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Messages - ScorpioLS

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I graduated from a four-year CBE school and passed the bar while holding down a career position in insurance underwriting. My goal was singular: Get the License. Between my age and my unwillingness to move, the benefits of an ABA pedigree didn't justify the cost, especially in light of the fact that I had no intent or desire to abandon my career for the salary of a junior associate at a law firm. Overall, becoming a blue collar, CBE-educated attorney has been a very positive experience for me. I have everything that I hoped to get from becoming an attorney - along with all the unanticipated consequences that they don't put in the brochure. Although I have no bragging rights among ABA-educated attorneys, I nevertheless have their cooperation and respect when negotiating transactions. Nobody gives a rip where you went to law school if you aren't applying for a job. Also, I was able to pay cash for my tuition and expenses, so I have none of the debt that burdens many law students at the end of the process. But if my goal had been to get a job in Biglaw, a CBE school would have been a waste of money. Make no mistake.

To set the record straight, CBE students do not have to take the FYLSE (baby bar), so long as they successfully complete the first year. However, those who fail to make the minimum required GPA (2.0 or better in each of the core subjects) may be required to pass the FYLSE before the school will allow them to continue to the second year. Alternately, the school might allow an unsuccessful student who got very close to simply retake the first year. It's up to the school. Note that those who do really poorly may be told to go away for a couple of years and consider whether becoming a lawyer is truly feasible.

OP, if you didn't do well in an ABA environment, I would caution you against thinking that a CBE school is going to be any easier unless you don't have to work. CBE schools teach the same material from the same casebooks and administer the same kind of exams that you would find in ABA schools. CBE schools are filled with working adults who are striving to achieve a goal. The competition for valedictorian isn't as fierce as it would be at Stanford, but most of the people in the class are very bright and extremely driven. They wouldn't be there, otherwise. And I can say without equivocation, becoming an attorney through a CBE-accredited school was the hardest fecking thing I have ever done in my life. Comparatively speaking, my four-year tour of duty in the Marines was a picnic.

Just some food for thought. Good luck.

Thank you so much.

I would like to reiterate that I am not looking for the easier road... I am looking into the CBE program because I was kicked out of an ABA school and in order to re-apply to another ABA school there is a wait period. I do not want to wait... Thus, the only likelihood of attaining that degree is through a CBE... (am I wrong?)

Is there any possibility that if I am accepted to a CBE program I can transfer out to an ABA?

I also am curious to know of what your "unanticipated consequences that they don't put in the brochure" were? (if you don't mind)

No, in CA we have lots of successful CBE grads working as DAs, PDs, Main St lawyers, etc. I meet them all the time, it's not that unusual. I don't know if you're in CA or not, but I think people from other states don't quite get the CBE thing. They equate it with unaccredited/online, etc, which it's not.

Thank you :)

I am considering enrolling into the CBE school as a part timer. At the most I be enrolled into only three courses. While attending school, my plans are to either begin volunteering at local courts in order to have experience and networking.

Or I plan on going back to my previous established career as a back up plan, just in case. I had an established career before I began law school. Once accepted, I left work. I have the option of going back and resuming if I choose to.

There are tons of success stories from California Bar Schools. The Mayor of LA went to a law school that was neither ABA nor California Bar Accredited and he has a lot more power and influence than I do as an ABA law school grad.

I also had a friend at my ABA school that was dismissed, she was smart, but did not take school seriously first semester at all and she performed poorly. However, after getting hit by reality she reached an agreement with the school that if she passed the Baby Bar exam that they would let her back in. She passed the baby bar and went on to graduate one year after me and passed the bar on her first try and she has a great job now. So you can be readmitted, but there was clearly a major issue that you need to rectify, which can be done, but you need to be honest with yourself.

As to the question regarding CBA schools many do well in particular locations. For example Cal-Northern in Chico is a great place to attend if you want to live in Chico, because there are no other schools in the area, which means there is a huge lack of lawyers in the area.

Or Monterey College of Law as well as San Joaquin College of Law also work well if you want to live in those areas.

So in summary, yes there are success stories and it is certainly possible you could be one of them. However, if you were dismissed in your first semester you need to really analyze what you went wrong. If you attend a Cal Bar school you will have to take the Baby Bar after 1L and if you don't pass your out. (At least that is my understanding as a random guy on the internet, which means nothing).

Furthermore, you will have to pass the California Bar and I can tell you 1L is a cakewalk compared to the bar exam and if you struggled with 1L and do not figure out what went wrong, even if you graduate you may not pass the bar, which is one of the major cons of Cal Bar schools the bar passage rates are terrible. People do pass from Cal-Bar schools and people do fail from ABA schools, and the test is just a terrible experience for anyone.

The real thing you need to do is figure out what went wrong. You either did not put the effort in, did not understand how to approach law school, or maybe your mind just doesn't work the way it needs to for law school.  I am sure it is probably lack of effort or understanding how to approach law school, which can be fixed, but you need to figure out the issue.

So yes you can succeed, but you will need to take a good hard look at yourself and ways you can improve.

Good luck!

Thank you for the reply. I know what went wrong in my first semester. I took it seriously, but I was over doing it. I don't know if that makes any sense. I over studied in the wrong ways. I did not know how to approach the material. I didn't outline properly, I didn't utilize office hours in order to strengthen my rule statements, much of my rule statements were incomplete, I just did a very sloppy job. I was too over worked with 6 classes, however when I learned of my grades during midterms (All fails). I improved for finals on half the courses, earning above 2.0 grades... I had the lowest grade in contracts and my final grade was a 2.3. I also improved well in Contracts, too. I just could not improve on everything.

I don't want any sympathy for my mistakes. I just want to know if there are success stories, because I hate to say this but before I began my studies I looked down on CBE schools and now I'm in a position where I feel like this is my only hope...

I just know that I would do things differently, had I stayed 2nd semester.

As far as the baby bar I would be entering the CBE school as a special student, I don't think I have to take that exam? (I may be wrong) The CBE school is willing to transfer in the courses I did well in.

Correct me if I'm wrong, though.

I want to know if attending a CBE law school is my only way back.

No, it's not the only way back. You can reapply to ABA schools after a certain amount of time (can't remember how long). Whether or not you get in is dependent on a lot of variables. Obviously, it will be harder to get back in.

Here's the thing, though: it won't be any easier at a CBE school. They pretty much follow the same curriculum as any ABA school. It's not an "easier" path, necessarily. Unless you can figure out where you went wrong the first time, and have a plan in place to overcome that problem and succeed, I'm not sure that going to a CBE makes any sense.

I'm not sure if CBE schools have a required waiting period if you're applying following an academic dismissal. Contact them to find out.

My plan is to never move out of California, I would not mind a district attorney position, nor would I mind opening my own small private practice.

It's good that you don't want to leave CA, as the CBE degree is not as portable.

DA/PD/City Attorney, and pretty much all other govt jobs are VERY competitive right now. I worked at a govt office for a while, and they were flooded with applicants. It's difficult to get a DA gig even if you go to respected ABA school, especially in big cities. People from CBE schools do get hired as DAs, but it's rare unless they have connections or previous experience. Most of the CBE govt lawyers I've met were hired a long time ago when those jobs were less competitive.

Opening your own solo practice is a more realistic (and still difficult) proposition.

Are there any success stories about people graduating from CBE schools? In other words is there any hope?

Sure, there are plenty of successful CBE grads, but you need to be realistic about the job opportunities. You will have fewer options, it will be harder to get internships, etc.

I'm not a snob when it comes to CBE. I think they offer a great option for the right kind of student. I've known some really good CBE lawyers. In my opinion, CBE is best suited for someone who already has a career and wants to broaden into law. If that person already has contacts and solid job experience, and knows how to hustle, then CBE may be fine.

For someone who is young and inexperienced, and is going to need to rely on their pedigree more, CBE is probably not the best choice.

Be realistic about your options, let that guide the decisions.

I am being as realistic as possible, I want to continue Law School. Had I been given a second chance at improving I am almost certain that I would be able to fit the standards my previous school wanted from me. The CBE schools standards are different than my previous schools.

The ABA school required not only to be in "good standing" but additionally earn foundational points for two courses above a 2.5 GPA. A CBE school does not have the point system.

I took the initiative in dropping down to part time because I learned that six courses was too much for me to deal with as a first time law student... I wasn't given the chance to alter my mistakes in the second semester. They immediately dismissed me well into the 5th week of the second semester.

I don't want to waste my time either by putting off some "cool off two years" to re-enroll into another ABA school.

I have contacted a CBE school that is willing to accept me if I provide an essay explaining where I messed up. This school is willing to credit the courses I received 2.0 and above in. I can transfer half the courses I did well in.

I am not looking for an "easier path" quite frankly I think the position I'm in right now is going to make my CBE experience a "harder path". I have to prove my worthiness, in a sense. I have to overcome the emotional struggle I went through with my dismissal. I don't think this will be easier. I just think that a CBE school is my only way in without wasting too much time.

I wouldn't do it, but IF you insist on doing it go to a regionally accredited one to get financial aide at least

but honestly, Cooley takes everyone, go to Cooley before you go CBE

Thank you for the response! JFK is too far from where I am located and Cooley is not in California?
Why wouldn't you do it?

Hello all,

I have been academically dismissed from an ABA T4 law school. Now before anyone tells me to reconsider my career and how I shouldn't bother with law schools, I do not want to waste your time, nor mine by reading the nonsense.

I want to know if attending a CBE law school is my only way back. My plan is to never move out of California, I would not mind a district attorney position, nor would I mind opening my own small private practice.

I was dismissed after my first semester for a low GPA and failure to achieve foundational points in some classes.

Are there any success stories about people graduating from CBE schools? In other words is there any hope?

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