM
Bottom Line you can take the California Bar and their are a couple LLM programs and some that are online that gear you to take the California bar.

Yes, that seems clear now. You can take the CA bar exam and seek admission to the bar. However, as I asked previously, has anyone actually accomplished this? Has any foreign DL LL.B/DL LL.M holder managed to pass the CA bar exam?

The bar exam is basically your first year of law courses plus the California Professional Responsibility course.  The LLM in American Legal Sudies  or US Legal Studies all have the first year courses that are tested on the bar exam.

The CA bar exam covers much more than first year courses. It also covers Evidence (FRE/CEC), Wills & Trusts, Community Property, Criminal Procedure (separate from Crim Law), California Civil Procedure (in addition to the first year Federal Civ Pro course), and both ABA and CA professional responsibility. It would be very, very difficult to learn these fields of law plus Torts, Property, Con Law, etc, in a one year LL.M course.

I'm sure that it can be done, and some people will pass. But you should be fully informed as to the level of difficulty of the CA bar exam before assuming that a one year LL.M course is sufficient preparation. I don't think anyone here is anti-DL per se, but there are people on this board (myself included) who have actually taken the CA bar and are familiar with it's difficulty. In order to pass you must demonstrate a high degree of competency in many fields of law. Does the LL.M in American Law actually cover all CA bar-tested topics? If not, you'll have to learn them on your own or from BARBRI.
Title: Re: Alternative to University of London - Northumbria University
Post by: cusc2011 on November 19, 2012, 10:47:32 AM
If I recall from your previous posts you have a distance learning  law degree from the US.  Why are you so concerned about the foreign route and if someone would be able to pass the bar.  Just curious, you spend a lot of energy debating and countering the topic.  I would expect this from an ABA traditional law graduate but from a person who got a distance learning legal education it is really humorous to have this thing for online foreign legal education,  I have 1 semester at a ABA law school that I attended a long time ago and withdrew in good standings due to personal reasons.  So I am familiar with brick and mortar and distance learning process.

You really expose yourself to being a hater. Are you that upset that the online LLB with ABA LLM may have a few more benefits than a distance learning US degree.  Based on your comments there is something bothering you with the foreign option and if so that is fine just say so, that would be more respectable than just trying to slam it for someone that is interested because it can be done.

As far as knowing someone, yes I've spoken to them but most people who got a degree from XXY school overseas dont go around and saying I got it online or external.  They just say they went  XYZ school. 

I will wait for your negative comment LMAO!
Title: Re: Alternative to University of London - Northumbria University
Post by: financialandtaxguy on January 12, 2013, 07:04:42 PM
Hi Everybody,

Time for me to step back into the conversation.  A little bit of an update, Northumbria now only starts their online LLB program in September of every year.  Some thing else that has changed in the LLB programs in England is that most of the UK Law Schools now have increased their willingness to take students with Bachelors degrees into a "Senior Status" or "Graduate Entry" status LLB program.  This means the required number of years to complete the LLB is shorter.

If you want to see how California treats Foreign LLB's or other Foreign Law Degrees, go to this link on the California Bar website http://admissions.calbar.ca.gov/Education/LegalEducation/ForeignEducation.aspx

All the Best,

Ron
Title: Re: Alternative to University of London - Northumbria University
Post by: legalpractitioner on January 13, 2013, 08:43:39 AM
It is still questionnable if the the California Bar will accept the online LLB plus online US LLM without first qualifying in England.  The original poster was basing their theory on a phone conversation and not a filing for a ruling by Bar Examiners on the adequacy of the plan under  Rule 4.33. 
Title: Re: Alternative to University of London - Northumbria University
Post by: cusc2011 on January 13, 2013, 11:17:48 AM
@ Financialtaxguy -  California Bar Examiners makes no distinction between an online LLB or ground LLB.  I spoke to the Bar Examiners, spoke to the actual person who wrote the rules to the link you provided and I got the 411 from the persons mouth.  I asked all the tough questions that I recieved from this board, the examiner laughed how folks try to interpret the rules and tell them what it suppose to be.  The examiner who wrote the rules was very helpful and broke the rules down for me and even walked me through the process online. 

Also, I personally know someone that graduated from Florida Coastal online LLM in October 2012, they are taking the California Bar in February 2013, their law degree is in civil law.    Also, their are a couple online LLM Programs in American Legal Studies online that gear their curriculum to meet the California Bar Requirements.  Some of the schools are FCSL, Regent, Washington University at St. Louis, and John F. Kennedy.   I have written communication and verbal communication on the first 3 law schools, you dont have to be a lawyer to be accepted in their program, a qualifying LLB will be just fine.
Title: Re: Alternative to University of London - Northumbria University
Post by: legalpractitioner on January 13, 2013, 04:02:26 PM
cusc2011

1.  Tell me how can a phone call be binding on the Bar Examiners? There is no one person who makes up the rules.  I would not stake my career on what someone told me on the phone when there is a way to get it in writing. 

2.  You don't answer the question - the someone who graduated with a LLM did they have an online LLB without first qualifying in England?

You are making a lot of assumptions.  While you may well be right, I sure would not want to get an online foreign LLB and online LLM only to get into a hassle with the bar examiners because of what I was told on the phone years earlier.

Get it in writing dude, your phone call won't be worth anyhting if there is a problem later.
Title: Re: Alternative to University of London - Northumbria University
Post by: cusc2011 on January 13, 2013, 04:13:27 PM
You tell half truths all throughout these boards.  Get over it, you can sit for the bar in California, you go around on this board like you are an authority on the various rules which you are not. LMAO. People check the bar examiners for yourself, ask the correct questions as it relates to foreign law schools.
Title: Re: Alternative to University of London - Northumbria University
Post by: legalpractitioner on January 14, 2013, 04:08:41 PM
Someone who is investing three years in a FYLSE work around should get the scheme okayed in writing.   And you are right I am an authority by virtue of being admitted to California bar via the correspondent route, practising 20 years and then being admitted to numerous other jurisdictions including England.  However, I do apologize if I am annoying you; I am really genuinely interested  if the California Bar Examiners would really OK an obvious dodge around their rules on online schools. Logically, it makes no sense to me that a foreign online law school grad with an online US LLM who has not qualified as a lawyer anywhere would be eligible to sit the Cal Bar without the FYLSE.  Why would the English online LLB be superior to a California online JD?  In fact, it would be inferior because much of English law is inapplicable in California.  The equation does not add up in my opinion and if true exposes the California Bar Examiners to a well deserved lawsuit for discriminating against their own California online students.
Title: Re: Alternative to University of London - Northumbria University
Post by: cusc2011 on January 14, 2013, 04:22:08 PM
I respect your answer, I rather hear that from you because  I knew that's how you felt the whole time but it's more personal thing to you, but it's Ok.  I did my homework and I am proceeding,whether it makes sense to you or not, whether you like it or not the system currently works.