Law School Discussion

Law Students => Online Law Schools => Topic started by: Nor-Cal on July 11, 2012, 02:19:56 AM

Title: Northwestern California University, School of Law.
Post by: Nor-Cal on July 11, 2012, 02:19:56 AM
Does anyone have any experience with this university? Their tuition rate is unbelievable at approximately $12,000 after everything is all said and done, or approximately $2,800 per year, so I'm curious to see if anyone has any experience with this program? Now keep in mind that I understand it's an online program, which is not accredited by the ABA or Cal Bar, but it is "registered" with Cal Bar as an unaccredited school and does allow you to sit for the Bar Exam in California.

I began doing some light research into a few online schools. I went on the California Bar website to look at the graduation rates for first time takers for July 2011. I then looked at each schools tuition rate and here is what I came up with:

University                     Total Tuition   Bar Pass Rate (7/11)

Concord Law School                               $40K                 28%
Taft Law School                                       $32K                 0%
St. Francis School of Law                        $28K                 No Info
Northwestern California University        $12K                 21%

Now I have only met one guy who was an 2L from Northwestern California University and he said he liked it, but he is the only person I’ve encountered who has attended this university. Does anyone else know anything about this school?
Title: Re: Northwestern California University, School of Law.
Post by: jennid1234 on July 11, 2012, 01:47:23 PM
WOW, that rocks.  Don't be afraid of the amount going up.  If it does, figure you will be still paying around 25,000 for a law degree.  They have FANTASTIC STATs for the FYLSE too.  Almost makes me want to switch and pay less, but I love Concord's program and if I pass the FYLSE, I'm not sure I'd want to change mid stream.  Yes, I'll pay 50,000 for my law degree - I know I'll either land a great job OR I'll become a sole practicioner and will enjoy the smallness of my own business.  GOOD LUCK!
Title: Re: Northwestern California University, School of Law.
Post by: Maintain FL 350 on July 11, 2012, 02:06:43 PM
WOW, that rocks.  Don't be afraid of the amount going up.  If it does, figure you will be still paying around 25,000 for a law degree.  They have FANTASTIC STATs for the FYLSE too.  Almost makes me want to switch and pay less, but I love Concord's program and if I pass the FYLSE, I'm not sure I'd want to change mid stream.  Yes, I'll pay 50,000 for my law degree - I know I'll either land a great job OR I'll become a sole practicioner and will enjoy the smallness of my own business.  GOOD LUCK!

In your experience, do most of the students at Concord plan on becoming solo practitioners? If not, does Concord help its students out with placement, or help you get in touch with alumni? Just curious. My own school had a pretty abyssmal career services office, we were pretty much left on our own.
Title: Re: Northwestern California University, School of Law.
Post by: legend on July 11, 2012, 04:50:25 PM
In non-ABA schools I think your biggest concern is bar passage rates.

Here is the list for the last 10 years of every school from the California Bar and their percentages. http://admissions.calbar.ca.gov/Examinations/Statistics.aspx . Out of curiosity I looked in 2008 for Northwestern California it was 43% for first timers and 14% for repeaters, which for online schools is not bad, but those are certainly not encouraging numbers.

The bar exam is more of an individual test, but with online schools/non-ABA they may not give you all the necessary tools to pass. It works for many people, but there is something to be said about ABA accreditation.

Hopefully that chart is helpful in your research good luck to you.

That chart is not from an anonymous internet source that is the California Bar so it can be trusted.
Title: Re: Northwestern California University, School of Law.
Post by: Maintain FL 350 on July 11, 2012, 06:21:11 PM
43% is actually a higher first time pass rate for the California bar than that of many out-of-state ABA schools. Nonetheless, a few things to consider when looking at any online/unaccredited school's pass rates are the number of takers (usually very low, 10-25), widely fluctuating pass rates (10% one year, 35% the next), and the fact that bar pass rates are only reflective of those students who have not already been weeded out by the FYLSE.

I think that an online JD can be a good option for the right student. I have a huge amount of respect for anyone who can get through an online JD program, pass the FYLSE, and pass the bar. It must take ahuge amount of self-discipline and motivation. Before selecting an online school a potential applicant should probably spend considerable time figuring out whether or not they are that type of student.
Title: Re: Northwestern California University, School of Law.
Post by: legalpractitioner on July 11, 2012, 07:20:51 PM

In your experience, do most of the students at Concord plan on becoming solo practitioners? If not, does Concord help its students out with placement, or help you get in touch with alumni? Just curious. My own school had a pretty abyssmal career services office, we were pretty much left on our own.

I doubt any online school could do much in the way of job placement since its graduates are usually going to be disqualified from most public employment with non ABA degrees.  Online students are going to be solo or two person firm practitioners by default.
Title: Re: Northwestern California University, School of Law.
Post by: Nor-Cal on July 12, 2012, 02:22:03 PM
Not necessarly, considering about half of all the Assistant District Attoney's here in my area all graduated from a local law school that is not ABA accredited. It may limit where in governement you can work, but it doesn't exclude you from it.
Title: Re: Northwestern California University, School of Law.
Post by: Maintain FL 350 on July 12, 2012, 03:38:50 PM
Not necessarly, considering about half of all the Assistant District Attoney's here in my area all graduated from a local law school that is not ABA accredited. It may limit where in governement you can work, but it doesn't exclude you from it.

Has that office ever hired an online grad, though? I've met lots of DAs, PDs, etc who are Calbar grads, but never an online grad. Doesn't mean it can't happen, but I've never seen it.
Title: Re: Northwestern California University, School of Law.
Post by: legalpractitioner on July 12, 2012, 03:53:44 PM
You will not get hired if you are an online grad, you can however get an appointment as a conflict public defender if you can convince a judge you are competent. But you may need malpractice insurance.  Online grads are not going to be hired and anyone who thinks otherwise is deluding themselves.  You either need a job lined up already or be ready to go it solo.
Title: Re: Northwestern California University, School of Law.
Post by: legend on July 12, 2012, 05:54:58 PM
I'm sure there are people who work at firms from online schools. Do a google search and you could likely find someone.

OP is likely will aware that online-school is not going to open as many doors as an ABA or even Cal-Bar school, but you can get a job particularly in California in the under served cities if you pass the bar. Most people don't realize California has 40 million people or something like that it is an absolutely massive state and there are a number of Po-Dunk little towns with no law school within 3 or 4 hours of it. Or with only Cal-Bar (schools) I imagine this is why California created the Cal-Bar system to serve these areas.

Or I could be 100% wrong, but to say NEVER is a bit unrealistic. OP use your common sense and I don't think anyone will can rationally argue On-Line school is "BETTER", but as I always say on this board apply your own life circumstance and also remember what I or any other poster says could be very be 100% wrong so take it all with a grain of salt.

Good luck!
Title: Re: Northwestern California University, School of Law.
Post by: jennid1234 on July 12, 2012, 07:05:37 PM
273 graduates have passed the BAR Examination for a bar pass rate of 36% since 2003.  But the question you asked was what are these grads who passed the bar doing?  On LinkedIn comments stated by the alumni this week: a few are in solo practice, one in-house legal counsel, one is a nurse who travels around the country giving health care legal lectures, another is an attorney at CBS Legal, one works with oversees law firm - these were just from the comments this week.  Also, 4 have been admitted to the US Supreme court bar.  Concord offers a EJD degree also and the majority of comments from EJD grads state satisfation with the EJD degree, it's all about preference and differing opinions.  Concord has posted the following alumni news: a graduate is director of governance at Symantec, another works in Long Island and he was awarded one of the top 25 advocates for Latino Empowerment, another is a mediator for a divorce website, another is an associate for Broadfoot & Assoicates with practice focused on family law and criminal law, and lastly, a graduate was appointed as county counsel in Lassen Co.

You also asked if the school has any career guidance, every couple of months there is a live lecture with lawyers regarding different legal areas that Concord wants to bring our attention to, last month it was in the horse breeding industry, a couple months back it was music entertainment and I think another was about Indian law (but I can't remember the specifics and I didn't listen to the lecture.

Always remember reasonable minds can disagree.
Title: Re: Northwestern California University, School of Law.
Post by: legalpractitioner on July 12, 2012, 07:40:30 PM
Any attorney who has five years good standing can get admitted to the US Supreme Court as long as they are breathing, that is a non achievement.
Concord's PR department paints a rosy picture but the reality is much different.

But passing the bar with an online degree is a great achievement given the odds are about 10-1 against (a lot of students washout at FYBL or just quit). If you can pass the bar, you can handle solo practice, just don't expect any respect from other attorneys.

Title: Re: Northwestern California University, School of Law.
Post by: legend on July 12, 2012, 08:00:34 PM
Any attorney that doesn't respect an opposing counsel is probably going to get their ass handed to them. If an attorney has passed the bar they can file motions against you, order sanctions against you, etc, and if you respond with your honor he/she went to an online school their motion for summary judgment doesn't count will not be much of an argument and your client will lose the case and you may be disciplined for saying that.

There are sitting judges from California bar schools and I imagine it is only a matter of time until a judge from an online school gets appointed if it has not happened already. Try disrespecting a judge based on what school they go to and see how it works out.

Again I don't think anyone is arguing California Northwestern or any Online school is going to open more doors than ABA school and there are likely firms that will not hire non-aba yet alone online law grads. There are also places that won't hire you unless you went to Harvard, but in a country with 300 million or so people in it there will be different opinions.

I personally wouldn't attend an online law school, but I am one. There are people out there that won't attend law school unless they get into Harvard, Yale, Stanford. There are people that won't date anyone that doesn't look like a supermodel and there are people that couldn't possibly drive anything less than a 2009 Ferrari. There is a broad range of expectations in this world and whether online law school works for you or not is a personal decision. Talk to people directly involved with the school and not just the PR department as they are certain to paint a rosier picture than the reality that is their job after all.

Always be wary of anonymous internet posters that know nothing about you, your situation, or what is best for you myself included.

Online law school may work out it may not and if any of us knew how our decisions would turn out life would be a lot less stressful. Again use your common sense when making the decision and good luck to you!




Title: Re: Northwestern California University, School of Law.
Post by: legalpractitioner on July 13, 2012, 10:49:21 AM
"Any attorney that doesn't respect an opposing counsel is probably going to get their ass handed to them."

ROTFL - apparently you are not acquainted with insurance company retained defense lawyers.
Title: Re: Northwestern California University, School of Law.
Post by: jennid1234 on July 13, 2012, 11:05:45 AM
California allows non-ABA-accredited law school grads to sit for its bar exam. It is the only state that does so today, but that will change in time. Wisconsin and Vermont, have policies allowing lawyers licensed in other states to sit for bar exams, even if those lawyers earned degrees from online schools.  Massachusetts let a Concord grad sit for their bar exam after being challenged.  Barry Currier, a former dean at Concord Law School is a consultant at the ABA right now and has worked for the ABA in the past, PLEASE google him and concord - read what he states about the ABA.  Times are a changing, if you want to pay 50,000 a year at a brick and mortar school, be my guest, it doesn't get you a job at a law firm and you may possibly struggle paying off your student loans.  I'm not saying I wouldn't go to a brick and mortar school, if it was reasonably in my budget and if I was assurred a job that would manage that kind of debt.  I loved going to school and graduated with a degree in Political Science (not online), it cost me about 36,000 and I did it in three years, worked three jobs too, but today at my age, I couldn't see paying 150,000 for a law degree (and the schools that are only 150,000 for that degree teach the same courses as the online courses offered at Concord - same books too, same tests but we learn at our pace, we also learn early to be very organized with time management - most the lawyers I work with have a problem with time management and rush to get things out - LOL, they have a lot more gray hair than I do). My only regret, I missed the FYLSE review with my classmates the weekend before the test in Pasadena due to budget limitations I took the test in Oakland and then my mother (in her 70's joined me to just relax for a few days in gardens in the bay area) but I think all those who took the test from Concord are incredibly intelligent and some of us will pass that hurdle on the first attempt and not have to take it again in October.  In 2012, I think there was over 100 first year students that began studying at Concord, it will probably be less than 70 that will make it to graduation, but most of us that do will not regret it!

"Concord Law School has helped define the future of legal education by making it accessible and affordable for working professionals seeking to attain a professional law degree," said Barry Currier.

I love that people think our law degree is substandard, that attorney's will think we are not good enough - regardless of Concord's PR, graduates are succeeding in all areas of the legal profession and even in business.  I read about another grad last night - he's a VP at a bank in Arizona - his legal degree definitely will help him in his profession.    The people who talk down to online grads have issues all their own and I know attorneys - that don't feel my degree is any different than their degree.  LOL, I hope to be an excellent lawyer, I'm older, wiser and love learning! 

Good luck in achieving your dreams!  I'm achieving mine!

Title: Re: Northwestern California University, School of Law.
Post by: Maintain FL 350 on July 13, 2012, 11:53:21 AM
Disrespecting an attorney because of whree they went to law school is the lamest thing in the world. Yes, it happens, and perhaps it's even common, as JonLevy pointed out, but it's still lame. People choose to go to various law schools for highly personal, specific reasons: geographic,  limitations, familial obligations, etc.

In the end, however, everybody has to pass the same bar exam whether you went to Concord or Harvard. In this way the bar exam can be the great equalizer. I have some specific issues with online schools (like the fact that the LSAT is not required), but I would never assume that someone who has passed the CA bar is anything less than qualified. Frankly, I'd probably have more respect for an online grad who passed the CA bar than an ABA grad from a state that has a 90% pass rate or no exam requirement at all.

Will online schools ever be regarded in the same fashion as brick and mortar traditional schools? I don't think so, but I would never discredit their acheivement.
Title: Re: Northwestern California University, School of Law.
Post by: legalpractitioner on July 13, 2012, 06:56:19 PM
Most online grads who are lawyers practice in California or go for some form of federal practice. You can motion into the DC bar after five years.  You can also take the English QLTS after two years because England has a reciprocity agreement with California, same with the Ireland QLTT. You will not be welcomed in any other state besides California and DC. One Concord grad got into Massachusetts because he petitioned the state supreme court and had strong connections to the state, I think a Taft grad got admitted in Idaho, another Taft grad I know was hung out to dry by New Mexico. As for other states like Wisconsin, while admission may be possible, I think the stories are anecdotal.  Just becuase an admission in a state is theoretically possible, without a very strong connection to a state, it is all but impossible.  In 20 years of practice, I have worked with and encountered exactly two online grads.
Title: Re: Northwestern California University, School of Law.
Post by: Nor-Cal on July 14, 2012, 12:24:45 AM
You know what I found interesting. There is an attorney in my area that is very well known and he has a great reputation. He graduated from a tier one law school and he has been practicing law for a very long time. I was cruising around his website and noticed his son just joined his law firm. I was curious so I looked him up and it seems his son graduated from a non ABA school accredited by Cal-Bar. Being that the kid came from a family of attorney's will alot of money, but yet he didn't go the ABA . . . . . . very interesting.
Title: Re: Northwestern California University, School of Law.
Post by: Duncanjp on July 14, 2012, 02:14:37 AM
Any attorney that doesn't respect an opposing counsel is probably going to get their ass handed to them. If an attorney has passed the bar they can file motions against you, order sanctions against you, etc, and if you respond with your honor he/she went to an online school their motion for summary judgment doesn't count will not be much of an argument and your client will lose the case and you may be disciplined for saying that.

There are sitting judges from California bar schools and I imagine it is only a matter of time until a judge from an online school gets appointed if it has not happened already. Try disrespecting a judge based on what school they go to and see how it works out.

Again I don't think anyone is arguing California Northwestern or any Online school is going to open more doors than ABA school and there are likely firms that will not hire non-aba yet alone online law grads. There are also places that won't hire you unless you went to Harvard, but in a country with 300 million or so people in it there will be different opinions.

I personally wouldn't attend an online law school, but I am one. There are people out there that won't attend law school unless they get into Harvard, Yale, Stanford. There are people that won't date anyone that doesn't look like a supermodel and there are people that couldn't possibly drive anything less than a 2009 Ferrari. There is a broad range of expectations in this world and whether online law school works for you or not is a personal decision. Talk to people directly involved with the school and not just the PR department as they are certain to paint a rosier picture than the reality that is their job after all.

Always be wary of anonymous internet posters that know nothing about you, your situation, or what is best for you myself included.

Online law school may work out it may not and if any of us knew how our decisions would turn out life would be a lot less stressful. Again use your common sense when making the decision and good luck to you!

Legend,

Pretty eloquent comment. You clearly have a widescreen option for your field of vision. Well said.
Title: Re: Northwestern California University, School of Law.
Post by: legalpractitioner on July 14, 2012, 08:22:19 AM
You know what I found interesting. There is an attorney in my area that is very well known and he has a great reputation. He graduated from a tier one law school and he has been practicing law for a very long time. I was cruising around his website and noticed his son just joined his law firm. I was curious so I looked him up and it seems his son graduated from a non ABA school accredited by Cal-Bar. Being that the kid came from a family of attorney's will alot of money, but yet he didn't go the ABA . . . . . . very interesting.

If you are going to work for your Dad, as long as junior has a law license, his degree is irrelevant.  But no one chooses non ABA, if they have money and ability.  And choosing online is for those who either geographically can't attend a law school, can't get into one, or otherwise have issues with sitting in classes due to time contraints or disability. The only exception might be something like the external program at London University but in the US we do not have ABA law schools that also have online programs.
Title: Re: Northwestern California University, School of Law.
Post by: mechtild on July 14, 2012, 07:27:41 PM
Hi Nor-Cal,  I just graduated from NWCU.  Sitting for July Bar.  If you'd like to meet a bunch of us we have a Facebook page here: http://www.facebook.com/groups/28010380790/  Click on the Join Group button to post.   Barbara
Title: Re: Northwestern California University, School of Law.
Post by: mechtild on July 14, 2012, 08:19:25 PM
BTW, there is a lot of talk about if someone goes to an online school they won't be able to get a job.  Many threads by grads of traditional schools focus on getting a job.  Can get, hope to get, can't get.  A job.  With the horrific tuition debt they were snookered into shelling out they have to get a job.  Most folks who go to online schools already have a job. They're older, which is why they went or are going the online route.  They're not looking to "get a job."  By going to NWCU you can get a good legal education, without the debt, and without the worrisome need of having to "get a job", any job, to pay off that debt.  Freedom has it's advantages.  Including the advantage to quit law school if the person decides they don't like it at a minimum investment.  Same afterwards.  Don't like being a lawyer?  Fine the person has a nice JD on their resume & can go find some other place & way to live out their life.  For myself I've owned my own business for 24 years.  Lawyering is my fun retirement plan :)  I will never put my life in the hands of another person ever again.  That's what "having a job" is.  Putting one's present life in someone's else's hands.  Traditional law students are forced to do that.  ..... my clock...whatever that expression is.  Ticks me off big time!  All government backed student loans are meant to do is have a new little taxpayer enter the system, forced to enter the system, while they are walking the exit steps of law school.  In fact any school or college.  People think the government is loaning out money from the bottom of their hearts or something?  Hah!   Do law students think those job employment salary figures are meant to benefit the students?   

On the Cal Bar website compare the pass rates on the Baby Bar & the General Bar of NWCU to the other online schools over the last 5 years or so, and to their costs.  Then decide.

Title: Re: Northwestern California University, School of Law.
Post by: calgal27 on July 14, 2012, 08:30:41 PM
I attempted them years ago.  they had no online classes,videos or anything.  Strictly correspondence.  I even have all the CDs they sent me for studying.  the cost is cheap but you get what you pay for.  if you want to save some money, tell them you have the CDs and see how much they knock off the price.  I'm sure it is not much then you could buy mine.   I am contemplating California School of Law. moe expensive but you have to attend class online twice a week.  that is a good way to learn.
Title: Re: Northwestern California University, School of Law.
Post by: calvinexpress on July 14, 2012, 09:08:26 PM
... You can also take the English QLTS after two years because England has a reciprocity agreement with California, same with the Ireland QLTT. You will not be welcomed in any other state besides California and DC.

QLTS? Tell us more.
Title: Re: Northwestern California University, School of Law.
Post by: mechtild on July 14, 2012, 09:09:43 PM
Things have changed since then.  Did they have the Blackboard when you were going, calgal?  Their videos are nothing to rave about.  I didn't bother with them.  Same with the CDs. But their online chats & video chats are terrific.  Jeff Fleming now works for NWCU too & he comes to some of the video chats.  Lots of fun :)  There is both a text and video chat for each level. When BabyBar is coming up they put on special chats for the takers to participate in.

 1Ls can only get into the 1L sessions and BabyBar chats.  Above 1L students can go to all the 2L-4L sessions.  Same with the Blackboard, where the Profs post questions & then respond to the students answers, using the Socratic method. (Drove me nuts!)  No requirement to do chats or Blackboard, but it's there for folks who care to participate.
Title: Re: Northwestern California University, School of Law.
Post by: legalpractitioner on July 15, 2012, 08:28:38 AM
... You can also take the English QLTS after two years because England has a reciprocity agreement with California, same with the Ireland QLTT. You will not be welcomed in any other state besides California and DC.

QLTS? Tell us more.

Go to law school first, pass the Cal bar, then have 2 years PQE, sign up, pay the fees, pass the exams:

http://www.qlts.com/qlts-assessments
Title: Re: Northwestern California University, School of Law.
Post by: calvinexpress on July 15, 2012, 12:04:57 PM
BTW, there is a lot of talk about if someone goes to an online school they won't be able to get a job.  Many threads by grads of traditional schools focus on getting a job.  Can get, hope to get, can't get.  A job.

A lawyer not being able to find a job has nothing to do with their online law J.D degree. There are lots of lawyers that attended brick and mortar ABA approved J.D programs that find can't work as lawyers either. If they can't a find work it's because they are not good writers or good public speakers. Most law firms will require a sample of the applicant's writing in addition to a face to face interview.

The new lawyers are failing the writing sample part of the interviews. Has nothing to do with where they attended law school.

I see ads in the online employment section all the time for associate attorneys. The employer does not care where you attended law school, he only cares whether you passed the state bar exam in that state. He would rather hire a licensed attorney that passed a state bar, and pay him/her the same money he would pay an unlicensed paralegal.

I think something is wrong with lawyers that say they can't find a job. If they can't find a job, then why not open up their own office and make their own job? As stated, their writing sample given to the employer is subpar and that is why they cant find a job.

The public defender office in every state are always hiring. However, they demand a writing sample. 
 
Title: Re: Northwestern California University, School of Law.
Post by: calvinexpress on July 15, 2012, 12:34:48 PM
... You can also take the English QLTS after two years because England has a reciprocity agreement with California, same with the Ireland QLTT. You will not be welcomed in any other state besides California and DC.

QLTS? Tell us more.

Go to law school first, pass the Cal bar, then have 2 years PQE, sign up, pay the fees, pass the exams:

http://www.qlts.com/qlts-assessments

Thanks, I was under the impression that somebody could go one year of law school, take the baby bar. Pass, then take the QLTS, then become a lawyer with only one year of online law school. So why bother taking the QLTS exam if you still have to attend 4 years of law school and pass the California baby bar and big bar? What is the purpose?
Title: Re: Northwestern California University, School of Law.
Post by: Maintain FL 350 on July 15, 2012, 12:55:25 PM
BTW, there is a lot of talk about if someone goes to an online school they won't be able to get a job.  Many threads by grads of traditional schools focus on getting a job.  Can get, hope to get, can't get.  A job.

A lawyer not being able to find a job has nothing to do with their online law J.D degree. There are lots of lawyers that attended brick and mortar ABA approved J.D programs that can't work as lawyers either. If they can't a find it's because they are not good writers or good public speakers. Most law firms will require a sample of the applicant's writing in addition to a face to face interview. The new lawyers are failing the interviews. Has nothing to do with where they attended law school.

I see ads in the online employment section all the time for associate attorneys. The employer does not care where you attended law school, he only cares whether you passed the state bar exam in that state.

I think something is wrong with lawyers that say they can't find a job. If they can't find a job, then they could open up their own office and make their own job. As stated, their writing sample given to the employer is subpar and that is why they cant find work.

The public defender offices in every state are always hiring. However, they demand a writing sample. 
 

You should do a little market research (or gain some actual experience) before you make such broad claims. The PD offices in each county are absolutely, positively, NOT always hiring. The budgets of all California counties have been slashed dramatically over the last few years. PD, DA, City Attorney, County Counsel, and state legal departments have been severely impacted. Most PD/DA offices cannot even get the funding to replace attrition due to retirement, let alone create new positions. My local PD's office recently got permission from the Board of Supervisors to hire something like eight new PDs, the first hiring they've done in a couple of years. They received something like 300 applications for those eight positions, and hired a combination of experienced criminal defense attorneys and lawyers who had been working for free hoping that a position would open up.

You're right that an attorney with bad writing skills or bad intwerview skills is screwed, regardless of where they graduated from. OTOH, the fact that an applicant submits an impressive writing sample is not sufficient to get the interview in such a competitive market. When you're competing against hundreds (or even dozens) of applicants, more than a few will have great writing and interviewing skills. Government law departments are in a position now to be much pickier than they have been in the past, and yes, they will look at where you went to law school.

If you've read any of my posts on this or other topics you'll see that I'm not a snob when it comes to legal education. My own degree is from a small, regional school. But I have personal, recent experience with government law offices, and hiring is much more competitive than you seem to think. At both the office I worked at, and the office my wife (a local government attorney) currently works at, an online or unaccedited grad would not have gotten an interview no matter how good their writing sample was. And if you can't get the interview, who cares how good your interpersonal communication skills are? A Calbar grad might have gotten an interview if they had 5-10 years of relevant experience, but unquestionably there is a strong preference for ABA grads.

It's possible that in a rural county with fewer applicants the results would be different, or that small firms would not be quite so competitive.
Title: Re: Northwestern California University, School of Law.
Post by: Duncanjp on July 15, 2012, 01:01:12 PM
BTW, there is a lot of talk about if someone goes to an online school they won't be able to get a job.  Many threads by grads of traditional schools focus on getting a job.  Can get, hope to get, can't get.  A job.  With the horrific tuition debt they were snookered into shelling out they have to get a job.  Most folks who go to online schools already have a job. They're older, which is why they went or are going the online route.  They're not looking to "get a job."  By going to NWCU you can get a good legal education, without the debt, and without the worrisome need of having to "get a job", any job, to pay off that debt.  Freedom has it's advantages.  Including the advantage to quit law school if the person decides they don't like it at a minimum investment.  Same afterwards.  Don't like being a lawyer?  Fine the person has a nice JD on their resume & can go find some other place & way to live out their life.  For myself I've owned my own business for 24 years.  Lawyering is my fun retirement plan :)  I will never put my life in the hands of another person ever again.  That's what "having a job" is.  Putting one's present life in someone's else's hands.  Traditional law students are forced to do that.  ..... my clock...whatever that expression is.  Ticks me off big time!  All government backed student loans are meant to do is have a new little taxpayer enter the system, forced to enter the system, while they are walking the exit steps of law school.  In fact any school or college.  People think the government is loaning out money from the bottom of their hearts or something?  Hah!   Do law students think those job employment salary figures are meant to benefit the students?

You draw an important jobs distinction between ABA and non-ABA students, a point that seems to fly over the heads and under the radar of those who melodramatically predict failure if one does not attend an ABA school. Nobody disputes the greater prestige of an ABA degree and the advantages that attach to it. Years ago, I would not have thought to go anywhere else. And yes, a percentage of non-ABA grads become victim to the underlying truth of such warnings. But the ABA has its victims as well, which needs no addressing here. More importantly, time changes one's needs and goals, and not every prospective law student wants to work in biglaw. Besides, the percentage that actually lands and survives in biglaw represents only a fraction of employed attorneys. Not every prospective law student wants to leave her home state. Not every prospective law student is concerned with finding work at all after passing the bar. And not every prospective law student can justify the exorbitant cost that an ABA program requires, even if the cash to pay is readily available. That's why I chose to attend a CBE school. I'm 15 years into a career that I love with hundreds of connections and colleagues. It would be asinine to abandon my career path now to take a job defending criminals or hoping to find an entry level position in biglaw. CBE schools — and online schools especially — generally serve a different demographic than ABA schools. Older, experienced professionals who are looking to advance their current careers and rise above the ranks of laymen can get a lot of mileage from a non-ABA education, while saving themselves a small fortune in the process. Non-ABA students are frequently highly driven people who have but one immediate goal: get the license. The elitist claim that nobody would opt for anything less than ABA if the money and the intellect were not lacking ignores a fundamental reality: not every prospective law student needs the ABA advantage to derive a significant benefit from a legal education.
Title: Re: Northwestern California University, School of Law.
Post by: Duncanjp on July 15, 2012, 01:44:17 PM
If you've read any of my posts on this or other topics you'll see that I'm not a snob when it comes to legal education. My own degree is from a small, regional school. But I have personal, recent experience with government law offices, and hiring is much more competitive than you seem to think. At both the office I worked at, and the office my wife (a local government attorney) currently works at, an online or unaccedited grad would not have gotten an interview no matter how good their writing sample was. And if you can't get the interview, who cares how good your interpersonal communication skills are? A Calbar grad might have gotten an interview if they had 5-10 years of relevant experience, but unquestionably there is a strong preference for ABA grads.

It's possible that in a rural county with fewer applicants the results would be different, or that small firms would not be quite so competitive.

Per usual, Roald, you write a well-considered, matter-of-fact post here that reflects an admirably balanced point of view. Personally, I would be intimidated to try to compete against ABA grads in a job competition outside of my career field (title insurance). You touch upon an undeniable reality about job hunting today that cannot be denied. I've held management positions with the responsibility for hiring and firing. A few years before the economy tanked, I ran an ad for an entry level position in my department and I received 150 replies. And again, that was before the crash. The only way I could handle the response was to automatically eliminate everyone who had not graduated from college, which was the vast majority. After that, I looked at where they attended school, what they studied, and where they had worked. I also paid attention to the quality of the writing in their cover letters, but I didn't get to the writing analysis until after I had assessed their academic credentials. Those with just an A.A. from a junior college went out with the others. Ultimately, I whittled the interviews down to two people who had graduated from the same UC that I graduated from, and one other who graduated from the local Cal State U. I hired one of the UC applicants and we enjoyed sharing the bond for the whole time that we worked together. For that reason, unless the employer has a non-ABA background herself, those from non-ABA schools who hope to be competitive against ABA grads probably need a wake-up call: they're going to be filtered out. Local governments are going broke. ABA grads themselves can't find work, and do-it-yourself legal websites are starting to tear into the opportunities that non-ABA grads once had. Non-ABA schools can be an appropriate choice for people in my shoes, but for those who hope to compete for work on the strength of nothing more than their academic credentials, I can't imagine settling for less than the very best school that would give them admission.
Title: Re: Northwestern California University, School of Law.
Post by: calvinexpress on July 15, 2012, 02:55:57 PM
Things have changed since then.  Did they have the Blackboard when you were going, calgal?  Their videos are nothing to rave about.  I didn't bother with them.  Same with the CDs. But their online chats & video chats are terrific.  Jeff Fleming now works for NWCU too & he comes to some of the video chats.  Lots of fun :)  There is both a text and video chat for each level. When BabyBar is coming up they put on special chats for the takers to participate in.


Who is Jeff Fleming? I was also thinking of attending this school, but only because of the cheap price, and no other reason. I do think an online law school should have either video or .mp3 voice lectures so we can listen to the teacher explain what we just read. If this school does not have them, then I won't be attending.
Title: Re: Northwestern California University, School of Law.
Post by: Maintain FL 350 on July 15, 2012, 03:29:10 PM
True, it's the unfortunate reality of living in a depressed economy. And, BTW, it doesn't mean that a non-ABA can't get a job, it just means that applicants should be aware of the pecking order that most law offices adhere to: Big Name ABA, Small Name ABA, Calbar, everything else.

Of course there are always exceptions to the rule. A Calbar grad with 3-5 years experience in criminal law, for example, would probably stand a better chance at getting hired by the DA or PD than an ABA grad with no applicable experience. Geography also plays a role. The thing about online J.D.s, in my opinion, is not that they have a bad reputation, but it's that most attorneys just don't know what to make of it. Most attorneys in CA have worked with both ABA and CBE grads, and know that there are good and bad lawyers from each category. There are so few online grads, however, that I think it's simply an unknown quantity. I think that the lack of knowledge leads to skepticism, which might be unfair. As online education becomes more common, may be this will change, but I wouldn't hold my breath. 
Title: Re: Northwestern California University, School of Law.
Post by: legalpractitioner on July 15, 2012, 06:06:32 PM
BTW, there is a lot of talk about if someone goes to an online school they won't be able to get a job.  Many threads by grads of traditional schools focus on getting a job.  Can get, hope to get, can't get.  A job.

A lawyer not being able to find a job has nothing to do with their online law J.D degree. There are lots of lawyers that attended brick and mortar ABA approved J.D programs that find can't work as lawyers either. If they can't a find work it's because they are not good writers or good public speakers. Most law firms will require a sample of the applicant's writing in addition to a face to face interview.

The new lawyers are failing the writing sample part of the interviews. Has nothing to do with where they attended law school.

I see ads in the online employment section all the time for associate attorneys. The employer does not care where you attended law school, he only cares whether you passed the state bar exam in that state. He would rather hire a licensed attorney that passed a state bar, and pay him/her the same money he would pay an unlicensed paralegal.

I think something is wrong with lawyers that say they can't find a job. If they can't find a job, then why not open up their own office and make their own job? As stated, their writing sample given to the employer is subpar and that is why they cant find a job.

The public defender office in every state are always hiring. However, they demand a writing sample. 
 


Not so sure that PDs without experience and an online degree will be hired.  PD is an in demand job if it has benefits.
Title: Re: Northwestern California University, School of Law.
Post by: legalpractitioner on July 15, 2012, 06:12:11 PM
Things have changed since then.  Did they have the Blackboard when you were going, calgal?  Their videos are nothing to rave about.  I didn't bother with them.  Same with the CDs. But their online chats & video chats are terrific.  Jeff Fleming now works for NWCU too & he comes to some of the video chats.  Lots of fun :)  There is both a text and video chat for each level. When BabyBar is coming up they put on special chats for the takers to participate in.


Who is Jeff Fleming? I was also thinking of attending this school, but only because of the cheap price, and no other reason. I do think an online law school should have either video or .mp3 voice lectures so we can listen to the teacher explain what we just read. If this school does not have them, then I won't be attending.

Fleming is or was the system that successful online students use to study for the bar sice at least the late 1980s.
Title: Re: Northwestern California University, School of Law.
Post by: mechtild on July 15, 2012, 07:30:29 PM
What was the name of that old song, "A Whole Lotta Ruckus Going On"?  No wait.  A whole lotta shaking going on.  Same difference.  Perhaps a tidy list of the benefits & detriments of each means of attaining a law degree might be more productive?  At least the ABA prone folks are not claiming as they did when I started that online taught lawyers weren't lawyers at all.  (Not to give you guys any ideas or anything...) 

One can appreciate that perhaps those giving out grave warnings to those investigating the pursuit of an online degree have it in their heart to give adequate warning to the unwary.  One can hardly blame them for that.  Indeed, laudable.  On the other hand taking it to the extremes where what is being said is beyond known & verifiable facts is something else again. 

Further...Should I get an online degree?  Are there online schools from which I can learn the law? and Of the online schools, which is the best overall, all things considered?...are separate considerations in themselves.  Which is what was the topic at least in the beginning of this thread if I remember correctly. 

It does seem the ABA proponents are quite happy with their choice in life.  That is nice.  For it far exceeds the happiness factor of their brethren.  ABAers all.  Well not all. But mostly all.  Se la vie.

Life is choice.  Choose wisely.  That's all.



Title: Re: Northwestern California University, School of Law.
Post by: Nor-Cal on July 16, 2012, 01:05:47 AM
Just one thought regarding a students resolve in attending an online law school; I think most people who have never attended college online have some apprehension about it, and rightfully so. However, more and more people are attending school online and for me personally, I obtained one undergraduate degree at a local state university, and another undergraduate degree completely online. I found that while both offered different challenges, neither one was easy. But with that being said, now that I have gone the online route, I found that I prefer to attend school online rather than the traditional route.

In terms of law school it's a toss up. I can see the value to attending classroom instruction and networking through other students. Not to mention all the educational opportunities associated with participating in mock trails and such. However, several students like myself have a ton of life experience so we might not reap such a benefit compared to younger students. I have over seven years as a Police Officer, so I'm familiar with the legal system to a limited extent, and I have participated in several trials so I have a general knowledge above a laid men regarding how these things place out in the real world. But that is my experience in the criminal law side of the house, and I recognize that is only one piece of the puzzle.

So attending law school via correspondence is a good fit for me, as I don not reside near an ABA school and I have experience attending school online. Where I find myself torn is whether I should go to the B&M Cal Bar school two miles away from my house for about $50,000; or should I attend a law school via correspondence for approximately $12,000 out the door? That is a decision I have to consider very carefully, which is why I joined this forum. Folks like Roald can offer valuable insight based on their experience, which is appreciated compared to the young student who thinks they have the world figured out already at the age of 21, lol.
Title: Re: Northwestern California University, School of Law.
Post by: mechtild on July 16, 2012, 05:08:37 AM
One of Jeff's youtube videos: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E1rJAKGy0mc&feature=relmfu

One of my clients at my business who graduated from Thomas Jefferson back in 1985 or so, owns her own law firm in downtown San Diego, took his home study course and passed first time.

The oldest person to pass the bar was 77.  Before taking Fleming's course he had failed the Bar 21 times.  Took Jeff's course 3 times and on his 24th try passed.  That is also the record for the most times someone took the Bar and subsequently passed.
Title: Re: Northwestern California University, School of Law.
Post by: FalconJimmy on July 16, 2012, 08:11:21 AM
So attending law school via correspondence is a good fit for me, as I don not reside near an ABA school and I have experience attending school online. Where I find myself torn is whether I should go to the B&M Cal Bar school two miles away from my house for about $50,000; or should I attend a law school via correspondence for approximately $12,000 out the door?

So, the cal-bar school near your house, is that correspondence?

If I lived in California, honestly, I'd look at the distance learning / calbar schools.  But it depends a lot on your goals.  I am not ever going to be top
10% of my law school class and I intend to hang out a shingle when I'm done. 
Title: Re: Northwestern California University, School of Law.
Post by: Maintain FL 350 on July 16, 2012, 10:37:31 AM
So attending law school via correspondence is a good fit for me, as I don not reside near an ABA school and I have experience attending school online. Where I find myself torn is whether I should go to the B&M Cal Bar school two miles away from my house for about $50,000; or should I attend a law school via correspondence for approximately $12,000 out the door? ,

So, the cal-bar school near your house, is that correspondence?

If I lived in California, honestly, I'd look at the distance learning / calbar schools.  But it depends a lot on your goals.  I am not ever going to be top
10% of my law school class and I intend to hang out a shingle when I'm done. 

That's a tough choice, and there are pros and cons to each. The question is whether the benefits of one choice outweigh the detriments of the other. As Legend would be quick to point out, this is a highly personal decision. However, I do believe that there are general broad considerations that apply to just about everybody. A cost/benefit analysis is among those generally applicable considerations. You'll save 40k by going online, that's clear enough.

That 40k you'll save in the short term, though, is really only "saved" if you pass the bar and get a job. If you don't pass the FYLSE (not required for CBE schools!), or don't pass the bar, you'll be spending time and money preparing for those exams instead of earning income as a lawyer. Statistically, you'd have a much better shot at passing the bar from a CBE school than from an online school. And remember, the bar is only offered twice a year and have to wait five months to get your score. If you have to take the baby bar a couple of times, then the big bar a couple of times, think about how much time you'll lose.

I know that there's a lot of talk here about school reputations (maybe "obsession" is a better word), but it has to be addressed. A degree from a CBE school and a degree from an online/unaccredited school will not be viewed the same by the overwhelming majority of employers, both public and private. Plenty of places that will gladly hire from a CBE school (think DA, PD, small firms) will not hire an unaccredited grad, period. I'm not saying it's right or wrong, it's just the way it is.

If you plan on immediately hanging out your own shingle, or already have a job lined up, that may not matter anyway. It seems that alot of online grads plan to go this route. Spend a little time researching this option before committing to it, though. Most people who have not had experience in a law office have no clue how difficult it is to start your own firm straight out of law school with no experience. At least initially, most solo practitioners have to rely on referrals. Honestly, lots of lawyers would be skeptical about referring business to an online grad.

It can be done, and I'm sure you can find testimonials from people who have done it. I'd be willing to bet that most of the success stories involve people who had small business/entrepeneurial experience before attending online law school. In the end, my point is this: unless you have a very clear plan and understand the ramifications of attending an unaccredited school, you may not save that 40k after all. The decision is yours alone, and I might be totally wrong about everything I've said. These are just a few things that I want to consider if I were in your position.
Title: Re: Northwestern California University, School of Law.
Post by: FalconJimmy on July 16, 2012, 12:19:31 PM

It can be done, and I'm sure you can find testimonials from people who have done it. I'd be willing to bet that most of the success stories involve people who had small business/entrepeneurial experience before attending online law school. In the end, my point is this: unless you have a very clear plan and understand the ramifications of attending an unaccredited school, you may not save that 40k after all. The decision is yours alone, and I might be totally wrong about everything I've said. These are just a few things that I want to consider if I were in your position.

For me, this is a pure curiosity.  I attend an ABA school in the midwest.  Right now, it's about 90% certain that I'm just going to return to school and finish my JD as a full-time student.

So, this is all purely hypothetical.  Around here, pretty simple equation:  want to be an attorney?  go to an ABA school.  all other paths are virtually impossible and at a minimum, risky and impractical.

It is just interesting to think of the options available to california residents.  I actually attended community college in CA when I was 17.  I could have had an associate's degree before my 19th birthday.  From what I can gather, you can attend some of the calbar schools with only an associate's degree.  So, I literally could have been a full-blown attorney at age 21. 

Not that I wish I had done it, have regrets, or am interested in doing it now.  It's just an interesting hypothetical discussion for me.
Title: Re: Northwestern California University, School of Law.
Post by: calvinexpress on July 16, 2012, 07:44:08 PM

It can be done, and I'm sure you can find testimonials from people who have done it. I'd be willing to bet that most of the success stories involve people who had small business/entrepeneurial experience before attending online law school. In the end, my point is this: unless you have a very clear plan and understand the ramifications of attending an unaccredited school, you may not save that 40k after all. The decision is yours alone, and I might be totally wrong about everything I've said. These are just a few things that I want to consider if I were in your position.

...From what I can gather, you can attend some of the calbar schools with only an associate's degree.


You don't need an associated degree. You only need 60 college credits.
Title: Re: Northwestern California University, School of Law.
Post by: legalpractitioner on July 16, 2012, 08:06:11 PM
Ever attended a California Community College? Trust me, it is not Harvard and the grads are not going to be successful in law school, online or otherwise.  Someone who can't complete a BA is not going to usually have the self discipline to complete a 4 year distance learning program.  Although I've met a few prison inmates who could do it but for the moral requirements.
Title: Re: Northwestern California University, School of Law.
Post by: Maintain FL 350 on July 16, 2012, 08:36:33 PM
You don't necessarily need a B.A. to attend an ABA law school, either. The ABA does not require a college degree for admissions, only (I believe) 90 units of college work. Most law schools go above that minimal requirement and require a bachelor's degree. Some don't, however. Tulane clearly advertises on their website that they'll consider applicants without a bachelor's, and Whittier used to as well. I believe several other schools do, too. I think these programs are usually reserved for non-traditional students. I don't think they'd take a 21 year old who simply didn't feel like finishing his degree.

I have heard of people being getting accepted to ABA schools other than those mentioned, I just can't remember which ones. 
Title: Re: Northwestern California University, School of Law.
Post by: FalconJimmy on July 16, 2012, 10:06:05 PM
Ever attended a California Community College? Trust me, it is not Harvard and the grads are not going to be successful in law school, online or otherwise. 

Hahaha!  Well, actually, I did attend a california community college when I was a kid.  ;)
Title: Re: Northwestern California University, School of Law.
Post by: Nor-Cal on July 17, 2012, 01:11:52 AM
Like I stated before, I'm coming out of law enforcement so if I was to practice law, I would prefer to work for the District Attorney's Office. After all, I would rather contribute by keeping criminals in jail rather than trying to keep those individuals out. The Cal-Bar school near my house is not correspondence, and a large number of their graduates are hired by the D.A.'s office. They also have a courthouse on site that is run by the Superior Court of California, so there is a lot of networking between the students of this school and the D.A.'s Office. If I couldn't get a position with the D.A.'s Office, I would open my own practice as I would not like to work for a law firm. Hence my situation, and the reason why I treading lightly and trying to weigh my opinions . . .
Title: Re: Northwestern California University, School of Law.
Post by: legalpractitioner on July 17, 2012, 07:31:35 AM
Like I stated before, I'm coming out of law enforcement so if I was to practice law, I would prefer to work for the District Attorney's Office. After all, I would rather contribute by keeping criminals in jail rather than trying to keep those individuals out. The Cal-Bar school near my house is not correspondence, and a large number of their graduates are hired by the D.A.'s office. They also have a courthouse on site that is run by the Superior Court of California, so there is a lot of networking between the students of this school and the D.A.'s Office. If I couldn't get a position with the D.A.'s Office, I would open my own practice as I would not like to work for a law firm. Hence my situation, and the reason why I treading lightly and trying to weigh my opinions . . .

If you want to work for a DAs office in California, I strongly urge you to go to the best possible school you can get into.  They will not hire an online grad unless you had many years of experience in criminal law as an attorney.  Those are considered good jobs with full county benefits and a CALPERS pension.
Title: Re: Northwestern California University, School of Law.
Post by: Maintain FL 350 on July 17, 2012, 10:41:55 AM
Like I stated before, I'm coming out of law enforcement so if I was to practice law, I would prefer to work for the District Attorney's Office. After all, I would rather contribute by keeping criminals in jail rather than trying to keep those individuals out. The Cal-Bar school near my house is not correspondence, and a large number of their graduates are hired by the D.A.'s office. They also have a courthouse on site that is run by the Superior Court of California, so there is a lot of networking between the students of this school and the D.A.'s Office. If I couldn't get a position with the D.A.'s Office, I would open my own practice as I would not like to work for a law firm. Hence my situation, and the reason why I treading lightly and trying to weigh my opinions . . .

If your goal is the DA's office, the local CBE school is a much better bet than online. Ask your local DA if they've ever hired an online grad, and I promise you the answer is "no". A couple of decades ago jobs like the DA and (especially) Public Defender were considered relatively easy to get. The pay was low, the turnover was high, and most new hires came from small ABA schools or CBE schools. That's not the case anymore. The pay is decent, turn over is practically zero, and most offices are on a hiring freeze. When jobs do open, they are flooded with applicants and can be very picky about who they hire. It's not at all uncommon now to see Public Defenders from UCLA, Davis, etc.

At some DA/PD offices you can still get hired as a CBE grad because the local CBE school is the only game in town. However, even at  those offices you will be competing with both ABA and CBE grads who have several years of experience under their belts. If you decide to go to the CBE school, do everything you can to score an internship at the DA, and do a great job. Personal connections matter, and it will help immensely when a job opens up.

Good Luck!
Title: Re: Northwestern California University, School of Law.
Post by: Cher1300 on July 17, 2012, 12:01:22 PM
Like I stated before, I'm coming out of law enforcement so if I was to practice law, I would prefer to work for the District Attorney's Office. After all, I would rather contribute by keeping criminals in jail rather than trying to keep those individuals out. The Cal-Bar school near my house is not correspondence, and a large number of their graduates are hired by the D.A.'s office. They also have a courthouse on site that is run by the Superior Court of California, so there is a lot of networking between the students of this school and the D.A.'s Office. If I couldn't get a position with the D.A.'s Office, I would open my own practice as I would not like to work for a law firm. Hence my situation, and the reason why I treading lightly and trying to weigh my opinions . . .

Although I've just finished 1L at an ABA, it used to be a CBE until 2008.  Living in Los Angeles and talking to the judges and lawyers I've met, you are much better off going to a CBE than online.  One judge I spoke to who found I was going to law school asked me if the school was at least "state accredited."  I told her it was ABA, and have been asked the same question by other attorneys.  Ironically, one lawyer advised his son to do CBE instead of ABA probably because it's cheaper and he can just work for his dad when he is finished.  But even he said he didn't want his son to do an online school.  My point is even attorneys and judges in Cali are asking if my school is at least state accredited.  Granted I've only spoken to a handful of these people, but CBE or ABA will be hired over you if you do online.   Roald is correct about the DA's office and PD's office.  There are more grads from Loyola and Pepperdine taking those jobs than even tier 4 schools and they were on a hiring freeze for a couple of years.  (not sure if they still are) 

Although it will cost a bit more than online, you won't have to take the FYLSE, you don't have get a really high LSAT score, and your chances of passing the bar are a bit higher with better job prospects.  Just my two cents as someone who has been asking around a bit. 
Title: Re: Northwestern California University, School of Law.
Post by: Nor-Cal on July 17, 2012, 12:28:37 PM
This is some really good feedback and many good points to consider, thank you for your input.
Title: Re: Northwestern California University, School of Law.
Post by: legend on July 17, 2012, 05:07:41 PM
This is just an anonymous internet poster opinion, but I am assuming the school Cher1300 is referring to Western State in L.A. where the competition is much stiffer and you will be in competition with Harvard, UCLA, USC, etc grads and an online law school won't cut in that location.

California is a massive state and if you were in one of the rural towns of Northern California simply being licensed in California would be enough. I was offered a solid paying job offer in a fairly large firm in Fresno it paid more than I am currently making, but I could live not in Fresno. I visited I thought about it and I just can't do it. I imagine it works for some, but many people do not want to live in Central or really Northern California. At the Fresno Firm there were Boalt & CBE grads working side by side their. What they really wanted was a law license, a desire to live in Fresno, and common sense. I imagine the same is true in some of the more rural northern counties in California.

From my limited experience and as an anonymous internet poster if you want to live in a Big-City and be a lawyer the competition will be intense for any position and I imagine that is true of any profession period. If you move to some small town of 4,000 people there likely is one or two lawyers in the whole town if any and all you would need is a license.

Nor-Cal I imagine you still in when of the more rural northern California counties and therefore a Local CBE school or Online School would probably serve you well if your intent on remaining in that location. If you plan on moving to L.A after it will be a tough go.

Again only my anonymous internet poster opinion take it for what it is worth.
Title: Re: Northwestern California University, School of Law.
Post by: jennid1234 on July 17, 2012, 05:47:06 PM
More than 40 percent of Concord's graduates have already earned a graduate degree, including nine MBA, five Ph.D., and four MD degree holders. These accomplished professionals included small business owners, college professors, a surgeon and an engineer who was in Afghanistan serving in the Army Reserves for much of his third year of law school (a quote from A. Miller at the 2010 graduation ceremony).

For those of you that think the online is not the way to go, I beg to differ.  I have had attorneys tell me they wish they had the opportunity and the smaller loan bill.  I have had hiring partners tell me they don't care if the school is ABA, don't care about GPA's, if you go to a school, pass the Cal Bar and you have a brain for presenting yourself on paper, you'll land that interview and become an attorney.  I choose not to waste money that I could spend on better things than some school that gives me the same opportunity to sit for the BAR exam.  Lastly, I know for a fact that the brick and mortar NON ABA accredited school in Chico has produced at least two DEPUTY DA's for Butte county.  Those that discriminate about whether a school is ABA or not ABA don't want change and are not prepared for the next step, schools that are online are more efficient and can give the SAME education with out the high education expense costing our country and our citizens. California is doing a fabulous job of turning out some pretty darn good lawyers from nonABA schools and to say that you better go to an ABA if you want to be a Deputy DA is hogwash.. 

The first lecturer for Concord in 1998 was Arthur Miller a well known professor from Harvard Law School!  I love his civil procedure lectures and my degree, my education and my future career as a lawyer may very well be better than most brick and mortar schools because of the lecturers that are at my school.

Lastly,  if you work in a law office ANYWHERE and want to go another route, 2 years of college course work, under instruction of an attorney you can become eligible to sit for the FYLSE and every 6 months submit the required report to the CA bar. After Passing the FYLSE and completing the study requirements a person may sit for the Bar Exam and upon Passing the BAR without EVERY having gone to ANY law school or correspondence program that person can become a lawyer.  Just think, just the cost of time and expense of books!  Sounds like Abe Lincoln, except he did his studies in a log cabin. 

http://rules.calbar.ca.gov/LinkClick.aspx?fileticket=-2KV5j0w6Cw%3d&tabid=1227

Oh and if you think large law firms don't look at our resumes, think again!  They are looking at all and will even offer internships to those they feel are qualified to join their staff.  I work for on of the largest law firms in the NW and they don't descriminate, most law firms don't.  Only a few attorneys say that they wouldn't hire someone from an online program so they can see their name in the paper.

http://www.usnews.com/education/best-graduate-schools/top-law-schools/articles/2012/06/07/online-law-degrees-face-hung-jury

http://www.usatodayeducate.com/staging/index.php/blog/is-your-45000-a-year-degree-is-getting-the-last-laugh

http://www.lawjobs.com/newsandviews/LawArticle.jsp?id=1202425745957&slreturn=1&hbxlogin=1

The last article is the best, Heather Brown graduated, passed the bar and is a long beach prosecutor!  ONLINE ROCKS

Title: Re: Northwestern California University, School of Law.
Post by: legalpractitioner on July 18, 2012, 08:07:37 AM
Washington Post  is the parent company of Concord and Kaplan and does a very good job at PR that much is clear.  However, it is unrealistic to think that online grads are going to be able to compete in the job market.  They are limited to a California license which would disqualify them from most if not all big law jobs.  Most federal and state government job descriptions require an ABA degree.  As for Butte County, LOL, if you are willing to go to Oroville or Del Norte or Modoc counties anything is possible.  Del Norte let me do Pelican Bay PD cases within a few months of passing the bar with a Taft degree but that was the good old days.  However, the current DA of Del Norte is a former meth addict, has been suspended from the bar in the past and is facing disbarment proceedings, so anything is possible there.  The previous DA is also facing drug charges

http://www.courthousenews.com/2012/07/18/48476.htm

http://www.times-standard.com/localnews/ci_20888756/trial-dates-set-state-bar-case-against-del

The point is that an online law degree can work but it is not a good way to get a job hire in law.  Concord is one of the best online schools but even all the honors in the world there will produce an attorney who is at a handicap in the job market.

Are online grads better, I like to think so, but in reality they are just different and employers don't like non conformists.  A Uriah Heep with an ABA degree from a  tirr one or two school will get the job not the online grad.

(http://www.cartoonstock.com/lowres/dmo0021l.jpg)
Title: Re: Northwestern California University, School of Law.
Post by: Maintain FL 350 on July 18, 2012, 09:28:46 AM

Why do these issues always have to get framed in the most extreme terms?

An ABA degree is not the only path to success, that is evidenced by the thousands of non-ABA attorneys practicing in CA. However, in terms of getting hired as a DA/PD, you have to understand how much things have changed since 2008. Yes, there are non-ABA DAs working in just about every county in the state. Those people are great, experienced attorneys who do a great job. Many of them were hired years ago, when DA/PD jobs weren't paying very well and it was hard to attract top ABA grads. That simply isn't the case anymore. Two major events changed the level of competition for those jobs: First, they started to pay a lot better and offered great benefits. Second, the economy imploded. DA/PD jobs are now highly sought after, and the local offices are receiving resumes from people who would never have applied for a government job 10 or 15 years ago.

Please understand that I am not making this up, the objectively verifiable evidence is out there if you want to find it.

Does that mean that a non-ABA grad can't get hired? No, of course not, but it's one more hurdle that the applicant will have to overcome. The school you referred to in Chico, California Northern, is CBE accredited. There is a big difference between CBE accredited and unaccredited in the eyes of many employers.

For anyone who doubts me, don't take my word for it. Go to Calbar's website and use the advanced search function to look up various DAs offices.  See how many new hires are ABA grads, how many are CBE, and how many are unaccredited. I took a look at a few rural counties in northern CA, the kind of place I figured would be more likely to hire non-ABA grads. Of the DAs hired since 2000, nearly every single one was an ABA grad. There were a handful of CBE, and zero online. In the more populated counties it was 100% ABA across the board. Now, if you go back 20 years or so you'll see a lot more CBE grads at those offices, but that's not reflective of what hiring is like now.

I don't doubt that someone can get a great education outside of the ABA scheme, in fact I'm highly critical of the ABA for lots of reasons. I've said it before and I'll say it again: I have huge respect for online grads who pass the CA bar. But if you're going to say that it's "hogwash" that an ABA degree is required to get a job as a DA, back it up with some evidence.

I'm not necessarily a fan of the current system, but to deny it's existence is counterproductive.
Title: Re: Northwestern California University, School of Law.
Post by: legend on July 18, 2012, 10:15:47 AM
I doubt there is any ill intent, but you probably should not  put individuals names i.e. the prosecutor on this board without their consent they might not appreciate being dragged into this debate unknowingly and having their name pop up in a google search.

Title: Re: Northwestern California University, School of Law.
Post by: Maintain FL 350 on July 18, 2012, 10:22:00 AM
Good point.
Title: Re: Northwestern California University, School of Law.
Post by: legalpractitioner on July 18, 2012, 11:04:49 AM
I think Concord's marketing practices may be the issue.  Unlike the other distance learning law schools, Concord has a big PR budget.  They have to trumpet something.  I always found amusing their press releases about how their grads were the first "online" students admitted to the US Supreme Court Bar when any attorney with 5 years practice who has a clean record and can get two USSC bar members to nominate him or her is guaranteed admission. And you are correct there is a world of difference between CBA school and an unaccredited distance learning school.

Despite all the blather, Concord is registered with the Cal bar just like Taft or any other distance learning school.

http://info.concordlawschool.edu/pages/accreditation.aspx

Now if Concord had California Bar accredidation that would be something.
Title: Re: Northwestern California University, School of Law.
Post by: legalpractitioner on July 18, 2012, 11:15:38 AM
I doubt there is any ill intent, but you probably should not  put individuals names i.e. the prosecutor on this board without their consent they might not appreciate being dragged into this debate unknowingly and having their name pop up in a google search.

A Prosecutor is a public official and the links are to news stories.  Their stories are germaine in that one would not necessarily want to sweat out 4 years of  law school and then try to get a job in those high risk podunk counties even if one could. They play for keeps in those places, this is nothing new. Anyone who has worked in a small rural California county could tell worse stories.
Title: Re: Northwestern California University, School of Law.
Post by: Cher1300 on July 18, 2012, 11:40:41 AM
More than 40 percent of Concord's graduates have already earned a graduate degree, including nine MBA, five Ph.D., and four MD degree holders. These accomplished professionals included small business owners, college professors, a surgeon and an engineer who was in Afghanistan serving in the Army Reserves for much of his third year of law school (a quote from A. Miller at the 2010 graduation ceremony).

For those of you that think the online is not the way to go, I beg to differ.  I have had attorneys tell me they wish they had the opportunity and the smaller loan bill.  I have had hiring partners tell me they don't care if the school is ABA, don't care about GPA's, if you go to a school, pass the Cal Bar and you have a brain for presenting yourself on paper, you'll land that interview and become an attorney.  I choose not to waste money that I could spend on better things than some school that gives me the same opportunity to sit for the BAR exam.  Lastly, I know for a fact that the brick and mortar NON ABA accredited school in Chico has produced at least two DEPUTY DA's for Butte county.  Those that discriminate about whether a school is ABA or not ABA don't want change and are not prepared for the next step, schools that are online are more efficient and can give the SAME education with out the high education expense costing our country and our citizens. California is doing a fabulous job of turning out some pretty darn good lawyers from nonABA schools and to say that you better go to an ABA if you want to be a Deputy DA is hogwash.. 

The first lecturer for Concord in 1998 was Arthur Miller a well known professor from Harvard Law School!  I love his civil procedure lectures and my degree, my education and my future career as a lawyer may very well be better than most brick and mortar schools because of the lecturers that are at my school.

Lastly,  if you work in a law office ANYWHERE and want to go another route, 2 years of college course work, under instruction of an attorney you can become eligible to sit for the FYLSE and every 6 months submit the required report to the CA bar. After Passing the FYLSE and completing the study requirements a person may sit for the Bar Exam and upon Passing the BAR without EVERY having gone to ANY law school or correspondence program that person can become a lawyer.  Just think, just the cost of time and expense of books!  Sounds like Abe Lincoln, except he did his studies in a log cabin. 

http://rules.calbar.ca.gov/LinkClick.aspx?fileticket=-2KV5j0w6Cw%3d&tabid=1227

Oh and if you think large law firms don't look at our resumes, think again!  They are looking at all and will even offer internships to those they feel are qualified to join their staff.  I work for on of the largest law firms in the NW and they don't descriminate, most law firms don't.  Only a few attorneys say that they wouldn't hire someone from an online program so they can see their name in the paper.

http://www.usnews.com/education/best-graduate-schools/top-law-schools/articles/2012/06/07/online-law-degrees-face-hung-jury

http://www.usatodayeducate.com/staging/index.php/blog/is-your-45000-a-year-degree-is-getting-the-last-laugh

http://www.lawjobs.com/newsandviews/LawArticle.jsp?id=1202425745957&slreturn=1&hbxlogin=1

The last article is the best, Heather Brown graduated, passed the bar and is a long beach prosecutor!  ONLINE ROCKS

I don't think anyone is saying online or non ABA can't be done.  Just from what I've noticed in the LA area, the competition has been so fierce over the last couple of years that grads from the higher ranked ABA schools are taking those PD/DA jobs that were initially taken first by CBE grads, then online grads.  I recommend CBE over online because only about 25 - 30% of the students that take FYLSE pass and the pass rate for retakers is even lower. 

http://admissions.calbar.ca.gov/LinkClick.aspx?fileticket=I4HxJJNgGJE%3d&tabid=2269&mid=3159

CBE students do not have to take the baby bar and it's half the price of ABA.   Of course, one can be successful online, it's just more difficult to compete these days.   If you have a graduate degree and entrepeneurial skills, then online is perfect.  I just wanted to make it clear to the OP that PD and DA jobs have been much more difficult to get especially in the LA area over the last couple of years.  (I'm not sure where he is from)

I agree there is no one size fits all, but there was a hiring freeze for those jobs for almost two years.  So no graduate from any shcool could even apply.  This is also around the time when law suits started popping up against the lower tiered ABA schools for falsifying employment statistics.   

Btw, Legend, you are correct.  I am a student at Western State, and even I have gotten a lot of grief for going to a tier 4 school.  It's only until I explain that I have an internship lined up and a job waiting for me when I graduate that people are semi-ok with it.   I say "semi" because there are still suspicions as to whether or not I'll be successful.  I would have much rather gone to a CBE and am still considering it, but I also plan to take the bar in Massachusetts and do not want to wait 3-5 years to do that.  That being said, I like my shcool.  The students are great and the class sizes are small so access to professors was easier, which I wanted my first year. 
Title: Re: Northwestern California University, School of Law.
Post by: Maintain FL 350 on July 18, 2012, 11:50:29 AM
Western State just posted a 92% first time bar pass rate for the February 2012 California bar, and has been averaging 75%-80% for the last few years. Anyone who thinks you're at an inferior school is simply ignorant. BTW, I'm not a WSU grad, so this isn't just an attempt to brag about my alma mater.
Title: Re: Northwestern California University, School of Law.
Post by: legend on July 18, 2012, 12:49:35 PM
Well looking at these boards makes everyone feel inferior I went to a tier 2 and I feel self-conscious half the time I read these boards, but it really doesn't matter.

I saw a post on here or somewhere else where the guy went to Georgetown and he jokingly said he feels inferior. No matter what you do people will give you grief, but this is always a great quote from Teddy Roosevelt.

"It is not the critic who counts: not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming, but who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself for a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat"

There will always be critics whether you go to Online school, CBE, Tier 4, Tier 3, Tier 2, University of Chicago instead of Harvard, etc. It never ends, but if your doing everything you can keep going there will be some falls along the way, obstacles to overcome, and self-doubt, but nobody in this world is perfect and any rational person is insecure about something. Just keep pushing knock out the bar and then hope for the best.

Competition will be fierce, law school is expensive, time-consuming, and not a guarantee, but if it is what you really want to do then go for it. Western State I imagine gives you the chance to take the bar in all 50 states even with the few issues they have had. If they entitle you to the bar-ticket that is all you need them for.

Good luck
Title: Re: Northwestern California University, School of Law.
Post by: legalpractitioner on July 18, 2012, 01:06:49 PM
Those are interesting stats on the FYLSE, good old fashioned correspondence beats out online and fixed facility in the pass rates.  My theory is that no amount of tech or classroom can compensate for lack of rote memorization for these students.
Title: Re: Northwestern California University, School of Law.
Post by: Cher1300 on July 18, 2012, 03:30:57 PM
Thanks for the vote of confidence Roald and legend.  :)  Western state has had some great bar pass rates over the last couple of years, which has been great for the school and promising for us as students.  Additionally, it has quite an alumni of successful attorneys.  Many DA's, judges, and other lawyers who have built up some medical mal practice businesses, etc.  Because of it's poor performance in the past, however, it still has a bit of a stigma. 

It is probably true that everyone thinks their school is inferior unless they are going to Harvard or Yale.  I'm thinking the students probably experience the same stress before finals and before taking the bar exam.  After first semester finals, I was just happy I could continue on and hoped to make it to my second year.  Now that I've made it, I'm stressing about making it next semester.  I'm not sure about anyone else, but it seems as though this feeling of anxiety might never go away! 

Those are interesting stats on the FYLSE, good old fashioned correspondence beats out online and fixed facility in the pass rates.  My theory is that no amount of tech or classroom can compensate for lack of rote memorization for these students.

I found that pretty interesting myself.  The percentage wasn't much higher but it was still higher overall.  However the bar pass rates for correspondence schools for the Bar in July of 2011 was lower than the Distance Learning and B&M schools.  But Distance Learning was still higher than unaccredited B&M schools. 

http://admissions.calbar.ca.gov/LinkClick.aspx?fileticket=PL6VLVgQEIM%3d&tabid=2269&mid=3159
Title: Re: Northwestern California University, School of Law.
Post by: legend on July 18, 2012, 03:55:05 PM
Of course and you are right the anxiety is just beginning. Law school is a constant feeling of I should be doing X, Y, Z and then you see Bob over there doing A and you think he must have it right. Meanwhile Bob is looking at you doing X and he/she thinks they were doing it wrong.

As I have stated nobody really knows what they are doing. Every final I had I left with a feeling of "was that right" and I basically got straight A's through law school and I never came away with a feeling of I nailed it. The one time I had that feeling got a C+. 

Then the bar comes same anxiety and nobody can know everything. You watch people and think what are they doing, but as I have said before everyone is stressed out.

I personally know Harvard grads and some of said we didn't have that at our school or maybe that got rejected from Yale and are bitter. I imagine you continually feel like others must know what they are doing and somehow you missed the memo, but the further you get the more you come to realize everything in the law is a constant struggle and even when your out practicing your hoping for the best.

You don't "KNOW" if a jury is going to buy your opening statement, if a judge will accept your evidence argument, you just go for it and hope for the best. Be professional, use common sense, and be respectful, but Law is much more ART than SCIENCE.

Again good luck to anyone online, CBE, ABA, that chooses the law school path.
Title: Re: Northwestern California University, School of Law.
Post by: jack24 on July 18, 2012, 04:00:08 PM
I'm sorry to reiterate what I've already said a few times, but passing a bar is so much more about the student than the school.  Can I know that for sure?  Absolutely not!  But I have gone to law school and taken the bar exam.   

Granted, the California bar is really hard.  The best school in my state has a 92% in-state passage rate, but only 12 of 25 passed the California bar.   So it is possible that certain schools can give you an edge in terms of strategy, but I find it very hard to believe that a student's choice between distance schools A, B, and C will have much of an impact on his bar passage unless one particular school did a better job of motivating you to prepare more or less.



Title: Re: Northwestern California University, School of Law.
Post by: Maintain FL 350 on July 18, 2012, 04:40:45 PM
Just for purposes of illustrating why I am so critical of USNWR's ranking scheme:

The average for CA ABA schools was 62%, with most falling in the 50-60% range (a few schools with very high pass rates skews the average). Keeping in mind that CA has the toughest bar exam in the nation, consider the following:

As I stated earlier, Western State's Feb. 2012 first time pass rate was 92%, higher than every CA school except Stanford, and yet WSU is ranked T4.

University of San Francisco had a 32% pass rate and is ranked higher than WSU.

La Verne had a pass rate exactly equivalent to Davis and Hastings (50%), which they accomplished with 4% academic attrition as opposed to the 30% commonly seen at T4s. Nonetheless, Davis and Hastings are T1 and La Verne is T4.

Many T1 out of state law schools had pass rates which were significantly lower than CA T4s. I understand that bar pass rates are not the only metric to consider when evaluating schools, but I also think it speaks to the absurdity of the rankings scheme.

Title: Re: Northwestern California University, School of Law.
Post by: FalconJimmy on July 19, 2012, 05:25:18 AM
. Keeping in mind that CA has the toughest bar exam in the nation...

Why?  Because so many people fail?  You don't think the fact that so many people fail has something to do with the fact that virtually every other state requires ABA accreditation?

http://www.protectconsumerjustice.org/california-bar-exam-pass-rates-by-law-school.html

Seems like the bar passage rates for most of the schools in CA is 80% or higher. 

This red herring that California has the hardest bar exam simply because so many people fail it doesn't really bear scrutiny.

The reality is that California lets a whole lot of people sit for the bar exam who are grossly unqualified in most other states.

A few of them pass, and that's great.  But let's not delude ourselves into thinking that so many fail because the bar exam is so much harder.  It's far more likely that so many fail because they shouldn't be sitting for the bar exam in the first place and in most other states, they wouldn't be allowed to.

Title: Re: Northwestern California University, School of Law.
Post by: FalconJimmy on July 19, 2012, 05:29:33 AM
Many T1 out of state law schools had pass rates which were significantly lower than CA T4s. I understand that bar pass rates are not the only metric to consider when evaluating schools, but I also think it speaks to the absurdity of the rankings scheme.

If you look, it's very common for T4s to have very good bar passage rates.  It's also not uncommon for them to have better bar passage rates than schools that are superior, academically.

I couldn't tell you why, exactly.  maybe the tougher schools spend more time on more theoretical material.  maybe a lot of them have folks who go on to jobs in policy or other areas that don't require bar passage. 

as a person who attends a T4 with an impressive bar passage rate, I can tell you that from the first exam you take as a 1L, the entire exam process is designed to mirror the bar exam as closely as possible.  So, I think the T4s to a large degree, are more focused on bar passage.

It's not just california.  It's everywhere. 
Title: Re: Northwestern California University, School of Law.
Post by: legalpractitioner on July 19, 2012, 07:37:43 AM
DC has an equal or higher fail rate than California and those are almost all ABA takers.  The bar exams are actually not that different statewide, I believe the high fail rate has to do in part with differing grading rubrics. Illinois on the other hand has a high pass rate, is the bar exam easier?  I doubt it but the grading sure is.

Almost everyone takes a state specific bar review course so there should be no surprises on the exams.

. Keeping in mind that CA has the toughest bar exam in the nation...

Why?  Because so many people fail?  You don't think the fact that so many people fail has something to do with the fact that virtually every other state requires ABA accreditation?

http://www.protectconsumerjustice.org/california-bar-exam-pass-rates-by-law-school.html

Seems like the bar passage rates for most of the schools in CA is 80% or higher. 

This red herring that California has the hardest bar exam simply because so many people fail it doesn't really bear scrutiny.

The reality is that California lets a whole lot of people sit for the bar exam who are grossly unqualified in most other states.

A few of them pass, and that's great.  But let's not delude ourselves into thinking that so many fail because the bar exam is so much harder.  It's far more likely that so many fail because they shouldn't be sitting for the bar exam in the first place and in most other states, they wouldn't be allowed to.
Title: Re: Northwestern California University, School of Law.
Post by: jack24 on July 19, 2012, 09:01:25 AM
California is not that hard?  Look at the data.  I'm not saying other places like DC and Nevada don't have difficult bar exams as well, but California's must be much harder than average.  (Even the format is very different)
http://blurblawg.typepad.com/.a/6a00e54f871a9c88330168e56bcf99970c-pi

A Sampling:

George Washington, 82% in California.  Overall = 93.9
Cornell has a 77% pass rate in california.  Overall = 92.1
Brigham Young University, 61% in California.  Overall = 96.2
University of Oregon, 37% in California.  Overall = 85.4
Syracuse, 29% in California.  Overall = 79.6
Title: Re: Northwestern California University, School of Law.
Post by: legalpractitioner on July 19, 2012, 09:22:17 AM
California is not that hard?  Look at the data.  I'm not saying other places like DC and Nevada don't have difficult bar exams as well, but California's must be much harder than average.  (Even the format is very different)
http://blurblawg.typepad.com/.a/6a00e54f871a9c88330168e56bcf99970c-pi

maybe the Cal bar is an anomoly.  The standard answer is either the format is difficult or non ABA takers drag down the average pass rate by 10-20%.  However, until other states allow non ABA degree holders to take their exams, we won't know the answer.  Personally, I think it is neither, California wants about a 50% pass rate and adjusts its grading accordingly.  If the pass rate was 80%, California would be flooded with new lawyers. Protectionism pure and simple which is why California also keeps out of state attorneys from motioning into to both the state bar and US District Courts there.

Title: Re: Northwestern California University, School of Law.
Post by: jack24 on July 19, 2012, 09:49:25 AM
Yeah, I don't know that it has harder content, but I think it's probably harder to pass.  Maybe due to protectionism.

Harvard graduates 560 students a year. (http://www.law.harvard.edu/about/faq.html)
The first time bar passage rate is between 97.1 and 98.5% (http://www.ilrg.com/rankings/law/index.php/1/desc/Bar ; http://www.admissionsdean.com/law_schools/harvard-law-school/bar-exam-performance)
This means that between 8 and 16 out of 560 Harvard grads fail the bar from each class (all jurisdictions combined)
8 Harvard grads failed the California bar in July of 2011.
Title: Re: Northwestern California University, School of Law.
Post by: Cher1300 on July 19, 2012, 10:17:01 AM
http://one-timers.com/faq/how-hard-is-the-california-bar-exam

http://www.quora.com/Why-is-the-California-Bar-Exam-so-hard

It appears just about everyone is correct.  However, I just googled Cal exam difficulty vs. other states and this is not statistical data.  According to these short blogs, the cal bar is more difficult because it's longer than most other state bars, the format is different, has non-ABA students sitting for it, and isn't looking to turn out a huge number of lawyers.

I've met many grads from different ABA schools who have had to take the Cal bar three or four times in some cases.   Similar to what FalconJimmy is saying, I believe my T4 has certainly focused on preparing us for the bar.  Low bar pass rates are reasons to take away a schools accreditation.  That happened to the University of La Verne after they produced just a 35% (not quite sure on the exact number) bar pass rate in July of 2011, but they were given back their accreditation earlier this year.   So while bar pass rates are not everything, it is still a significant factor.  An ABA bar pass rate that low is just unacceptable. 
Title: Re: Northwestern California University, School of Law.
Post by: Maintain FL 350 on July 19, 2012, 10:53:56 AM
I think the objective data indicates that the CA is the toughest substantively, not just because of a unique grading rubric.

MBE: CA requires a scaled score of 144 to pass, most states require a scaled 127.5 to pass

Performance test: CA requires two, three hour long PTs. Most states require either 1 three hour, or one 90 minute PT.

On Civ Pro and Evidence essays CA requires federal and state law analysis, I believe most states only require FRCP/FRE.

Length of exam: three full days, many states (though not all) are two/two and a half.

The low pass rate is not just due to students from unaccredited schools, they actually make up a fairly small percentage of all bar takers in CA. The overwhelming majority of takers are from fully approved ABA schools. The low pass rates for grads of out of state ABA schools is, in my opinion, the best indicator of the CA bar's difficulty. For the 2011 bar, Harvard grads had a 75% pass rate.
Title: Re: Northwestern California University, School of Law.
Post by: legend on July 19, 2012, 10:58:45 AM
To me it is a bit misleading bar-review is highly individual the #1 student at Harvard could fail if they don't put in the adequate time. However, there does need to be some standard I remember some good students from my school failed the first time because they didn't take it seriously enough.

They easily passed the second time, but they got good grades in law school and assumed it would be easy and by the time they realized it wasn't it was to late for them the first go-round. That goes to Jack's point of bar review is highly individual and I don't think anyone can quite understand it until they go through it.

As to the California pass rate the main reason likely has to do with 8,000 or so people taking that is an insane number and large amount of circumstances. I have a friend a Harvard grad that passed the D.C. bar, N.Y. bar and was working full time and tried to pass the California bar, but they failed. Not because Harvard did an inadequate job or she is incapable of passing the bar she was working in a large firm trying to learn the California nuances and simply didn't have the time. So this will go down as a first-time taker in California from Harvard failing.

Point being there are a infinite number of circumstances and these stats might stand for something, but there are online grads that pass while Harvard grads fail and more often than not it has to do with the individual more than anything California Northwestern or Harvard taught them at least in my anonymous internet poster opinion.
Title: Re: Northwestern California University, School of Law.
Post by: jack24 on July 19, 2012, 11:06:13 AM
Legend: Look at the data in my link if you haven't already.

99% of Cornell grads who took the NY exam passed it.  77% of the Cornell grads who too the Cali exam passed it.  Are you saying the discrepancy might be caused by the individual effort of the grads?

Can you give me some weight on the "might".   You have a group of very intelligent, hard working law students who all had similar LSAT scores and were educated at the same school.  I think the exam is the cause for the discrepancy, not the individual effort.

The data easily meets the probable cause or preponderance standards.  I'd say it's clear and convincing, if not beyond a reasonable doubt. 
Title: Re: Northwestern California University, School of Law.
Post by: Maintain FL 350 on July 19, 2012, 12:10:21 PM
I've met many grads from different ABA schools who have had to take the Cal bar three or four times in some cases.   Similar to what FalconJimmy is saying, I believe my T4 has certainly focused on preparing us for the bar.  Low bar pass rates are reasons to take away a schools accreditation.  That happened to the University of La Verne after they produced just a 35% (not quite sure on the exact number) bar pass rate in July of 2011, but they were given back their accreditation earlier this year.   So while bar pass rates are not everything, it is still a significant factor.  An ABA bar pass rate that low is just unacceptable. 

In most states it is nearly unheard of for an ABA grad to have to take the bar three or four times. This is part of the problem I have with the ABA's one-size-fits-all approach to evaluating bar pass rates. Their methodology leaves almost no allowance for the varying difficulty levels between state bars. The ABA compares a school's first time pass rates to other ABA schools within the state.

If you're in Arkansas, for example, that means your school is compared to the only other school in the entire state, both with nearly identical admissions criteria (AK at Little Rock/AK at Fayetteville). If you're in Wisconsin, you don't even have to take the bar! But think of what that means to a small CA school: a CA T4, taking students with roughly the same GPA/LSAT profile as the Arkansas schools, is evaluted against Stanford/Berkeley/UCLA/USC. Even the "mid-range" CA schools like Loyola/Pepperdine/San Diego have average LSAT scores in the 162-164 range. In many states a 164 would be sufficient to gain admission to the state's top law school.

I was using La Verne as an example of how negatively this policy affects otherwise decent schools. Keep in mind that previous to about 2006, bar pass rates were not a big part of the ABA's criteria. Schools occasionaly, sometimes inexplicably, have a bad year. We saw it this year with San Francisco (32%), and last year with Thomas Jefferson (35%). USF is usually much higher, this was an anomoly. TJSL has already increased to 60% since last year. La Verne had the bad luck of having a low-pass year while they were provisionally accredited, which the ABA is much more willing to take away than full accreditation.

In 2009 bar pass rates plummeted state-wide, and La Verne's dropped more than most. They had 35% in 2009, then 47%, 53%, and 57% for the succeeding years. As a result, the ABA waived the usual accreditation rules and granted La Verne approval without having to start the whole processthe over. Their "ultimate bar pass rate", another method the ABA uses, actually exceeded the ABA's requirements. (I think it's around 91%). If you look at the schools that have had problems with the ABA over bar pass rates, they've all been California schools: Western State, Whittier, Golden Gate, La Verne, and now perhaps San Francisco and Thomas Jefferson. I think that fact indicates that there is something unique about the CA bar, and it would make sense to adjust the requirements accordingly.
 
Frankly, I think any school that can take students with low GPA/LSAT combos and get them to pass the hardest bar exam in the country at 50-60% for first timers, 90% overall, is probably doing a decent job. Also, this bar pass policy encourages T4s to admit huge classes then slash 30% (or more) in order to maintain higher pass rates. Ironically, the ABA says it's against this practice. 

BTW, I'm going solely off of memory on the percentages I quoted. If I'm wrong feel free to correct me.
Title: Re: Northwestern California University, School of Law.
Post by: Nor-Cal on July 19, 2012, 11:33:07 PM
. Keeping in mind that CA has the toughest bar exam in the nation...

Why?  Because so many people fail?  You don't think the fact that so many people fail has something to do with the fact that virtually every other state requires ABA accreditation?

So ABA accreditation automatically means anybody whoever doesn't attend an ABA school is inferior and therefore cannot pass the California Bar Exam?
Title: Re: Northwestern California University, School of Law.
Post by: Maintain FL 350 on July 20, 2012, 10:19:45 AM
Unaccredited schools have a much lower pass rate, but ABA pass rates are also much lower than other states.

For the February, 2012 bar:

ABA grads (including U.S. Attorneys): 3025 / 1547 passed
CBE grads: 538 / 141 passed
Unaccredited: 363 / 68 passed

Calbar's website breaks it down into specific categories, but those are the basics.

Title: Re: Northwestern California University, School of Law.
Post by: legalpractitioner on July 20, 2012, 10:57:55 AM
The non ABA grads are in an inferior position per se because they cannot forum shop for an easier bar to take. 
Title: Re: Northwestern California University, School of Law.
Post by: legend on July 20, 2012, 12:47:40 PM
@Jack not saying the work ethic is really a factor

The friend was taking another bar while working full-time. I imagine at Cornell many of the grads took NY bar the first time and it is a possibility that the individuals who failed were taking a 2nd/3rd bar while trying to make 1800 billable hours or something like that.

That is what happened to my friend I'm certain she could pass if she took the full-time to do it.

If the statistic indicated first-time takers of a bar period opposed to already licensed attorneys I would be curious to know if there is a discrepancy. There may not be, but this is only a theory.

California is an EXTREMELY difficult bar as well I am in no way negating that, but just trying to show there is often much more than goes into passing or failing a bar than the school someone attends.

Title: Re: Northwestern California University, School of Law.
Post by: legalpractitioner on July 20, 2012, 04:59:43 PM
Licensed attorneys take an abbreviated version of the Cal bar and routinely do worse than first time takers. My theory is that increased alcohol and drug consumption is a factor in the lower than expected pass rate:

The pass rate for the 396 lawyers who took the attorneys’ exam was 34.6 percent, a decline from last year’s 41.6 percent pass rate. Of those who took the attorneys’ exam, 26 were disciplined lawyers who took the test as a condition of reinstatement. Four passed. The attorneys’ examination is open to lawyers who have been admitted to the active practice of law in good standing for at least four years in another United States jurisdiction.

http://www.calbarjournal.com/December2011/TopHeadlines/TH6.aspx
Title: Re: Northwestern California University, School of Law.
Post by: calvinexpress on July 22, 2012, 10:34:32 AM
The non ABA grads are in an inferior position per se because they cannot forum shop for an easier bar to take.

What state has the easiest bar?
Title: Re: Northwestern California University, School of Law.
Post by: legalpractitioner on July 22, 2012, 12:58:36 PM
If you do a Google search, you can know too.
Title: Re: Northwestern California University, School of Law.
Post by: financialandtaxguy on January 12, 2013, 08:56:33 PM

In your experience, do most of the students at Concord plan on becoming solo practitioners? If not, does Concord help its students out with placement, or help you get in touch with alumni? Just curious. My own school had a pretty abyssmal career services office, we were pretty much left on our own.

I doubt any online school could do much in the way of job placement since its graduates are usually going to be disqualified from most public employment with non ABA degrees.  Online students are going to be solo or two person firm practitioners by default.

Just want to refresh this post reminding readers to look up the post I made several months ago where I gave an example of a friend of mine who went to distance law school Oakbrook College of Law, passed the Baby Bar first time, passed the General Bar first time, and then a couple of years later after experience with a non-profit legal advocacy organization, got hired as a District Attorney in Tulare County, California.
Title: Re: Northwestern California University, School of Law.
Post by: jennid1234 on January 15, 2013, 10:54:44 AM
Every quarter Concord Law School posts alumni updates and many of the graduates are in government jobs some administrative, others practicing law.  The graduates are not all sole practishioners, we even have a group of four that started their own law firm last year.  So, it doesn't matter the route you take, if you are good at being a lawyer then who cares if you are at a prominent law firm. I do a lot of volunteering and I also work full time, in my 3rd year now at Concord and during this economic hard time, what I consider my biggest asset is being active in the community which does make a difference.  Not only is your skill important upon graduation but overall character counts too.  Real tired of the snobs out there that think online or schools not of ABA status challenging our credentials and potential.  Choose a school that is a best fit for you!  You will succeed.