Any thoughts? I was quite surprised myself.
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Is an ABA-accredited school allowed to accept any transfer credits from an unaccredited school?
Yes. Contrary to what some other posters have said, ABA schools CAN accept non-ABA credits. They can even accept credits from non-law schools. (For instance, Joint JD/MBA programs accept credits from business schools.)
Very, very, very few schools do, though. To the best of my knowledge, there are only 2 or 3 and they're all in California. Not to be demeaning, but generally speaking, look for the worst ABA accredited schools in California to begin your search.
Outside of those very few schools, no other ABA accredited schools accept non-ABA law school credits, to the best of my knowledge.
This grading policy is essentially what every law school in America does.
Again we can never know the exact reasons or what each individuals situation is, but I believe the schools you mentioned have large part-time programs. Many part-time students go to further their already existing career, seeking an educational challenge, or for any number of reasons that may not be specifcially guided to obtain a typical attorney job. I personally never think that is a good idea, but part-time law school is on the rise and I am not even sure it existed 20 years ago. I would imagine many part-timers stay in their old careers that didn't require a law license.
So part-timing could be one factor in thse numbers and a reason for the disparity between higher ranked schools. I did a cursory look and noticed Yale, Harvard, Stanford, UCLA, and Boalt did not offer part-time programs.
Then at a school like Cooley the majority of studnets are part timers 1,289 part timers compared to 221 Full-Timers. http://www.lsac.org/LSACResources/Publications/2011OG/aba1796.pdf
I imagine most part-timers already have a career that did not require a law license and did not feel secure enough to leave their old job to go law school. If they kept that job for four years odds are they will not leave it to start a new career from scratch. This may be a significant factor in the numbers you.
My theory could be 100% wrong, but I would like to see how the numbers played out for full-timers v. part timers at these schools. If any info like that exists feel to free post for my own curiousity.
As an aside I personally never think part-time law school is a good idea. You should go all in or avoid law school. Part-timing is going to be an extra year of your life and if you weren't secure enough to leave your old job odds are you won't be anymore secure four years later. You also will not have any desire start a new career from scratch, and then you paid 100k to be in the same spot. Furthermore, odds are you will finish near the bottom of your class if you were working all through law school and get no legal experience because you will be in your old position.
Granted part-timing does work for some and I am nothing more than an anonymous internet poster that didn't do part-time law school, but I think part-timing is the culprit behind the poor employment numbers at many schools. The reason is for the facts I mentioned above again just a theory, but it makes sense to me.