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Messages - FiloSofik

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Online Law Schools / Re: Non-Bar Law Degree
« on: March 20, 2010, 04:36:20 PM »
Interesting debate.  For what its worth, I'll share my experience.

I've been a paralegal for 15 years and graduated at the top of my class.  I worked at the top law firm in my state alongside Harvard, Columbia and several other top tier law graduates.  I specialized in securities;litigation; corporate and dabbled in just about every other field of law you can imagine.

I'm nearing middle age and the last three job moves I've made were due to layoffs from aba-approved educated lawyers who mishandled their case load and lost major clients.  The bloodletting always starts with the paralegals first.  The most recent experience was especially frustrating because I literally tried everything I could to save the practice.  Drafted memorandums he didn't know how to draft; spotted issues to alert him to act and researched law.  He was a nice guy; generous to boot but no amount of law school was going to help him be a good lawyer and what can I say; "we all rise to the level of our own incompetence".  He lost it all and we were let go.  Believe me, he was not the only attorney whose butt I saved many times over.  But I did want and needed that job to last.

I am now working for arguably one of the best AV rated attorneys in the state and region for that matter.  Seriously, he is in our legal ed books in paralegal school.  On my second day on the job I turned in a writing assignment to him and he told me, "You're already a top-notch lawyer, if you can do this, work part-time and go to law school.  I need you on my litigating team."  Did I mention I'm nearing middle-age; supporting one kid in college and about to send another?  I have a hubbie who is saving furiously for retirement despite my using the funds for our kids; a small business that failed with the economy and other family emergency bail-outs.  You can guess where this is going.  So, I'll wrap it up quick and say this.  If you are going to law school to get a job--get an aba approved degree. 
You'll need it because reality bites and you'll have to compete.  Having my certificate in paralegal studies and graduating top of my class definitely helps me get the job offers especially in the current economic climate. 
If you are committed to the practice of law because a lawyer is who you are--then it doesn't really matter.  Be assured you will also find your destiny and do well. 
As for me, I'm already where I want to be and although there are no guarantees; I plan to attend Northwestern California correspondence law school.  I've already got top law firm experience and my supervising attorney is willing to proctor me and use me in the firm.  If it doesn't work out with him--I'd be happy to move to CA and hang out my own shingle.

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