Law School Discussion

Deciding Where to Go => Visits, Admit Days, and Open Houses => Topic started by: amyis on August 01, 2011, 03:45:53 PM

Title: Are CBA schools a joke?
Post by: amyis on August 01, 2011, 03:45:53 PM
Hello,
I'm a Canadian and my partner is American so we're planning on moving to the US next year.
I graduated from the University of Toronto with a CGPA of 3.62.  I'm taking the LSAT in October.
I took quite a few law classes in my undergraduate work and loved them so much that I want to pursue a legal education.
I'm reasonably certain that I'll be able to get into a decent law school here in Canada (I have great academic & legal references, am over 30, strong reasons for wanting to pursue the law, etc.)
I'm also reasonably certain I can get into a decent law school in the US. The only problem is the $ money $. I'm pained to spend $40+k/year on an "okay" school in the US when I can go to a comparable if not better school here in Canada for under $20k.
Since my partner really wants to move back to the US, I've been considering state-approved law schools (i.e. CBA) instead of ABA approved; ABA, to my knowledge, are much more expensive.
I'm wondering if I can get some opinions of non-ABA schools?
Will it be difficult to find employment in California w/ a JD from a CBA school (for example)? Although I don't consider myself elitist, UofT is Canada's #1 University (according to Times Higher Education Rankings) and although I am extremely proud to have attended, I would never do it again (extremely competitive, cut throat, bureaucratic.) I'd prefer something smaller with more hands-on professors where I'm not just a BIU and GPA.
The other issue at hand is that the area if law I am particularly interested in is IP. I have found the CBA approved schools don't seem to have specializations necessarily... is this an accurate assessment? And is there anything I could do to rectify it, for example, could I start at a non-ABA approved school and then transfer to an ABA school?
Finally, are there grants/bursaries/scholarships available to non-US citizens that would pay for enough of an ABA education that it would ultimately cost the same as a non-ABA?
Thanks for any help or opinions... I want to make as informed a decision as possible.
Title: Re: Are CBA schools a joke?
Post by: FalconJimmy on August 02, 2011, 10:07:05 AM
I'm wondering if I can get some opinions of non-ABA schools?

Are you talking about going to a canadian law school, or a US non-ABA school?
Title: Re: Are CBA schools a joke?
Post by: amyis on August 02, 2011, 02:21:13 PM
A US non-ABA. I was specifically looking at California state accredited schools.
Thanks for the response.
Title: Re: Are CBA schools a joke?
Post by: taxguy on August 03, 2011, 06:45:14 PM
Do NOT go to a non=ABA accredited school in the US. The states that you can practice in will be vary limited as will any potential job offers.
Title: Re: Are CBA schools a joke?
Post by: FalconJimmy on August 04, 2011, 02:58:52 PM
It's hard to express this without coming across as insulting, but going to a non-ABA school is going to be a severe handicap if you want to get a job afterwards.

If getting a job doesn't matter to you, then the ABA part doesn't matter, either, but if getting a job doesn't matter, then why go to law school at all?  There are very few answers to that question that make sense.

It's a tough market out there for law grads, and the non-ABA grads are going to get whatever scraps are left over after the ABA grads are done.

Personally, I think about half the ABA law students are kidding themselves.  I'd say nearly all the non-ABA law students are delusional.  it's a collossal waste of time and energy to go to a non ABA accredited school.

Yes, you can always trot out people who went to a non accredited school who did well in life.  Hell, you can trot out people who made a million bucks selling amway.  However, a large enough statistical sample will show you that you can't get rich selling Amway and graduates of non-ABA schools are screwed in the job market.

Just my view of things.  If you want to do this, do it right:  go to the best school your circumstances will allow you to go to.  There are a lot of people who really regret going to Law School.  Going to a crappy school dramatically increases your chances of being among them.
Title: Re: Are CBA schools a joke?
Post by: fortook on August 09, 2011, 04:42:38 PM
You can transfer from a non ABA school with 12 credits max, I think.  Look it up to be sure.  If money is your only concern, I can't see how going to a non ABA then transferring would be worth it.  You'll still need to spend most of your time at the ABA school so the savings won't be much and the stress will be high.

In Cali, you might be able to get a job going to a non ABA.  Cali has weird rules that favor non ABA more than other states. That's not to say an ABA isn't a better choice. There are a bunch of non ABA in Cali and you'll have to do a ton of research.  Too bad you're leaving Canada, your chances and options are probably a little better there.
Title: Re: Are CBA schools a joke?
Post by: FalconJimmy on August 09, 2011, 07:57:31 PM
You can transfer from a non ABA school with 12 credits max, I think.  Look it up to be sure. 

The only part about this I agree with is the "look it up to be sure" part.
Title: Re: Are CBA schools a joke?
Post by: fortook on August 11, 2011, 09:27:07 AM
I'm almost positive the non ABA school to ABA school transfer credit limit is between 12 and 18 credits per ABA standards.  Haven't read that part in years, but it is addressed by the ABA.

I find it a little amusing that law students and those in the legal community are potentially more arrogant about the ABA accreditation thing than the ABA itself.  Something else to beware of going to a non ABA school, it may not be right, fair, or even reasonable but they are the ones doing most of the hiring.
Title: Re: Are CBA schools a joke?
Post by: FalconJimmy on August 11, 2011, 05:27:17 PM
I'm almost positive the non ABA school to ABA school transfer credit limit is between 12 and 18 credits per ABA standards.  Haven't read that part in years, but it is addressed by the ABA.


Will an ABA accredited program accept credits towards a JD that were NOT earned in an ABA accredited law school?  The answer to that is clearly, "yes".  Law schools accept credit from all sorts of sources.  Most commonly, you can apply credits from a college of business sometimes, and joint JD/MBA students do exactly that:  they take college classes in the college of business and apply them to their JD.  Whether they'll accept credit from a non-ABA school?  Honestly don't know.  Can't see any ABA policy on this and due to the issues discussed below, it seems unlikely, but I can't say for sure that it's impossible.  AND it would be up to the ABA school to decide what credits they were going to allow you to apply to your ABA accredited JD degree.

However, transferring credits isn't what I read when you said: 

"You can transfer from a non ABA school with 12 credits max, I think."

There, you seemed to be saying, "You can transfer..."  Not "transfer credits".  "Transfer".  Meaning you could start at a non-ABA accredited school and then transfer into an ABA accredited school and take 12 or so credits with you.

The reason I doubt that you can do this is directly from the policies of ABA schools that accept transfer applicants because they tend to have statements such as:

"CUNY School of Law invites and welcomes applications from qualified transfer students. Individuals who have attended an ABA-approved law school and who are..."

"Applications for transfer are considered from students who have attended another law school approved by the American Bar Association (hereinafter ABA) and are in good academic standing at that law school. "  (St. Thomas University.)

"To be considered for transfer admission, an applicant must be in good standing at a law school accredited by the American Bar Association (ABA), including provisionally-approved schools, at the time of transfer."

I find it a little amusing that law students and those in the legal community are potetially more arrogant about the ABA accreditation thing than the ABA itself.  Something else to beware of going to a non ABA school, it may not be right, fair, or even reasonable but they are the ones doing most of the hiring.

It's funny, and I honestly don't mean you, personally, when I say this, but as bad as things are for ABA grads right now, they're abysmally worse for non-ABA grads.  I figure if a person understands the risks, then so be it.  Good for them.  I just find it hard to believe that SO MANY people understand what they're up against if they don't go to an ABA accredited school. 

I also think it's not helpful to the issue to frame the problems with non-ABA schools as matters of arrogance.  Really. 

This is about like saying that if you're a good college baseball player and don't make the majors, that it's because MLB is arrogant. 

There's a lot more to this.  By and large, the ABA schools may have issues, but they meet far more stringent standards, their professors are more accomplished, they have far higher standards for admission, they produce a far higher bar passage rate. 

The reason ABA schools are what they are isn't just based on perception.  They are absolutely better along nearly every measurable dimension.  Yes, I'm sure there is a brilliant person once in a while who graduates from a non-ABA school.  However, that's the person, not the school. 

The more folks at non-ABA accredited schools try to ascribe the problems with those schools to some sort of ABA conspiracy the more I'm certain that they're full-blown detached from reality.

The marketplace is savagely competitive.  The winners are the folks who understand the competition and excel at those areas where competition exists. 

It's not just students competing against other students.  It's schools competing against other schools. 

The folks (and schools) who complain about the competition as being unfair?  I find it hard to believe that they're going to compete well.
Title: Re: Are CBA schools a joke?
Post by: fortook on August 11, 2011, 08:11:17 PM
Your first interpretation was correct. Generally, you can transfer from a non ABA to an ABA.  There are credit limits.  Is that so hard for you to understand?  It is not that different than transferring from a T4 to a T1, conceptually.

I noticed a few quotes from specific schools.  Apologies, I stopped reading when I saw a NY then FL schools.

Not all states have non ABA schools, in fact the vast majority do not.  FL, nope.  NY, nope.  A school in a state that has no state accredited (non ABA) schools can't very well accept state accredited transfer students. The OP is  looking into CA schools.  CA allows, and has a bunch of non ABAs.  You are right he will have to look up individual schools, but per ABA rules it is permissible.  Per state bar examiner rules it varies.  Per school it varies.

Depending on where you are, sure its possible and done often.  You usually need a state approval system, however, for transferring from a non ABA to an ABA to be applicable.  CA has an extensive non ABA system.
Title: Re: Are CBA schools a joke?
Post by: FalconJimmy on August 11, 2011, 08:55:50 PM
Your first interpretation was correct. Generally, you can transfer from a non ABA to an ABA...
I noticed a few quotes from specific schools.  Apologies, I stopped reading when I saw a NY then FL schools.

No problem.  I didn't pull up any CA schools.  Just pulled up the first ones that came up on a google search for transfer law schools.

Based on the CA schools I pulled up, it appears that the better ones still don't accept transfers from state-accredited schools, but you are correct that at least two schools appears to.  Obviously, this is within the guidelines of the ABA.

So, to put a finer point on it, you can transfer out of a non-ABA school to, what, maybe 4 really poorly regarded California ABA schools.  You are 100% correct.  It's possible.  However, honestly, knowing what we know of those schools, if you wanted to go to one of them, it's not that hard to get admitted in the first place.

Loyola:

"Thank you for your interest in applying to transfer to Loyola Law School. The Faculty of Loyola Law recognizes the outstanding achievement of students at other ABA law schools through the transfer student program."

UCLA:

"Transfer applicants must have successfully completed an entire first-year curriculum at another American Bar Association (ABA)-approved law school."

UC Berkeley:

"A law student who has completed one year at another law school may apply for transfer status to enter the secnd-year class at Berkeley Law if... The first-year curriculum has been completed in a full-time program at a law school that is approved by the American Bar Association"

Golden Gate:

"If you have successfully completed at least one full year at another ABA-approved law school you may apply to transfer to the School of Law as a continuing student."

However, yes, it appears that California Western is receptive to non-ABA transfers:

" We can accept up to 30 credits (with a grade of C or better) from ABA schools or state bar accredited schools. "

Thomas Jefferson:

"We consider students from CBA and ABA accredited law schools."


So, yeah, I agree.  What you say appears to be correct.  I hope you'll forgive me for not pulling up the transfer policies of EVERY California school.  However, of the handful I tried, a couple will accept transfers from CBA schools.  It's not unreasonable to think that a couple of others that I didn't look up may be in the same boat.
Title: Re: Are CBA schools a joke?
Post by: Duncanjp on August 12, 2011, 01:33:19 AM
I attend a CBA school, Lincoln LS of Sacramento. I love it. My professors are judges and practicing attorneys, many of whom have been teaching there for 20 years or more. It works for me, Amy.

But there is a lot of truth in what people say about an ABA education vs. a state school. While you can get a J.D. from a state-accredited school without selling your soul to the bank, that's about where the advantage of a state J.D. ends. When I graduate, I'll only be able to take the CA bar. There has been some suggestion that I might be able to sit the bar in a few other states after I've practiced in California for 3-5 years, but it's a minority of states and I can't name a single one offhand. On the other hand, my wife's dearest friend since high school went to a state law school in SoCal. She recently retired from the Public Defender's Office after spending over 20 years litigating everything from forgery to murder cases. When she moved back to her family home in Kansas, she inquired about practicing there, and they told her, "So sorry, but you can't take our bar. You went to a state-accredited law school. Get the picture? Now get the hell out of this office."

To me, that's insanely elitist, but reality is reality. Frankly, with the glut of unemployed ABA graduates out there and the exorbitant cost of any law school (even state schools aren't exactly cheap), you really need to know why you want to attend law school, wherever you go. This is especially important if you're considering a state school over ABA. If you already have substantial experience and solid credentials in a particular field, and you know that 1) admission to the bar can only help your existing career, and 2) you will never leave California, then maybe you could make a state school pay off. I happen to fit the rather narrow profile of those who will almost certainly benefit from such an education, and I don't give a rip what they do in bleeping Kansas. I hate the Chiefs and I'm not moving there.

But if you're coming down from Canada, you may want greater mobility than a CBA will afford you. I've heard it said that many, if not most, attorneys end up working in fields of law that they never envisioned for themselves while in law school. It's just where the jobs led them, for good or ill. As a state school student, I'm going to apply my education to my field. I'll never defend or prosecute criminals. (God, who'd want to?) I'm in class with a lot of slightly older students, a retired prison warden, a director of human resources, and some private investigators, for example. I'm an insurance underwriter. Those of us with preexisting fields of concentration will be able to apply our legal knowledge within our chosen fields and as such, the ABA education probably isn't that necessary. But neither I nor probably most of them expect to compete for an associate attorney job in some random field of law after graduating. That would be a big step backwards career-wise, and with all the unemployed ABA grads out there, the competition would be pretty stiff.
Title: Re: Are CBA schools a joke?
Post by: FalconJimmy on August 12, 2011, 05:02:05 AM
I'm an insurance underwriter.

Duncan, I mean this in all sincerity, but that's a very good career field, isn't it?  How will having a JD help you?  Sincerely curious.
Title: Re: Are CBA schools a joke?
Post by: Duncanjp on August 13, 2011, 12:49:45 AM
I'm an insurance underwriter.

Duncan, I mean this in all sincerity, but that's a very good career field, isn't it?  How will having a JD help you?  Sincerely curious.

Hiya, Falcon. Lay underwriters underwrite less complex transactions than underwriting attorneys, with greater restrictions on the scope of the insurance they underwrite, the geographical territory in which they're allowed to work, and the amount of liability they're authorized to assume. Lay people process claims, but our attorneys actually decide them. A J.D., and more importantly, admission to the bar, will vault me out of the realm of laymen.
Title: Re: Are CBA schools a joke?
Post by: FalconJimmy on August 13, 2011, 09:46:24 AM
Hiya, Falcon. Lay underwriters underwrite less complex transactions than underwriting attorneys, with greater restrictions on the scope of the insurance they underwrite, the geographical territory in which they're allowed to work, and the amount of liability they're authorized to assume. Lay people process claims, but our attorneys actually decide them. A J.D., and more importantly, admission to the bar, will vault me out of the realm of laymen.

Thanks for the explanation.  It makes good sense for you to pursue this, then.  Best of luck.
Title: Re: Are CBA schools a joke?
Post by: Duncanjp on August 13, 2011, 06:26:44 PM
Hiya, Falcon. Lay underwriters underwrite less complex transactions than underwriting attorneys, with greater restrictions on the scope of the insurance they underwrite, the geographical territory in which they're allowed to work, and the amount of liability they're authorized to assume. Lay people process claims, but our attorneys actually decide them. A J.D., and more importantly, admission to the bar, will vault me out of the realm of laymen.

Thanks for the explanation.  It makes good sense for you to pursue this, then.  Best of luck.

Thanks. Nowhere to go but up. Honestly, I wish everybody on this forum the best of luck, in all sincerity. Whatever you hope to do after becoming an attorney, the path is long and arduous to get there. People have their particular hurdles. But ultimately, everyone has to pass the same exam. We can debate the wisdom of one's choice of schools, but the fact is that a license to practice law is a bloody hell of a mountain to climb, and there are no guarantees that you'll ever make it to the top once you start. I have to salute all of those who have made it all the way.
 
I'm tempted here to say, "The cream rises," but there's the first rule of humility: the only difference between God and a lawyer is that God doesn't think he's a lawyer.

Hey! I've been trying to remember a word that I have only ever heard William. F. Buckley use. He began a column with it once, years ago. I believe it starts with a D. It means to call attention to something by saying you're not going to call attention to it ó a political device. I know it's out there. But I haven't heard it for 25 years. Anybody know what in the pumpkins that word is, offhand? I'd be grateful.

Anyway, best of luck, wherever the river takes you, Falcon. And to all to who are trying this.
Title: Re: Are CBA schools a joke?
Post by: lawyerintraining on August 13, 2011, 07:51:37 PM
If you are in CA then a CBE diploma should be fine. Same as other states which have non aba approved state only degrees.

I would hate to get it and try to go back to Canada though. That seems like an uphill battle.
Title: Re: Are CBA schools a joke?
Post by: amyis on October 23, 2011, 08:02:17 AM
Thanks for the advice, Duncan!
I'll definitely consider it when determining where to apply.
Title: Re: Are CBA schools a joke?
Post by: justanothersucker on October 23, 2011, 05:02:17 PM
Did you even bother to notice the the OP wasn't asking about transfering credits? No, what a suprise.

Wants an opinion on the value of the degree.

Have one?
Title: Re: Are CBA schools a joke?
Post by: fortook on October 23, 2011, 08:04:41 PM
What a dumbasss. I'm justanothersucker will be back in some other incarnation. 
Title: Re: Are CBA schools a joke?
Post by: Nor-Cal on November 07, 2012, 11:47:34 PM
Are CBA schools a joke?

Short Answer: Absolutely not.

Too many people believe there is a direct coloration between the school you attend and the perceived success you will experience as a result. The reality is that it is just one of several factors that contribute ones success; ability to win cases, attitude, maturity, education, experience, and work ethic all play a considerable role. So are CBA schools a joke. I would say some can be where others are excellent schools. It really depends on what your trying to do. I have never attended a CBA school, but I know a partner at a large law firm who did. Currently she has several attorney's working for her, some of which graduated from Tier 1 schools. Her success was not the result of where she went to school, but what she can bring to the table and produce. In the courtroom, she is an animal. Her reputation is awesome and nobody cares where she went to school; she even told me after you've established yourself as a good attorney, the topic of where you went to school is less and less of an issue beyond your first couple years practicing law.

I'll give you another example: I had a young Deputy District Attorney from a Tier 1 school working with me on a case involving a suspect that was arrested on 8 felonies and 3 misdemeanors. The evidence was strong and the case should have been a slam dunk. However, the Deputy District Attorney got bullied by the defense attorney so bad that his client walked.

On this board you'll often come across a younger demographic of students who are very opinionated and believe what school you attend is the biggest consideration that will follow you throughout your career. People can be very short sighted based on their very limited amount of life experience, and very opinionated based on their lack of maturity. Just remember a worthless attorney is a worthless attorney no matter where he/she went to school. What you have to determine is what do you expect to gain, and will a CBA school get you there. Only you can answer that one.

Good luck.


Title: Re: Are CBA schools a joke?
Post by: legalpractitioner on March 05, 2013, 07:55:00 AM
The CBA law school will get you a ticket to the California bar exam, it won't get you a job particularly in a competitive field like IT.  If you want to work for the Google legal department better suck it in and get a degree from the best law school that has the best program in IT law.  This is yet another case where being a thrifty Canadian will get you the sort end of the hockey stick.
Title: Re: Are CBA schools a joke?
Post by: baseball_2003 on March 09, 2013, 09:51:22 AM
Have you heard anything about Monterey College of Law?  This is a CBA approved school as well. 
Title: Re: Are CBA schools a joke?
Post by: legalpractitioner on March 09, 2013, 10:01:59 AM
http://www.montereylaw.edu/frequently-asked-questions#accredited

Go Google and read.
Title: Re: Are CBA schools a joke?
Post by: CA Law Dean on April 08, 2013, 09:09:09 AM
Thanks for the "plug" JL. CBE (Committee of Bar Examiner), also known as CALS (California Accredited Law Schools) are small, regional law schools accredited by the State Bar of California, not the ABA. Many of them have respectable bar pass rates (competitive with the unranked ABA law schools), are a fraction of the cost of the traditional ABA schools, and offer part-time evening programs so that you can actually begin working in law-related jobs to gain relevant experience before graduating. Most have strong ties to their local bench-bar that provide valuable networking for jobs after graduation.

In reference to the question . . . they would indeed be a "bad joke" if your goal is to work in a large urban center in a multinational law conglomerate or if you intended to move out of California within three years after graduation. But if the idea of practicing in California, being a small firm lawyer, DA, Public Defender, Legal Services lawyer, or solo practitioner is what you are after . . . and you like the idea of graduating with reasonable or no student loan debt, a CBE school is absolutely not a joke. Just like any other law school, before you get serious about a decision, ask hard questions about bar pass rates, costs, job placement, clinical,programs, etc. One of the most compelling arguments for the regional law schools is that most of the non-urban areas of California need lawyers (despite the articles in the national news) and many of them are great places to live and raise a family if you have not already decided to be a big city lawyer.

The biggest limitation is that upon graduation from one of the California accredited law schools you must take (and pass) the California bar exam first. You cannot go directly to another state and sit for their bar exam until you are licensed in California (and some states will require minimum years of practice as well). That is why the option is primarily for those who already know that they want to live and practice in California.
Title: Re: Are CBA schools a joke?
Post by: bobol on April 29, 2013, 02:29:44 AM
To "CA Law Dean"

Thank you for entering this discussion.

Please defend your position that CBA law schools ate not a joke by presenting detailed employment statistics (not antidotal or individual examples) of the employment histories of graduates at your school and graduates of other CBA Law Schools. 

Please also identify the CBA Law School at which you claim to serve as Dean.

Thanks.
Title: Re: Are CBA schools a joke?
Post by: livinglegend on May 03, 2013, 12:21:41 AM
He is the dean of Monterrey College of Law my two cents as a Bay Area attorney is that employment "stats" are highly inaccurate and do not reflect the reality that no matter what school you attend if you pass the bar and use common sense and have a modicum of social skills you can have a career as an attorney at least in California. It difficult to start out and I think without getting into costs, location, etc even CA Law Dean would agree having an ABA degree would be better than a CBE one, but CBE schools are great for certain people.

Overall are CBE schools a joke? They can be if your trying to get hired at Cravath or Latham, but so is a degree from a the 47th ranked ABA school. There will also be people out there who think CBE schools are a joke and plenty that don't. I have interviewed and hired CBE students for internships etc some were good some were not the same can be said for students at every law school I have dealt with in the Bay area GGU, Hastings, USF, etc. Whether a person is a good attorney has a lot more to do with the individual than the school they attended.
Title: Re: Are CBA schools a joke?
Post by: bobol on May 04, 2013, 01:32:45 AM

Let me again ask "CA Law Dean" to present employment statistics for his/ her schools recent graduating classes 2010, 2011 & 2013 similar to what the ABA requires its members to present.
http://employmentsummary.abaquestionnaire.org/

Please also provide bar pass stats for your school and the bar pass stats for other CAB schools.

Thanks.
Title: Re: Are CBA schools a joke?
Post by: Duncanjp on May 05, 2013, 12:48:11 AM
Let me again ask "CA Law Dean" to present employment statistics for his/ her schools recent graduating classes 2010, 2011 & 2013 similar to what the ABA requires its members to present.
http://employmentsummary.abaquestionnaire.org/

Please also provide bar pass stats for your school and the bar pass stats for other CAB schools.

The tenor of your posts sounds suspiciously like you would seek to discredit Monterey COL, its dean, and CBE schools in general if given the chance. Or at least to needlessly assert the superiority of an ABA education over the pedestrian variety of a CBE school. Correct me if I'm wrong. But that's how your posts read.

I attend a CBE school - Lincoln Law School of Sacramento. Our pass rate on the last bar exam was something over 50%, but less than 60%. I don't recall the exact number and I'm not inclined to look it up. Pass rates are posted on the State Bar's website if you want to see them. Nobody claims that CBE grads pass the bar in the same percentages that ABA grads do, or that they have any hope of even coming close. But CBE schools cannot be compared with ABA schools in many ways because unlike ABA schools, CBE schools are not populated with droves of 20-somethings with no professional experience and nothing to do but study the law. CBE schools are primarily attended by working adults, who juggle careers, families, mortgages and night school all at the same time. Landing a job in BigLaw is not on a CBE grad's bucket list. My classmates and I are already gainfully employed in career positions, primarily in law or closely-related fields. A significant number of my classmates work in government - that's Sacramento for you. But the point is that CBE grads do not typically get their degrees and then commence a desperate hunt for lucrative work in the impacted field of law. ABA grads have got that covered well enough without our help. A CBE education is more often a tool to further existing careers. I doubt that most CBE schools keep meaningful records of how many grads are working in law nine months after graduating, although I could be wrong on that point. They definitely keep tabs on who passed the bar. But such records arenít mission critical the way they are with ABA schools, regardless. ABA schools are flooding the country with well-educated, but inexperienced, highly-indebted young people competing for a handful of jobs, many or most of which pay only moderate salaries under the best of circumstances. The employment stats for CBE graduates actually look pretty good, at least to the end that most of us already work in the legal field and we don't seem to have the same problem on average of having to scramble to find employment after graduating.

Furthermore, the affordability of CBE schools means that even those grads who have assumed some debt by the time they finish are not laden with the chains of Jacob Marley. What you probably want to hear is whether any significant percentage of CBE grads are working in BigLaw nine months after graduation. The answer is no. BigLaw is the province of top ABA schools. But it's a hell of a big country, and legal services are needed everywhere. Of all the legal services provided in this country, what percentage is handled by traditional, BigLaw firms? That's mostly rhetorical. I don't know the answer. But I would risk two bucks the percentage provided by small and medium law firms is significant, and those firms hire a lot of CBE grads. Such firms frequently have partners who went to CBE schools.

Passing the California bar definitely presents a greater challenge for CBE grads on average than ABA grads. This is not because they're dumb or less academically capable than the average ABA grad. Those who struggle academically get weeded out in the first year, and pretty mercilessly. Those CBE students who go the distance, however, tend to be exceptionally driven, focused people. Unfortunately, not everyone who completes a CBE program is able to abandon his or her job (and income) for two or three months to immerse themselves in preparing for the bar. ABA grads generally have the good fortune to have nothing going on their lives but law school and bar prep, which is by design. And good for them. My mission isn't to worry about how lucky ABA students are, but to focus on my own task. Having watched my classmates progress over the last three years, I'm confident that the average CBE student who makes it through the entire program could handle the typical ABA student's life and educational program with one hand. I mean, if you can pass law exams while working full time, you can certainly pass law exams when you donít. CBE schools do not dumb down their courses. Contracts is contracts. Con law is con law. Most of my profs went to ABA schools themselves. Some of the finest professors I have ever studied under have been my instructors at my humble CBE school. It isnít the quality of the education that truly distinguishes ABA schools from CBE, nor even bar passing rates: itís the station in life of the average student.
Title: Re: Are CBA schools a joke?
Post by: Maintain FL 350 on May 07, 2013, 11:28:18 AM

Let me again ask "CA Law Dean" to present employment statistics for his/ her schools recent graduating classes 2010, 2011 & 2013 similar to what the ABA requires its members to present.
http://employmentsummary.abaquestionnaire.org/

Please also provide bar pass stats for your school and the bar pass stats for other CAB schools.

Thanks.

Monterrey's first time pass rate for July 2012 was 66%. That's better than several CA ABA schools, and significantly better than most out of state ABA schools. Check out Calbar's site for details.

I don't think CBE schools are required to report post-grad employment details like their ABA counterparts, so that info may not be readily available. You could have discovered this yourself in about 30 seconds.

"Are CBE schools a joke?" is the wrong question. It's subjective and vague, and can't really be answered. The question to ask is "Are CBE schools adequately fulfilling their intended function?" The answer to that question is that some are, and some are not. 

CBE schools are not attempting to compete with the ABA schools. As Duncanjp noted, the typical CBE student is a working adult and has no intention of seeking a Biglaw position. The CBE schools do, however, provide a large number of California's prosecutors, public defenders, small Main Street firms, and solo practitioners.

I think it's difficult for attorneys from outside of California to understand the system, because most states have no equivalent. Law students, both inside and outside of California, seem equally confused. I graduated from an ABA school, and the entire focus was on grades, law review, and absurd ranking schemes. Everyone was gunning for those coveted few Biglaw or Federal positions, and most of my classmates openly disdained the notion of working in small firms or at the public defender's office.

From what I can gather, that's simply not the focus at CBE schools. Most CBE students I've met are very realistic about their options, and understand the limitations of the degree. However, visit any public agency or small firm in CA and you're bound to meet successful CBE grads. My county counsel's office is something like 50% CBE grads, and they're doing just fine.

Also, like ABA schools, some CBEs have better reputations than others. Some of them are geographically isolated, and are therefore able to attract more qualified applicants who would otherwise attend an ABA school. Those particular CBE schools produce a large percentage of the local bar and bench, and have good local reputations.

For example, we had a CBE school here in Los Angeles (University of La Verne) that was called "The Judge's Law School" for decades because it produced so many judges in southern California. Within it's region, ULV had (and still has) a good reputation and went onto earn ABA approval. Western State in Orange County had a similar history, and produced a huge number of OC's prosecutors and judges before gaining ABA approval. In the Central Valley, a large number of the attorneys and judges are graduates of San Joaquin COL, and the Santa Barbara area is well stocked with Santa Barbara COL grads.

Other CBE schools, however, have low bar pass rates,mmay be in danger of losing state accreditation under California's newly adopted rules, and are in regions where they have to compete with multiple ABA schools. Clearly, that's going to make things difficult for many of those grads. The point is you've got to look at the schools individually, and take into account the students' goals. 
Title: Re: Are CBA schools a joke?
Post by: Duncanjp on May 07, 2013, 07:00:26 PM
I applaud the movement to require CBE schools to meet minimum bar pass rates or risk losing their accreditation. There is something wrong with accredited schools that base their fees (and advertising) on being accredited if they do not produce graduates who have a fighting chance at passing the bar. That would go for any ABA school as well. If all you want is to learn the law for its own sake and you have no interest in sitting the bar, then an unaccredited institution is the place to be - with fees relative to that purpose. But accreditation needs to encompass certain minimum standards, and for law schools, the most important measure of their effectiveness is the bar pass rate.

That said, many factors influence pass rates: position in life, academic capacity of the student, quality of the education, availability of resources, quality of bar prep, etc. I'm glad that CA at least offers those who didn't get a 3.9 at Stanford a shot at becoming a lawyer, if they have the other intangibles in place. 
Title: Re: Are CBA schools a joke?
Post by: Cher1300 on May 10, 2013, 02:44:56 PM
I have been seriously considering transferring to a CBA because of the astronimical tuition rates of the ABA I attend.  Although I attend a tier 4, my biggest concern had been the bar pass rates and the fact that CBA's do not require much for admissions.  As mentioned above, however, it really depends upon the student and their goals.

I spoke to a professor at Southwestern this past weekend who believes the ABA's tuition bubble will likely burst over the next couple of years.  He's probably in his 70's, practiced law for years and became a professor later on in life.  He said he would never attend law school today unless he was on a full scholarship.  The cost is just not worth the effort for someone like me who is over 40 and has no desire to work for big law.  Partial scholarships hardly make a dent.  If he is correct and the bubble does burst, I'll be interested to see if more younger students apply to CBA's and if a bar pass requirement comes into play.   Of course, Stanford will always be a priority for the really bright younger students, but I wouldn't be surprised if we started seeing younger students from T3s and 4s going to those schools on scholarships.  200K in loans is a lot even when you have 40+ years to pay it off.
Title: Re: Are CBA schools a joke?
Post by: livinglegend on May 14, 2013, 11:53:06 PM
I don't know if there is really an ABA bubble it is more of a California law school tuition bubble many ABA law schools outside of California have very reasonable tuition rates I.E. Florida International Law School, CUNY, South Dakota, North Dakota, all are $10,000 or less per year in tuition.

However, California law schools can charge as much as they do because people keep enrolling and many students nationwide want to live in California so the tuition keeps getting hiked up. With that knowledge perhaps to graduate with an ABA degree you might want to consider a law school with cheaper tuition rates outside of California. I don't know if that is a possibility, but I think having an ABA degree is better than a CBA one all things considered.

Right or wrong there will be doors closed to you without an ABA degree it doesn't mean you can't succeed, but many firms, agencies, etc will only consider ABA grads at a minimum. On top of that if you go into private practice or start your own firm potential clients will look you up and if they see you went to an unaccredited school they probably won't choose you. I personally know the educational difference is minimal, but when selecting an attorney people like hear the word accredited. On top of that if your a Solo you will be competing for clients and other attorneys from ABA schools to help themselves may say oh she went to an unaccredited school. Kind of shady and certainly many lawyers do not do that, but it is a competitive business and something to consider.

By analogy if you were choosing  a doctor to perform you surgery and you heard one of them went to an unaccredited Medical School you would be more hesitant to choose them over other doctors that went to an accredited law school. Does that mean you can't succeed from a CBA school?  Absolutely not the Mayor of L.A  graduated from a law school that was not even CBA accredited and he is bossing around Harvard Grads.

In the end since your halfway down the ABA path I think your better off staying there, but I am just some guy anonymously posting on the internet. Also on the flip-side when you pass the bar whether from a CBA school or ABA school you are a lawyer in California with the same rights, responsibilities, etc that a California Lawyer from Harvard has.
Title: Re: Are CBA schools a joke?
Post by: bobol on May 19, 2013, 09:52:00 PM
It is not surprising that none of the above defenders of CBA law schools can provide employment statistics.

Hopefully anyone considering a CBA school will understand that if these schools had employment statistics to confirm their worth then they would release those statistics.
Title: Re: Are CBA schools a joke?
Post by: Duncanjp on May 21, 2013, 01:17:28 AM
It is not surprising that none of the above defenders of CBA law schools can provide employment statistics.

Hopefully anyone considering a CBA school will understand that if these schools had employment statistics to confirm their worth then they would release those statistics.

Your mission to discredit CBE schools denies reality, despite what you may think. CBE schools don't send a flood of inexperienced graduates out into the real world to compete for jobs the way ABA schools do. The stats you want to see are not a selling point for CBE schools because the majority of CBE grads already have careers well underway and they are paying their tuition as they go. Employment in my class is nearly 100%.  I only know of three people who don't have jobs in law or government in my class of 52, and one of them is retired. Meanwhile, debt is very low. I won't owe a penny to anyone when I graduate, and the same goes for most of my friends. But look at the sad legions of ABA grads today: employment is low, debt is high. Very high. It's a shame, but I can understand the desperation to maintain the elitist status quo of the legal profession.

Anybody considering a CBE school who is young and inexperienced should think twice before settling on less than an ABA education. They'll be competing in an elitist marketplace at a disadvantage. On the other hand, people who are older, who dream that an ABA education is going to make them more employable than a CBE school, need to consider whether they have a realistic chance of recouping the cost.
Title: Re: Are CBA schools a joke?
Post by: bobol on May 21, 2013, 09:58:01 PM
Duncanjp,

You are wrong in your belief that I am on a "mission to discredit CBA schools" (your phrase) but merely pointing out that most, if not all CBA schools fail and refuse to reveal employment statistics and first time bar pass rates. 

It is charming that posters like "Duncanip" would have us believe that their CBA education qualifies them to be practicing attorneys but their antidotal stories, while interesting are not supported by facts.  The hard cold reality is that many CBA never pass the California Bar exam and fewer enjoy profitable legal careers.   

Duncanip, please explain why if the CBA law schools are as successful as you  would have us believe then why CBA do schools refuse to disclose statistics for legal employment after graduation for their grads.  (Paralegal jobs for the CBA grads don't count.)
Title: Re: Are CBA schools a joke?
Post by: livinglegend on May 21, 2013, 11:08:10 PM
I don't think my prior posts ever sought to credit or discredit CBA schools. I can tell you there are many CBA grads doing in the legal profession below are a few examples.

1) Head D.A. of Fresno CBA grad.
http://www.co.fresno.ca.us/Departments.aspx?id=156
attended San Joaquin College of Law
http://members.calbar.ca.gov/fal/Member/Detail/179758 


2) The Mayor of Los Angeles
Antonio Villaigosa
http://mayor.lacity.org/index.htm
Attended People's College of Law and never passed the bar, but is doing well.

3) San Francisco Head District Attorney
George Gascon
http://www.sfdistrictattorney.org/
Attended Western State prior to it becoming ABA approved and I think currently it is only provisionally accredited
 http://members.calbar.ca.gov/fal/Member/Detail/182345 (Here is his bar information)

Do most CBA grads experience this success? No. Does attening an ABA school give you an advantage of a CBA school? Yes. Does going to Stanford give you an edge over a Tier 4 school? Yes.

Does the school you attend determine your legal career? no.

Are employment statistics important? Not really.

First the statistics reported by ABA schools are highly flawed and manipulated for multiple reasons.

1) Most people simply do not fill out the surveys. Realistically you graduate from law school in May then you study your ass off for the bar from May until the end of July and then in California you wait for bar results for months. Many people go on vacations, start working, etc and do not want to fill out any paperwork from their law school that is not mandatory.

I personally passed the bar started and got a job right the day after results were released. I was nervous about starting a new job and then was busting my ass the thought of filling out an employment survey never even crossed my mind so I guess technically I was unemployed grad according to my law school and these "stats"

2) Many people in law school particularly CBA schools have no real desire to be lawyers. I knew plenty of night students at my ABA school that simply wanted a law degree to help them in their non-legal jobs, wanted an academic challenge, god knows what and not everyone in law school has the same exact goal.

3) You are also correct that many people attending CBA schools do not pass the bar, but the bar is a standardized test and people from Harvard fail the same as people from CBA schools it is much more up to the individual than the school.

The overall point of my post is that people can succeed in the legal profession from CBA schools. Furthermore, being an attorney I can tell you what school you went to means almost nothing once your in the mix of the legal profession and your work ethic, ability to relate with people, handle pressure, etc will make or break you not the name on your diploma.

With that there are obviously drawbacks to CBA schools and some doors will be closed, but Cravath is just as likely to hire a Monterey College of Law Grad as they are a Santa Clara, USF, or Golden Gate grad which are all ABA schools.

Are CBA schools elite institutions? No. Do people succeed from CBA schools? Yes. Will it be an uphill battle especially starting out from a CBA school? Yes.

Anyone considering a CBA school should use their common sense and if they know what they are getting into it can be a good decision, but manage your expectations if you plan on attending a CBA school.
Title: Re: Are CBA schools a joke?
Post by: Duncanjp on May 22, 2013, 01:45:42 AM
It is charming that posters like "Duncanip" would have us believe that their CBA education qualifies them to be practicing attorneys but their antidotal stories, while interesting are not supported by facts.  The hard cold reality is that many CBA never pass the California Bar exam and fewer enjoy profitable legal careers.

Uh, for future reference, the word is anecdotal, not "antidotal" there, "bobol." Your observations on CBE grads are fair commentary, although my anecdotes are based upon personal knowledge. There is a cold, hard reality that many CBE grads never pass the CA bar exam. But you ignore the fact that many of them do and go on to have good careers in law, albeit, not on the Supreme Court. There is also the cold, hard reality that thousands of ABA grads have absolutely astronomical debt and cannot find jobs anywhere. Some have even filed lawsuits against their ABA schools. Some of those who do manage to find meaningful work, especially in BigLaw, burn out after a brief couple of years, or decide they don't like working as an attorney after spending a fortune to become one. It just seems myopic to me to dismiss one path with a cavalier wave of the hand in favor of the other, taking no account of the individual and his or her station in life. Not every college grad can go to Harvard. But does that destroy the value of getting a college degree from whatever institution is available to the student? No. The education is its own reward. What you do with it afterwards is up to you.
Title: Re: Are CBA schools a joke?
Post by: Maintain FL 350 on May 22, 2013, 12:56:55 PM
It is charming that posters like "Duncanip" would have us believe that their CBA education qualifies them to be practicing attorneys but their antidotal stories, while interesting are not supported by facts.

Their CBE education and bar passage does, in fact, qualify them to be attorneys.

Again, I think you're missing the point. The CBE and ABA schools are filling different market niches and serving different demographics. It doesn't make sense to compare apples to oranges. CBE grads won't be competing for Biglaw or federal jobs, and many ABA grads aren't interested in small insurance subrogation firms or going solo.

Obviously, the bar pass rates are usually lower and a CBE grad is going to have to hustle more than an ABA grad to get a job. But you have to remember, as Duncan pointed out, that most CBE students are not 25 year-olds who lack experience and are relying on their academic pedigree to land a position. Many possess other experience and connections, and just need to pass the bar.

Lastly, I'm not convinced that any ABA grad is necessarily in a better position to get hired than any CBE grad. I worked at an office where a huge premium was placed on the ability to hit the ground running. A clueless, inexperienced ABA grad would not have automatically beat out an experienced, personable CBE grad. This is especially true of grads from lower-tier ABA schools.

I'm not saying that the opportunities are always equivalent, they're obviously not. I would simply urge you to take the CBE student's goals into account when evaluating the utility of the program.     

 
Title: Re: Are CBA schools a joke?
Post by: CA Law Dean on May 27, 2013, 04:33:36 PM
Wow. So sorry to get back to this party late. I completely missed that this thread was staying active or I would have chimed back in earlier. Particularly since it is one of my favorite topics. Just to confirm, I am correctly identified as Dean Mitchel Winick of Monterey College of Law. I think the comments about CBE schools are right on point. Most of the CBE law schools serve  a unique market that does not really overlap with the traditional ABA law schools. The real trouble with Bobol's one-dimensional assessment is not that CBE school's fail to provide employment data. (By the way, I actually believe that CBEs should start collecting and reporting employment data, and MCL has initiated the process to do so this summer).

 The issue is that to reflect the mission of our schools and our graduates, we need to report somewhat different data to reflect whether we are fairly meeting our obligations to our graduates. I actually just had this conversation with the ED of Law School Transparency to solicit his advice on what data should be collected and reported for CBE schools. As he and I discussed, the "9 month after graduation" statistic doesn't work well for a school like MCL.  It is important to remember that as an evening law school program, all of our students are already working during law school and throughout the bar prep period. In many cases they have professional jobs that they have no intention of leaving (i.e. realtors, financial planners, accountants) regardless of whether they pass the bar exam after earning their JD.

However, I do think that it would be valuable to collect and report on what our graduates do with their degrees and whether they pass the bar and get a law-related job if that was their primary objective. However, as interesting as the data should be . . . it is important to realize that we are talking about very small groups (20 to 25 graduates per year). Dividing the results into meaningful statistics will be challenging with such small numbers. That is one of e reasons that CBE schools have never been required to collect and report employment data as part of our accreditation standards. Unlike ABA law schools that have a singular mission of law-related employment, CBE law schools have a much broader educational role in our specific communities.
Title: Re: Are CBA schools a joke?
Post by: CA Law Dean on February 08, 2014, 09:34:34 AM
As a 2014 cycle update, Monterey College of Law (a CBE law school), completed a 2009-2012 alumni employment survey after being encouraged to do so by Kyle McAtee of Law School Transparency (www.lawschooltransparency.com). We can now report that 88% of our graduates were employed 9 months after graduation and 91% are currently employed.