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General Board / Re: Recording Lectures-Useful for Law School?
« on: July 07, 2005, 11:40:58 PM »
Assuming my profs let me, what do you think about recording and lsitening?

Consensus thus far appears to be that recording lectures for later review is not value added.  Not intending to debate here, but I'll take a somewhat contrary view.  I've found them to be useful in certain situations. 

Generally, I use recorded lectures as a backup to my original notes.  That is to say, during the original class time, I'll do the best I can composing my notes during the original lecture, and more often than not, that will be enough.  Even so, I record the lecture anyway.  Then when I go back and review the material, if I find there are gaps in what I have understood, then I will do a de novo review of the affected lectures.  Sometimes I even find myself completely rewriting my notes in the process.  But it was quite rare when the additional review didn't resolve whatever concerns I had at the time.  Again, I emphasize that I was not reviewing every lecture, but only a limited number of specific lectures.

A lot can be said about reviewing cases (and the casebook notes) also, and I agree with that.  I use that in my review process as well.  But I still like reviewing the lectures themselves because I find that more often than not, a lot of what is in the lectures are what winds up in the mid-term or in the final, or perhaps more accurately, the topics given the greatest emphasis in the lectures are what shows up in the exams.  It gives me a roadmap as to where I should place the greatest emphasis in my study. 

All the best,

General Board / Re: Non-ABA States
« on: June 30, 2005, 11:54:08 PM »
I think Tennessee too.  Not sure though.  I'm not possitive, but I think there are quite a few.

In re Tennessee:  Actually, as I understand it, the general rule is that only ABA schools are recognized, but the rules expressly carved out exceptions for Tennessee non-ABA schools that meet specified criteria.  (See, e.g., Tennessee Supreme Court Rule 7, Sec. 2.)  Because Nashville School of Law is state-accredited pursuant to this rule, it falls under the exception, so NSL graduates can take the Tennessee bar exam.  However, no provisions are made regarding out of state non-ABA schools, so graduates of those schools remain ineligible.

Note that this answer does not take into account existing attorneys who want to practice law in another state using that state's reciprocity rules, nor those who wish to practice temporarily in another state pro hac vice.  Those rules may be different.  /Sandy/

General Board / Re: ABA-certified school: Worth starting over?
« on: June 30, 2005, 01:21:03 PM »
I may be mistaken, but I was under the impression that in order to be eligible for the bar in most places, you had to have a degree from an ABA approved school. I could be wrong, but no bar exam = no license = no practice = wasted time and money. Why would anyone even think of going to a non-ABA approved school?

The other responses pretty much address the above question, from the standpoint of license portability, but I wanted to add one or two thoughts in a general sense.  As many can attest, there is not a "one size fits all" approach that can be taken in choosing a law school.  For most students, an ABA-certified school is arguably the preferred route.  Nonetheless, I would submit there are limited instances where the selection of a non-ABA (but state-certified) law school would be appropriate.  The key is to make the decision--whatever it is--as objectively as possible and in full understanding of the consequences.

Factors weighing into the decision would include (but is not limited to) the following--

  • * Whether someone is entering law school directly from an undergraduate or bachelor's degree, or if there has been an intervening number of years of work experience;
    * Whether that person can afford to proceed to law school without outside employment (even after considering the availability of student loans and scholarships);
    * The availability of law schools within a reasonable driving distance of home and employment; 
    * Whether the student would be willing to relocate solely for the purposes of entering into a law school;
    * Whether the law school's schedule will be compatible with outside employment; or in the alternative, whether a night school is available;
    * Whether the school is ABA accredited; or in the alternative, whether one would be able to accept the implications of going to a school that only has state accreditation (including certain jurisdictional limitations on where one can practice);
    * Family considerations (i.e., spouse, dependants, significant others, etc.);
    * The quality of the school(s) being considered, independent of the certification issue, including the track record of students that have have previously graduated from the school;
    * The student's prior accomplishments and legal aptitude (i.e., GPA and LSAT), including whether the student will be able to receive one or more scholarships at the desired school;
    * The cost of tuition for the schools being considered (or alternatively, the estimated amount of debt one will face after completion of studies); and,
    * One's reasons for going to law school in the first place, and to what extent these reasons are career-oriented.

Arguably, perhaps the last factor may be among the most important.  If one's motive is specifically to join the top 5% of law firms anywhere in the country, or to work in a high profile position in federal or state government, the school one goes to becomes highly relevant.  At the other extreme, there are those who study the law purely from the standpoint of personal interest or to supplement knowledge in one's current career.  In such instances, the school becomes somewhat less relevant.  Between these extremes are combinations of personal interest and career in various amounts, and these have to be balanced out carefully against the remaining factors as outlined above.

All the best,

General Board / Re: Voice recorders for recording lectures
« on: June 21, 2005, 02:06:29 PM »
First - check your school's rules and regulations to see if it's permitted. It probably is not.
Then ask yourself if it's worth it.  It probably is not worth it regardless of whether you get caught. 


I do agree with the part about making sure you're compliant with your school's regulations.  That said, the bulk of the responses here seem to suggest that many--if not most--schools permit the recording of lectures.  At my own school, in two years of part-time study, I have only had one instance where a guest instructor requested that the recorders be shut off.  When the request was made, we immediately complied.  No big deal.

Provided of course that recording is legal, then I would say it is emphatically worth it.  For example, what I do is to jot down notes manually or through my laptop, using my tape recorder as a backup.  Then when I feel uncertain about a particular course, and especially if I am not satisfied with the notes I took, then I will go back and review the past lectures de novo, in some cases completely re-doing my notes.  That method alone has pulled me out of the fire more than once at or near exam time. 

L.L.M. Board / Re: Point to an LLM?
« on: June 16, 2005, 12:37:33 PM »
Two examples I've seen where LLMs sound useful:
1) I met a guy who went to an unaccredited law school for his JD, but did well enough to get into an accredited school's (1st tier even) LLM program.  I believe that this allows him to practice anywhere now, instead of just the state where his unaccredited school had local accreditation (although, since he stayed in that state, I guess the only thing that mattered was the prestige boost). [...]

That said, I'm only a year into my JD... so what do I know? :D

This is very intriguing, and is something that I will file in the back of my mind.  My own situation is that I am halfway into a four-year night school program at a non-ABA school.  Transfering to an ABA school for the most part means starting over...for various reasons, that doesn't seem to really be an option.  (Long story on both counts.)  But I wondered what things I could do later, after a few years post-JD, to fill the perceived gap?  Surely repeating the entire JD at an ABA school isn't fact, that seems downright foolish.  But it sounds like an LLM is at least plausible in my situation, provided I do well enough my current school.  It's at least something for me to think about. 

Thanks, /Sandy/

Transferring / FYI (Experience): Non-ABA to ABA School
« on: June 15, 2005, 12:23:41 PM »
The following item (see link, below) was posted on the Nashville School of Law board.  I repeat the item here for your information. 

Abstract: It is possible to switch from a non-ABA school to one that is certified, with many caveats.  If accepted, expect to discard all your prior law school credits and start over.  Some schools add additional restrictions or will not allow students with prior non-ABA experience to apply there under any set of conditions.  Also expect the application process to be more complex.  However, you may not have to repeat your LSAT.

All the best,

Link to Original Post:,843.msg14328.html#msg14328

Nashville School of Law / Re: Why I chose NSL
« on: June 15, 2005, 11:45:01 AM »
can people from non-ABA schools transfer to ABA schools?

I know I'm responding to an old post, but I thought I would at least get this into the record.   :-\

At one point, I had planned to relocate for employment reasons, and for that reason, I inquired or applied at four schools in the Detroit area, all ABA: 

  • 1) University of Detroit-Mercy ("UDM").  Result: Accepted, but need to start over.  Must apply as a new student, not as a transfer, but you would still indicate NSL on your application and have an official transcript sent.

  • 2) Thomas Cooley School of Law (Lansing, MI).  Result: Needed a "letter of good character" directly from Dean Loser to complete the application file.  Beyond that, I understand that acceptance is almost automatic if your mathematical index (consisting of LSAT+undergrad GPA) is beyond a certain threshold and you don't have a criminal record.  Again, you have to apply as a new student and start over.  Since I decided to stay in TN, I did not bother calling Dean Loser.

Where things get curious are the next two:

  • 3) Wayne State University (Detroit, MI): They will NOT accept applications as a new student because you've had prior law school experience.  And they will NOT accept applications as a transfer student because your prior school was non-ABA.  Even if it were possible to apply as a transfer student, they require a minimum 3.50 GPA performance from the prior law school. 

  • 4) Michigan State University (East Lansing, MI): See Wayne State.  But MSU was at least up front about this policy, so that I did not have to waste time or money on an application.  They expressly stated that they don't take students with prior law school experience as new students because they would be placed at an "unfair advantage" over incoming 1L's without the experience.

* * *

Bottom line is that you CAN go to an ABA school out of NSL, but you will likely have to start over, your undergrad GPA and LSAT still need to be high enough to meet the school's requirements, you may have to explain your NSL experiences on the essay portion of your application, and you may have to apply to more schools than you had originally planned.  One other note: If the LSAT that you used for NSL is less than 2-3 years old, you may reuse the score at most schools (and thus not have to retake the exam).  Some schools set the threshold at 5 years.  You'll need to check with the Law School Admission Council to see if your LSDAS subscription is still which case, the only additional cost you'll come up with is the $12 report fee. 

One additional bit of advice:  Don't apply to a school where they cannot provide an honest answer up front (BEFORE sending in the application) to the question of whether they will consider students with prior non-ABA law school experience.  Wayne State gave only vague answers ("Send in your application as a transfer and we'll look at it"), only to refuse to consider the applications on the merits for the reasons stated above.

And a final note, at the risk of stating the obvious: If you transfer from NSL to an ABA school, expect your tuition costs to skyrocket.  This is true even if you will still take law on a part-time or night school basis.  UDM, for instance, was (I think) roughly $15,000 per year for their night program, and even now I'm not sure if it was per year or per semester.  You may be able to get student loans to cover most of it (in contrast to informal month-to-month financing at NSL), but you will still be looking at some very serious debt.

All the best,

General Board / Re: ABA-certified school: Worth starting over?
« on: June 14, 2005, 11:42:48 AM »
If you practice in TN for a designated period of time, are you then eligible to take the bar exam or to qualify for reciprocity in other states? 

I'm not sure.  My understanding is that reciprocity will be limited at best, because a number of state rules look to what law school you went to originally, besides looking at the experience level.  But I think I could go to Wisconsin or the District of Columbia.  /Sandy/

General Board / Re: ABA-certified school: Worth starting over?
« on: June 13, 2005, 01:52:06 PM »
Just as a brief update to my initial post--

Well, the decision was very difficult, but I have opted to stay in Tennessee for the time being.  Considerations going into the decision included the fact that all attempts to date to find suitable employment opportunities have fallen through, that I was being asked to make final commitments to the school without knowing if or when I would be able to find suitable employment with any company, and that my family would not be able to bear the costs of interstate relocation under the circumstances.

But perhaps the biggest factor to consider was indeed the difficulty I had in getting through the first two years of school in the first place.  I don't wish to suggest that I ran into academic difficulties--in fact, my grades have been fairly solid.  I would suppose that in a generic sense, anyone who has reviewed through a year's worth of material in preparation for a final exam that is worth 50-75% of your grade will know just what I am talking about.  And I also had to prepare for my first year's final exams (in 2004) during a time when my wife needed to recover from a ruptured appendix, so that year was even more painful.  Legalise's argument is therefore compelling.  There is simply too much to throw away at this point, the ABA certification issues notwithstanding.  Perhaps if I had completed only one year instead of two, the weighing process might have been different.  But being right at the halfway point does change the equation significantly. 

My thanks again to all for your contributions.  /Sandy/

General Board / ABA-certified school: Worth starting over?
« on: March 20, 2005, 01:13:56 AM »
Hello, all,   :D

I need to provide a quick background before I present my question for your consideration.  And it is this: I am about to complete the second year in a four-year program at Nashville School of Law (NSL), so I am almost halfway there.  Unfortunately, NSL does not have any certification with the American Bar Association (ABA).  Meanwhile, there is a significant possibility that my employer may ask me to relocate up to Michigan, because my existing position was made redundant just this past week.

So here's the thing:  Just for the sake of keeping my options open, I've got applications into three Detroit area schools: Wayne State University, University of Detroit Mercy, and Thomas M. Cooley, all of which appear to be ABA certified.  But all three schools have indicated that none of my existing credits will transfer, which in turn means that I would effectively start over.

I will accept as true, for purposes of this discussion, that an ABA-certified school will always be better than a school without such a certification.  My question is: Is that alone enough to justify the time and expense in starting over?  Or would I be better off trying to find another job in Tennessee, and see the remaining two years out as to my existing school? 

Thanks much in advance,

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