« on: June 11, 2012, 11:01:29 AM »
I go to an ABA in California, but know many practicing lawyers who went to a CBE school. Most of them are solo practitioners, but no less successful than other solo practitioners from ABA schools. I looked into CBE first because it was so much cheaper and you don't have to sit for the baby bar. However, I want to take the bar in Massachusetts right away, so I decided to go ABA.
Generally speaking, if you are young with no work experience/contacts and lots of undergrad debt, then CBE should never be an option. On the other hand, CBE can be better option for older students that have a full-time job, or have a job waiting for them when they graduate or for those planning to be solo practicioners. The other benefit is the cost.
Since you plan on staying in California, and the ABA school is too far, CBE might be a better option for you. Most states will allow you to sit for their bar after three-five years of practice. Just be advised, as the other posters have said, that you will be competing with ABA grads for jobs and the bar pass rates for CBE schools are pretty low. However, I believe the rate is better than the online schools. There's always Barbri, etc. to help you with the bar exam if necessary. Take your time and weigh your options. Good luck with whatever you decide.