Law School Discussion

Deciding Where to Go => Visits, Admit Days, and Open Houses => Topic started by: Niques on July 22, 2012, 08:57:49 AM

Title: ABA versus Non-ABA; marathon LSAT-taker
Post by: Niques on July 22, 2012, 08:57:49 AM
Hello,

My profile is I graduated from UCLA with a BA in Psychology with a 2.87GPA in 2006. Married in 2007. Then graduated from Cal State Bakersfield in 2009 with an MSW (Masters of Social Work) and 3.87GPA. I've worked as a Child Protective Services Social Worker and Medical Social Worker for the past 5-6 years.

I have been taking the LSAT since 2006. My scores have been 140, 141, 145 and 146 (steadily improving each time).

I am now 29 years old and never accepted into any ABA schools. I was recently accepted into San Joaquin College of Law (SJCL), which is a non-ABA approved school but state accredited. I have been struggling with the decision of attending SJCL and leaving the workforce.

My fear is attending a non-ABA approved school will limit my options post-law school. My other fear is if I don't go I may never get into any ABA approved school and forego my opportunity to attend law school altogether.

As far as career plan, I'd like to get into public interest law, juvenile dependency or health law. I plan on staying in California.

Any and all pieces of thoughts, advice and wisdom would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks
Title: Re: ABA versus Non-ABA; marathon LSAT-taker
Post by: Maintain FL 350 on July 22, 2012, 10:32:21 AM
This issue has been discussed pretty extensively in other threads, check put some of the older threads.

In my opinion, state-accredited law schools can be a good choice for the right student. Generally, if you have the opportunity to attend an ABA school that's probably a better idea. The key is to really take the time to consider what you want to do after law school, and to think about whether or not a non-ABA degree can help you achieve that goal.

The cost of attending SJCL is (I think) about $50-60,000. That's a huge investment of money and time. Whether you're considering a state school or an ABA school, you need to think about whether the cost of attending will be outweighed by the benefit. In other words, after spending $50-60K will you be able to get a job that will allow you to make thise loan payments?

The job market is very, very tight right now, and I'm sure it's tighter for Calbar grads vs. ABA. Nonetheless, I seem to remember that SJCL has a good reputation in the central valley, and many of the local attorneys are grads. If you plan on staying in the immediate area, SJCL probably has a decent alumni network that can help you get some experience with internships, etc. Outside of the central valley, you'll have to compete against grads from bigger name schools.

As far as working in juvenile dependency, a degree from a state school probably won't hold you back, especially considering your experience as a social worker. The biggest problem you'll face in that field is that there are very few jobs available. The dependency positions that are state/county funded have had their budgets slashed, and the government dependency jobs (county counsel, DCFS) are almost all on a hiring freeze. When a position does open up, they get flooded with applicants.

One last point, and please don't take this as criticism: the LSAT is easy compared to the bar exam. The LSAT is one morning long, and covers a few topics. The CA bar exam is three days long, covers something like 16 topics, and is notoriously difficult. If you had a tough time with the LSAT you might want to think about how you'll handle the bar exam before you drop 60k on law school.

Good Luck with everything!
Title: Re: ABA versus Non-ABA; marathon LSAT-taker
Post by: Niques on July 22, 2012, 04:49:52 PM
Hi Roald,

Thank you very much for replying so quickly. I take absolutely no offense to your advice regarding the BAR. I agree. It is another concern I have considered. I have a lot to think about and I have been asking for input from everyone. I figure words of wisdom may help.

If you don't mind, can you share some of your background/experience with me?
Title: Re: ABA versus Non-ABA; marathon LSAT-taker
Post by: jack24 on July 23, 2012, 05:11:25 PM
You have always been in the bottom 1/3 of LSAT takers.  Your worst score put you in the 13th percentile.  140 is like 37/100 on the test.   People should be able to get 50% by process of elimination and coin-flip luck.

So rather than bash you, I'll tell you what I've learned.   You can go to a Cal-credited school, pass the bar and get a job if you have a little luck and some serious networking game. 

You should really start meeting family law attorneys.  These people often work at smaller firms, so the job potential isn't great, but you can learn alot about what they are looking for.  Your background in social work will help you to navigate a lot of legal issues in juvenile cases, so you'll need to lean heavily on that. 

You are fighting against a stereotype that might be true.  You look dumb on paper.  7-8 out of 10 people did better than you on the LSAT.  So you have to make up for that with connections, heart, and a sincere desire to practice a certain type of law.  Lawyers focusing on family, criminal, and public interest law really love dedication and interest. 

Honestly, if you can't figure out a way to meet with ten lawyers in areas you are interested in in the next month, you don't have the tools you need. (unless you just don't have any time).
Title: Re: ABA versus Non-ABA; marathon LSAT-taker
Post by: Niques on July 25, 2012, 08:10:52 PM
Hi jack24,

Thank you for the candid honesty. I won't make excuses for my poor scores. I agree. It will be an uphill battle. I have spoken with some attorneys in juvenile dependency and still continue to work on my networking.

Thanks again...
Title: Re: ABA versus Non-ABA; marathon LSAT-taker
Post by: Maintain FL 350 on July 26, 2012, 11:41:30 PM
Hi Niques, sorry it took me so long respond.

I graduated from lawschool in CA recently and I have a little experience working at a firm and later at a government agency. I know a little about juvenile dependency, but not too much. Just so you know, I've met plenty of people who had LSATs in the 140s, went to CA accredited schools, passed the bar, and are practicing attorneys. Does that mean it will be easy, or that it's guaranteed? No, of course not. Those people may be the exceptiions to the rule. Nonetheless, they exist. I also know a guy with a JD from an ABA school who has not been able to pass the CA bar after multiple attempts. The point is, you know yourself better than anyone else does. Do a critical, realistic evaluation of your strengths and weaknesses, and go from there.

Good Luck, let us know what you decide!
Title: Re: ABA versus Non-ABA; marathon LSAT-taker
Post by: FalconJimmy on July 27, 2012, 06:58:46 AM
Just my personal opinion, but:

1.  If you plan on working for yourself, than any degree that lets you practice law is good enough.  Your success or failure will depend largely on other factors.
2.  If you plan on getting a job in the worst hiring climate in 80 years, and you're planning on going to a school that is clearly, in bold letters, all caps, for all to see, inferior to the roughly 200 schools that are having exceptional difficulty placing their grads, you have a terrible, terrible plan.

If you had a kid, would you advise them to take all their eggs, put them in one basket, and try to become a professional baseball player?  How about a rapper?

Strange how people can recognize guidance like that for what it is:  exceedingly foolish advice.  Yet, those same people, when it comes to trying to build a career on a foundation that is, at best, shaky, are all "oh, follow your dreams.  it can be done.  You can do it if you want it bad enough."

Do a quick google search on what ABA grads are facing at graduation.  Then, take their troubles and magnify them by at least a factor of 10 or 20. 

sorry to be such a wet blanket.  Again, if your plan is to into practice for yourself, these schools are probably fine.  If you want a job, though, this is a singularly stupid plan.
Title: Re: ABA versus Non-ABA; marathon LSAT-taker
Post by: legend on July 31, 2012, 09:14:58 AM
Before I say anything remember that I or anyone else posting on this board is nothing more than an anonymous internet poster that knows nothing about you, your situation, or what is best for you so take anything you read on this board or others with a grain of salt.

I suppose an ABA school is generally better, but in your scenario particularly if you want to live in the Central Valley of California where there is no ABA school within 100's of miles and where very few people want to relocate to SJCL probably will open more doors. I graduated law school a few years ago and was offered a fairly high paying job in Fresno, but I can't live there I definitely considered it, but it is just not for me and that is my personal opinion. That firm had SJCL grads working along grads from Top 20 schools in many of the smaller towns in California all you need is bar passage and a sincere desire to live in the location and I wouldn't be surprised if you passed the bar that obtaining a job in Fresno or the Central Valley would not be to difficult. I know the head D.A. in Fresno went to SJCL, and simple google Fresno firms and look at attorney bios and you will find plenty of SJCL grads working.

Now as others pointed out getting a LSAT in the 140's is indicative that you are a poor test taker and the California Bar is extremely difficult surprisingly SJCL has a decent bar passage rate http://admissions.calbar.ca.gov/LinkClick.aspx?fileticket=PL6VLVgQEIM%3d&tabid=2269&mid=3159 actually better than some California ABA schools, which is surprising. That is simply something to consider though although law school essays, which is the majority of law school and the California Bar have no resemblance to the LSAT so you might do fine. There are simply no guarantees of whether or not you will pass the bar from any school, but a low LSAT score might indicate an inability to handle test pressure, which the bar puts 200x more on you than the LSAT when all you have is 90 bucks on the line opposed to three years of work and 50-100k in debt.

I would like to point out that the reality of legal education is essentially the same wherever you go. I imagine at SJCL you will take Torts, Civil Procedure, Contracts, Property, Criminal Law, and Legal Writing or some variation on that and you will learn the exact same things in these courses as you would at an ABA school. I would imagine the professors at ABA schools would be more engaging and experienced, but the law is the law no matter what school you go to. Cardozo doesn't travel back in time to write a different opinion in Palsgraf for Non-ABA grads it will be the same case whether you read it at SJCL or Harvard the guy is going to drop the firecrackers. 

A final point against SJCL is there are some places that simply will NOT hire non-ABA grads, but these are generally not located in the Central Valley. Many states also will not let you sit for the bar, which can be a real problem if you want to move you know whether or not moving is a real possibility or not. Furthermore, life can throw something unexpected at you and you may end up having to move to another state and not being able to take the bar would or get licensed there would not be good. Assess that possibility as you know better than anyone how likely it is you will move to another state the higher the chance of that happening the worse of an option SJCL becomes.

Neither I or anyone on this board or others can possibly know what is best for you or how it will work out. Use your common sense, but I don't think SJCL is some terrible god-forsaken place. As I stated the lack of any ABA for 100's of miles will make competition less fierce than if you went to an ABA school in San Francisco, L.A, San Diego, etc. Good luck whatever you decide.
Title: Re: ABA versus Non-ABA; marathon LSAT-taker
Post by: cooley3L on August 04, 2012, 11:22:02 AM
A 146 is enough to get into Cooley but I would recommend the 5 year plan.
Title: Re: ABA versus Non-ABA; marathon LSAT-taker
Post by: Cher1300 on August 05, 2012, 03:53:27 PM
Another option would be to keep your job and attend the state accredited school in the evenings to save some money.  As legend mentioned, you are not in a big city where you will be competing with many ABA grads.  With a CBE degree, you won't have to sit for the baby bar, and the total cost of tuition is about half that or less than an ABA school. 
However, if you are really on the fence about attending an ABA, see if you can get your LSAT a bit higher - at least 150 or above and apply to a 4th tier ABA.  Many ABA schools also have night programs if you are worried about quitting your job. 

Just some other options for you to consider.  As already stated, none of us can make that decision for you.  Good luck with whatever you decide.
Title: Re: ABA versus Non-ABA; marathon LSAT-taker
Post by: Nor-Cal on August 07, 2012, 12:35:05 AM
All in all, from what I've learned from active attorney's in my area, is that where you went to school is far less important than if you're good at what you do. A crappy attorney is a crappy attorney no matter where you went to school, and vice versus.  Non ABA schools are a very good option considering you can practice law almost anywhere so long as you pass the bar in California and practice for a few years before applying to take the bar in another state.

The ABA is nice but is very over rated. I think people are going to see a shift as the cost v. benefit of attending an ABA school is not what it once was when you compare dollars and cents.
Title: Re: ABA versus Non-ABA; marathon LSAT-taker
Post by: jack24 on August 07, 2012, 08:48:28 AM
All in all, from what I've learned from active attorney's in my area, is that where you went to school is far less important than if you're good at what you do.

That's true, but there are thousands of attorneys who went to good schools who are good at what they do.  We live in a world of tiebreakers because we have two attorneys for every attorney job.

Non ABA schools are a very good option considering you can practice law almost anywhere so long as you pass the bar in California and practice for a few years before applying to take the bar in another state.

Almost anywhere?  Care to list the states that do this?  (I don't mean to be snarky, but it's not close to almost anywhere)

The ABA is nice but is very over rated. I think people are going to see a shift as the cost v. benefit of attending an ABA school is not what it once was when you compare dollars and cents.

Yes, the ABA is overrated, but non aba schools need a few different things.  They need to get state bars on board, they need higher quality students, and they need employers to get on board.   Really, once employers get on board, students and state bars will follow suit.

Title: Re: ABA versus Non-ABA; marathon LSAT-taker
Post by: Nor-Cal on August 08, 2012, 12:07:38 AM
@Jack24: Almost anywhere?  Care to list the states that do this?  (I don't mean to be snarky, but it's not close to almost anywhere)

If you would have asked me this question a few months ago, I could have told exactly what states I was referring too. Some of the states I remember were Nevada, Oregon, Washington, Texas, Florida, Montana, and maybe 6-10 others. I had a complete list around the house but I cannot locate it. The California State Bar website offers a list of CBE graduates and states they currently practice in. Cross reference that with the bar requirements in each state and you can come up with a list of states that give exceptions for CBE graduates with some time under their belt. (Usually 3-5 years of experience as a licensed attorney in CA)

I completely understand your stance, I was actually shocked to find CBE graduates practicing in as many states as I did. But it just goes to show how things are changing and exceptions can be made.
Title: Re: ABA versus Non-ABA; marathon LSAT-taker
Post by: SoCalLawGuy on September 21, 2012, 01:40:19 AM
Have you decided yet? In my opinion, it's better to attend an ABA school but either way, if you have a good plan and you're determined enough, I think you'll be OK.
Title: Re: ABA versus Non-ABA; marathon LSAT-taker
Post by: brandadalaw on November 07, 2012, 04:06:06 AM
New to the forum

Forgive me if I am repeating an answered topic but could anyone expand on the Pro's and Con's of attending a Non-ABA approved school? I am in a similar situation as the poster and would like some advise.

I reside in California and this is what i know so far:

- Non-ABA approved Schools limit you to practicing Law in your state (not a concern I love CA)
- Bar Passing percentage is much lower

Anything else useful I can use in my decision? (links to other threads discussing this topic are welcome) Also I have a 2.6 GPA and have been scoring in the low 140s on the LSAT can any California residents point me out to a school ( ABA or Non-ABA approved) for which I stand a chance of getting admission?

All responses are highly appreciated (even the snarky one, I have tough skin!)
Title: Re: ABA versus Non-ABA; marathon LSAT-taker
Post by: livinglegend on November 07, 2012, 03:01:01 PM
I think CBA schools can be great for the right individual and many states are allowing non-ABA grads to take bar exams outside of California.

The legal education you receive will probably be the same whether at an ABA or non-ABA school you will most likely take all the bar related courses Torts, Civil Procedure, Property, Contracts, Criminal Procedure, Criminal Law, etc and you will read Supreme Court cases that are the same exact ones the people at Harvard are reading.

The only real problem with a non-ABA school is that in big markets there is no shortage of ABA grads looking for work and if you hear unaccredited v. accredited school a lot of people will simply go with accredited just basic human nature. However, if your in a small market like Fresno or Chico then all you really need is a law license.

There are plenty of successful attorneys in Chico that went to Cal Northern a non-ABA school in the city where no ABA school exists.

Same with San Joaquin College of Law there is no ABA school within 3 hours of there and many attorneys in the area went to San Joaquin College of Law.

PROS & CONS OF NON-ABA SCHOOLS

The major pros of a non-aba school are that they are much, much, cheaper and if your a person that knows they want to live in a certain location for the rest of your life then it probably won't be an issue. You will receive essentially the same education as you would at an ABA school.

One  concern I would have based on your post is the 140 LSAT that is indicative that you may not be a great test taker and the bar exam is about 1,000,000 times harder than the LSAT and the 140 may be an indication the bar will be a struggle which is why I imagine the CBA bar results are so much lower than other schools.

Other major con is that many states won't let you take the bar exam without going to court on the issue and if you want to move around that will be a restriction. There are also some doors that will simply be closed certain government positions, big firms,  simply will not allow non-ABA grads to work there. Right or wrong that is the way it is. So if that is your goal you will be disappointed, but if you want to start your own firm or work in a rural area then a CBA school will probably do just fine.

Hope that is helpful.



Title: Re: ABA versus Non-ABA; marathon LSAT-taker
Post by: bobol on November 07, 2012, 05:34:05 PM
Don't go to a non ABA accredited school unless you have exhausted all other options.

You should consider recent ABA accredited University of Massachusetts School of Law which had a median LSAT of 144 for the class that started in August 2012.  The class profile is set forth in the below link:
http://www.umassd.edu/media/umassdartmouth/schooloflaw/admissions/law_profile_2011.pdf

Before you attend a Non ABA- California only accredited school you should first consider a law school that is committed to gaining ABA accreditation.  Law schools seeking ABA accreditation are frequently new law schools started by established colleges, universities or law schools which has the necessary financial resources to achieve ABA accreditation. 

The following law schools are seeking ABA accreditation:

** Belmont College is a respected 4 year College in Tennessee started a new law school and is working towards accrediation but to my knowledge it has not had the ABA site team review yet.
http://www.belmont.edu/law/index.html

** Concordia University is an established college with an enrollment of 3,100+/- studets in Portland Oregon.  Concordia statrted a new law school in Boise Idaho and welcomed its first law school class this falll (2012) . I am not sure why a school in Oregon chose to start a new law school in Idaho but it did.
http://www.concordialaw.com/

**  John Marshall Law School (Atlanta) was accredited by the ABA in 2005. John Marshall Law School decided to expand enrollment and this fall opened a new campus in Savannah Georgia as "The Savannah law School".
http://www.savannahlawschool.org/

** The Indiana Tech Law School will open in Fort Wayne in the fall 2013.  Indiana Tech is a private college founded in 1931.  It is a respected undergrad school with an undergrad enrollment of 5000+/- students. 
http://www.indianatech.edu/Academics/Law/Pages/default.aspx

** The Thomas M. Cooley School of Law with four (4) existing law school campuses in (i) Lansing Michigan, (ii) Grand Rapids Michigan, (iii) Auburn Hills Michigan, and (iv) Ann Arbor Michigan expanded enrollment by opening a fifth (5th) law school location in Tampa Florida this year.
http://www.cooley.edu/tampabay/

Let me repeat- -  only attend a non ABA accredited law school after you have exhausted all efforts and been rejected by the above established schools which are working towards accreditation.

Good luck & don't get discouraged.


Title: Re: ABA versus Non-ABA; marathon LSAT-taker
Post by: Maintain FL 350 on November 08, 2012, 12:35:48 AM
CBA schools can be a good option for the right student, as livinglegend said. The key is to ascertain whether you are that type of student.

One of the most important questions to ask is "What do I want to do after law school?" If you can answer that, it will help you figure out if a CBA school is a good option. Most CBA grads end up in small firms, as solo practitioners, and in local government offices (DA, Public Defender, etc.) Big firms, many mid-sized firms, many big corporations, and many federal jobs are likely not going to hire a non-ABA grad. If you're interested in one of those jobs you need to go to an ABA school and do very well.

Also, as livinglegend pointed out, there is geographic variation. Firms in bigger cities like LA and San Francisco are going to be more competitive, and a CBA degree may put you at a disadvantage in those places. OTOH, I've met many CBA grads who are successful attorneys with thriving practices, and some who earn considerably more than the average biglaw partner.

I think the key is to be realistic and informed, and to understand the potential limitations of a non-ABA degree. You're not going to be able to rely on your pedigree to get a job or an internship, so you're going to have to really hustle. If you know what to expect, and your goals are congruent with a CBA degree, you can do just fine. Do the research, and talk to CBA grads.

Let me repeat- -  only attend a non ABA accredited law school after you have exhausted all efforts and been rejected by the above established schools which are working towards accreditation.

Although I agree that it generally makes sense to attend an ABA school, I don't think that any ABA school is always better than any CBA school. The OP stated that he wants to stay in CA. I seriously doubt if an unknown, out of state, provisionally accredited or T4 ABA school carries more weight in LA or SF than the local CBAs.

Honestly, I'd never even heard of most of the schools you mentioned (except Cooley) before reading this post. I'll bet very few others in CA have either. It's nothing against those schools, I'm sure they're all good institutions. I'm just not sure how beneficial a degree from an unknown ABA school is compared to a known local CBA. Most employers would probably draw very little distinction between the two.

Getting hired at small firms and government offices is often based much more on experience than pedigree. That's why a student should probably go to law school in the region in which they intend to practice. It's much easier to get internships, clerkships, and to network. A local CBA school will likely have at least some alumni network and, depending on the school, might have a good local reputation. That's probably more than you'd get from an out of state T4, which makes me question the cost vs. benefit.

Title: Re: ABA versus Non-ABA; marathon LSAT-taker
Post by: brandadalaw on November 08, 2012, 03:15:51 AM
Thank you all for responding, you were very helpful.

@livinglegend I'm in Los Angeles which is definitely a competitive market, I'm well aware it will be a challenge standing out with a degree from a CBA school which is why I am still very skeptical of it all. It is cost effective as you mentioned, education wise I would not be missing out yet the odds would still be against me employment wise there are tons of unemployed attorney's who have gone to far better schools than the ones I am even considering, local and out of state so I'm not oblivious to the difficulty. Regarding my low LSAT scores I completely agree with you, Iíll be the first to admit I do not do well on standardized tests but as far as I know the Bar exam is in essay format and tests your knowledge in material you were exposed to in Law School is that correct? the LSAT rather focuses on trying to almost rewire your way of thinking testing your critical and analytical skills something you do not learn much in school and can only prepare for with lots of practice. In an ideal world Iíd be able to practice all day long to the point Iíd be able to give lectures on the LSAT, but realistically I work two jobs, canít afford a prep course and can only study a few hours a week on a borrowed book from my local library.  I have no problem understanding LSAT concepts it's the time factor that I struggle with so honestly I'm not too concerned with the Bar right now, I can grasp concepts very well I'm sure with three years worth of learning and exposure plus a good six months of studying I should be fine. This may be naive of me so if you or anyone reading this disagrees and would like to make a point for that you are more than welcome to enlighten me.

@bobol thank you for the links, information and advice. I have never heard of any of those schools besides Cooley but I do agree with you, I should certainly try and go for an ABA approved school before deciding on a CBA. My main concern is that all the schools you listed are out of California which is where I would like to practice law for at least the start of my career as my family and connections are all here. Part of why Iím considering a CBA to stay local, most of the ABA approved schools here are extremely competitive and I donít stand a chance. UMass looks tempting though I will definitely look into it and keep an open mind to going out of state. I just know most young attorneyís rely on internships, networking and alumniís when trying to land their first job so I wouldnít like to leave California.

@Roald
Quote
One of the most important questions to ask is "What do I want to do after law school?" If you can answer that, it will help you figure out if a CBA school is a good option.
[/quote]  Great question, Iím still not fully certain as Iím sure a lot of people applying for Law School feel. Currently Iím trying to fully understand what it is to be an attorney and separate the fictional image most people have from the real one. I have been volunteering at law firms and courthouses just to see the day to day life of an attorney. I really have no interest in working for a big corporation or firm I think you are kind of born into those jobs; you have to have gone to the right schools and, met the right people and made the grades early on. I want to do something local, independent with a business side to it. I find it far more rewarding working for myself so I guess solo practitioner is more along the lines of what Iím interested in. I have been working in the healthcare industry for some time now and have MDís and RNís in my family as well as professional acquaintances so I am also thinking of conjoining that with my law degree. It all isnít 100% clear at this time which Iím a bit ashamed to admit but I definitely have the drive and hustle it takes to work independent. I have come across many unemployed young attorneys my age and older at my volunteer positions, we do the same work and interact and I can see why they are unemployed. Their mannerism, confidence level, knowledge of the world and drive all shows after a five minute conversation. I have overcome a lot in my life, mixed in with people from all backgrounds and can definitely compete with some of these kids and get the jobs their degree alone canít get them, even from a bad school I just need to figure out the best plan for me and at the moment Itís all fuzzy due to the fact that I know very few successful attorneyís independent attorneyís I can speak to and seek advice from.
Title: Re: ABA versus Non-ABA; marathon LSAT-taker
Post by: bobol on November 08, 2012, 05:49:40 AM

Honestly, I'd never even heard of most of the schools you mentioned (except Cooley) before reading this post....

If you have never heard of the University of Massachusetts then that fact does not reflect favorably upon your credibility since UMass is the Massachusetts'
public university.

____________________

Roald .... 'fess up; what is your connection to ABA unaccredited law schools?  are you a student, grad or employee?

Title: Re: ABA versus Non-ABA; marathon LSAT-taker
Post by: Maintain FL 350 on November 08, 2012, 08:17:54 AM
If you have never heard of the University of Massachusetts then that fact does not reflect favorably upon your credibility since UMass is the Massachusetts'
public university.

I should have said "except for UMASS and Cooley." UMASS's new law school at UMASS/Dartmouth is the old Southern New England Law School re-branded with the UMASS seal. Many people have heard of UMASS/Amherst, but not UMASS/Dartmouth. The law school is only provisionally accredited, and largely unknown outside of it's region. That's not a criticism of the school, BTW, but it takes a while to build a reputation. Either way, it does not possess the kind of elite reputation that's going to allow the OP to land a job in CA based on pedigree.

Further, UMASS's first time bar pass rate for February 2012 was 0% (that's not a typo). The school only recently received provisional accreditation. The bar pass rate will be taken into account by the ABA when the school applies for full approval. Some of the other schools you mentioned have no bar pass rates to report because they have not yet graduated a class.

Roald .... 'fess up; what is your connection to ABA unaccredited law schools?  are you a student, grad or employee?

Nice try, but none of the above. I graduated from an ABA accredited law school in CA.

Now, based on your vast experience in the CA legal market, why do you think a degree from a largely unknown ABA school is better than a CBA school? How many out of state T4 grads show up in LA with no local experience and land a job? Have you seen the CA bar pass rates for out of state T4s?
 

Title: Re: ABA versus Non-ABA; marathon LSAT-taker
Post by: Maintain FL 350 on November 08, 2012, 10:29:54 AM
Also I have a 2.6 GPA and have been scoring in the low 140s on the LSAT can any California residents point me out to a school ( ABA or Non-ABA approved) for which I stand a chance of getting admission?

Brandadalaw:

I don't know if you mean practice LSATs or actual LSATs, but if you can get your score up to about 150-155 you might be able to get into a few CA ABA schools. Schools like Southwestern, La Verne, Chapman, and Cal Western might take someone with a 2.6/150-155. An in-state ABA school is probably a better investment than either a CBA or out of state T4 ABA school.
Title: Re: ABA versus Non-ABA; marathon LSAT-taker
Post by: PIgooroo on January 14, 2013, 09:44:36 PM
I have real life experience.  First, I had a 2.3 undergrad gpa, and a 142 LSAT.  Quantitative, I am bottom of the barrel and not going to be successful in law school, or the bar exam.  I was admitted to SJCL, and sat through the full first year.  I was academically disqualified because my GPA was below the standard.  From what I recall, the cut rate was 2/3, GONE.  I went to work as a paralegal, and then applied to another Cal Bar law school.  I am not one quarter away from graduation.  Here is my take.  No matter what law school you go to, Stanford or Yale or small time cal bar school, YOU WILL BUST YOUR BUTT, just to get through the first year.  If you have the scores to get to a big time ABA school, you probably can "play the game" a little better.  but regardless, its hard, and you will dump many sleepless nights, weekends are shot, and you may lose your spouse.  I encourage you to go.  But do not be bummed if you do not get through the first year.  However, it is not impossible, with hard work. A LOT of hard work.  you have to learn the game, and quickly.  oh, and there is no magical pill to get out of hard work.  everyone has their own method to passing law school, they are all different.  the one thing in common, is hard work.  best of luck to you.
Title: Re: ABA versus Non-ABA; marathon LSAT-taker
Post by: jack24 on January 15, 2013, 10:31:09 AM
I have real life experience.  First, I had a 2.3 undergrad gpa, and a 142 LSAT.  Quantitative, I am bottom of the barrel and not going to be successful in law school, or the bar exam.  I was admitted to SJCL, and sat through the full first year.  I was academically disqualified because my GPA was below the standard.  From what I recall, the cut rate was 2/3, GONE.  I went to work as a paralegal, and then applied to another Cal Bar law school.  I am not one quarter away from graduation.  Here is my take.  No matter what law school you go to, Stanford or Yale or small time cal bar school, YOU WILL BUST YOUR BUTT, just to get through the first year.  If you have the scores to get to a big time ABA school, you probably can "play the game" a little better.  but regardless, its hard, and you will dump many sleepless nights, weekends are shot, and you may lose your spouse.  I encourage you to go.  But do not be bummed if you do not get through the first year.  However, it is not impossible, with hard work. A LOT of hard work.  you have to learn the game, and quickly.  oh, and there is no magical pill to get out of hard work.  everyone has their own method to passing law school, they are all different.  the one thing in common, is hard work.  best of luck to you.

What are you talking about?

Anybody with reasonable focus and intelligence can reach 95% of their potential in law school by dedicated 50 hours (real hours) a week.   After my first semester, I probably spent about 35 hours a week for 12 weeks and then 80 hours a week for 3 weeks.  A lot of that time was spent for law review, moot court, and writing papers.
I was almost always over-prepared for exams. 

Really, every hour over about 50 per week will be next to useless.  It would be much better to spend that extra time to work out, watch movies, take your spouse on dates, or have sex.
Title: Re: ABA versus Non-ABA; marathon LSAT-taker
Post by: Cher1300 on January 16, 2013, 03:48:17 PM

Further, UMASS's first time bar pass rate for February 2012 was 0% (that's not a typo). The school only recently received provisional accreditation. The bar pass rate will be taken into account by the ABA when the school applies for full approval. Some of the other schools you mentioned have no bar pass rates to report because they have not yet graduated a class.


That's may be, but their July 2012 Bar Pass rate was 70%...I beleive the year before it was 77%.  I tried to find the bar pass rate for February 2012, but couldn't.  Maybe none of their students took the exam?

 http://www.mass.gov/bbe/statisticsjuly2012.pdf
Title: Re: ABA versus Non-ABA; marathon LSAT-taker
Post by: Maintain FL 350 on January 16, 2013, 05:19:29 PM
I have no doubt that UMass is a good school, my main point was simply that it doesn't make sense to go to a relatively unknown law school in MA if you want to practice in Los Angeles.

I'm not sure what that particular administration of the exam indicates about UMass, if anything. Schools sometimes have "outlier" years where they score low, then recover.
Title: Re: ABA versus Non-ABA; marathon LSAT-taker
Post by: livinglegend on January 18, 2013, 10:39:06 PM


What are you talking about?

Anybody with reasonable focus and intelligence can reach 95% of their potential in law school by dedicated 50 hours (real hours) a week.   After my first semester, I probably spent about 35 hours a week for 12 weeks and then 80 hours a week for 3 weeks.  A lot of that time was spent for law review, moot court, and writing papers.
I was almost always over-prepared for exams. 

Really, every hour over about 50 per week will be next to useless.  It would be much better to spend that extra time to work out, watch movies, take your spouse on dates, or have sex.

As far that goes I don't know if that is true just because you did it one way does not mean it is the same for everyone. I guarantee you I could do everything Lebron James does and I will not be half the basketball player he is. Some people are just naturally better at understanding the law and I think that is what the LSAT does. A person with a 142 LSAT score is probably going to have to bust their ass 10x as hard as someone who got a 175 to pass the bar.

For some people RAP, negligence, IRAC jsut clicks others it does not. So I think the poster you responded you made a good point it will be hard partiuclalry if you go to a CBA school to succeed. So for anyone considering law school if you got a 141 on the LSAT it means you probably don't understand the nuances or handle the pressure of a test that well. Those are things you will need to do in law school and you will need to work harder to succeed than someone that gets it.

Title: Re: ABA versus Non-ABA; marathon LSAT-taker
Post by: jack24 on January 21, 2013, 12:00:13 PM

As far that goes I don't know if that is true just because you did it one way does not mean it is the same for everyone. I guarantee you I could do everything Lebron James does and I will not be half the basketball player he is. Some people are just naturally better at understanding the law and I think that is what the LSAT does. A person with a 142 LSAT score is probably going to have to bust their ass 10x as hard as someone who got a 175 to pass the bar.

For some people RAP, negligence, IRAC jsut clicks others it does not. So I think the poster you responded you made a good point it will be hard partiuclalry if you go to a CBA school to succeed. So for anyone considering law school if you got a 141 on the LSAT it means you probably don't understand the nuances or handle the pressure of a test that well. Those are things you will need to do in law school and you will need to work harder to succeed than someone that gets it.

I'm talking about potential.  My point is that the difference in your grades between working 50 hours a week and working 100 hours a week won't be that substantial if you are a mediocre student.   Yes, it is extremely difficult to get all As in law school on a curve, but it's not very difficult to get all Bs (or whatever the average grade is.)   
You really start to see harshly diminishing returns as you add more and more hours.  You start to get into minutiae that nobody cares about.
Now that may vary depending on the type of final exams your school has, but not by much. 

I really doubt anyone in the bottom quarter of their class (outside the top law schools) puts in 50 hours of real studying every week.  I'd love to hear about a real world example.

Title: Re: ABA versus Non-ABA; marathon LSAT-taker
Post by: Duncanjp on January 21, 2013, 06:58:45 PM
In an ideal world Iíd be able to practice all day long to the point Iíd be able to give lectures on the LSAT, but realistically I work two jobs, canít afford a prep course and can only study a few hours a week on a borrowed book from my local library.  I have no problem understanding LSAT concepts it's the time factor that I struggle with

1. Even though CBE schools are less expensive than ABA, attending a CBE school is an expensive proposition. Law school wants money every time you turn around. If you can't afford an LSAT prep course, you're going to have a rude awakening once you enroll somewhere - anywhere. Not that prep courses are critical, but a serious student would find a way to get into one, especially if he's already received a score in the low 140s on a formal administration of the test (versus self-testing).

2. You can buy study guides from LSAC and elsewhere for $20-$40. If you're limiting your preparation to a few hours a week with a book borrowed from the library, you aren't approaching the LSAT with nearly the energy, dedication, and determination that you need to apply to it. You should be tackling practice exams every evening and all weekend for months before the next LSAT. Not a few hours a week.

3. Part-time attendance at law school is a second full-time job. If you don't devote the time to it, you'll waste your time, their time, and your money.

Just some food for thought. Law school success demands that you be all in, or not in at all.
Title: Re: ABA versus Non-ABA; marathon LSAT-taker
Post by: livinglegend on January 21, 2013, 08:26:57 PM
@Jack I would say I put in 50 if you include in class-time no more no less and you are correct you can certainly overstudy. Furthermore, I don't know if the hours count so much as your effiency in studying I am sure plenty of people set in a library for 60 hours, but if your on facebook the whole time in a library it is going to improve your performance.

So that is something I think any law student should realize the amount of time you put into studying does not matter it is the quality of your study habits. If you are organized, outline properly, etc you can really shorten the amount of time you spend studying and do all the extracurricular things jack mentioned in the prior post. I remember in 1L many people going hours upon hours, but when the final comes all that matters is your performance not the amount of time you spent studying.
Title: Re: ABA versus Non-ABA; marathon LSAT-taker
Post by: Julie Fern on February 10, 2013, 06:47:56 PM
In an ideal world Iíd be able to practice all day long to the point Iíd be able to give lectures on the LSAT, but realistically I work two jobs, canít afford a prep course and can only study a few hours a week on a borrowed book from my local library.  I have no problem understanding LSAT concepts it's the time factor that I struggle with

1. Even though CBE schools are less expensive than ABA, attending a CBE school is an expensive proposition. Law school wants money every time you turn around. If you can't afford an LSAT prep course, you're going to have a rude awakening once you enroll somewhere - anywhere. Not that prep courses are critical, but a serious student would find a way to get into one, especially if he's already received a score in the low 140s on a formal administration of the test (versus self-testing).

2. You can buy study guides from LSAC and elsewhere for $20-$40. If you're limiting your preparation to a few hours a week with a book borrowed from the library, you aren't approaching the LSAT with nearly the energy, dedication, and determination that you need to apply to it. You should be tackling practice exams every evening and all weekend for months before the next LSAT. Not a few hours a week.

3. Part-time attendance at law school is a second full-time job. If you don't devote the time to it, you'll waste your time, their time, and your money.

Just some food for thought. Law school success demands that you be all in, or not in at all.

you so very, very wise.
Title: Re: ABA versus Non-ABA; marathon LSAT-taker
Post by: sharder on August 14, 2014, 01:31:33 AM
I graduated from law school in Fl last year. I have some experience working at a small firm. I know a lot about http://www.flarrestscheck.org (http://www.flarrestscheck.org) arrest record search of parents regarding juvenile dependency. I've met some of people who had LSATs in the 130s, went to FL accredited schools, passed the bar, and are practicing attorneys. It's not guaranteed to be easy at all. As the other guy mentioned, I also know a guy with a JD from an ABA school who has not been able to pass the FL bar after multiple attempts.
Title: Re: ABA versus Non-ABA; marathon LSAT-taker
Post by: barprephero on August 14, 2014, 05:52:52 PM
130 range LSAT?  :o
Which school accepts those scores?
Title: Re: ABA versus Non-ABA; marathon LSAT-taker
Post by: Groundhog on August 16, 2014, 05:06:23 AM
Online, I imagine, mostly; other non-ABA schools.
Title: Re: ABA versus Non-ABA; marathon LSAT-taker
Post by: barprephero on August 17, 2014, 11:45:05 AM
Online, I imagine, mostly; other non-ABA schools.
If they accept that low, why require it at all?
Title: Re: ABA versus Non-ABA; marathon LSAT-taker
Post by: Groundhog on August 17, 2014, 01:52:01 PM
There's always lower scores to weed out, scholarships(?), adds to apparent legitimacy of school through a formalized process that ABA schools use...take your pick.