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Messages - CA Law Dean

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1
Choosing the Right Law School / Re: Finding the "Perfect Fit"
« on: August 03, 2014, 07:57:35 AM »
I highly recommend that you spend time researching law schools on Law School Transparency. www.lawschooltransparency.com. I strongly support the "where you want to live/work" selection theo ry. However the quality of living and working as a new lawyer will be dramatically influenced by JD cost/JD loan/available job factors. LST is the best source for comparing law schools on these factors.

2
I am suggesting that MCL can provide certain students academic support and tutoring in a small class environment. The result can be a turn-around into a successful law school experience and the opportunity to complete the JD, study for, and pass the California bar exam.

3
Well, we have just about wrapped up the 1L admission process for Fall 2014. However, we still have about three weeks to consider transfer requests here at Monterey College of Law. If you did not have a successful 1L experience and intend to practice law in California, consider contacting MCL before you give up on your dream of being a lawyer. Small classes and a strong academic support program have made a difference for students who got lost in the shuffle at big ABA law schools. Each circumstance reviewed individually.

4
Online Law Schools / Re: Did you apply to ABA and CBE?
« on: July 02, 2014, 09:00:55 AM »
MCL does require the LSAT and a much higher UGPA than you might expect. Preliminary 2014 entering class data and previous years below.
                     
MCL Data   LSAT      UGPA
Year:   25th/Med/75th   25th/Med/75th
                       
Fall 2014:141   147   148      2.74   3.28   3.58
Fall 2013:138   144   148      3.00   3.29   3.59
Fall 2012:141   146   148      2.67   3.03   3.60
Fall 2011:140   148   152      2.95   3.21   3.44
Fall 2010:142   146   151      2.96   3.20   3.43

5
Online Law Schools / Re: Did you apply to ABA and CBE?
« on: June 01, 2014, 10:47:20 AM »
At Monterey College of Law (a CBE law school), appx. 50% of our applicants report that they have applied to both CBE and ABA law schools (usually Golden Gate and Santa Clara given the geographic proximity to Santa Cruz and Monterey). We don't know how many get accepted to both, but of those that we accept, usually about 5-10% ultimately choose to attend an ABA school.

6
Minority and Non-Traditional Law Students / Re: What are my chances?
« on: June 01, 2014, 10:34:07 AM »
[The following post has been updated with the completed employment survey. We now have data on 100% of the graduates from the classes of 2009-2012. A previous post was preliminary with only about 75% responses.]

MCL recently conducted an alumni employment survey. Although MCL is not required to do this type of survey under the State Bar of California accreditation rules, all of the discussion about employment statistics in the national press  motivated MCL to conduct our first survey this summer.

We sent out 319 e-mail surveys to alumni using SurveyMonkey and used the NALP survey questions as a starting point (with a few modifications to better reflect the type of jobs in our community). We received 189 responses, but most important, we completed 100% employment data for alumni from the most recent graduating classes (2009 - 2012). The following reflects the data from the graduating classes of 2009 through 2012.

MONTEREY COLLEGE OF LAW ALUMNI EMPLOYMENT SURVEY (2013)
Graduating Classes 2009-­2012
Number of Respondents . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 75
Number of Surveys . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 75
Percent Survey Responses . . . . . . . . . . . . 100%
% of Graduates . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .100%

Employment (9 months after graduation)
Employed . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 88%
Not employed, seeking work .. . . . . . . . . . . 5%
Not employed, not seeking work .. . . . . . . . 7%

Job Type/Job Status (9 months after graduation)
Bar Admission Required . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 49%
JD Advantage . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17%
Remained in Pre-­Law School Job
- Other Professional . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20%
- Other Non-­Professional . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2%
Not employed, seeking work . . . . . . . . . . . 5%
Not employed, not seeking work . . . . . . . . 7%

Current Employment
Employed . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 91%
Not employed, seeking work . . . . . . . . . . . 1%
Not employed, not seeking work .. . . . . . . . 7%
Retired . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1%

Job Tenure
Full Time, long-­term . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 83%
Full Time, short-­term . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8%
Part­‐time . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9%

If Working in a Law Firm -­ Firm Size
Solo . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13%
2 to 10 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 67%
11 to 25 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13%
26 to 50 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2%
51 to 100 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5%
More than 100 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 0%

If Working in a Law Firm -­ What Type
Private Practice . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 74%
Public Agency . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14%
Non-­Profit Practice . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5%
In-­house Corporate . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2%
Academic . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5%

If Working in a Law Firm/Public Agency -­ Position
Attorney . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 74%
Judicial Officer . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 0%
Paralegal/Law Clerk . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16%
Administrator . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5%
Dean/Professor . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5%

7
Like $150K in debt and less than 50% (and as low as 25%) employment rates from lower tier CA ABA schools. Several of the CBE schools are half that price with superior employment stats for local jobs. You are correct that  you do get what you pay for . . . sometimes.

8
Online Law Schools / Re: July 2013 Bar Exam Results
« on: May 27, 2014, 11:59:23 PM »
Maintain FL350,
When we get the individual school statistics for the February bar exam in a few weeks, I believe that your theory on which institutions are better educators vs. which are merely selecting and processing high achievers (and taking credit for their success) will be apparent. As an example, Monterey College of Law's median entering LSAT scores are 30-34% but our five-year cumulative bar pass rate for the California bar exam is over 60%. Several years ago, Stanford's median entering LSAT scores were 98%, but their first-time pass rate fell to 88%. Obviously 88% pass rates are better than 60%, but as you are suggesting, if you use the LSAT as a performance predictor . . . MCL has performed at twice the predicted outcome, while Stanford has underperformed by 10%. Maybe an investigation is needed to determine what Stanford did to "ruin" so many talented prospects, while MCL weaves straw into gold.

9
Updated for California applicants who are wait listed or rejected during the 2014-2015 cycle.  If your 2014  "Plan A" isn't working out. Gut check time . . . What is your most important objective? If the answer is becoming a lawyer . . . and not just becoming a [fill in specific law school name here] law school graduate . . . then it is NOT too late to consider one of the 17 California accredited law schools (such as Monterey College of Law) for Fall 2014. These regional schools are accredited by the State Bar of California, not the ABA. Many of them have very respectable bar pass rates (competitive with the unranked ABA law schools), are a fraction of the cost of the traditional ABA schools, and offer part-time programs so that you can actually begin working in law related jobs to gain relevant experience before graduating. Most have strong ties to the local bench-bar that result in jobs after graduation

Of course this is not the path if your goal is to work in a large urban center in a multinational law conglomerate. But if the idea of being a small firm lawyer, DA, Public Defender, Legal Services lawyer, or solo practitioner is what you are after . . .  select one of the California accredited law schools in an area that you might like to live/practice and get an application in . . . right away. Then go visit to see if it fits your goals. Ask hard questions about bar pass rates, costs, job placement, clinical,programs, etc. Most of the non-urban areas of California need lawyers (despite the articles in the national news) and many of them are great places to live and raise a family if you have not already decided to be a big city lawyer.

The biggest limitation is that upon graduation from one of the California accredited law schools you must take (and pass) the California bar exam first. You cannot go directly to another state and sit for their bar exam until you are licensed in California (and some states will require minimum years of practice as well). That is why the option is primarily for those who already know that they want to live and practice in California.

Bottom line, if you really want to be a lawyer, there is still time to make it happen.

10
OK . . . I guess that would be remiss in not suggesting that if you have any interest in working/living in a non-urban setting like Santa Cruz or Monterey vs. the big cities of SF, San Jose, and surrounding metropolitan areas, you would be welcome here at Monterey College of Law. You could be a big fish in a small pond if that has any appeal. We are an entirely different, and frequently overlooked alternative to the traditional large ABA urban law schools. Our focus is on preparing lawyers who see themselves living/working/being active in the communities of Monterey, Santa Cruz, and San Benito Counties. Take a look at our website (www.montereylaw.edu) and if you have any questions, please feel free to contact me directly. Good luck as you set off on your law school adventure.

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