Law School Discussion

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Messages - Cher1300

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As a dean of a CBE law school (Monterey College of Law), I can confirm that what makes California accredited law school programs different is that we are scaled in size and cost to more closely meet the needs of the local community. Our law degree costs about $65K . . . not $150K. As a part-time evening program, our students are encouraged to start working in law-related jobs during law school, not only reducing the need for student loans, but in most cases providing the opportunity to get actual experience in different practice areas (and law firms) to identify a preferred area of practice after graduation. In some ways, our format is much closer to the medical school practicum model than the typical ABA program. I think that you will also find that the bar pass rates for good students at CBE schools is competitive with the unranked ABA law schools.

Actually, my biggest concern are the bar pass rates for CBE schools.  After doing some research, it appears Monterey does a bit better than those in the Los Angeles area.  Do you think that bar pass sucess rates are largely due to the individual or the school they attend?  Or do you think the CBE schools do not fair quite as well because students are not required to have a bachelor's degree or have higher LSAT scores as ABA schools?  Would like to get your opinion on that.

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I have to agree.  With my debt increasing at an ABA, I am seriously considering transferring to a CBE.  Once of the attorneys I'll be interning with had his son attend a CBE in the evenings because he read an article indicating only 48% of law school graduates have permanent work at this time but huge amounts of debt.  This, in addition to the fact that Obama cut subsidized loans for graduate students completely this year.  Because of this, I have may have to take on personal loans next Fall.  CBE schools are something most law students - at least those in California - should consider if they really want to be an attorney.

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I'm finishing my 2L as a part-time evening while working full-time and will probably quit my job before 3L so I can focus on internships, etc.  At my school classes are three nights per week so I generally put in some study time for one subject on the non-school night, do Contracts on Saturday and Torts Sunday etc. while leaving my Firday nights free for fun.  Many part-timers actually manage their time a bit better since there is so little of it, but be aware it will be all-consuming your first year and you need to be sure you don't burn out.  Being disciplined and sticking to your schedule will definitely keep you on track.  I hope that helps!

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Western State College of Law / Re: oL at Western State
« on: January 22, 2013, 02:04:09 PM »
Legalfielder:  Western State does use a curved grading system, but the median for the curve is set pretty low at a 2.4 - at least that's what it was for all my first year classes.  The attrition rate is also attributed to transfers - a few students in my class that were going to be on FLP probation transferred out so they wouldn't risk being dismissed at the end of this semester.

Livinglegend:  While I don't believe they want their students to fail out, they are weeding out those students who may or may not pass the bar in order to keep students who's chances of passing the first time are much higher.  Since this system is not used by any other law school, it is a questionable one.  If a student has a cum of a 2.5, but only two or three foundation points, it hardly seems fair to dismiss them based on that system alone after one year of law school because it's really impossible to say for sure whether or not they'll pass the bar on their first try, and that is my biggest issue with it.   

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Western State College of Law / Re: oL at Western State
« on: January 17, 2013, 05:55:00 PM »
You are absolutely correct livnglegend.  However as a student at Western State, I can tell you that Foundation Law Point system doesn't have that much to do with passing 1L exams.  There are two types of probation and dismissals there - Academic and Foundation Law Point.  Academic probation requires a student to maintain a 2.0 or above throughout their law school career.  The Foundation Point system is an additional requirement.  You can have a gpa of well above a 2.0 and still not get the 4 2.5s required in the courses tested on the bar.  The school will work with a student on FLP probation because they generally have gpa's above a 2.0, and do want them to stay.  However, many students have also been dismissed for failure to obtain these even though they were not on academic probation.  Just FYI...

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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

17
If you really want to save time and money while avoiding the Baby Bar, go to a CBE school.  It's half the price of an ABA, has better bar pass rates than online, and you don't need to take the FYLSE.

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Western State College of Law / Re: oL at Western State
« on: January 08, 2013, 12:22:38 PM »
The gpa policy is actually called Foundation Law Points.  It has been very stressful wondering whether or not I got one after finals.  The requirement is that you must get a certain number of 2.5s in courses tested on the bar exam.  What is crazy is that you can have a decent gpa, even be on moot court, and be dismissed for not obtaining the required foundation points.  Part-time students must have 1 by the end of their 3rd semester or will be dismissed.  If a student does not have 4 by the end of their second year part-time, they will be dismissed.   Full time students must have 4 FLP's by the end of their first year or will be on probation regardless of their cumulative gpa.  If not, they are on probation and must get the 4 points prior to the end of their third semester or will be dismissed.  All students must have 8 FLP's when they graduate. As mentioned above, I believe the policy is done to have high bar passage rates for the school since they admit students with lower gpa's and LSAT scores.   Some students have no problem and get FLP's every semester, but many don't.  Hence the high attrition rate.     

19
Non-Traditional Students / Re: Am I too old for law?
« on: January 08, 2013, 12:05:57 PM »
I just turned 43 and am in my second year of law school part-time evenings and work full-time during the day.  One of the people in my study group is over 50, works full time and did well enough to be on law review and moot court.  I really think one is never too old, but be realistic about the fact that it will take you a while to get in the habit of studying again especially being out of school for so long.  If you do well enough on the LSAT or can work part-time to keep your debt manageable, it will be worth it.  Graduating at 40 or 41, you still have about 25 years to work and pay off any debt you incur.  Lastly, most schools are looking for a diverse student body and will welcome an older student with life experience.  Good luck with whatever you decide! 

20
It's unlikely that state bar rules can be challenged due to the commerce clause. I'm assuming you mean the dormant commerce clause because the ICC would clearly favor more regulation, but by the Feds, not the states.

I seem to remember a case from Con Law in the '50s or '60s when someone challenged the bar admission rules under the privileges and immunities clause, probably something about requiring that a state allow non-residents to take their bar exam. But I don't see how the ICC or the dormant commerce clause could be used to challenge state bar rules when it's long established that each state sets its own bar, literally, including the admissions standards (and doesn't discriminate against the privileges and immunities clause, although I could see how you could try to make that argument, likely unsuccessfully).

The case from con law you are talking about I believe was a P&I case about an attorney who was an out-of-state lawyer, took the bar exam in NH, passed, and still wasn't allowed to practice in the state.  This was a bit unusual because she followed all the rules and requirements of the state, but was prevented from practicing.  (Just finished con lawI this past semester).  The court ruled in the lawyer's favor because there really was no "legitimate" reason for the discrimination.  That case is a bit different than what jennid is trying to do under the commerce clause.  She may have a better chance under P&I, but if Oregon requires their own law students to be graduates of an ABA to take the bar exam right out of law school, it will be difficult to make an argument that an out-of-stater who didn't go to an ABA school is being discriminated against.  If not P&I, then one really needs to ask if making a non-ABA lawyer to wait three - five years to take the bar exam in that state really affects or burdens interstate commerce.  There could be an argument but I have to agree that it likely won't be successful.

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