Law School Discussion

Law Students => Online Law Schools => Topic started by: Opie58 on December 20, 2011, 07:15:18 AM

Title: Correlation Between High Tuition Costs & Affordable Legal Assistance??
Post by: Opie58 on December 20, 2011, 07:15:18 AM
Here is an interesting article questioning the correlation between high tuition costs and affordable legal assistance.  It also slams the overly high, and sometimes unattainable, ABA standards a school needs to achieve for that ABA seal of approval.

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/12/18/business/for-law-schools-a-price-to-play-the-abas-way.html?_r=3&pagewanted=1

Your opinions, please.
Title: Re: Correlation Between High Tuition Costs & Affordable Legal Assistance??
Post by: FalconJimmy on December 20, 2011, 08:08:00 AM
If I understand the gist, what they're saying is that if you dropped all standards, then people could become "attorneys" without having to attend a real law school.  Sort of like what happens in California. 

Then, since you really didn't make them do anything to become attorneys, they'll give their services away nearly for free.

Is there a glut of inexpensive attorneys in California?  Seems to me that good attorneys are as expensive in CA as anywhere else in the country, if not moreso.

Good attorneys will always be expensive.  You can hire cheap attorneys right now.  Chances are they're inexperienced, graduated from lesser schools and aren't at the top of their profession.

People don't want attorneys who don't know what they're doing.  That's why attorneys who know what they're doing can charge what they charge.  I am willing to bet that in CA, the guys who went to unaccredited schools who kick ass don't charge $20 an hour.  I bet once they establish a professional reputation, they charge what any other comparably competent attorney charges.

Which means that you will only create cheap attorneys by creating bad attorneys.
Title: Re: Correlation Between High Tuition Costs & Affordable Legal Assistance??
Post by: Zepp on December 20, 2011, 10:10:15 AM
It's a festering pile of B.S.  Rather than whine about ABA standards (because having standards are a bad thing in the practice of law?), perhaps these deans and faculty of these sub 4T schools should look at their salaries.  Law schools are a cash cow for universities.  They are cheap to run, and the deans in even 4T schools bank half a mil. or more a year.  The blog, "third tier reality" profiles many of these schools, including the pay of administrators and faculty, and when you see how much the salaries are at even the worst ABA-accredited schools, you'll see the "standards" have less to do with the cost than the willingness of these educators to line their pockets at the expense of students that don't realize their diploma is probably the worst investment of their lives. 

There is no reason third and fourth tier schools should be charging anywhere near top 14 school prices.  The only reason they do is simple greed, and they get away with it by dazzling naive students with b.s. salary stats.  And the costs of law school has very little to do with the availability of affordable legal representation.  The reality is there are a great many unemployed lawyers out there.  The vast majority of the many thousand of students who graduate law school every year will never even get an interview at a V100 firm, much less actually work at one, billing $300 and hour.  The luck grads of T3 and 4 schools manage to get jobs at small firms doing divorces, family law, and representing your average client for not much money.  They'll probably be making some $40k a year, and just barely paying their law schoold debt.  The less than lucky ones will have to give up on the law, and take jobs in other fields to pay their debt on a degree that is doing them no good.

The problem isn't that the standards are set too high.  The real problem is students aren't getting what they pay for.  While an argument can be made that the top 14 law schools can charge $45-50k a year because their graduates have a reasonably good shot at biglaw, making $160k to start, can you honestly tell me that 4th tier schools like Touro and Suffolk are priced right at $41k a year?  Can there be any justification as to why these schools are charging only $4k/year less than Harvard and Georgetown?  Are the graduates of Touro and Suffolk only getting $12k less value on their degree than a Harvard of Georgetown grad?  The vast majority of T4 schools charge between $32k and $38k/year for tuition.  These 4T schools have no touble paying their admin and faculty six figure salaries, but the problem is that the ABA has too high a standard that makes it expensive to run their library?   They're just greedy SOBs that don't want the ABA cutting into their bottom line with silly "standards" like requiring the library have books, when that money could be paying for something far better like the dean's salary.
Title: Re: Correlation Between High Tuition Costs & Affordable Legal Assistance??
Post by: FalconJimmy on December 20, 2011, 02:02:37 PM
+1 for Zepp.  Great points. 
Title: Re: Correlation Between High Tuition Costs & Affordable Legal Assistance??
Post by: legalpractitioner on December 20, 2011, 06:09:24 PM
They're just greedy SOBs that don't want the ABA cutting into their bottom line with silly "standards" like requiring the library have books, when that money could be paying for something far better like the dean's salary.

I'm not arguing that law school adminstrators and faculty (who after all usually only possess a JD themselves are overpaid) but why would anyone actually need a paper lawbook these days? They are super expensive, cumbersome, and have regular Hellishly expensive updates. And they come in electronic versions anyway. Any attorney who is doing more than 5% of their research from paper books is way behind the technology curve. Let's face it, law books which can't be searched for terms or immediately cross referenced are a waste of time. Law schools who rely on paper are setting students up with outmoded skill sets. The ABA is so far behind the times that it is hugely irrelevant to most lawyers except where it maintains its death grip on law schools. The ABA can't even begin to resolve the morass of multijurisdictional practice and the Internet - they s_ck. But the law book publishers love them.
Title: Re: Correlation Between High Tuition Costs & Affordable Legal Assistance??
Post by: legalpractitioner on December 20, 2011, 06:28:59 PM

Which means that you will only create cheap attorneys by creating bad attorneys.

Unless you define "good" as equalling how much an attorney earns, hourly fees have absolutely nothing to with how good an attorney is for a client. Some of the best attorneys work for free or on a contingent fee basis, the hourly guys who work for big firms, are usually good at one thing - billing their clients for every nanosecond spent on a case. Good attorneys work for people and causes not corporations and insurance companies. Or to put it another way, an attorney who represents SSI claimants does a Hell of a lot more good than one who helps corporations squeeze more money out of consumers and employees.  My unsolicited advice, go read one of Gerry Spence's books.

Therefore, I disagree, we need far fewer indebted attorneys who paid big law school tuition and are more concerned with paying off their loans than helping clients. If someone has a bachelors degree and training and can pass the bar, why shouldn't they be an attorney? In England, an undergrad degree, a one year conversion course, and two year training contract at a law firm are all that is required with no bar exam at all to become a solicitor (which is a lawyer).
Title: Re: Correlation Between High Tuition Costs & Affordable Legal Assistance??
Post by: FalconJimmy on December 20, 2011, 08:59:16 PM
some of the best attorneys work for free

I imagine some do.

 
or on a contingent fee basis

And you equate 1/3 of a settlement as working for poor wages, I take it.

the hourly guys who work for big firms, are usually good at one thing - billing their clients for every nanosecond spent on a case.

Ah, yeah, I forgot.  They couldn't possibly be good attorneys. 


Good attorneys work for people and causes not corporations and insurance companies.

Morally good?  Eh, I have no quibble with you there.  at the very least, they would appear to be altruistic and willing to work for what they consider to be causes with some social benefit.


Or to put it another way, an attorney who represents SSI claimants...

Let me finish that sentence for you:  "... got appointed as an appointed representative and is getting an hourly fee from the federal government."

if they're poorly paid, its because they're just stupid, not-very good at being an attorney, not very good at running a practice, or some combination of the three.

Therefore, I disagree, we need far fewer indebted attorneys who paid big law school tuition and are more concerned with paying off their loans than helping clients.

Or perhaps what you mean is, we need more competent attorneys working for the public interest, even if the field is not very lucrative.  There are other ways to handle that.  These days, heck, we could provide student loan repayment and a modest paycheck and a lot of attorneys would jump at the chance.

If someone has a bachelors degree and training and can pass the bar, why shouldn't they be an attorney?

I agree with you there.  If it were my world, there would be no law school requirement or maybe not even any education requirement at all, but the bar would be much tougher.  Given that unaccredited schools have, what, about a 20 or 30% Bar passage rate, I'd say that any tougher bar would make the proportion of their graduates who eventually practice law a statistical rounding error.

However, what would that do to the legal industry?  How would people get jobs in the law?  By their bar score alone?  There's a purpose for the educational component involved in being an attorney. 

In England, an undergrad degree, a one year conversion course, and two year training contract at a law firm are all that is required with no bar exam at all to become a solicitor (which is a lawyer).

You may have me at a disadvantage, here, but isn't a solicitor the equivalent of an attorney who handles transactional law, exclusively?

To actually practice in court, you need to be a barrister, which is a different thing, entirely.

Or do I have that wrong?
Title: Re: Correlation Between High Tuition Costs & Affordable Legal Assistance??
Post by: Zepp on December 20, 2011, 09:31:47 PM
but why would anyone actually need a paper lawbook these days? They are super expensive, cumbersome, and have regular Hellishly expensive updates. And they come in electronic versions anyway. Any attorney who is doing more than 5% of their research from paper books is way behind the technology curve. Let's face it, law books which can't be searched for terms or immediately cross referenced are a waste of time. Law schools who rely on paper are setting students up with outmoded skill sets. The ABA is so far behind the times that it is hugely irrelevant to most lawyers except where it maintains its death grip on law schools. The ABA can't even begin to resolve the morass of multijurisdictional practice and the Internet - they s_ck. But the law book publishers love them.

I'm guessing you've never had to deal with a client on a tight budget (or God forbid, a pro-bono client)?  Westlaw charges $15 to view a case you pull up by citation.  Actual searches just pile on the dollars.  I suppose you can use some of the free on-line services, but I have yet to find one that's worth a damn.  There aren't too many options for low cost research, and books are still free to an attorney who knows how to use them effectively (and provided law schools are still carrying them).  And what exactly is the solo practioner supposed to do when his clients can't afford the cost of Westlaw and Lexis, and he doesn't have the volume to get a decent discount from either?  If the nearest law school stops carrying the paper volumes, he's pretty much SOL, isn't he?  So, no, I don't think it is unreasonable for the ABA to expect law schools to carry, both for use by their students or their local legal community, nor do I think it unreasonable to expect an attorney to know how to use bound resources effectively when necessary.  I think it is just as much a failure by an attorney to not know how to use bound resources as it is to be "behind the technology curve" and not use electornic resources.
Title: Re: Correlation Between High Tuition Costs & Affordable Legal Assistance??
Post by: Zepp on December 20, 2011, 09:48:31 PM
Unless you define "good" as equalling how much an attorney earns, hourly fees have absolutely nothing to with how good an attorney is for a client. Some of the best attorneys work for free or on a contingent fee basis, the hourly guys who work for big firms, are usually good at one thing - billing their clients for every nanosecond spent on a case. Good attorneys work for people and causes not corporations and insurance companies. Or to put it another way, an attorney who represents SSI claimants does a Hell of a lot more good than one who helps corporations squeeze more money out of consumers and employees. 

So by your definition, all those attorneys, who graduted near the top of their class, in the top 14 law schools in the country, working in biglaw, representing large clients, aren't good attorneys?  You do know that most large firms have pro-bono requirements too, so do they become "good" attorneys only while doing pro bono work?  Hate to break it to you, a large poriton of those "Good attorneys [who] work for people" are pretty average at what they do, if not much worse.  Biglaw has a way of weeding out the deadbeats.  While there are many attorneys doing what they feel is for the betterment of society than just looking for a big paycheck, there are many more who just can't cut it at a big firm, and are taking whatever they can get.

If someone has a bachelors degree and training and can pass the bar, why shouldn't they be an attorney?

You know there are still a few states that let you take the bar without law school (VT, VA, NY, CA).  It's called reading the law.  You study under a practicing attorney, and then they let you take the bar.  Perhaps you should check out percentages that pass the bar.  It makes the unaccredited schools look like they have stellar bar passage rates.
Title: Re: Correlation Between High Tuition Costs & Affordable Legal Assistance??
Post by: legalpractitioner on December 21, 2011, 06:34:03 AM
A few points FJ:

1. Remember with contingent fees, attorneys do not win every case, it is real gamble and service to the public who would not otherwise be able to afford an attorney.

2. SSI, Workers Comp. SSD, Veterans Claims, etc are all on contingency, the client not the government pays and without attorneys a goodly number of these claims would fall by the wayside.

3. Loan repayment for legal public service is a great idea, I have suggested it to President Obama who has not yet gotten back to me.

4.  Harvard law graduates will always be in demand regardless.

5. English solicitors are not only transactional lawyers but they also litigate and file lawsuits, the barrister is retained directly by the solicitor if there is a trial however solicitors may now obtain rights of audience and essentially proceed without a barrister if they choose to.
Title: Re: Correlation Between High Tuition Costs & Affordable Legal Assistance??
Post by: legalpractitioner on December 21, 2011, 07:09:18 AM

So by your definition, all those attorneys, who graduted near the top of their class, in the top 14 law schools in the country, working in biglaw, representing large clients, aren't good attorneys?  You do know that most large firms have pro-bono requirements too, so do they become "good" attorneys only while doing pro bono work?  Hate to break it to you, a large poriton of those "Good attorneys [who] work for people" are pretty average at what they do, if not much worse.  Biglaw has a way of weeding out the deadbeats.  While there are many attorneys doing what they feel is for the betterment of society than just looking for a big paycheck, there are many more who just can't cut it at a big firm, and are taking whatever they can get.

There is no apriori proof big law firms do anything better than any other forms of practice other than charging  big fees. In fact, some of the most spectacular fails have come out of big firms becuase of their size and ability to create big rather than small mischief. They are just big and politically powerful and rarely get sanctioned and disciplined for that reason. As for not "cutting it" at a big firm, anyone with any common sense would flee any job that requires one to work more hours than they humanly want to and induces highter than average rates of sleep deprivation, stress, and substance and alcohol abuse. Having said that, they do practice law well or they go out of business just like anyone else.

Reading for the bar is what online and correspondence law school is all about just without the sponsoring attorney and with a shorter time period involved. The statistical rates I think though are meaninless because the sample would be so small and self selecting. Anyone who opts for distance learning law in the US better be hard core and a gambler as the odds are at least 10-1 against in California. In fact I suspect many wash out even before they hit the FYLE. As I said before, the only reason for opting for distance learning would be geographic as the time involved to be successful will be the more not less than traditional school. The only exception I contend is that someone with excellent mnemonic skills can pass the California bar by simply memorizing all the outlines, Blacks law dictionary, nutshells, past bar questions and Flemings or something similar. Of course once they get their law license, they will need to learn how to practice law by hanging out with attorneys and attending court everyday for a few months.
Title: Re: Correlation Between High Tuition Costs & Affordable Legal Assistance??
Post by: FalconJimmy on December 21, 2011, 07:35:43 AM
As for not "cutting it" at a big firm, anyone with any common sense would flee any job that requires one to work more hours than they humanly want to and induces highter than average rates of sleep deprivation, stress, and substance and alcohol abuse.

I don't think he's talking about the biglaw refugees.  It's common for folks to punch their ticket in biglaw, then go for more reasonable hours in a corporate or government setting.  I imagine quite a few also hang out a shingle and establish successful practices.

What he's talking about, and what I think most people agree with him on, is that the biglaw hiring process screens out a lot of bad and quite a few pretty good attorneys in the search for great ones. 

If I had to hire an attorney, I know who I'd hire if it came down to a guy who graduated top of their class at a competitive school, versus somebody who graduated mid-pack at a 4T.  Not to say that this will always mean that I'll be selecting the better attorney.  Just that most of the time (meaning, pretty much nearly all the time), going with the one who was a badass in school is probably going to be a good indication of who is a badass after school.

The only exception I contend is that someone with excellent mnemonic skills can pass the California bar by simply memorizing all the outlines, Blacks law dictionary, nutshells, past bar questions and Flemings or something similar. Of course once they get their law license, they will need to learn how to practice law by hanging out with attorneys and attending court everyday for a few months.

That's the main drawback to not-having an education requirement.  If you could become an attorney by doing this, I probably could have been an attorney straight out of High School.  It's not like I'm the only one, either.  There's a lot of folks who are pretty good at taking tests.  I don't think that indicates that they're ready to practice law.

I do have a problem with any system that only admits you to the bar after you've "studied under" somebody, such as what we have in the UK.  That just smacks of insulating the industry to only those few people who are connected.  That may jibe well with UK society, but not so much, here.
Title: Re: Correlation Between High Tuition Costs & Affordable Legal Assistance??
Post by: Opie58 on December 21, 2011, 09:47:59 AM
Figured this article would generate some interesting, and heated, debate; thanks for not letting me down.

I still fail to see the correlation with how much a lawyer charges determines if the lawyer is good or bad?  If a lawyer “wins,” he’s considered good; if he “loses,” he’s bad – right?  So, what does pay have to do with it?

Good vs. Bad Attorneys – isn’t it all relative to the beholder?  Good vs. bad has to do with personal character, doesn’t it?  Cost is determined by what the market is willing to bear.  If a lawyer wants to offer assistance to the lower class, who are most deprived of legal assistance due to unreasonable fees, and is able to operate his firm at a lower fee, does that make him/her a “bad” lawyer?  Boeing and Microsoft, I’m sure, pay high rates for their attorneys, but have lost some significant cases – so, are their lawyers “good” because they cost more even if they lost?

If a lawyer graduates from a “low” end school, but is able to research, represent, and win for his client, how does that make him a bad lawyer?  Personally, I still don’t see how what school you go to makes any someone better than another if they are able to apply the necessary skills for competent representation.  I do concede that law firms need something to evaluate a new grads potential, but that still is no guarantee.
Title: Re: Correlation Between High Tuition Costs & Affordable Legal Assistance??
Post by: Zepp on December 21, 2011, 10:03:49 AM

There is no apriori proof big law firms do anything better than any other forms of practice other than charging  big fees. In fact, some of the most spectacular fails have come out of big firms becuase of their size and ability to create big rather than small mischief. They are just big and politically powerful and rarely get sanctioned and disciplined for that reason.

You can try to weasel out of it anyway you like, but simple logic will lead any sane person to the conclusion that the odds are much better of finding the star attorneys at a large firm, than a two man operation operating out of a shopping mall.  Top firms are made up of partners how have been able to produce results.  They started as associates in these top firms.  They were recruited by these firms because they were the top of their class at the best law schools.  They got into the top law school because they had great LSAT scores and high GPAs from good universities.  Do I think a pool that consists of people who have been academic over-achievers their entire lives, being mentoured professional by similar over-achievers who have proven themselves successful in the practice of law is more likely than not to have the best attorneys?  You bet your backside.  Do you honestly think people pay large firms their fees without conderation the the results they can achieve?  Do spectular fails come from BigLaw.  Of course.  Sometimes big mistakes go hand in hand with big stakes.  Do we hear about  them?  Of course, because it's big news (and yes, they too get sanctioned).  Do we ever hear about the working class guy that picks a lousy lawyer out of the yellow pages with a big ad?  Probably not.  Just how many average Joes have their cases messed up by incompetent lawyers?  Who knows. 

As for Courts' reluctance to sanction...I don't know of a single court that is quick to pull the sanction trigger.  Just look at distance learning poster child Orly Taitz.  She's been chasing President Obama around for the past 3 years with the most rediculous junk law theories and frivolous law suits, can't follow the most simple of rules of procedure, and seems to have forgotten even the most basic principals of laws, and yet has only been sanctioned once.  Go figure.


As for not "cutting it" at a big firm, anyone with any common sense would flee any job that requires one to work more hours than they humanly want to and induces highter than average rates of sleep deprivation, stress, and substance and alcohol abuse. Having said that, they do practice law well or they go out of business just like anyone else.

Common sense also lead a person to take the best paying job to pay down $150-$250k in school debt, and suck it up for a few years.  That, and many people in big law thrive on the high pressure environment.  It's that alpha personality thing that drove them to succeed throughout their academic careers, and go after the biggest challenges.


Reading for the bar is what online and correspondence law school is all about just without the sponsoring attorney and with a shorter time period involved. The statistical rates I think though are meaninless because the sample would be so small and self selecting. Anyone who opts for distance learning law in the US better be hard core and a gambler as the odds are at least 10-1 against in California. In fact I suspect many wash out even before they hit the FYLE. As I said before, the only reason for opting for distance learning would be geographic as the time involved to be successful will be the more not less than traditional school. The only exception I contend is that someone with excellent mnemonic skills can pass the California bar by simply memorizing all the outlines, Blacks law dictionary, nutshells, past bar questions and Flemings or something similar. Of course once they get their law license, they will need to learn how to practice law by hanging out with attorneys and attending court everyday for a few months.

My two cents is anything worth doing, is worth doing right.  The bar passage rates are already pretty low in brick and mortar non-ABA accredited schools.  That has to be a reflection of either the school and quality of education, the quality of the students, or both.  In any academic enviroment, a good deal of what you learn you learn from your fellow students and the discussions they drive.  The higher the quality of students, the higher the quality of education.  Once you get past the bar, you learn from experience.  The better the quality the mentor, the better the eventual attorney.  If someone is relying on leaning to be an attorney by "hanging out" and "attending court" I feel sorry for the first clients this freshly minted attorney will take on.
Title: Re: Correlation Between High Tuition Costs & Affordable Legal Assistance??
Post by: GovLaw on December 21, 2011, 10:56:48 AM
Zepp – I agree with most of your comments, but would like to interject that some of the best attorneys I have ever had the pleasure of associating with were not with “big law”.  There are people out there – attorneys and others – who value a principle more than they do financial gain.  Many of the attorneys who work in public interest law could do well in a large firm, but have decide to pursue employment based upon their values.  Some of them struggle to meet their law school debt, and some of them do eventually move into more profitable areas.  However there are excellent attorneys who will never make what is considered a good income, but who are happy in doing what they do and feel they are contributing to society. 
Title: Re: Correlation Between High Tuition Costs & Affordable Legal Assistance??
Post by: Zepp on December 21, 2011, 10:58:37 AM
I still fail to see the correlation with how much a lawyer charges determines if the lawyer is good or bad?  If a lawyer “wins,” he’s considered good; if he “loses,” he’s bad – right?  So, what does pay have to do with it?

Lawyers that win frequetly generally have the luxery of charing a higher rate.  Like you later say, it comes down to the market.


Good vs. Bad Attorneys – isn’t it all relative to the beholder?  Good vs. bad has to do with personal character, doesn’t it?  Cost is determined by what the market is willing to bear.  If a lawyer wants to offer assistance to the lower class, who are most deprived of legal assistance due to unreasonable fees, and is able to operate his firm at a lower fee, does that make him/her a “bad” lawyer?  Boeing and Microsoft, I’m sure, pay high rates for their attorneys, but have lost some significant cases – so, are their lawyers “good” because they cost more even if they lost?

I agree with your first statement.  The "good" lawyer is the one that wins, or negotiate the best possible outcome for his client under their circumstances, and does everything in his power to ethically represent his client.  I'm less conerned about the white hat/black hat b.s.

If a lawyer graduates from a “low” end school, but is able to research, represent, and win for his client, how does that make him a bad lawyer?  Personally, I still don’t see how what school you go to makes any someone better than another if they are able to apply the necessary skills for competent representation.  I do concede that law firms need something to evaluate a new grads potential, but that still is no guarantee.

I agree.  Good attorneys come from all sorts of different schools.  However, I would venture to guess that a larger percenage of Harvard grads are "good" attorneys than Cooley grads.  People that get admitted to the best law schools do so based on an already established pattern of academic success.  So you have a classroom filed with academic overachievers.  It doesn't take much to come to the realization that the level of discourse will be much higher at the better schools, as you have a room full of generally intelligent people, that are accustomed to performing at a high academic level.  Again, this is not a guarentee of a "good" or even "better" lawyer.  But if you had to place bets as to which is more likely to be the "good" lawyer, why wouldn't you pick a grad from an elite school?
Title: Re: Correlation Between High Tuition Costs & Affordable Legal Assistance??
Post by: Zepp on December 21, 2011, 10:59:47 AM
Zepp – I agree with most of your comments, but would like to interject that some of the best attorneys I have ever had the pleasure of associating with were not with “big law”.  There are people out there – attorneys and others – who value a principle more than they do financial gain.  Many of the attorneys who work in public interest law could do well in a large firm, but have decide to pursue employment based upon their values.  Some of them struggle to meet their law school debt, and some of them do eventually move into more profitable areas.  However there are excellent attorneys who will never make what is considered a good income, but who are happy in doing what they do and feel they are contributing to society.

I agree 100%. 
Title: Re: Correlation Between High Tuition Costs & Affordable Legal Assistance??
Post by: legalpractitioner on December 21, 2011, 11:22:14 AM
Seeing as how this is a distance learning forum, one thing for sure, if you have a DL JD, you will never work for a big law firm.

Secondly, Orly is a fellow Taft graduate and my former client so I know something about it. Since her practice of law is on a single issue, one cannot draw any conclusions from it that would apply to anyone else. I might add her "success" is in generating interest in a topic (I won't digress here) that has attracted attention from a variety of public figures like Donald Trump. Success does not always mean winning a case, the lawyers that began the tobacco litigation never saw a penny for their efforts and lost repeatedly yet they laid the groundwork for one of the biggest cases ever. Were they unsuccessful, not from a public policy standpoint. Law firms are about profits by their very nature, the practice of law however has other measures than money, LSAT scores, and grades.

I would think anyone who goes down the DL road, is not in it primarily for the money because they will be  disappointed.
Title: Re: Correlation Between High Tuition Costs & Affordable Legal Assistance??
Post by: legalpractitioner on December 21, 2011, 11:35:26 AM
It is a myth that big law is any better than anyone else. I have gone up against big law firms , Hinshaw Culberton ranked no. 85 in size, took them over ten years in federal court to get my clients' case dismissed on jurisidictional grounds, not on the merits. The case has since been refiled elsewhere. You would think they could have done better than that against a DL attorney? Of course they eventually won and made a pile of cash from their client, so maybe I'm the stupid one?

Point is that comparing big law attorneys to DL grad lawyers is apples and pineapples, there is just no correlation at all.
Title: Re: Correlation Between High Tuition Costs & Affordable Legal Assistance??
Post by: GovLaw on December 21, 2011, 12:35:36 PM
The B&M attorney has more opportunities and many advantages not available to the DL attorney, I doubt anyone would argue that point.  I have never seen a DL attorney in court - I'd imagine they are pretty rare around here.  However, I'd be willing to wager that you can get very good or very bad attorneys from both the B&M source or from  the DL enviroment. 
Title: Re: Correlation Between High Tuition Costs & Affordable Legal Assistance??
Post by: Opie58 on December 21, 2011, 01:23:47 PM
People that get admitted to the best law schools do so based on an already established pattern of academic success.  So you have a classroom filed with academic overachievers.  It doesn't take much to come to the realization that the level of discourse will be much higher at the better schools, as you have a room full of generally intelligent people, that are accustomed to performing at a high academic level.  Again, this is not a guarentee of a "good" or even "better" lawyer.  But if you had to place bets as to which is more likely to be the "good" lawyer, why wouldn't you pick a grad from an elite school?

After 30+ years of law enforcement, I have come to realize that most "academics" have little to no common sense or truly understand the real world - just because they may be able to apply academic logic does not necessarily mean they can apply practical logic.  Just look at our national state of affairs with the volumes of "laws" generated by Congress, but have screwed things up more than they have helps - at least currently.  Life experience can go a long way in proper application.  Checks & balances are needed, but sometimes I feel the academics' sense of promoting deflection instead of personal responsibility has caused more harm than good.  I think up and coming lawyers should do a ride along with a cop, firefighter, and EMT for a couple months to see how regular people live or reconnect again if they are fortunate to climb up the social ladder. 

The B&M attorney has more opportunities and many advantages not available to the DL attorney, ...

So???  Does that really make the law any less practical if its applied by a B&M attorney or DL attorney??
Title: Re: Correlation Between High Tuition Costs & Affordable Legal Assistance??
Post by: Zepp on December 22, 2011, 08:19:09 AM
Seeing as how this is a distance learning forum, one thing for sure, if you have a DL JD, you will never work for a big law firm.

Well, we do agree on that. 

Secondly, Orly is a fellow Taft graduate and my former client so I know something about it. Since her practice of law is on a single issue, one cannot draw any conclusions from it that would apply to anyone else. I might add her "success" is in generating interest in a topic (I won't digress here) that has attracted attention from a variety of public figures like Donald Trump. Success does not always mean winning a case, the lawyers that began the tobacco litigation never saw a penny for their efforts and lost repeatedly yet they laid the groundwork for one of the biggest cases ever. Were they unsuccessful, not from a public policy standpoint.

Most people also stop to look at car accidents, thus "generating interest."  "Generating interest" isn't always a good thing.  Donald Trump's only "interest" was in creating a publicty stunt for his TV show.  Worked pretty well.  I'm personally not a fan of abusing our legal system and electoral process as a publicity stunt to get ratings on a TV show.  I follow the birther proceedings because I've always been fascinated by junk law and pseudo-legal theories (wrote my note on the subject, but sadly never published).  Before the birthers it was the tax protesters, sovereign citizens, and the whole "patriots for profit" lot, and I could bore you with the long history of various sundry garbage folks have dumped into the legal system.  Now back to Orly.  She is a clear example of an incompetent attorney.  The documents she submits to courts are embarassing.  Most of her legal arguments lack any supporting citations, those that she does bother to provide citations for completely misrepresnt the law.  Her factual statements lack "facts,"  her documents are poorly written, full of typographical and formatting errors that go beyond her language barriers and fall into the realm of sloppiness, and she lacks even the most basic grasp of civil procedure.  The things she files in court, I would be embarrased to give to a partner as a rough draft.  So I think it is very fair to reach conclusions about the type of lawyer she is.  There was a discussion about what makes a "good" versus "bad" lawyer.  There can be little doubt that she clearly falls into the "bad" catagory.  This isn't even comprable to tobacco litigation.  It is one thing to be on the cutting edge of the law, trying to make a change.  Without that, we would have never had Brown v. Board of Ed.  It's quite another thing to make things up and pretend that that is what the law has always been.  This is before we even get to Orly's lack of attention to detail, and general lack of knowledge about how the legal system works. 


 Law firms are about profits by their very nature, the practice of law however has other measures than money, LSAT scores, and grades.

Yes, and we need to be realistic about "measures."  There are very good reasons why the ABA has certain standards (some of their standards might need tweaking, but they're not off the rez).  There are also very good reasons why some law school are ranked top 14, some T2, T3, and T4.  You are not getting the same legal education at Taft as you are at Cooley, and you're not getting the same education at Cooley as you are Columbia.  You can't pretend that the quality of discourse in a classroom has no impact on the quality of the legal eduaction.  After you graduate, you have to learn how to practice.  If you go out on your own, who is going to tell you that your brief or contract are poorly written?  You'll find out when it's too late, and your client is shafted.  If you join a firm, clerk for a judge, work for a non-prof, work for the government, etc., you will have those above you who correct you, and teach how to be a better attorney.  The quality of those who mentor you will have an impact on how you develop.  You're right.  There is more to the law than LSATs and grades.  But those LSATs and grades do have a linger impact on many of those other things.



I would think anyone who goes down the DL road, is not in it primarily for the money because they will be  disappointed.
And I think this is a very important statement.  People need to be fully aware of what they're getting into, whether it DL or a B&M ABA-accredited lower tiered school.  There are things you just don't get from DL that you get from a conventional legal education, and there are reasons why a top 14 school is a top 14 school, and a T4 school is T4.  And from there, future career prospects will come.
Title: Re: Correlation Between High Tuition Costs & Affordable Legal Assistance??
Post by: Zepp on December 22, 2011, 09:17:24 AM
It is a myth that big law is any better than anyone else.

No, it is not.  You can pretend that we're all the same and we live in a Utopia where we're all equal, but it's B.S.  It's simply a matter of the market.  Do you honestly think that a wealthy entertainer would spend a fortune to hire a big law firm to negotiate a recording contract when someone working out of a home office with a DL JD could do the same for a fraction of the cost?  That being said, bigger does not always equate better.  There hundreds of small boutique firms with a very focused practice that are better than big firms.  But even among those firms, if you look at the bios of the attorneys, you'll find many who started at biglaw, or at least have very similar backgrounds to those in biglaw.  These are just the sad realites of life and the legal practice.  I'm not a Harvard or Yale graduate, so I will never get to clerk for a Supreme Court justice.  It sucks, but in the end, I just wasn't good enough.  I'm not going to discredit the work those Yale and Harvard grads put in to get there to make myself feel better about myself. 


I have gone up against big law firms , Hinshaw Culberton ranked no. 85 in size, took them over ten years in federal court to get my clients' case dismissed on jurisidictional grounds, not on the merits. The case has since been refiled elsewhere. You would think they could have done better than that against a DL attorney? Of course they eventually won and made a pile of cash from their client, so maybe I'm the stupid one?

And Orly keeps filing and re-filing mertiless complaints, harassing the President.  To this day, pro-se plaintiffs harass large corporations with incomprehensible filings requiring responses that you first have to figure out what the heck they're talking about before you can even start to respond with a legal argument.  Courts are very generous to esure that everyone "gets their day in court."  I've also seen companies settle meritless claims simply because the cost of litigation would be more than to make the person go away.  Not knowing the particulars of your case, I really can't comment as to the facts that lead up to your eventual loss.  But that being said, even biglaw partners make mistakes.  Sometimes clients demand their attorneys persue fruitless direction in litigation.  So there are many different factors to consider.


Point is that comparing big law attorneys to DL grad lawyers is apples and pineapples, there is just no correlation at all.

And and I agree, big law attorneys and DL grad lawyers generally are don't do anything remotely similar in the type of work they do.  But at a certain level, we are all attorneys, and we should all maintain certain minimum standards.  As long as whatever legal work you are doing, you are providing your client good quality, that is what I think matters the most.  If you write a contract that another attorney rips apart in litigation, you've failed your client, irrespective of what the size of your firm is, of from where you graduated.  The only DL "attorney" I have any knowledge of is Ms. Taitz, and I have to say, she hasn't done much to help your cause.  Her filing are available on her website.  Take a look at them.  If you think the garbage she submits to a court should be tolerated of anyone with a license to practice law, then we have a fundamental disagreement what it means to be a competent attorney.
Title: Re: Correlation Between High Tuition Costs & Affordable Legal Assistance??
Post by: FalconJimmy on December 22, 2011, 09:43:44 AM
I'm not a Harvard or Yale graduate, so I will never get to clerk for a Supreme Court justice.  It sucks, but in the end, I just wasn't good enough.  I'm not going to discredit the work those Yale and Harvard grads put in to get there to make myself feel better about myself. 

In a way, that's where I'm coming from on this.  Honestly, if I were to say that the top grads of my school are equal to the top grads at Harvard, that's just silly.  Yes, the profs all came from the same schools.  Yes, we use the same materials.  But frankly, the classes at Harvard are a lot smarter than the classes where I go.  I'm not trying to disparage my school in any way.

It is what it is, and it produces competent attorneys.  I would wager that once in a while, when the hiring market is good, maybe the top grad out of my school or any other 4T gets a shot at biggish law.  Meaning, the biglaw firms, but outside the biglaw cities.  That's about it, though.

So, hey, I give the T14 guys their due.  They did what I couldn't or didn't do.  Life isn't about what you coulda done or shoulda done.  It's about what you did.  Most people have the potential to run a marathon.  However, only a small number put in the miles and hours and months required to ever do it.

I'm not going to say that a person who COULD have run a marathon, but who ran a 5K, is the same thing.

Nor am I going to say that your typical 4 hour finisher is in any way the same thing as an elite who finishes in a little over 2 hours. 

Run/walking a 5K, running a marathon and WINNING a marathon?  In a sense, they're all made of the same stuff.  However, there's a chasm of difference.

So, just as I think it'd be ridiculous to think that my school produces the same caliber of graduates as Harvard, seriously, the possibility of a school that doesn't even meet the ABA's minimal standards producing an attorney the caliber of a typical ABA school graduate? 

How many indications do we need before we can put this thing to rest?  I mean, the bar passage rate alone should end the discussion once and for all. 

So, could a DL or unaccredited school produce a great attorney?  Sure!  Why not?  What makes a great attorney is largely individual.

However, being resentful that for the most part, unaccredited law school students are regarded as a cut below or that their education is regarded as being lesser, or bemoaning that there are fewer employment opportunities?  Seriously, come on. 

I'm far from the world's most successful person.  However, I've never been resentful of those who achieved more than I did.  I always chalked it up to them doing things that I couldn't or that I wouldn't.

The stuff I couldn't do?  Doesn't bother me a bit.

The stuff I could have done?  But just chose not to?  Bothers me a lot.

Maybe that's where this all comes down.  Most of these DL students probably COULD have gone to an accredited law school, but just didn't make the sacrifices necessary.  Seriously, there's a law school somewhere that will accept nearly anybody.  I swear to god, some of the guys in undergrad who went on to law school (and graduated AND passed the bar), I would have thought were borderline mentally retarded back in the day.

Hey, that's fine if you chose not to do what it takes.  There's a path for them to become attorneys.

But it's not the same.  And insisting that it is really doesn't make sense.
Title: Re: Correlation Between High Tuition Costs & Affordable Legal Assistance??
Post by: Zepp on December 22, 2011, 12:44:52 PM

After 30+ years of law enforcement, I have come to realize that most "academics" have little to no common sense or truly understand the real world - just because they may be able to apply academic logic does not necessarily mean they can apply practical logic. 

The practice of law is an academic process.  We're not building a house here.  We've negotiating contracts, making legal arguments, litigating, etc.  My personal experience with law enforcment has been that they are mindless, brutish thugs on a power trip.  That doesn't make my experience the rule, accurately cover even a large portion of those in law enforcement, or even anything more than my own personal bias tarnishing my perception.


Just look at our national state of affairs with the volumes of "laws" generated by Congress, but have screwed things up more than they have helps - at least currently.  Life experience can go a long way in proper application.  Checks & balances are needed, but sometimes I feel the academics' sense of promoting deflection instead of personal responsibility has caused more harm than good. 

This is one of the most rediculous things I've heard.  What makes you think Congress is full of academics?  A good chunk of them were in some sort of business before being elected.  I'm pretty sure quite a few of them had "life experience" before getting elected.  The reality is legislation is often produced in a knee jerk reaction to the public frenzy de jour.  Big stories in the news about child molesters, sure enough, congress passes some law on the subject.  Enron goes down, new white collar laws.  It has nothing to do with your disdain for acadmia, and everything to do with the way we elect our representatives.  The statement about "promoting deflection instead of personal responsiblity" is not only a meaningless talking point that has no basis in reality. 


I think up and coming lawyers should do a ride along with a cop, firefighter, and EMT for a couple months to see how regular people live or reconnect again if they are fortunate to climb up the social ladder. 

I find this statment genuinely offensive.  First, it implies that there are only certain "life experiences" you consider valuable, or a way to show "how regular people live."  Why do you assume that up and coming lawyers don't know how regular people live, or need to reconnect again?  I'd be willing to bet that a good majority of those who work their way up to law school come from families made up of "regular people,"  grew up in average homes, who had to make sacrifices so they could get to the top of the class.  This all comes off as just bitterness against those who were able accomplish more than you, and "deflection instead of personal responsiblity."  Take responsibility for your lot in life rather than whining about those who were able to make something out of theirs.

Personally, for my purposes, I think doing any of the things you list would be an utter waste of my and the officers, firefighters, or EMT's time.  I'd get nothing out of it, and I would just get in their way.  I know the real world is.  I don't need to Play tagalong with an officer, firefighter, or EMT to figure that out.


So???  Does that really make the law any less practical if its applied by a B&M attorney or DL attorney??

That depends on what you mean by "practical."  Is it practical to invest the time and money to get a JD if your chances of every using what you learn are very limited?  I'm the kind of person that believes any knowledge is a good thing in and of itself.  However, if someone told me I was going to spend a small fortune to get a degree that will result in me making less than before I went to law school, I would considering finding a more "practical" degree.
Title: Re: Correlation Between High Tuition Costs & Affordable Legal Assistance??
Post by: Opie58 on December 22, 2011, 04:51:41 PM
My personal experience with law enforcment has been that they are mindless, brutish thugs on a power trip.  That doesn't make my experience the rule, accurately cover even a large portion of those in law enforcement, or even anything more than my own personal bias tarnishing my perception.



This is one of the most rediculous things I've heard.  What makes you think Congress is full of academics?  A good chunk of them were in some sort of business before being elected.  I'm pretty sure quite a few of them had "life experience" before getting elected.  The reality is legislation is often produced in a knee jerk reaction to the public frenzy de jour.  Big stories in the news about child molesters, sure enough, congress passes some law on the subject.  Enron goes down, new white collar laws.  It has nothing to do with your disdain for acadmia, and everything to do with the way we elect our representatives.  The statement about "promoting deflection instead of personal responsiblity" is not only a meaningless talking point that has no basis in reality. 


Really?  So if you are your family is burglarized, victimized, or involved in a collision, who do you call?  Why?

Here are some brutal cops at work:  https://www.facebook.com/#!/notes/king-county-sheriffs-office/400-kids-received-and-early-christmas-gift-from-santa/213877235361681.

Are we not a society who promotes law and order?  At what point does law and order need not be enforced? 

Here are two recent laws our state legislators felt needed to be passed – cell phone use and seat  belt laws.  Our fine leaders felt that “brutal” cops need to look for people using a cell phone or no seat belt while driving, pull them over, and give them a ticket after attempting to explain why they no longer have the freedom to choice for themselves.  Personally, I think both of these laws are BS, serve no purpose.  If a person using a cell phone is driving so reckless to endanger other, isn’t that Reckless Driving?  What about those that eat or drink while driving?  And, what does the seatbelt law do?  Reduce injury if involved in a collision?  And if someone wasn’t wearing a seatbelt when involved in a collision, should we brutal cops cite the offender?

If people obeyed the laws, exercised self-restraint, and not feel the need to victimize others, we wouldn’t need so many brutal cops – no crime, no police actions, right?  No one wants a cop around until you need one, than one is never around.

Seattle PD was recently slammed for excessive force by the DOJ after a 10-month investigation, but on the same news night – the next story – the residents of one of the most crime infested Seattle communities were demanding the Seattle PD do more to curb crime and arrest offenders – offenders who don’t care about anyone’s rights and will fight/kill a cop anytime.  Damned if we do; damned if we don’t.  Maybe we should do away with all cops & go back to vigilante justice – bodies in the streets, hangings in the trees, summary executions.  Tell me what the balance should be?  What do you envision?

I find this statment genuinely offensive.  First, it implies that there are only certain "life experiences" you consider valuable, or a way to show "how regular people live."  Why do you assume that up and coming lawyers don't know how regular people live, or need to reconnect again?  I'd be willing to bet that a good majority of those who work their way up to law school come from families made up of "regular people,"  grew up in average homes, who had to make sacrifices so they could get to the top of the class.  This all comes off as just bitterness against those who were able accomplish more than you, and "deflection instead of personal responsiblity."  Take responsibility for your lot in life rather than whining about those who were able to make something out of theirs.

Personally, for my purposes, I think doing any of the things you list would be an utter waste of my and the officers, firefighters, or EMT's time.  I'd get nothing out of it, and I would just get in their way.  I know the real world is.  I don't need to Play tagalong with an officer, firefighter, or EMT to figure that out.


Sorry you are offended; no offense intended.  People, like Zepp above, have this perception that cops – not so much firefighters or EMTs – are “mindless, brutish thugs on a power trip.”  Not sure what his “experiences” have been to promote that feeling.  Therefore, as a suggestion, I recommend people go for a ride along.  Sure there are some who will not want a ride along, but most would like to have someone who “pays” their salary to come on out; you may be surprise.  Life experiences come in many forms – social programs, food kitchens, etc.  I was just giving you my perspective. 
Title: Re: Correlation Between High Tuition Costs & Affordable Legal Assistance??
Post by: legalpractitioner on December 22, 2011, 06:13:00 PM
Well good for Orly, sure her pleadings ain't pretty but she knows how to make news:

http://news.yahoo.com/appeals-court-tosses-obama-birthplace-challenge-191256867.html

I agree with Opie though, law schools turn out for the most part lawyers cut from the same elitist mindset. Congress is a perfect example of the power elite theory of C. Wright Mills. For law to be a relevant field, we need attorneys who are willing buck the trend and DL offers a way to break that paradigm and bring in people who would not ordinarily consider law.  But don't worry Zepp, so few us are out there that nothing will change soon.
Title: Re: Correlation Between High Tuition Costs & Affordable Legal Assistance??
Post by: legalpractitioner on December 22, 2011, 06:25:18 PM
"To this day, pro-se plaintiffs harass large corporations with incomprehensible filings requiring responses that you first have to figure out what the heck they're talking about before you can even start to respond with a legal argument."

If a meritless lawsuit is filed the Court is supposed to deal with it. In my experience pro se plaintiffs may have a good case but get bogged down with civil procedure. So what would you propose, barring pro se filers? As far as corporations paying off pro se plaintiffs with meritless claims that is a myth put out by shills like the Chamber of Commerce. Next you are going tell tell me that old saw about MacDonalds coffee lawsuit. Meritless cases do not make it trial and run away jury awards get knocked out or down in the appellate courts yet the corporations keep up the same old whine about how they are getting raped in the courts. Sort of like Newt claiming the federal courts are packed with judicial activists when we have the most conservative judiciary possible and a conservative majority in Supreme Court that is out of touch with reality. And don't even ask me about insurance companies, what a bunch of crooks.
Title: Re: Correlation Between High Tuition Costs & Affordable Legal Assistance??
Post by: Zepp on December 23, 2011, 09:17:08 AM
Really?  So if you are your family is burglarized, victimized, or involved in a collision, who do you call?  Why?

Here are some brutal cops at work:  https://www.facebook.com/#!/notes/king-county-sheriffs-office/400-kids-received-and-early-christmas-gift-from-santa/213877235361681.

Are we not a society who promotes law and order?  At what point does law and order need not be enforced? 


Actually, that quote was more intended to illustrate that "personal experience" is just another way of saying personal bias, and can very little basis in reality as a whole.  I generally don't have too many issues with the police, besides issues that deal with my local police force specifically.  However, that said, there are neighborhoods (which tend to be poor minority neighborhoods) where people generally do not call the police when there is a crime, because the police are feared more than the criminals.  And when you turn on the TV and see police walking up to peaceful protesters sitting on the gournd, and spraying them with pepperspray, and then just walking away, those images can go a long way to reinforce that image.  Personal experience is far too "personal" to really give it much weight in a broader policy discussion.


Here are two recent laws our state legislators felt needed to be passed – cell phone use and seat  belt laws.  Our fine leaders felt that “brutal” cops need to look for people using a cell phone or no seat belt while driving, pull them over, and give them a ticket after attempting to explain why they no longer have the freedom to choice for themselves.  Personally, I think both of these laws are BS, serve no purpose.  If a person using a cell phone is driving so reckless to endanger other, isn’t that Reckless Driving?  What about those that eat or drink while driving?  And, what does the seatbelt law do?  Reduce injury if involved in a collision?  And if someone wasn’t wearing a seatbelt when involved in a collision, should we brutal cops cite the offender?

Seatbelt laws?  Well, you can get into a debate about balancing the need to protect the population from their own stupidity, and how much a cost not doing so imposes on the general public (idiot father doesn't put on his seat belt, gets himself killed, and now the wife and kids are on public asstance...cost of cleaning the guys smeared carcass off the side of the highway, publics increased cost in insurace w/o the laws).  Again, that is a policy debate that happens in congress.  I really don't see how this has anything to do with academics as you originally mentioned.  Especially when you get to the state level, those people making the laws, very often comprise of the supposed "real world experience" you were saying is so lacking among attorneys.  As for cell phone laws, I completely agree with them.  No, prior wreckless driving laws don't necessarily cover them, until often the damage is already done.  Unless some court in your praticular juridiction has already decided that operating a cell phone will driving constitues wreckless driving the state will have to present actual evidence that the driver was operating his car in a wreckless manner...ie swerving between lanes, nearly hitting pedestrians, etc.  Often the evidence of wreckless driving would be that they got into an accident because they weren't paying attention to the road, and the damage is already done.  So while it might help in a civil case, if the accident was fatal, that is hardly a reasonable exchange for the family.  So by passing the law, you simplify the job of the state.  The operation of the phone itself is an offense.  You don't have to show that the phone usage resulted in wreckless operation of the car, and you are able to discourage cell phone usage while driving before the real damage is done.  I would think the proliferation of cell phone usage is probably has created the recent legislative push for local governments to pass these laws, and there were far more instances of accidents caused by distracted drivers using cell phones rather than eating, or changing their radio station.  Seems like a reasonable policy decision for a legislature in my book.


Sorry you are offended; no offense intended.  People, like Zepp above, have this perception that cops – not so much firefighters or EMTs – are “mindless, brutish thugs on a power trip.”  Not sure what his “experiences” have been to promote that feeling.  Therefore, as a suggestion, I recommend people go for a ride along.  Sure there are some who will not want a ride along, but most would like to have someone who “pays” their salary to come on out; you may be surprise.  Life experiences come in many forms – social programs, food kitchens, etc.  I was just giving you my perspective.

Again, I really have no issue with the police in the least.  I had more issue with your painting young attorneys (a catagory I don't even fit into) with such a broad brush,  that just smacked of anti-intellectualism.   Law school was the start of a third career for me...prior being military (this will get a laugh out of you...I was an MP), a paralegal, and then law school.  But on the same token, I know of very few attorneys (there's that "personal experience" thing again) who just came from a privileged background to roll through law school to a nice cushy position at a huge law firm.  The most successful once actually come from rather modest backgrounds.  There are very few people these days that get a golden ticket, and haven't had some kind of reality bite them in the back side.  Most have to work during college.  In 2008, 67% graduated undergrad with student loans.  For law students, that number was 89%.  That's telling you majority of college students are coming from middle income families or less.  If those aren't "real people" what is? 

And going back to the original point, you expect those who achieve academic success to respect the work of what you consider "real people" but you give no respect to the work they put into getting where they are.  It's just fundamentally anti-intellectualism and hypocracy.
Title: Re: Correlation Between High Tuition Costs & Affordable Legal Assistance??
Post by: Zepp on December 23, 2011, 09:44:10 AM
Well good for Orly, sure her pleadings ain't pretty but she knows how to make news:

http://news.yahoo.com/appeals-court-tosses-obama-birthplace-challenge-191256867.html

I agree with Opie though, law schools turn out for the most part lawyers cut from the same elitist mindset. Congress is a perfect example of the power elite theory of C. Wright Mills. For law to be a relevant field, we need attorneys who are willing buck the trend and DL offers a way to break that paradigm and bring in people who would not ordinarily consider law.  But don't worry Zepp, so few us are out there that nothing will change soon.

The court system isn't there to be used as a publicity gimic.  Orly's abuse of the court system comes at a cost to the tax payers, and those who have legitimate claims before the court.  The point of filing a complaint with a court isn't to make news.  It's to resolve a dispute. 

I generally disagree with the position that law schools churn out "lawyers cut from the same elitist mindset."  There are a great many law schools out there, and they bring in students from diverse backgrounds.  Sure you have people with elitist mindsets that come out, but you have that in virtually everywhere...businessmen, and even those that think that their "real world" experience is the most important thing, and those who think that people like them are the only "real Americans."  You both railed about congress, but only about a third of congress had JDs (that's not even saying if any of them every actually practiced).  So even if we assume Congress is a bunch of elitist prats, 2/3rd of them managed to do so without ever going to law school.  So how does this become law school's fault that Congressmen are able to become elitist all on their own (or perhaps elitist are just attracted to Congress, and the everyday real American people like to vote them into office?

And going back to the original argument, I don't see how lowering standards is ever a good thing.  People complain about the dumbing down of America, and Opie even railed against, "promoting deflection instead of personal responsibility," but that is exactly what the original article was about.  It was a whine that "we can't meet the standards, so they must be too high and should be lowered."  For the law to be a relevant field, it needs to maintain high standards of professionalism.  Lawyers are in positions of trust, and every day, many lawyers fail in their duties to their clients and the public as a whole.  They cheat their clients, do shoddy work, are incompetent, misuse abuse their positions of trust, and everything else under the sun.  I don't see how lowering the bar to make schools or prospective law students feel better about themselves makes the law any more relevant.
Title: Re: Correlation Between High Tuition Costs & Affordable Legal Assistance??
Post by: Zepp on December 23, 2011, 10:22:04 AM
"To this day, pro-se plaintiffs harass large corporations with incomprehensible filings requiring responses that you first have to figure out what the heck they're talking about before you can even start to respond with a legal argument."

If a meritless lawsuit is filed the Court is supposed to deal with it. In my experience pro se plaintiffs may have a good case but get bogged down with civil procedure. So what would you propose, barring pro se filers? As far as corporations paying off pro se plaintiffs with meritless claims that is a myth put out by shills like the Chamber of Commerce. Next you are going tell tell me that old saw about MacDonalds coffee lawsuit. Meritless cases do not make it trial and run away jury awards get knocked out or down in the appellate courts yet the corporations keep up the same old whine about how they are getting raped in the courts. Sort of like Newt claiming the federal courts are packed with judicial activists when we have the most conservative judiciary possible and a conservative majority in Supreme Court that is out of touch with reality. And don't even ask me about insurance companies, what a bunch of crooks.

Yes, the courts should take care of meritless law suits, but as with everything, it takes time, and money on the part of the defendant (and no, I am quite aware of the McDonalds coffee case, and that is not what I am taking about).  I was in court once when a judge asked a pro-se plaintiff why he thinks he has the right to sue a particular defendant.  Rather than coming up with a justification to his claim, his response was "I have a right to drag anyone that I want into court."  And no, it is myth that corporations pay off meritless suits because they cost too much (perhaps you should google "serial litigants" and ""vexatious litigants"?).  If someone sues a large corporation for $4999 in small claims court, do you think the corporation gets a break on attorney fees because it's only $4999?  And just because a case has never makes it to trial doesn't mean it doesn't cost money.  How much do you think it costs a company to pay their attorneys for a simple Motion to Dismiss?  First their attorney needs read the complaint.  Figuring it's only a page long on facts, you figure it could take an hour to read and anaylize and try to figure out what exactly that pro-se plaintiff is claiming.  Well, the jurisdiction you're in requires you contact the opposing side before filing any motion to see if they consent.  So you review everything one more time.  Do a little factual research to get the background and details of the case, and call the plaintiff to discuss the case and how much it would cost to make them go away.  Chalk up another hour.  Then you have to write the motion to dismiss.  We'll assume that you can pull the most basic parts of it off something someone else already wrote, so perhaps you only spend two hours writing the MtD.  So you file.  Add courier costs, because your local court doesn't have electronic filing.  Plaintiff files his Opposition.  You now have to reply.  We'll say that takes an hour.  Caulk up another courier fee.  Next, since it's pro-se, the judge will probably have a hearing, to make sure the person gets his day in court, and he tweaks out any possible legitimate complaint the person may have.  Probably not there, but courts do give pro-se plaintiffs wiggle room.  For something of this nature, I will probably be a morning cattle call, so you could be waiting in the courtroom for as little as 5 minutes, to as long as 4 hours before the judge gets to your case (plus travel time).  Let's add that up.  1 hour reviewing the complaint, another hour for research and telephone call.  3 total hours drafting, and we'll say 2 hours in court.  So we're probably at a minimum of 7 hours spent, plus courier fees.  So let's assume they put a 1st year associate on the case with no supervision whatsoever (yeah, that's likely to happen).  They just spent at least $1400 plus courier fees of let's just guess $100 for a meritless claim.  So at this point the judge has to choose if it is genuinely meritless, or perhaps if he could prove some of the wild accusations, he might have a case.  If you're lucky, the judge will dismiss.  But even then, what if the plaintiff files an appeal.  There goes another $1500 or so.  Now they've almost spent as much money as the guy sued for.  But what if the judge was generous, and things they may have a possible case, if they prove their baseless accusations.  Now you're really screwed because you have to pay to at least draft some interrogatories or requsts for admissions to see if you can build up to a Motion for Summary Judgment.  Another Reply.  Another hearing.  More money.  You finally win....but he appeals.  More money.  Sure, we're not talking about a million dollar case here.  But these cases aren't rare, and the costs do add up. 

The solution?  Well, you certainly can't ban pro-se litigants.  Perhaps we should follow the British system, and the loser pays the winners attorney fees if the case is determined to have no merit or the person is a serial litigant.
Title: Re: Correlation Between High Tuition Costs & Affordable Legal Assistance??
Post by: InterAlia1961 on December 23, 2011, 01:43:15 PM
Yawn. Yawn + 1 for my pal Falcon Jimmy. You make your argument well, but I'm beginning to think it's the only argument you know how to make. We get it-- you don't like digitally delivered law education. So, why do you bother to post here? No one else will let you play in their sandbox?
 ::) ::) ::) ::) ::) ::) ::)
Title: Re: Correlation Between High Tuition Costs & Affordable Legal Assistance??
Post by: Opie58 on December 23, 2011, 01:52:43 PM


And when you turn on the TV and see police walking up to peaceful protesters sitting on the gournd, and spraying them with pepperspray, and then just walking away, those images can go a long way to reinforce that image. 


Are you referring to this incident at UCDavis?  You can't always believe everything someone tells you at first - you usually don't get all the facts up front, just the version they WANT you to believe.  Instead of basing your opinion on a highly edited 8 minute version intended to discredit police, watch this more true 15+ minute version about what and how it really happened – cops with arrestees, attempting to leave the area with their prisoners, being surrounded by the crowd who refused to allow the police to pass demanding the prisoners be release.  http://youtu.be/hhPdH3wE0_Y.  They don't look too peaceful to me.  One thing I learnt about the media - don't believe most anything they tell you.  According to CNN 20 years ago, I, along with 600+ USAF personnel, were killed by a volcanic eruption in the Philippines - guess that wasn't true - but thanks to them several families went through hell on that one.  I had hoped for better homework (research).
Title: Re: Correlation Between High Tuition Costs & Affordable Legal Assistance??
Post by: legalpractitioner on December 23, 2011, 04:25:12 PM
"If someone sues a large corporation for $4999 in small claims court, do you think the corporation gets a break on attorney fees because it's only $4999?"

Have you ever tried to sue a large corporation in small claims or any other court and have them pop open a check book?  They have insurance dude and the insurer has attorneys on retainer, it doesn't cost the corporation anything more than what they paid already and the insurer doesn't care either as long as they can teach someone not to mess with them, they don't care how much it costs to defend. I did sue Ford once, they settled only becuaue their insurance retained attorney missed the filing deadline and defaulted, the judge told them to go settle,  otherwise I am sure they would have been only to glad to spin it out. Somehow I don't think you are a member of the plaintiffs' bar. Under your scenario we would all get rich slowly suing corporations in small claims court for a third of the take.

Further, I still get the feeling you think most plaintiffs sue corporations for fun rather than because they have legitimate case. Vexatious litigants are quite rare since inmates had their access to federal court trimmed.

And I still don't get your argument about how DL schools lower standards, everyone still has to pass the same bar exam and in the end, passing the bar is all that counts and the difference between a law book salesman and an attorney unless you go to Harvard in which case you can become a law professor if you can't pass the bar.
Title: Re: Correlation Between High Tuition Costs & Affordable Legal Assistance??
Post by: DiscoveryPhase on December 23, 2011, 08:10:57 PM
LMU, a school featured in OP's posted article, was denied ABA provisional approval and has filed suit against the ABA.  On the one hand, I like the thought of having holes poked in the ABA and say go LMU.  On the other hand, if they were truly concerned about serving the rural Appalachian area then they should have skipped accreditation and offered their classes online.  TN allows students of non-ABA approved but TN state approved schools to take their bar. 

As it stands now this TN potential law student is currently thinking about schools in CA.
Title: Re: Correlation Between High Tuition Costs & Affordable Legal Assistance??
Post by: legalpractitioner on December 24, 2011, 06:57:48 AM
As far as I know California, is the only state that recognizes online or correspondence law schools for an initial bar exam.  More states should do so, that would solve the problem of the ABA death grip. The DL haters like to point to Orly Taitz however she litigates only a single issue and really does not have a law practice. She was a candidate for California Secretary of State and is running for the Senate. She was sanctioned one-time by a federal judge who in my opinion dodn't exactly adhere to the federal rules in doing so. She is not disbarred or disciplined. pretty good for super high risk in your face litigation.  I might point out Melvin Belli, Tony Serra and F. Lee Bailey had their issues with state bars as well. Great attorneys all!

What is everyone so afraid of anyway. A few more DL attorneys here and there? Or does the ABA fear having its death grip broken?
Title: Re: Correlation Between High Tuition Costs & Affordable Legal Assistance??
Post by: DiscoveryPhase on December 24, 2011, 07:23:12 AM
One way to lessen the power of the ABA would be to start a "competing" accreditation body and then LOBBY hard all the states to have members of schools that received their stamp of approval to take their state's bar.  This body would accredit online/distance learning schools - in my dream world :) 

ABA has escaped anti-trust claims in the past based on the fact that it's really up to each state, and the vast majority of state's just so happen to only allow ABA-approved school grads to take their bar.
Title: Re: Correlation Between High Tuition Costs & Affordable Legal Assistance??
Post by: legalpractitioner on December 24, 2011, 08:19:53 AM
Anybody know how many California and Alabama attorneys graduated from non ABA schools? That would be the natural constituency to start an alternative ABA from.
Title: Re: Correlation Between High Tuition Costs & Affordable Legal Assistance??
Post by: FalconJimmy on December 24, 2011, 10:43:13 AM
Yawn. Yawn + 1 for my pal Falcon Jimmy. You make your argument well, but I'm beginning to think it's the only argument you know how to make. We get it-- you don't like digitally delivered law education. So, why do you bother to post here? No one else will let you play in their sandbox?
 ::) ::) ::) ::) ::) ::) ::)

Yes, your aversion to anything that doesn't reinforce your fantasy is well documented and noted.  However, others may not be quite as willing to embark on a likely frutiless endeavor if they have enough information.  If it isn't for you, it isn't for you.  Ignore it and live long and prosper.
Title: Re: Correlation Between High Tuition Costs & Affordable Legal Assistance??
Post by: FalconJimmy on December 24, 2011, 10:53:25 AM
One way to lessen the power of the ABA would be to start a "competing" accreditation body and then LOBBY hard all the states to have members of schools that received their stamp of approval to take their state's bar.  This body would accredit online/distance learning schools - in my dream world :) 

That's really the only way you can "break" the ABA stranglehold.

However, keep in mind, as many DL advocates point it, the ABA's accreditation standards are currently under fire from congress.

But not for the reasons you think.  For the most part, congress wants the ABA to accredit FEWER schools.  So far, the ABA's position is that if you meet the standards, you should be accredited.

A similar battle was fought by DOs against MDs a while back.  That's your model.

Here's the problem, though.  If your argument is that DL and various unaccredited schools are just as good at educating students as ABA schools, the one area where this demonstrably falls flat is on bar passage rates. 

It's not enough just to say, "this education is every bit as good."  Unless you can show it somehow, it's not unreasonable to dismiss such assertions.

Already, the unaccredited schools have a foot in the hole.  They don't have the library facilities.  Not sure what they do as far as classroom hours.  So, a lot of things the ABA says are necessary for a good legal education are missing.

It is perfectly valid to counter, "Well, the ABA is wrong, those things are NOT required for a good legal education". 

Trouble is, when time comes to take the bar, the ABA schools are in a completely different universe than the schools that claim to be "just as good."

Close that gap on bar passage rate, and I think an alternative accrediation body would have a very, very legitimate argument. 

I think there's a lot of improvements that could be made.  I think a large library is a great resource to the legal community and others who need access to legal research material.  However, I think for the purposes of education, you could get everything you need via your laptop and you'd be just fine.

Ultimately, though, the argument for alternative accreditation standards should be, "it is just as good".  Right now, at best, the argument is, "once in a while, an exceptionally bright person choses to get their legal education this way... that person is by far the exception."
Title: Re: Correlation Between High Tuition Costs & Affordable Legal Assistance??
Post by: Clarence Darrow on December 24, 2011, 11:19:48 AM
The Duncan School of Law was denied accreditation
http://www.law.com/jsp/nlj/PubArticleNLJ.jsp?id=1202536262102&Duncan_School_of_Law_denied_a ccreditation


I knew they pulled the rug out from my former undergrad alma matter

"In June, the ABA's Council of Legal Education revoked provisional accreditation from the University of La Verne College of Law, citing low bar passage rates. The school had held provisional accreditation since 2006."

I don't know if La Verne reduced their law school tuition to reflect their CBA accreditation. Whittier hasn't had promising GBX results either.
Title: Re: Correlation Between High Tuition Costs & Affordable Legal Assistance??
Post by: DiscoveryPhase on December 24, 2011, 12:06:58 PM
"Here's the problem, though.  If your argument is that DL and various unaccredited schools are just as good at educating students as ABA schools, the one area where this demonstrably falls flat is on bar passage rates. 

It's not enough just to say, "this education is every bit as good."  Unless you can show it somehow, it's not unreasonable to dismiss such assertions.

Already, the unaccredited schools have a foot in the hole.  They don't have the library facilities.  Not sure what they do as far as classroom hours.  So, a lot of things the ABA says are necessary for a good legal education are missing.

It is perfectly valid to counter, "Well, the ABA is wrong, those things are NOT required for a good legal education". 

Trouble is, when time comes to take the bar, the ABA schools are in a completely different universe than the schools that claim to be "just as good."

Close that gap on bar passage rate, and I think an alternative accrediation body would have a very, very legitimate argument. 

I think there's a lot of improvements that could be made.  I think a large library is a great resource to the legal community and others who need access to legal research material.  However, I think for the purposes of education, you could get everything you need via your laptop and you'd be just fine.

Ultimately, though, the argument for alternative accreditation standards should be, "it is just as good".  Right now, at best, the argument is, "once in a while, an exceptionally bright person choses to get their legal education this way... that person is by far the exception."
[/quote] - FalconJimmy

I actually have no problem with high standards for online/distance law school admission.  I also think this would improve the bar passage rate and help improve the way this type of education is viewed.  Perhaps, case studies of those students who have entered an online/distance law program AND have managed to come out licensed attorneys in the end, would help figure out what those standards should be.   
Title: Re: Correlation Between High Tuition Costs & Affordable Legal Assistance??
Post by: Opie58 on December 24, 2011, 01:13:33 PM
Yawn. Yawn + 1 for my pal Falcon Jimmy. You make your argument well, but I'm beginning to think it's the only argument you know how to make. We get it-- you don't like digitally delivered law education. So, why do you bother to post here? No one else will let you play in their sandbox?
 ::) ::) ::) ::) ::) ::) ::)

Yes, your aversion to anything that doesn't reinforce your fantasy is well documented and noted.  However, others may not be quite as willing to embark on a likely frutiless endeavor if they have enough information.  If it isn't for you, it isn't for you.  Ignore it and live long and prosper.

But, the point is - it's NOT fruitless, people are graduating from DL schools, passing the bar, AND practicing law successfully.  It's folks, like yourself, who refuse to accept that IT IS POSSIBLE and SHOULD be considered in the mix.  As I have stated before, there should a set of standards for licensure – like the bar exam - but how one gets there to take the exam should not be dictated by one "sanctioned" entity, especially if the entity (ABA) recognizes DL classes for CE credits, however, refuses to recognize the same format in qualifying for the initial bar exam – sounds contradictory to me – either the format works, or it doesn’t.
Title: Re: Correlation Between High Tuition Costs & Affordable Legal Assistance??
Post by: legalpractitioner on December 24, 2011, 05:42:42 PM
But, the point is - it's NOT fruitless, people at graduating from Dl schools, passing the bar, AND practicing law successfully.  It's folks like yourself who refuse to accept that IT IS POSSIBLE and SHOULD be considered in the mix.  As I have stated before, there should a set of standards for licensure - like the bar exam - but how one gets there to take the exam should not be dictated by one "sanctioned" entity,

Exactly 100% correct, the bar exam makes the attorney not the JD, it really seems it is unconsitutional for a private guild to block access to the Judicial branch.  The state bars are largely provincial tools of the ABA. DL attorneys, even only a handful, prove the point.
Title: Re: Correlation Between High Tuition Costs & Affordable Legal Assistance??
Post by: Zepp on December 30, 2011, 09:17:11 AM

Have you ever tried to sue a large corporation in small claims or any other court and have them pop open a check book?  They have insurance dude and the insurer has attorneys on retainer, it doesn't cost the corporation anything more than what they paid already and the insurer doesn't care either as long as they can teach someone not to mess with them, they don't care how much it costs to defend. I did sue Ford once, they settled only becuaue their insurance retained attorney missed the filing deadline and defaulted, the judge told them to go settle,  otherwise I am sure they would have been only to glad to spin it out. Somehow I don't think you are a member of the plaintiffs' bar. Under your scenario we would all get rich slowly suing corporations in small claims court for a third of the take.

No, I have never sued a corporation, and no I am not a member of the plaintiffs' bar....defendants, yes.  And no, everything isn't covered by insurance, as everything isn't a matter of products liability, a slip and fall, or something generally covered by insurance.  Large corporations do have outside counsel for general litigation purposes that would not fall under insurance, and are subject to billable hours.  And no, you are not going to get rich by suing a large corporation in small claims.  The amouht of time and effort to get your $5k would be earned much faster by geting a real job.  However, the costs for defending that law suit are very different.


Further, I still get the feeling you think most plaintiffs sue corporations for fun rather than because they have legitimate case. Vexatious litigants are quite rare since inmates had their access to federal court trimmed.

And what makes you think that veatious litigants are limited to inmates?  That's your first faulty assumption.  And no, they are not that rare (which I suppose comes down to what you define as rare).  To be honest, I really don't know what motivates most folks to up and sue a corporation.  I never bothered to ask a person why they feel they are entitled to $5000 just because some clerk was rude to them and refused to accept a return on a $500 item that they used and feel didn't live up to their expectations.  I would expect them to offer that explanation in response to my motion to dismiss.



And I still don't get your argument about how DL schools lower standards, everyone still has to pass the same bar exam and in the end, passing the bar is all that counts and the difference between a law book salesman and an attorney unless you go to Harvard in which case you can become a law professor if you can't pass the bar.

A DL school is conferring a degree.  A degree has meaning beyond merely granting the right to take the bar exam.  You are earning an advanced degree.  All academic institutions that confer degrees are accredited by some body.  Either the institution granting that degree meets those criteria or not.  It's not that DL schools lower the standard, they don't meet the standards for ABA accredidation.  And that's fine.  There are plenty of unaccredited institutions giving out various degrees out there.  As long as the institution is honest about it, I see no problem with it.  But the person getting that degree needs to be aware of the limitations that come with unaccredited degree.  If that limitations includes the fact that most states won't recognize your degree, and won't let you practice law, that is those states' perrogative.  You need to look no further than pass rates at non-ABA accredited schools to see that all law schools aren't created equal.  And we're not even talking about the ability to produce good attorneys here.  This is the rock bottom criteria.  Pass the bar exam.  Again, I see no problem with requiring law schools to maintain certain minimum standards.  There are several hundered law schools who can do that, and when you hit the bottom of the barrel of those schools, even then, you're not always getting a quality education when compared to the amount of money invested.
Title: Re: Correlation Between High Tuition Costs & Affordable Legal Assistance??
Post by: Zepp on December 30, 2011, 09:43:11 AM
[But, the point is - it's NOT fruitless, people are graduating from DL schools, passing the bar, AND practicing law successfully.  It's folks, like yourself, who refuse to accept that IT IS POSSIBLE and SHOULD be considered in the mix.  As I have stated before, there should a set of standards for licensure – like the bar exam - but how one gets there to take the exam should not be dictated by one "sanctioned" entity, especially if the entity (ABA) recognizes DL classes for CE credits, however, refuses to recognize the same format in qualifying for the initial bar exam – sounds contradictory to me – either the format works, or it doesn’t.

And there are people who pass the bar and practice law by reading the law. Should we do away with all education requirements?  Point is, non-accredited schools, irrespective of whether DL or brick and motar, have much lower bar passage rates.  So from this we can imply that you certainly are not getting the same level of education at ABA-accredited and non-accredited schools.  So the fact is that these institutions are failing to produce graduates that regularly meet the bare minimum standard to practice law.  Not even saying they produce reasonably good attorneys, but fail to meet the rock bottom criteria.  If most graduates can't meet that rock bottom level of competence, why should a state give the graduates the privilege of even taking the exam?
Title: Re: Correlation Between High Tuition Costs & Affordable Legal Assistance??
Post by: Zepp on December 30, 2011, 09:56:17 AM
But, the point is - it's NOT fruitless, people at graduating from Dl schools, passing the bar, AND practicing law successfully.  It's folks like yourself who refuse to accept that IT IS POSSIBLE and SHOULD be considered in the mix.  As I have stated before, there should a set of standards for licensure - like the bar exam - but how one gets there to take the exam should not be dictated by one "sanctioned" entity,

Exactly 100% correct, the bar exam makes the attorney not the JD, it really seems it is unconsitutional for a private guild to block access to the Judicial branch.  The state bars are largely provincial tools of the ABA. DL attorneys, even only a handful, prove the point.

How exactly are you being blocked access to the Judicial branch?  Everyone has access to the judiciary on a pro se basis.

How does it "seem" to be unconstitutional?  From my memory, you have no property interest in any license granted by the state, so I'm curious as to what you base your claim of unconstitutionality.  It is fully within a state's power to place a set of criteria for the professional licenses it grants, whether it be a barber or attorney.
Title: Re: Correlation Between High Tuition Costs & Affordable Legal Assistance??
Post by: Opie58 on December 30, 2011, 01:18:03 PM
[But, the point is - it's NOT fruitless, people are graduating from DL schools, passing the bar, AND practicing law successfully.  It's folks, like yourself, who refuse to accept that IT IS POSSIBLE and SHOULD be considered in the mix.  As I have stated before, there should a set of standards for licensure – like the bar exam - but how one gets there to take the exam should not be dictated by one "sanctioned" entity, especially if the entity (ABA) recognizes DL classes for CE credits, however, refuses to recognize the same format in qualifying for the initial bar exam – sounds contradictory to me – either the format works, or it doesn’t.

And there are people who pass the bar and practice law by reading the law. Should we do away with all education requirements?  Point is, non-accredited schools, irrespective of whether DL or brick and motar, have much lower bar passage rates.  So from this we can imply that you certainly are not getting the same level of education at ABA-accredited and non-accredited schools.  So the fact is that these institutions are failing to produce graduates that regularly meet the bare minimum standard to practice law.  Not even saying they produce reasonably good attorneys, but fail to meet the rock bottom criteria.  If most graduates can't meet that rock bottom level of competence, why should a state give the graduates the privilege of even taking the exam?

So, using your explaination, for those students who graduate from a B&M/ABA school, but fail to pass the bar, that school ALSO "... fail to produce graduates that regularly meet the bare minimum standard to practice law."  Therefore, those institutions who fail to produce reasonably good attorneys (graduates) that fail to meet the rock bottom criteria, the state should NOT give those graduates the privilege to even take the exam?  On this question, I suspect there is No school that has a 100% pass rate exam after exam, so no school would qualify.  Or, should there be a set percentage of bar passing students that determines which schools the state allows to take the bar?  If so, who sets those standards?  Who gets to say one student from a school who has a 80% bar pass rate is any better than another student from a school who has 30% bar pass rate?  Should the latter student not be given the same opportunity to prove him/herself as the former?
Title: Re: Correlation Between High Tuition Costs & Affordable Legal Assistance??
Post by: Opie58 on December 30, 2011, 01:28:10 PM
But, the point is - it's NOT fruitless, people at graduating from Dl schools, passing the bar, AND practicing law successfully.  It's folks like yourself who refuse to accept that IT IS POSSIBLE and SHOULD be considered in the mix.  As I have stated before, there should a set of standards for licensure - like the bar exam - but how one gets there to take the exam should not be dictated by one "sanctioned" entity,

Exactly 100% correct, the bar exam makes the attorney not the JD, it really seems it is unconsitutional for a private guild to block access to the Judicial branch.  The state bars are largely provincial tools of the ABA. DL attorneys, even only a handful, prove the point.

How exactly are you being blocked access to the Judicial branch?  Everyone has access to the judiciary on a pro se basis.

How does it "seem" to be unconstitutional?  From my memory, you have no property interest in any license granted by the state, so I'm curious as to what you base your claim of unconstitutionality.  It is fully within a state's power to place a set of criteria for the professional licenses it grants, whether it be a barber or attorney.

But, did you not just say above in reference to my post earlier ...

[But, the point is - it's NOT fruitless, people are graduating from DL schools, passing the bar, AND practicing law successfully.  It's folks, like yourself, who refuse to accept that IT IS POSSIBLE and SHOULD be considered in the mix.  As I have stated before, there should a set of standards for licensure – like the bar exam - but how one gets there to take the exam should not be dictated by one "sanctioned" entity, especially if the entity (ABA) recognizes DL classes for CE credits, however, refuses to recognize the same format in qualifying for the initial bar exam – sounds contradictory to me – either the format works, or it doesn’t.

And there are people who pass the bar and practice law by reading the law. Should we do away with all education requirements?  Point is, non-accredited schools, irrespective of whether DL or brick and motar, have much lower bar passage rates.  So from this we can imply that you certainly are not getting the same level of education at ABA-accredited and non-accredited schools.  So the fact is that these institutions are failing to produce graduates that regularly meet the bare minimum standard to practice law.  Not even saying they produce reasonably good attorneys, but fail to meet the rock bottom criteria.  If most graduates can't meet that rock bottom level of competence, why should a state give the graduates the privilege of even taking the exam?

So, which is it - an entity outside the state sets the criteria, or the state sets it?  Sounds like double talk, I may be wrong.
Title: Re: Correlation Between High Tuition Costs & Affordable Legal Assistance??
Post by: Zepp on December 30, 2011, 01:50:37 PM

So, using your explaination, for those students who graduate from a B&M/ABA school, but fail to pass the bar, that school ALSO "... fail to produce graduates that regularly meet the bare minimum standard to practice law."  Therefore, those institutions who fail to produce reasonably good attorneys (graduates) that fail to meet the rock bottom criteria, the state should NOT give those graduates the privilege to even that the exam?  On this question, I suspect there is No school that has a 100% pass rate exam after exam, so no school would qualify.  Or, should there be a set percentage of bar passing students that determines which schools the state allows to ake the bar?  If so, who sets those standards?  If says one student from a school who has a 80% bar pass rate is any better than another student from a school who has 30% bar pass rate?  Should the latter student not be given the same opportunity to prove him/herself as the former?

In 2010 (the latest numbers available), graduates of ABA-accredited schools had a 74% passage rate across the country.  Non ABA-accredited schools were at 25%.  That 25% is broken down to a 28% passage rate at brick and motar schools, 19% from correspondence schools, and 17% at on-line schools.  If you at least somewhere in the neighborhood, your protestations might have a point, but these schools are not even close.  As to who sets the standards...well, pretty obviously the states do.  Some let non-ABA accredited graduates take their bar exams (obviously since we have stats on them), others do not.  The ABA takes bar passage into consideration as to which schools they accredit, but no state is required to go by what the ABA approves.  Obviously if we're talking about a difference between 74% and 25%, students at any non-ABA accredited school are not getting the same education as their counterparts at the ABA-accredited school.  Therefore I see is nothing irrational in a state treating them differently.  As to whether the graduate should be given the same opportunity to prove them selves, I say it is up to the state, and I think there is nothing unreasonable about a state having a probition on graduates of non-ABA accredited schools.  The proof is in the pudding.  The quality of the graduating classes are not the same, so there is no reason they should be treated the same
Title: Re: Correlation Between High Tuition Costs & Affordable Legal Assistance??
Post by: Zepp on December 30, 2011, 02:03:16 PM
But, did you not just say above in reference to my post earlier ...

I said pro se plaintiffs can waste the courts time and needlessly drive up litigation costs.  And I would even argue that perhaps some form of the British system of loser pays costs might be advisable.  However, I never said that anyone is entitled to practice law, nor have I ever said we should block people from access to the courts. 

So, which is it - an entity outside the state sets the criteria, or the state sets it?  Sounds like double talk, I may be wrong.

State sets the criteria to take and pass the bar exam.  The ABA sets the standard for their accredidation.   Where is the double talk?  Personally, I think requiring a diploma from an ABA accredited schools is a fair requirement (and would even argue that the ABA is too free in giving out their stamp of approval).  The practice of law is a career based on your ability to use your mind.  It seems only natural that a state would use a criteria based on the quality of education to determine who should be considered for entering that field.
Title: Re: Correlation Between High Tuition Costs & Affordable Legal Assistance??
Post by: legalpractitioner on December 30, 2011, 05:01:14 PM
OK, I'll turn in my law licenses, your flawless logic has convinced me of my errors... :P
Title: Re: Correlation Between High Tuition Costs & Affordable Legal Assistance??
Post by: legalpractitioner on December 31, 2011, 07:42:30 AM
Zepp, you are trying to compare apples and peanuts here.  Obviously, students who attend a DL law school are aware they can only take the California Bar. DL schools regardless of curriculum are going to attact statistical outliars and a lot of failures who have no business being in law school. A DL school at present is basically a glorified reading list, it has nothing to do with what goes on a law school.  However reading for law is a traditional and proven method of passing the bar. Since students already have a undergrad degree, so if they choose to read for the bar exam, what is the problem?

The English who have been practising law a lot longer than we have, have no problem with an  external LLB.
http://www.londoninternational.ac.uk/prospective_students/undergraduate/panel/law/about_qld.shtml

The answer here is for the ABA mossbacks to accept online education and let the well endowed ABA schools offer external JDs. This is the 21st Century, we have the technology available to replace the "sage on the stage with the guide on the side." But it takes money and aside from Washington Posts's Concord, no one has the money to make that sort of investment in a school that can only churn out California lawyers who then get blocked by ABA Luddites at every step.
Title: Re: Correlation Between High Tuition Costs & Affordable Legal Assistance??
Post by: Opie58 on December 31, 2011, 07:54:09 AM
Now, for my diatribe –

You still fail to convenience me your point of view – (1) that a graduate from a non-ABA school that has a lower bar pass rate than an ABA school is really unqualified to sit for the bar exam and should not be given the chance to show s/he can apply the SAME law the SAME way as anyone else, (2) ABA standards are the only viable standards for quality education and all other methods of adult learning and education outside of the ABA-only way are sub-par, and (3) that even though the state sets the standards if they refuse to accept ABA school attendance as the only qualifying standards they really don’t know what they are doing. 

Although the Pro Se issue somehow gets into this mix about ABA vs non-ABA, I see it as nothing more than an irrelevant smokescreen that has nothing to do with the point of argument – qualifying to sit for a bar exam.  So, please stop using the Pro Se argument as an example for equating non-ABA school graduates as unqualified and mudding up the courts – bar certified attorneys must follow prescribed standards of conduct rather graduates from an ABA or non-ABA school – Pro Se plaintiffs do not – apple and oranges, I hope you can see.

First, are the non-ABA graduates given a different bar exam than ABA graduates?  No!!!  Both who pass are able to apply the SAME standards of law deemed important by the STATE to qualify as attorneys.  30%, 25%, 19%, whatever – those %-ers who do PASS are passing the SAME test, applying the SAME law, at the SAME level as any other graduate from whatever law school.  If you are part of the 80% from an ABA school or the 30% (25%, 19%, whatever) from a non ABA school, you are performing at the SAME level as ALL those who pass; that’s a fact, jack.  Any other spin is just that – spin.  FACT:  According to the Feb 2011 California General Bar Exam stats (http://admissions.calbar.ca.gov/Examinations/Statistics.aspx), there were some non-ABA schools that had fairly high passage rates (Oak Brook – 50%, Taft – 71%, NWCULaw – 38%) while there were some ABA schools below or at those levels (Golden Gate – 41%, Thomas Jefferson – 45%, UCDavis – 25%, UCHastings – 58%, La Verne – 50%, USF – 50%, Whittier – 55%).  So, is your position still that schools who’s passage rates are below someone’s subjective standard not up to par on legal education and should be exempt from providing graduates to sit for the bar exam?

Second, unless, you – and those who side with your point of view – have reviewed and/or attended a non-ABA school to provide a FAIR assessment of the level of education compared to ABA school, I see your ASSUMPTIONS that level of education is sub-par as nothing more than that – an unqualified assumption; as if you are hoping if it is said enough that non-ABA are sub-par that it will be so.  I refuse to accept your equation of lower bar pass rates as proof of sub-par education.  Is the caliber of student lower at non-ABA schools – I suspect so to a certain degree, but there will be those few who refuse to accept, or unable to accept due to other commitments, the ABA-only way to obtain a legal education and licensure.  Thank goodness, several states also refuse to accept the ABA-only way, and have the open-mindedness to recognize those and offer alternatives.  It is a bit humiliating to realize that there are viable alternatives from the ABA-only-$100,000+-tuition (debt) way to become an attorney.  Is it really some sort of rite of passage to place yourself in extreme debt and not have any life for 3+ years to become an attorney? (Again, look at the bar passage rates I mention above.)

Third, you advocate that states set the criteria for licensure, but you also strongly take the position that the ABA standard is the only viable standard, implying that if states refuse to accept those standards and allow other alternatives of legal education as qualifying to sit for the bar exam they are doing some sort of disservice to the profession.  So, yes, you are saying that states set the standard, but you also wish – hope – they will fully accept the ABA-only way to qualification and licensure.  Fortunately, some states rejected the ABA-only way maintaining their 10th Amendment independence in governing themselves as they always have.  For an organization that purports itself as a voluntary association, I question how can it be “voluntary” if it becomes the only accepted standard for practicing the law?  While the ABA-only brainwashing has been effective, it is also showing weakness in continuing acceptance.  Intelligence has nothing to do with where you go to school, it has to do with vision, commitment, and perseverance.  If a student wants to apply themselves enough to learn the law, they will most likely succeed; if not, they will fail.  Some may be more challenged than others, but I don’t believe that makes them less intelligent or successful.

I agree the ABA has a purpose – to foster a code of conduct and recommend improvements, as well as offering a platform for research and analysis.  But, to say "our way is the only way," spits into the face of proven adult learning styles that have demonstrated success time and time over; recommending a program format that promotes success is one thing, making it a requirement by states to sit for the bar is another.  Again, I support the bar exam as the tool appropriate for assessing a candidate’s abilities in applying the law judicially; not how or where they learned the law.  Using the 2011 California Bar Exam stats again; 61% (707/435) overall from ABA schools and 28% (232/65) overall from non-ABA schools passed; in other words, 39% and 72% respectively FAILED to make the grade – sounds like the exam is doing what its designed to do – weed out those who shouldn’t be practicing attorneys.  How a person wishes to spend his/her money should NOT be dictated by the government or any other entity.  While, personally, I believe anyone who wants to sit for the bar exam should be allowed to do so without any consideration of education, I do recognize that would be a waste of time and resources if people are not prepared, so some form of legal education would be prudent and should be mandated by the state – I oppose only ONE “acceptable” standard, such as a graduate from an ABA-approved school only.
Title: Re: Correlation Between High Tuition Costs & Affordable Legal Assistance??
Post by: Zepp on January 03, 2012, 03:45:04 PM
Zepp, you are trying to compare apples and peanuts here.  Obviously, students who attend a DL law school are aware they can only take the California Bar. DL schools regardless of curriculum are going to attact statistical outliars and a lot of failures who have no business being in law school. A DL school at present is basically a glorified reading list, it has nothing to do with what goes on a law school.  However reading for law is a traditional and proven method of passing the bar. Since students already have a undergrad degree, so if they choose to read for the bar exam, what is the problem?

"Reading the law" was very different than simply a glorified reading list.  It was an apprenticeship done under a licensed judge or attorney.  There is more to being an attorney than being able to rattle off sections of the code.


The English who have been practising law a lot longer than we have, have no problem with an  external LLB.
http://www.londoninternational.ac.uk/prospective_students/undergraduate/panel/law/about_qld.shtml

And although we share the common law tradition with the English, their system of legal representation is very different than ours.  There is a difference between a solicitor and barrister, and what each can do.  Since I have no interest in practicing in the UK, I don't know all the differences, but there are differences.  Is there an argument that you shouldn't need an attorney to do everything, sure.  I'm sure you could convince me of that.  But as long as we have one license to practice law, I do believe there should be a high standard as to who holds that license.


The answer here is for the ABA mossbacks to accept online education and let the well endowed ABA schools offer external JDs. This is the 21st Century, we have the technology available to replace the "sage on the stage with the guide on the side." But it takes money and aside from Washington Posts's Concord, no one has the money to make that sort of investment in a school that can only churn out California lawyers who then get blocked by ABA Luddites at every step.

I completely disagree.  Until states issue separate licenses for different types of attorneys, they all need to be held to the same high standards.  A great portion what one learns in law school comes from the discussion with classmates.  If you can't defend your position against your classmates, in a classroom, what hope do you have in a courtroom.  How does a "glorified reading list" to use your own words, prepare a student for that?  It isn't that the ABA are being Luddites, it is the recognition that distance learning is lacking in a good portion of what it takes to be a well rounded attorney.  The expectation that a legal education include active discussion isn't unreasonable since a good porition of the job involves being a vocal advocate for a client.
Title: Re: Correlation Between High Tuition Costs & Affordable Legal Assistance??
Post by: Zepp on January 03, 2012, 05:02:00 PM
Now, for my diatribe –


You'll have to excuse me for not copying your whole diatribe, but I'll try to hit all the points.

I don't hope to convince you of anything.  I think that would be a lost cause.  I'm just defending what I find to be very reasonable standards for admission to the practice of law.  I have never said they are the only reasonable standards, nor that there can be no alternative to the ABA standards.  I have also never said that states that don't accept ABA standards don't know what they are doing.  Personally, I believe the ABA standards are far too liberal.  I also don't believe that the lower tiered ABA approved schools should be charing the same tuitions as those at the top of the list (and the non-accredited schools shouldn't be anywhere near the price).  But those arguments are neither here nor there.  The pro-se arguement has popped in and out for different reasons.  Sum up to say, someone claimed that they were being unconstitutionally denied access to the courts.  That's a non-starter.  You have no constitutional right to practice law, and it has nothing to do with access to the courts.  I'll leave it at that.

As for your numbers....the schools you picked out are samples so small that their numbers are statistically useless.  US Davis had 5 test takers, Taft had 12.  Just to show how meaningless those numbers are, if you go to just the prior bar exam, US Davis had an 81% first time pass rate and Taft 0%.  At least for that exam, US Davis had a useable sample size of 176 test takes (Taft's sample was still useless with only 1 first time test taker).  Looking at the larger (and statistically significant) numbers of ABA-accredited versus non-accredited for even that test administration, still shows that non-ABA accredited schools have only half the pass rate of their ABA approved counterparts.  So yes, I do believe that a law school's inability to graduate students that have decent pass rates of the bar exam is a reflection of the quality of education received.  And no, my conclusions about the quality of education are based on many facts.  FACT - non-ABA accredited schools have dramatically lower pass rates.  This can mean only a few things.  The quality of education is significantly lower or the quality of students is significantly lower.  Even if the students are just significantly worse, a good portion of what one gets out of any education is from discussion with fellow students.  So if your discussion is at a much lower level, so is the quality of your education.  So you have the same result (remove the discussion entirely, and I think you're another rung lower).  I would go so far to say that the quality of education at Harvard would be significantly higher than at Georgetown, even if you had the same professor teaching the class. 

You say "proven adult learning styles that have demonstrated success time and time over."  Where exactly is that success?  Nationally, DL has a 17% pass rate!  Is that what you qualify as proven success?  And that we're talking about the minimum level to be qualified to practice the law. 

ABA is a voluntary organization.  The fact that states adopt their standards doesn't make its membership any less voluntary.  Just because you attend an ABA approved school doesn't require you to become a member of the ABA or even having a state requirement that you attend an ABA school to take the bar exam require you to be a member of the ABA upon passing the bar, and as far as I know, no state requires ABA membership to become an attorney.  Also, requiring a school be accredited by the ABA doesn't mean the state is telling you how to spend your money.  No one is forcing you to become an attorney, it is your choice.  And while what school you attend does not always corrilate with intelligence, it is an indicator of the quality of education, and more often than not, you could probably safely wager that it does correspond with intelligence.  Are there legacy students that get into some ivy leagues...sure.  Are there some students that for personal reasons attend lower tiered, or non-ABA approved schools that are brilliant...absolutely.  Grab 50 students from each of those schools, however, I'm willing to bet more of the ivy leagures are more intelligent.  So do I think we need to throw standards out the window because a few exceptions.  Not a chance.  Some times life isn't fair. 
Title: Re: Correlation Between High Tuition Costs & Affordable Legal Assistance??
Post by: cerealkiller on January 03, 2012, 05:34:53 PM
Now, for my diatribe –


You'll have to excuse me for not copying your whole diatribe, but I'll try to hit all the points.

I don't hope to convince you of anything.  I think that would be a lost cause.  I'm just defending what I find to be very reasonable standards for admission to the practice of law.  I have never said they are the only reasonable standards, nor that there can be no alternative to the ABA standards.  I have also never said that states that don't accept ABA standards don't know what they are doing.  Personally, I believe the ABA standards are far too liberal.  I also don't believe that the lower tiered ABA approved schools should be charing the same tuitions as those at the top of the list (and the non-accredited schools shouldn't be anywhere near the price).  But those arguments are neither here nor there.  The pro-se arguement has popped in and out for different reasons.  Sum up to say, someone claimed that they were being unconstitutionally denied access to the courts.  That's a non-starter.  You have no constitutional right to practice law, and it has nothing to do with access to the courts.  I'll leave it at that.

Charing? Arguement? Really?
Title: Re: Correlation Between High Tuition Costs & Affordable Legal Assistance??
Post by: legalpractitioner on January 03, 2012, 05:38:44 PM
If you can't defend your position against your classmates, in a classroom, what hope do you have in a courtroom.

A real good one because you are not cut from the mold as ABA clone.

I was being appointed to felony cases as a PD within 6 months of passing the bar with my Taft JD.  On my first criminal case, I skunked the DA with a motion to dismiss for lack of venue and won at the preliminary hearing.  For my first five years of practice I was present at the county law and motion calender every week handling criminal cases, family law, civil litigation and juvenile cases. I didn't need any classmates in classroom, I learned from my colleagues who actually knew a thing or two about the law. My clients were all pleased because I took the time to listen to them, no matter their social or economic status. I took the cases no one else would touch. Last week I won the first round of a case at the African Commission in Banjul, The Gambia.  I may not be rich but my cases are reported by the AP, Reuters, Bloomberg, etc.

So it can be done, don't listen to naysayers like Zepp. Zepp is the face of the type of law you are unlikely to practice as a DL graduate. If you beat the odds and pass the California Bar, give something back to society, don't squander your talents trying to be like the ABA law school grad.
Title: Re: Correlation Between High Tuition Costs & Affordable Legal Assistance??
Post by: Opie58 on January 03, 2012, 08:33:45 PM
Again, I still fail to understand how one school's bar pass rate compared to another school's bar pass rate has anything to do with a graduate from either school passing the bar.  If one person can pass the bar from any school, than the curriculum must be doing the job.  Therefore, it's NOT the curriculum - it's the student's motivation to learn the material appropriately to pass the bar that becomes the issue.

As I read more of these “interesting” forums, I saw references about 1T, 2T, 3T, & 4T schools.  Not knowing what that was all about, I researched it and find it interesting how not only is there a line of thought about how one learns the law and if they should be allowed the opportunity to sit for a bar exam, but there is even a debate amongst ABA school students/grads as to how one’s school is better than another’s, which raises the question – if a school is in a lower tier than another implying it must be substandard in it’s curriculum or teaching methodology, should it’s grads be disallowed to sit for a bar exam since the school will probably have a lower passage rate?  A bunch of subjective BS to keep that competitive edge going, as I see it. 

With this train of thought, it’s not whether you know and can apply the law (which I believe is the most important) that is the focal point, but if one school is “better” than the other; like that makes any difference when it comes to taking the bar exam. 

However, several states HAVE set the appropriate standard that matters – YOUR ABILITY TO APPLY THE LAW, not which school you attended – it’s NOT even considered in the grade calculation!!!!

Therefore, the school / curriculum / method of study debate is IRRELEVANT; it is circular with no clear issue to decide on because IT HAS NOTHING to do with applying the law.  If any student from any school lacks motivation to learn the application process – THEY WILL FAIL THE BAR EXAM.

If one’s school of attendance is more important than one’s ability to appropriately apply the law, the point behind this discussion thread – elitist ABA law schools’ high tuitions inflating legal assistance costs – becomes clearly apparent.  But, if one’s ability to apply the law is most important, than the method of learning the law is irrelevant making high tuition unnecessary and legal assistance more affordable – and maybe even reducing the number of pro se cases.
Title: Re: Correlation Between High Tuition Costs & Affordable Legal Assistance??
Post by: legalpractitioner on January 04, 2012, 08:08:29 PM
However, several states HAVE set the appropriate standard that matters – YOUR ABILITY TO APPLY THE LAW

There are a lot of lame attorney out there, 99% from ABA schools. Neither quality of schools nor passing the bar really guarantees much. Law naturally attracts a lot of sociopaths. It is sort of like the Catholic priesthood.  The best way to weed these baddies out would be to make all lawyers take a two year apprenticeship after law school in which they had to do public service work. Passing the bar is only an indicator that someone can pass an exam.

This has been a problem however for Centuries:

MY LAWYER.

When grappled in the law's embrace,
Who first betrayed an anxious face
And fain would shield me from disgrace
My Lawyer.

Who told me I should not confess,
That he would all wrong's redress
And set me free from all distress?
My Lawyer.

When, sick in jail, I senseless lay,
Who took my watch and case away
Lest prowling thieves on me should prey
My Lawyer.

Who to my wealth tenacious clung,
And for me wagged his oily tongue,
And at my foes hot embers flung
My Lawyer.

Who told me he was dreadful smart
And knew the law-books all by heart.
And always took his client's part?
My Lawyer.

Who, in the court, with peerless pride,
My rights affirmed, my guilt denied.
And swore the State's attorney lied?
My Lawyer.

And when twelve men, in one compound,
For me a guilty verdict found,
Who came to stanch the bleeding wound
My Lawyer.

Who said my time within the wall
Would be exceeding- brief and small,
The minimum, or none at all?
My Lawyer.

And when the judge my doom proclaimed,
And three long years of exile named,
Who looked indignant and ashamed?
My Lawyer,

When, at the sheriff's stern command,
I for the train was told to stand,
Who longest shook and squeezed my hand ?
My Lawyer.

Who, when he had me safe confined,
No more concerned his crafty mind,
Nor was, for me, to grief inclined?
My Lawyer.

Who closed the mortgage on my lot,
And drove my family from my cot,
And left them homeless on the spot ?
My Lawyer.

Who, when of prison clothes I 'm stripped,
And from these walls am homeward shipped,
Will get himself immensely whipped ?
My Lawyer.

[Written by Mr. George Gilbert, who died on the 9th of June
A. D. 1890.]
Title: Re: Correlation Between High Tuition Costs & Affordable Legal Assistance??
Post by: FalconJimmy on January 05, 2012, 04:29:08 AM
As I read more of these “interesting” forums, I saw references about 1T, 2T, 3T, & 4T schools.  Not knowing what that was all about, I researched it and find it interesting how not only is there a line of thought about how one learns the law and if they should be allowed the opportunity to sit for a bar exam, but there is even a debate amongst ABA school students/grads as to how one’s school is better than another’s, which raises the question – if a school is in a lower tier than another implying it must be substandard in it’s curriculum or teaching methodology, should it’s grads be disallowed to sit for a bar exam since the school will probably have a lower passage rate?  A bunch of subjective BS to keep that competitive edge going, as I see it. 

Gonna pick a nit, here.  I go to a 4T school.  It's just a fact.  I probably could have gotten into a 3T somewhere and who knows, with a little luck, maybe even one of the lower ranked 2Ts.  Do I resent that my school is considered a 4T and that people from 1Ts and 2Ts have better job opportunities?  No.  Why would I?  Those people didn't get into those schools by blind luck.  They got better grades than I did.  They got higher LSAT scores.  Frankly, I think it's a truly pathetic loser who comes up short, but then says the game is rigged.  If you want what the 1T law students have, you needed to do what they did.  If you didn't, too bad, so sad, life sucks sometimes, especially when it's your own doggone fault for the predicament you're in.

Generally speaking most employers know that a top graduate of a 4T is not totally out of the ballpark of a top graduate from, say a 2T.  Top 10% is a hell of a thing, even in a 4T school.  (And based on the grades I have, so far, I'm nowhere near the top 10%.)  You can compete for the very best law jobs in most cities, if you're a graduate of a 4T, but only if you're at the very top of your class.

Where the comparison becomes important is that the average student at a 1T is considerably higher caliber than the average student at a 4T.  The worst student at a 1T might still have the potential to be a good attorney.  The worst student at a 4T?  That's a frightening thing.

You can argue that it's a bunch of BS, but I honestly have to wonder, what universe do you live in?  Are you basically trying to assert that no school is better than any other?  I've attended quite a few schools in my day (let's just say I give Sarah Palin a run for the money in terms of the number of transfers it took for me to get a Bachelor's degree).  You can see radical differences in the quality of the student body.  Generally speaking, the profs can only go as fast as the typical student can follow.  The tougher the school, the faster they're moving, the more material they cover, the more stuff you have to know and do to get a good grade.

Honestly, most jobs just aren't that analytical.  You just don't have to be that bright to, say, sell cars, or whatever.  Not trying to bag on car salesmen, here, but high academic achievement probably isn't in the top 5 most necessary traits for success in that field.  Stock brokers, too.  The success traits in those fields have more to do with a competitive, goal-focused personality and a desire for wealth.  However, if you want to put a satellite into orbit, you don't hire a bunch of communications majors from a barely accredited regional liberal arts college.  You hire Ph.D.s from MIT.

There are parts of the law that, frankly, aren't that analytical.  Really, probably any person of average intelligence could do them if they tried hard enough.  However, the more complex the issue, the harder it gets.  The more that's at stake, the more important it is to have a serious detail-orientation. 

Legal employers want to know who they're hiring and they use academic credentials to weed people out... pretty much like... oh... pretty much everyone who hires a recent graduate of an academic program.  If you're recruiting people out of school, any school, it would be unusual, indeed, to see a hiring manager saying, "Hey, you know who I want to hire?  Give me the guys who barely graduated.  I want to talk to the ones who really didn't do what the successful ones did.  My ideal candidate is one who cut every corner, couldn't be bothered to do what the top graduates did, and who tried to find a shortcut."

There are rewards for being a top graduate of a top school.  You can argue that we should live in a kumbaya universe where it shouldn't matter what school you go to, what grades you get, etc.  That's just not reality. 
Title: Re: Correlation Between High Tuition Costs & Affordable Legal Assistance??
Post by: legalpractitioner on January 05, 2012, 04:42:10 AM
This is really a foolish line of discussion in a DL forum, if you have a DL degree you are not going to work for anyone unless it's your father in law. It's a given you are going to go solo like 47% of attorneys in California.

http://www.calbarjournal.com/January2012/TopHeadlines.aspx
Title: Re: Correlation Between High Tuition Costs & Affordable Legal Assistance??
Post by: FalconJimmy on January 05, 2012, 04:44:35 AM
This is really a foolish line of discussion in a DL forum, if you have a DL degree you are not going to work for anyone unless it's your father in law. It's a given you are going to go solo like 47% of attorneys in California.

http://www.calbarjournal.com/January2012/TopHeadlines.aspx

Jon, is that what most of the incoming students think?  (Not trying to be smarmy, here.  Sincerely curious.)

I doubt very many of the people in my 1L class think they're going to work solo.  Most of them want jobs.  Personally, it was my goal to hang out a shingle at graduation, but at this point in time, I'm wondering how feasible that is.  Not from a financial standpoint.  I'm fine, there.  More from a standpoint of knowing what the heck I'm doing. 
Title: Re: Correlation Between High Tuition Costs & Affordable Legal Assistance??
Post by: legalpractitioner on January 05, 2012, 06:30:32 AM
Look at the stats 47% of lawyers in private practice in California are solo, down from 54% a few  years back. I suspect another 25% in private practice are small firms, 2-5 lawyers. So unless you are going to work for the government, chances are you will be in the above categories.  Why not hang out a shingle?  You will be no less incompetent than most attorneys. As for your cohort in law school, they are typical scared of their own shadow type, don't want to mingle with indigents, would be lawyers who would faint dead away if they had to come face to face with a real client like a crank head, child molestor, SSI applicant, or angry divorced parent.

But you can be proactive:

All law schools offer some sort of practical experience - better sign up for it and attend courts in your spare time. You'll learn more about law hanging around the court house than from some pendantic so called law professor, who has the same JD you will you have. Also memorize Black's Law Dictionary, especially archaic Latin phrases and read everything by or about Gerry Spence, Louis Nizer, F. Lee Bailey and Melvin Belli. Also when you start practicing buy a largest ostentious fake gold plated Rolex, it instills confidence in clients no matter how inexperienced and pathetic you may look.
Title: Re: Correlation Between High Tuition Costs & Affordable Legal Assistance??
Post by: Opie58 on January 05, 2012, 08:25:28 AM
I concede that schools are different, some better than others with students who have higher GPAs – I’m not disgruntled.  In my case, I have financial commitments I need to maintain and would love to take my experiences (30+ year cop/firefighter) to the next level, but giving up my job for $100,000+ debt (after getting out from under overwhelming debt) is NOT something I wish to do.

As you mentioned earlier, the top 10% from a 4T school can be competitive with grads from higher tiered schools, so in other words they are just as good or capable, right?  Which supports my main principle – it’s NOT the school that makes the attorney, it’s the students in how s/he applies themselves – the school provides the direction.  A crappy 1T/2T student will be just as “uncompetitive” as someone in the lower 90% of a 4T school, I suspect.  I have said the school attended will have an effect on job competition – that’s reality – I understand even though I don’t agree, but to say just because someone opts for an alternative approach (online, law clerk program, apprentice with a judge/lawyer) to studying the law makes them less capable and should be disqualified from taking a bar exam – even when heir are those who have do so and practice successfully – is shortsighted in their view and elitist in their thinking.  There may be only one or two at a time who succeed through those programs, but to deny those ones or twos the opportunity spits in the face of our whole national concept of anyone can do anything if they set their minds to it.  Historically, most great achievements in this country have been from those ones or twos who refused to accept the norm, thought outside the box, & did things through alternative methods.  Standards of conduct and topics of study, I agree, but to say a school who disagrees with a “standard methodology” imposed by some self-appointed body (ABA) and chooses not to seek that body’s accreditation because they offer an alternative approach is less of a school, I have problem with, especially if the school has been around for years, and grads pass the bar and practice law successfully.

I agree with jonlevy – people have to know their limitations with the course they take in life – education, experiences, etc.  I know my approach towards law school will not open some doors for me – I accept that – but other doors will be opened that are not available currently.  I would like to pursue those and can with an online law degree, thanks to those states who allow for alternatives.  Life is about success and failure – if someone wishes to pursue a path, the person should allowed to opportunity to succeed or fail based one his/her own volition – not some entity’s sanctioning.
Title: Re: Correlation Between High Tuition Costs & Affordable Legal Assistance??
Post by: FalconJimmy on January 06, 2012, 08:02:11 AM

Which supports my main principle – it’s NOT the school that makes the attorney, it’s the students in how s/he applies themselves – the school provides the direction.

I agree with you there, to a degree.

The thing is, with ABA approved schools, we literally use exactly the same books.  We all cover exactly the same subjects.  The 1L sequence, at virtually every ABA accredited law school, is essentially identical.  Our professors come from exactly the same schools.  Yes, the class at Harvard probably does dig a little deeper into topics. Maybe they cover a little more material, but not much.  Their Torts course and the one at a 4T aren't really that different.

Their students are, but the courses aren't.  Their library is probably worlds better than the library at my school.  So, maybe they have more resources, and that justifies saying that the experience is better.  The classrom experience, though?  Probably not that different.

With an unaccredited school, it's possible that you're using all the same materials and you have profs from all the same schools.  Trouble is, that's not generally what I've observed.  If you do, then great.  I agree.  It's entirely likely that the very best student at an unaccredited school is every bit as good as the very best student at a 4T or 3T.  Heck, probably in the ballpark of what the very best students would be like at a 1T or 2T.

Thing is, there seems to be a pretty big difference between what is taught and how.  For instance, a while back one poster commented that she was covering 300 cases or somesuch, in one of her classes.  That would be an astronomical number of cases.  However, she later revealed that her textbook was Legalines or something of the sort.  She wasn't even actually using an actual textbook.  She was using a study aid.  I find it very, very hard to believe that a person who was going through law school this way would have had the same educational experience (or approximately the same educational experience) as a 1L at Harvard.

A crappy 1T/2T student will be just as “uncompetitive” as someone in the lower 90% of a 4T school, I suspect.

Probably

 
I have said the school attended will have an effect on job competition – that’s reality – I understand even though I don’t agree, but to say just because someone opts for an alternative approach (online, law clerk program, apprentice with a judge/lawyer) to studying the law makes them less capable and should be disqualified from taking a bar exam – even when heir are those who have do so and practice successfully – is shortsighted in their view and elitist in their thinking. 



Yeah, I see your point and to a degree, I agree with you.  Face it, the law is a profession and one aspect of a profession is always to try to limit the number of people who practice that profession.  Heck, you can't even be a plumber in my neck of the woods unless you're connected, probably by blood. 

My full opinion on this is that anybody who can pass the bar should be an attorney.  However, in my world, the bar would be a lot harder to pass.  Here's the difficulty:  as a thumbnail, it appears that bar passage rates for nontrads is pretty poor.  Might be on order of only 10 or 20% of people who graduate from a nontrad program can pass the bar. 

So, if the world were what I envision, with a much harder bar exam, who knows, maybe folks at 4Ts like me would see that only 40% of the class would pass the bar, but then, what, 5% or 10% of the folks from the nontrad programs?

To me the problem isn't that a person from a nontrad program can't be a good attorney.  Heck, Abraham Lincoln is one of the most famous attorneys in the history of the nation and he never once set foot in a law school as a student.

It's that we shouldn't encourage people to embark on programs of study where there is, at best, a minimal chance of success. 

Granted, some people will still want to fight the odds, but when you're talking about such a low percentage of people being able to even meet minimal demonstrated knowledge on the bar, I don't see how it's unreasonable for states to close this door.

For instance, if there were a medical school where only 10% of the grads could pass state boards, would it be unreasonable for a state to shut down the medical school, or if they couldn't, to say that graduates from that school are not allowed to practice in a state?

It's hard to build a rule around an exception and the nontrad law student who can pass the bar is an exception.

Also, education is not entirely about education.  In fact, it's probably equally about credentialing.  (Some would argue that it's not about education at all, and is almost entirely about credentialling.)

Society really can't individually evaluate people so we use processes to stand in the stead of individual evaluation.  To me, the low bar passage rate of nontrad programs is probably somewhat due to an inherently inferior educational process, but is probably more largely related to the fact that entrance standards aren't very rigorous.  (I think at some of the California schools, all you need is an associate's degree, for instance.)

Basically, when the ABA accredited schools accept somebody, they're accepting a person with a 90% chance of passing the bar, after a program of study.

When a nontrad accepts somebody, they're accepting a person with a 20% chance of passing the bar, after a program of study.

Again, when states try to make a rule, do they really want to build it around an exception?  Heck, I bet a lot of former combat medics could easily step into a hospital and do absolutely everything an RN could do.  Are states wrong to require that a person complete an RN program of study before being allowed to be an RN?

Some people are really safe drivers at 80 mph.  Some are unsafe at 45.  Still, we have speed limits and we expect all of society to adhere to them. 

That's the crux of the matter.  It's not that anybody wants to be unfair or discriminate.  It's that there are standards, and frankly, I don't see how the standards are unreasonable.  They're not perfect, but they're not unfair. 


Title: Re: Correlation Between High Tuition Costs & Affordable Legal Assistance??
Post by: FalconJimmy on January 06, 2012, 08:02:38 AM
There may be only one or two at a time who succeed through those programs, but to deny those ones or twos the opportunity spits in the face of our whole national concept of anyone can do anything if they set their minds to it.

Ya know, if the Miami Dolphins allowed just anybody to show up to training camp, then I bet once in a while, somebody would make the team.  Thing is, they don't do that, knowing full well that every now and then, it will cost them a player who might actually be pretty good. 

Almost anybody can be an attorney, but let's be srious.  Not just anyone can do just anything if they set their minds to it.  For instance, there are some stupid attorneys out there but I sincerely doubt that you could pass the bar exam if you were of below average intelligence.  So, right off the bat, 50% of the population just got denied an opportunity by nothing more than an accident of birth.

Do you believe in ANY education requirement?  Because if you believe a bachelor's degree is a nice thing to have, there goes another half of the remaining 50%. 

Life isn't fair and it's naive to think that everybody can do anything they set their minds to.  It's a nice thought and folks should certainly try, but it's just not the way the world works.  I'm not sure there's a set of plausible circumstances that would have ever allowed me to become an MD, for instance.  I just wasn't that good in science courses.  Oh well.  Too bad.  So sad.  No matter how I put my mind to it, I doubt I could ever be a doctor.  That's just the way the world works.

OTOH, I don't see that attending an ABA law school is some horrible requirement.  Honestly, it's probably an order of magnitude easier to be a JD where I live than it is to be a plumber, if you do not have family connections.

What you're saying, though, is that it's either too expensive or too much trouble, or both.  The only person who is excluding you is yourself.  You know what you have to do.  You probably can do it.  You don't want to do it.  It'd be no different than me demanding to be a fireman, but saying that I don't need any of the formal training and that I know a guy who knows a lot about being a fireman and he trains me in my back yard.  I don't need the certifications, I don't need any of that.  The guy in my backyard prepares me well enough.

I would like to pursue those and can with an online law degree, thanks to those states who allow for alternatives.  Life is about success and failure – if someone wishes to pursue a path, the person should allowed to opportunity to succeed or fail based one his/her own volition – not some entity’s sanctioning.

States regulate all sorts of things, including where you can get your hair cut.  I used to get an occassional haircut from a neighbor girl who had never attended cosmetology school, wasn't licensed by the state and who worked out of her home. 

Nothing bad ever happened to me, other than perhaps a wonky haircut now and then.  Again, though, I don't see how this is an argument that the state should get out of the licensing business.  The state can't build a rule around an exception. 

You know what you have to do to attend an ABA school.  If you chose not to do it, you know the consequences.  If you accept that, then good for you.  However, railing that schools that produce 20% bar passage rates should be considered the same as schools that produce 90% bar passage rates is a tough sell.
Title: Re: Correlation Between High Tuition Costs & Affordable Legal Assistance??
Post by: GovLaw on January 06, 2012, 10:11:28 AM
My major issue in this area is that some of the DL schools downplay the difficulty in actually practicing law with a degree from their school.  I would certainly feel better about this if there were more transparency and disclosure.   I actually like the DL model, at least in theory.  I feel the bar should be redesigned to be more difficult and to weed out persons who won't be good attorneys.  I do believe in minimum qualifications for taking the bar, but I feel that the ABA has overly much influence in this area.  If a law school can get accreditation from an authority recognized by the U.S. Department of Education I think that graduates from that school should be able to sit for the bar.  However, remember that I also advocate that the bar be made more difficult, so "nothings free", as they say.  In my vision DL students would know what they are getting into, their schools would meet minimum requirements (or disappear) and they would be allowed to take the bar - but it would be harder. I also feel this would also weed out some students from B&M schools - just because a school has a physical location doesn't mean that all the graduates are wonderful....