Law School Discussion

Law Students => Online Law Schools => Topic started by: Nor-Cal on June 09, 2012, 10:59:55 PM

Title: ABA is not an option (unfortunately)
Post by: Nor-Cal on June 09, 2012, 10:59:55 PM
So I have been considering law school for several years. Unfortunately, the only part time ABA programs are a 90 minute drive for me (one way) four days per week, and I own a home so I'm stuck and I cannot relocate. I have a Cal Bar school within two miles of my house that offers a part time program. My delema streams from the fact that I live in California now, but I'd want to remain here forever. I know the Cal Bar law schools restrict the states where one can practice, but I've heard of Cal Bar students practicing law in Oregon, Washington, Nevada, Texas, and Florida.

If Cal Bar is my only, I'm trying to determine if I should go through with it or not? Law has always interested me, and I have over seven years in law enforcement.
Title: Re: ABA is not an option (unfortunately)
Post by: john4040 on June 10, 2012, 12:28:22 AM
So I have been considering law school for several years. Unfortunately, the only part time ABA programs are a 90 minute drive for me (one way) four days per week, and I own a home so I'm stuck and I cannot relocate. I have a Cal Bar school within two miles of my house that offers a part time program. My delema streams from the fact that I live in California now, but I'd want to remain here forever. I know the Cal Bar law schools restrict the states where one can practice, but I've heard of Cal Bar students practicing law in Oregon, Washington, Nevada, Texas, and Florida.

If Cal Bar is my only, I'm trying to determine if I should go through with it or not? Law has always interested me, and I have over seven years in law enforcement.

(1) How is that a dilemma?
(2) What?
(3) Please save yourself the trouble and don't go.
Title: Re: ABA is not an option (unfortunately)
Post by: passaroa25 on June 10, 2012, 01:05:04 PM
You have to decide which goal is bigger than the obstacle.  I was in a brick and mortar law school for one year and ran out of money.  I studied at Calif Southern for a year and could not afford to fly back to California to take the FYLSE a second time.  I finally decided to enroll in an online paralegal program and completed it with honors.  I am studying for the CLA exam because I will be an older applicant.  I decided to do what I can afford.  Having no money has always been an obstacle for me.  From my perspective, you are very fortunate to live in California.  Getting to an FYLSE exam site is no more than a short drive.  You would be able to good to any law school of your choice, if that is really what you want to do.  I have reached the most I can borrow in federal student loans.  You don't appear to have that problem either.

Having said all the above, go to any law school in California, either brick and mortar or online.  Pass the FYLSE and the California bar.  Practice in California for five years, and take the bar exams of those states that will allow it.  There are several.  The National Conference of Bar Examiners can tell you which states do.
Title: Re: ABA is not an option (unfortunately)
Post by: legend on June 10, 2012, 01:40:48 PM
Before I offer any advice realize that whatever you read on the internet from anonymous internet sources should be taken under heavy scruinty. For this reason
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kFBDn5PiL00 pretty funny, but it is true what you read on here or other sources is usually often completley wrong, misguided, or simply doesn't apply to you.

As to the actual question if you have no desire to leave California then going to a California bar school should be fine. I honestly don't know how they have set it up through California bar schools, but the best place to ask would be the California bar directly. If you want to practice in Nevada, Washington, or any of the other states you have listed ask those state bars about how they treat a California Bar school. Nobody posting on here or other sites could possibly know better than the State Bars themselves. It is their job to know the answers and explain it to people like yourself that have questions so call them. Whatever you read here about whether a Cal Bar school transfers to other states or not is going to be wrong.

As to whether you should attend the CBA school that is a highly personal decision. As far as I know the CBA schools, which I know nothing about are located in small towns and were desigend to serve people like yourself that live to far from a major city to attend. I would imagine in whatever town you are in that most lawyers attended whatever CBA school you are referring to. If your in a small town odds are ABA grads are not going out of there way to work there, but that is just speculation and nobody on this site or others know the answer.

If you really want to go to law school then you have to think about the cost, time, and why you really want to be a lawyer. It is an expensive, time consuming, and often frustating process that does not guaratnee you success once you have completed it. Attending a CBA school is likley to have restrictions I don't know what they are, but you should call the Cailfornia bar to find out.

In the end nobody can know whether attending this school or law school period is the right decision for you.  I would advise you to contact that attended the school or lawyers in your geographic region to see what their opinions are. Those people will have different things to say, but at least they know more than individuals like me   posting anonymously on the internet. Nobody that has posted myself including know nothing about you, your situation, your likes, your dislikes, your personal connections and so on. There are a myriad of factors that go into this decision and sites like this should be used to make you think, but do not take any of what is said to seriously.

Good luck whatever you decide.



Title: Re: ABA is not an option (unfortunately)
Post by: Maintain FL 350 on June 10, 2012, 04:25:43 PM
It sounds like the local CBE school is your only realistic option unless you're prepared to move closer to an ABA campus. A three hour roundtrip four nights a week probably isn't doable, especially during your first year. If you can move closer to an ABA campus, you may want to consider that option. No matter where you decide to go, however, ask yourself what you want to do after law school. Do you want to continue with law enforcement and become a prosecutor, open your solo practice, join an established firm? Answering these questions should help you decide where to attend.

Personally, I think that CBE schools can be a good option for the right student, but it's important that you become fully informed as to what (if any) limitations attending a CBE school may have on your post-law school options. Perhaps you already know this, but big and mid-sized firms are unlikely to hire a CBE grad. Most of the CBE grads I've met work as solo practitioners, small firm lawyers, and local government attorneys (DA, public defender, etc). However, you will have to compete with ABA grads for those jobs, too.

It seems that some CBE schools enjoy a geographic advantage by being the only law schools in their area. Cal Northern and San Joaquin come to mind. (Western State used to have this advantage until Whittier, Chapman, and Irvine moved in next door). In those areas, enough of the local bar is made up of graduates of those schools that any non-ABA "stigma" is essentially removed. In the bigger markets it's much tougher, with heavy competition from well-known ABA schools.

I meet successful CBE grads on an almost daily basis, and I've spoken with dozens of them about their experiences. To a person, the success stories are individuals with lots of drive and ambition. They knew that they couldn't rest on their laurels, so they hustled like crazy, gained experience, and made good careers. This is what I mean when I say that CBE schools can be a good option for the right student. If you are a motivated self starter and already have solid connections that may lead to a job, a CBE degree might be just fine. If you're not already "plugged in", ABA is probably a better overall option.

Also consider the cost. CBE schools are cheaper than ABA, but still pretty expensive. Is that 50-60k going to pay off? Only you can answer that. See if you can sit in on a few classes at your local CBE and find out if you're really interested. Law school tends to be far more dull than most people imagine, and you may want to check it out before committing. As far as out of state practice goes, some states will allow you to take their bar exam after 5 years of practice in CA. Contact the individual state's bars to find out the details.

Good Luck!
Title: Re: ABA is not an option (unfortunately)
Post by: Nor-Cal on June 10, 2012, 10:35:14 PM


(1) How is that a dilemma?
(2) What?
(3) Please save yourself the trouble and don't go.
[/quote]

There is always one no matter where you go.

I appreciate the advise folks. I'll contact the various bar associations in the other states I'd consider moving to. I was cruising around the Cal Bar website which allowed me to see what type of law practiced, their location, and what law school they attended. When I looked up the Cal Bar school near my house, that is when I realized many of their graduates practice law in other states which I thought wasn't an option being that they're not ABA. End result, I'm looking at criminal prosecution and I would hopefully work for the district attorney's office. I work close with many assistant D.A.'s and I have always respected the hard work they do and the challenges inherent with working for the D.A.

My biggest fear is not so much the hard work and time commitment, as the restrictions associated with attending a Cal Bar school and the overall cost of attending. I'd hate to dedicate all that time and money just to realize that I'm tied to California for life.
Title: Re: ABA is not an option (unfortunately)
Post by: Maintain FL 350 on June 10, 2012, 11:30:21 PM
A friend of mine graduated from a CBE school and was permitted to take the NY bar straight out of law school. I'm not sure what criteria she had to meet, but it can be done. Some states, however, specifically require a degree fom an ABA school. From what I've seen, most of the states that will allow a non-ABA grad to sit for their bar still require five years of practice in CA first.

One last point to consider: the vast majority of law schools, including ABA schools, are essentially local institutions. The reputation, internship opportunities, and alumni networks are strongest within the immediate geographical region. It's important to understand that if you get a CBE degree and move out of state, there is a good chance that very few people will have heard of your school. They may be skeptical about a non-ABA school, and you may have a tougher than usual time finding a job.

Personally, I think that the CBE schools are solid, adequate institutions. Outside of CA, however, I'm not sure that the degree will be viewed the same. Something to think about.
Title: Re: ABA is not an option (unfortunately)
Post by: FalconJimmy on June 11, 2012, 08:15:41 AM
I think you run a real risk.  There ARE ways to get admitted to the bar in various states without an ABA accredited law degree.  However, I really wouldn't devote the money and time involved on the off-chance that I might qualify under one of those ways.

Why not do your 20 as a cop, get your pension, then go attend an ABA school in the state where you would eventually like to practice?
Title: Re: ABA is not an option (unfortunately)
Post by: Cher1300 on June 11, 2012, 10:01:29 AM
I go to an ABA in California, but know many practicing lawyers who went to a CBE school.  Most of them are solo practitioners, but no less successful than other solo practitioners from ABA schools.  I looked into CBE first because it was so much cheaper and you don't have to sit for the baby bar.  However, I want to take the bar in Massachusetts right away, so I decided to go ABA.   

Generally speaking, if you are young with no work experience/contacts and lots of undergrad debt, then CBE should never be an option.  On the other hand, CBE can be better option for older students that have a full-time job, or have a job waiting for them when they graduate or for those planning to be solo practicioners.  The other benefit is the cost.   

Since you plan on staying in California, and the ABA school is too far, CBE might be a better option for you.  Most states will allow you to sit for their bar after three-five years of practice.  Just be advised, as the other posters have said, that you will be competing with ABA grads for jobs and the bar pass rates for CBE schools are pretty low.  However, I believe the rate is better than the online schools.   There's always Barbri, etc. to help you with the bar exam if necessary.    Take your time and weigh your options.  Good luck with whatever you decide.
Title: Re: ABA is not an option (unfortunately)
Post by: Opie58 on June 11, 2012, 04:37:16 PM
...
As to the actual question if you have no desire to leave California then going to a California bar school should be fine. I honestly don't know how they have set it up through California bar schools, but the best place to ask would be the California bar directly. If you want to practice in Nevada, Washington, or any of the other states you have listed ask those state bars about how they treat a California Bar school. Nobody posting on here or other sites could possibly know better than the State Bars themselves. It is their job to know the answers and explain it to people like yourself that have questions so call them. Whatever you read here about whether a Cal Bar school transfers to other states or not is going to be wrong.
...

Took "legend's" advise, since I hadn't done that either.  This is what I sent to the Washington State Bar ...

From: rainsk58@xxxxxxxx.xxx [mailto:rainsk58@xxxxxxx.xxx]
Sent: Sunday, June 10, 2012 9:27 PM
To: Questions
Subject: WSBA Contact Submission

I am considering attending one of the California online law school to obtain my JD and take the California bar exam. Assuming I pass the CA bar, I plan to obtain the permissions to practice in several federal courts, such as US Supreme Court, US Tax Court, US Court of Appeals – 9th Circuit, US District Court, US Military Court of Criminal Appeals, US Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces, and US Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims. I live in King County, and would like to open a law office to practice those areas of law, once I meet all the criteria above.
1. As a California licensed attorney, what is the State’s position for practicing Federal law only? My understanding is I cannot practice State law, but would be allowed to practice Federal law only.
2. If question 1 above is true, would the State consider that “active practice of law” per APR Rule 3(b) to qualify sitting for the Washington bar exam?
3. If question 1 above is not true, are there any waivers available to apply for to practive Federal law only?
4. If question 2 above is not true are there any waivers available to apply for permission to take the bar exam?


Response ...

From: Gus Quiniones <gusq@wsba.org> on behalf of admissions <admissions@wsba.org>
Sent: Monday, June 11, 2012 11:44 AM
To: rainsk58@xxxxxxx.xxx
Cc: admissions
Subject: FW: WSBA Contact Submission

1) You may practice federal law in Washington without being a member of the WSBA
2) Practicing federal law, as an active attorney in good standing, may count towards the “active practice” requirement under APR 3(b).

Please contact our Ethics Department at 206‐727‐8284 to obtain more information about the active practice of law in Washington.

Gus Quiniones | Bar Exam Administrator
Washington State Bar Association |1325 4th Avenue, Suite 600 ‐ Seattle, WA 98101 |  206.727.8229 | F 206.727.8313 |  gusq@wsba.org

Bar Exam Deadlines and Schedules
APR 3: Qualifications to sit for the Washington State Bar Exam
APR 18: Reciprocity Admission on Motion


May need to practice Federal law first for awhile, but it can be done in Washington ... which is my plan.

Good luck with you new adventure.

BTW, I'm a 20-year retired military vet with 14 years with the SO; not sure I'll do 20 - depends how my online law school adventure goes.
Title: Re: ABA is not an option (unfortunately)
Post by: GlenRPierre on June 11, 2012, 09:49:26 PM
I think you did the right thing by doing all the research before taking a leap.  I, too, have been contemplating the same question.   These were good starting resources for my investigation: 

https://www.stfrancislaw.com/pdf/bar-exam-eligibility-by-state.pdf

http://www.ble.state.tx.us/Rules/NewRules/rulexiii.htm
Title: Re: ABA is not an option (unfortunately)
Post by: john4040 on June 11, 2012, 11:09:19 PM
I think you did the right thing by doing all the research before taking a leap.  I, too, have been contemplating the same question.   These were good starting resources for my investigation: 

https://www.stfrancislaw.com/pdf/bar-exam-eligibility-by-state.pdf

http://www.ble.state.tx.us/Rules/NewRules/rulexiii.htm

The PFD from St. Francis Law is dead wrong with respect to admission in Texas (and, probably, others) insomuch as it states that prior admission in any jurisdiction + 3 years of practice in another jurisdiction = eligibility for Texas admission.  I'll show you why. . .

Since St. Francis Law is a non-ABA school, you'll have to go through Texas Rule XIII(a)(2).  That Rule provides:

Quote from: Texas Rule XIII(a)(2)

(a) An attorney holding a valid, active law license issued by another state shall meet the requirements imposed on any other Applicant under these Rules, except that. . .

(2) An attorney holding a valid, active law license issued by another state is eligible for an exemption from the law study requirement for admission to take the Texas Bar Examination, if the attorney:

(A) has been actively and substantially engaged in the lawful practice of law in any state or elsewhere as his/her principal business or occupation for at least three of the last five years immediately preceding the filing of the most recent application or re-application; and

(B)
(1) holds a J.D. degree, not based on study by correspondence, from an unapproved law school that is accredited in the jurisdiction where it exists. . .

As you can see above, the Rule specifically prohibits admission on motion in instances where the JD was obtained based on correspondence study.  St. Francis' JD is based on study by "corresponence" as defined by Texas law:

Quote from: http://www.ncbex.org/assets/media_files/Comp-Guide/CompGuide.pdf
"Texas has no provision for admitting an applicant whose law degree was obtained through correspondence study (which includes “distance learning” or “external programs”)."

Thus, its grads would NEVER be eligible (unless the rules were changed) for admission to the Texas bar.

Now, you may be asking yourself "Do I have a cognizible claim against St. Francis for my reliance upon their false / materially inaccurate information?"  Answer:  Probably not.  Look in footnote 1 of their bullsh1t brochure:

"This information is provided for convenience only and St. Francis assumes no responsibility for the accuracy of the information set forth in this chart."

Oh, how convenient!

I once worked with a paralegal that took courses at Concord Law School (yet another online scam of a school).  She just about had a heart attack when I told her she wasn't eligible to practice in Texas.  She called the Texas BLE and, sure enough, not eligible.
Title: Re: ABA is not an option (unfortunately)
Post by: Opie58 on June 12, 2012, 06:44:42 AM
Alas, contact the various state bars you wish to consider to see if you would be eligible to sit for the bar prior to starting your law school experience – online or b&m; it wouldn’t hurt to know before you go.
Title: Re: ABA is not an option (unfortunately)
Post by: Opie58 on June 12, 2012, 06:43:24 PM
Took "legend's" advise, since I hadn't done that either.  This is what I sent to the Washington State Bar ...

From: rainsk58@xxxxxxxx.xxx [mailto:rainsk58@xxxxxxx.xxx]
Sent: Sunday, June 10, 2012 9:27 PM
To: Questions
Subject: WSBA Contact Submission

I am considering attending one of the California online law school to obtain my JD and take the California bar exam. Assuming I pass the CA bar, I plan to obtain the permissions to practice in several federal courts, such as US Supreme Court, US Tax Court, US Court of Appeals – 9th Circuit, US District Court, US Military Court of Criminal Appeals, US Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces, and US Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims. I live in King County, and would like to open a law office to practice those areas of law, once I meet all the criteria above.
1. As a California licensed attorney, what is the State’s position for practicing Federal law only? My understanding is I cannot practice State law, but would be allowed to practice Federal law only.
2. If question 1 above is true, would the State consider that “active practice of law” per APR Rule 3(b) to qualify sitting for the Washington bar exam?
3. If question 1 above is not true, are there any waivers available to apply for to practive Federal law only?
4. If question 2 above is not true are there any waivers available to apply for permission to take the bar exam?


Response ...

From: Gus Quiniones <gusq@wsba.org> on behalf of admissions <admissions@wsba.org>
Sent: Monday, June 11, 2012 11:44 AM
To: rainsk58@xxxxxxx.xxx
Cc: admissions
Subject: FW: WSBA Contact Submission

1) You may practice federal law in Washington without being a member of the WSBA
2) Practicing federal law, as an active attorney in good standing, may count towards the “active practice” requirement under APR 3(b).

Please contact our Ethics Department at 206‐727‐8284 to obtain more information about the active practice of law in Washington.

Gus Quiniones | Bar Exam Administrator
Washington State Bar Association |1325 4th Avenue, Suite 600 ‐ Seattle, WA 98101 |  206.727.8229 | F 206.727.8313 |  gusq@wsba.org

Bar Exam Deadlines and Schedules
APR 3: Qualifications to sit for the Washington State Bar Exam
APR 18: Reciprocity Admission on Motion


May need to practice Federal law first for awhile, but it can be done in Washington ... which is my plan.

Good luck with you new adventure.

BTW, I'm a 20-year retired military vet with 14 years with the SO; not sure I'll do 20 - depends how my online law school adventure goes.


As a follow-up, I sent the followed question to Julie Shankland with the Practice of Law Board and Disciplinary Board and Jeanne Clavere with the Professional Conduct Committee ...

From: Kirk Rains [mailto:rainsk58@@@@@.@@@]
Sent: Monday, June 11, 2012 10:22 PM
To: Jeanne Marie Clavere
Subject: FW: WSBA Contact Submission

I hope you may be able to help me with the questions below. If not, could you forward this
to the appropriate person or office, please? Thanks you
.

Response from Ms. Clavere …

From: Jeanne Marie Clavere
To: Kirk Rains
Cc: Gus Quiniones; Jean McElroy; Julie Shankland
Subject: RE: WSBA Contact Submission
Date: Tuesday, June 12, 2012 3:38:43 PM

Greetings Mr. Rains: I do not have additional resource information to supplement Mr. Quiniones’
response to your inquiry.

Regards,

Jeanne Marie Clavere
Professional Responsibility Counsel
Office of General Counsel
Washington State Bar Association
Phone: 206-727-8298
Fax: 206-727-8314
mailto:jeannec@wsba.org


Still waiting to hear from Ms. Shankland.
Title: Re: ABA is not an option (unfortunately)
Post by: Nor-Cal on July 04, 2012, 10:18:13 PM
If I had my choice I would attend an ABA school, but being a working adult and a home owner, relocating for school is not an option. In a perfect world, I would like to attend an CalBar school about 2 miles away from my house, graduate, and eventually move to Washington state and get hired as an ADA.

But again, that's in a perfect world . . .
Title: Re: ABA is not an option (unfortunately)
Post by: jennid1234 on July 06, 2012, 05:47:04 PM
I go to Concord Law School, it's online, if you decide to go to law school - either distance or correspondence be prepared to take the Baby Bar, if you don't pass, remember you have three attempts at that exam.  If you don't pass the third time, it's like baseball, you're out.  If you go to an ABA, you don't have to take the exam unless you fail your classes.  It's a big commitment, but worth the time and effort.  The cases are interesting, the teachers are eager for you to understand the legal concepts but the fun of it is - achieving!  If it is your goal - why wait, check out the schools online and be prepared to watch four years of your life FLY BY, but it will be worth it if you pass the bar exam!
Title: Re: ABA is not an option (unfortunately)
Post by: Nor-Cal on November 14, 2012, 07:23:42 PM
I go to Concord Law School, it's online, if you decide to go to law school - either distance or correspondence be prepared to take the Baby Bar, if you don't pass, remember you have three attempts at that exam.  If you don't pass the third time, it's like baseball, you're out.  If you go to an ABA, you don't have to take the exam unless you fail your classes.  It's a big commitment, but worth the time and effort.  The cases are interesting, the teachers are eager for you to understand the legal concepts but the fun of it is - achieving!  If it is your goal - why wait, check out the schools online and be prepared to watch four years of your life FLY BY, but it will be worth it if you pass the bar exam!

If I was in the market for an online law school, I would most likely attend Northwestern California University. In the end I will more than likely attend the Cal Bar school near my house, which has a pretty good reputation and costs about the same as Concord.

I appreciate the input though.
Title: Re: ABA is not an option (unfortunately)
Post by: Duncanjp on November 17, 2012, 11:23:45 AM
Hi Nor-Cal. I attend a CBE school in Sacramento. My commute is an hour each way, but I work down there, so it's not like I have to make a special trip to get to class. Even though there are two ABA schools in the Sacto area, I never seriously considered either one, despite a solid UGPA from UC. The cost isn't justifiable when you're over 40. I spent four years in the Marines after high school, then another four years in college. For most of the past two decades, I've been forging a career in insurance underwriting, and at this point, the only meaningful prospect that law school holds for me is to get the license. Sure, I'd love to go to an ABA school, and after ranking very high after my first year, I toyed with the idea of transferring to McGeorge's night program. But the cost is ridiculous. Untenable. As it is, my CBE education is expensive enough, and like you, I have a mortgage. However, if I were 20 years younger, I wouldn't hesitate to apply myself toward getting into an ABA school. But at my age and station in life, the only goal is to get the license. I'm not going to be interviewing with local law firms when I pass the bar. Passing the bar will vault me out of the realm of laymen, regardless of which school I attend. There's a lot to be said for that. Granted, I'll never run my company's legal department, but my company has numerous in-house counsel who went to state schools. If you have expertise and existing contacts in a particular field, I don't believe having an ABA degree is quite as important as it is when you're 28 and you've never done anything in life but sit in classrooms. If the only thing on your resume is your law degree, then it should be the best degree you can get. On that point, I question some of my young classmates' decision to attend a state school. They're going to be at a disadvantage when they compete for jobs. (That said, my friends in class are all currently employed college graduates representing a wide array of fields of endeavor. They don't appear to be losing any more sleep than I am about their job prospects after graduation.) The fact is, as you get older, your ROI from having an ABA degree decreases. I don't see the point in saddling myself with exorbitant student debt 20 years into my career. I have no goal or interest in working for BigLaw. None. Just get the license. Once you've done it, you can say you've done it. And whatever rights and privileges that might attach become yours to cultivate however you can.
Title: Re: ABA is not an option (unfortunately)
Post by: jennid1234 on December 14, 2012, 10:24:13 AM

"holds a J.D. degree, not based on study by correspondence, from an unapproved law school that is accredited in the jurisdiction where it exists"

I wonder if the quote above can be challenged constitutionally under the commerce clause?

I have an attorney friend who will basically told me she would like to challenge the Oregon state bar after I pass the California state bar exam, so I may sit immediately for the Oregon test in order to become an Oregon lawyer too, then we will go to Hawaii and challenge their "club rules."  The above quote was posted earlier and is from Texas statute, but the restriction maybe can be challenged.  Abraham Lincoln studied by correspondence.
Title: Re: ABA is not an option (unfortunately)
Post by: Groundhog on December 14, 2012, 01:29:29 PM
It's unlikely that state bar rules can be challenged due to the commerce clause. I'm assuming you mean the dormant commerce clause because the ICC would clearly favor more regulation, but by the Feds, not the states.

I seem to remember a case from Con Law in the '50s or '60s when someone challenged the bar admission rules under the privileges and immunities clause, probably something about requiring that a state allow non-residents to take their bar exam. But I don't see how the ICC or the dormant commerce clause could be used to challenge state bar rules when it's long established that each state sets its own bar, literally, including the admissions standards (and doesn't discriminate against the privileges and immunities clause, although I could see how you could try to make that argument, likely unsuccessfully).
Title: Re: ABA is not an option (unfortunately)
Post by: legalpractitioner on December 14, 2012, 04:57:59 PM
http://www.mjplaw.org/index.html

"The NAAMJP is a public benefit corporation founded by attorneys for the benefit of attorneys seeking to obtain bar admission in another State or U.S. District Court without taking another bar exam.   The ABA MJP Commission has concluded that one bar exam is more than enough almost 10 years ago.  We are actively petitioning for the equivalent of a driver’s license for lawyers.  We seek the same rights to interstate travel that lawyers in the EU and Canada already possess.

Our founding fathers brought forth a new nation conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.   If all men and women are created equal, and American lawyers are men and women, than all American lawyers are created equal.  The issue the NAAMJP is litigating is whether the equal rights, privileges and immunities inherent in bar admission on motion, which the United States Supreme Court has squarely held is a constitutionally protected privilege and immunity, Supreme Court of Virginia v. Friedman, 487 U.S. 59 (1988), and has been adopted in 39 States, resulting in the admission on motion of over 60,000 attorneys, should be provided to all American attorneys.  That is one nation under God with liberty and justice for all."

One bar exam is enough but the state bar examiners will cling to their legal equivalent of guns and Bibles to the very end of time.

Title: Re: ABA is not an option (unfortunately)
Post by: Cher1300 on December 21, 2012, 10:01:43 AM
It's unlikely that state bar rules can be challenged due to the commerce clause. I'm assuming you mean the dormant commerce clause because the ICC would clearly favor more regulation, but by the Feds, not the states.

I seem to remember a case from Con Law in the '50s or '60s when someone challenged the bar admission rules under the privileges and immunities clause, probably something about requiring that a state allow non-residents to take their bar exam. But I don't see how the ICC or the dormant commerce clause could be used to challenge state bar rules when it's long established that each state sets its own bar, literally, including the admissions standards (and doesn't discriminate against the privileges and immunities clause, although I could see how you could try to make that argument, likely unsuccessfully).

The case from con law you are talking about I believe was a P&I case about an attorney who was an out-of-state lawyer, took the bar exam in NH, passed, and still wasn't allowed to practice in the state.  This was a bit unusual because she followed all the rules and requirements of the state, but was prevented from practicing.  (Just finished con lawI this past semester).  The court ruled in the lawyer's favor because there really was no "legitimate" reason for the discrimination.  That case is a bit different than what jennid is trying to do under the commerce clause.  She may have a better chance under P&I, but if Oregon requires their own law students to be graduates of an ABA to take the bar exam right out of law school, it will be difficult to make an argument that an out-of-stater who didn't go to an ABA school is being discriminated against.  If not P&I, then one really needs to ask if making a non-ABA lawyer to wait three - five years to take the bar exam in that state really affects or burdens interstate commerce.  There could be an argument but I have to agree that it likely won't be successful.
Title: Re: ABA is not an option (unfortunately)
Post by: legalpractitioner on December 21, 2012, 07:54:34 PM
States can make up their own admission rules and if they want to require an ABA degree, there is nothing anyone is going to be able to do about it.  The only cure for this stupidity is an EU style solution where a licensed attorney in one state automatically can qualify in another state without having to take a bar exam.
Title: Re: ABA is not an option (unfortunately)
Post by: Maintain FL 350 on December 21, 2012, 08:28:44 PM
Better yet, why not have a national bar exam? Some people will say "Oh, but if you don't pass a particular state's exam then you haven't demonstrated knowledge of that state's laws." Well, lots of states currently have reciprocity agreements that allow a person admitted in one state to be admitted in the other without such a demonstration of knowledge. It doesn't seem to cause any problems.

Can you imagine the plummeting bar pass rates, however, if we adopted a national bar exam based on the California bar's format?
Title: Re: ABA is not an option (unfortunately)
Post by: legalpractitioner on December 22, 2012, 06:28:14 AM
Plummeting bar exam pass rates is not a bad idea.  However, bar admissions is something reserved to the states much like insurance regulation both of which they do poorly. Further given the ABA stranglehold on law degrees, it would be the end of most online law schools.
Title: Re: ABA is not an option (unfortunately)
Post by: livinglegend on December 23, 2012, 04:54:02 PM
Cher's post is correct they simply would not let her work unless she was a resident of New Hampshire clear violation of P & I it had to do with her state residency and nothing to do with her competence as a lawyer.

In regards to the current setup I think it makes sense to have individual bar exams and there is a national test the MBE used by basically every state. However, in California it is important to understand California rules for community property & wills/trusts which might be different in Iowa.

One thing I think would be interesting is that both Washington D.C. and Minnesota grant you automatic admission if you have a certain MBE score. If a non-aba grad scored high enough on the MBE to be automatically qualified and they were not allowed to waive in like an ABA grad I think that would be an interesting case.
Title: Re: ABA is not an option (unfortunately)
Post by: legalpractitioner on December 24, 2012, 11:31:56 AM
Come on! The concept of community property is something any attorney can grasp in 5 minutes. The actual ins and outs of it in the Family Law Code are not tested on the California Bar. Most California attorneys not practicing family law likely don't know much about it either until they get a divorce themselves.  The arguments that this state and that state ahave different laws is specious - the federal district courts definitely have different laws but usually no bar exam.

These archaic bar admission laws were written long before computers and online databases.  They date from the days when "the law" was locked up in a law library and only the largest firms might have access to a complete law library.  Today anyone with a smart phone can have access to the law of any state.

The bars need to modernize for the 21st Century or face becoming obsolete in the face of the increasingly common blurring of jurisdictional lines due to IT.
Title: Re: ABA is not an option (unfortunately)
Post by: Groundhog on December 24, 2012, 07:16:27 PM
I struggled with Community Property (at an ABA school) and it was my lowest grade. It is true that some specifics of statutes may not be tested, but there are many small concepts in community property (and the related wills subject) that can be tested and you need to know them all for the bar examination. For example, Question 2 of the July 2012 California Bar Exam was a somewhat difficult Community Property/Professional Responsibility crossover that tested a small but important area of CP. http://admissions.calbar.ca.gov/Portals/4/documents/gbx/JULY_2012_CBX_Questions_PTs_R.pdf (http://admissions.calbar.ca.gov/Portals/4/documents/gbx/JULY_2012_CBX_Questions_PTs_R.pdf) is the link.

District courts may not have a bar exam, but state bar exams test Federal law through constitutional law and evidence at a minimum.
Title: Re: ABA is not an option (unfortunately)
Post by: legalpractitioner on December 25, 2012, 07:22:59 PM
What's your point? An attorney who practices somewhere else 10 years still needs to take the Cal Bar because there are questions about community property?  Why can't the attorney just read a practice manual or open an app?  What is so esoteric about each spouse having an interest in anything acquired during marriage or even before that runs, walks, or stands and does not come with a concerete slab in which it is chiseled "separate property?"