« on: February 21, 2016, 02:37:38 PM »
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.