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Messages - Duncanjp

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General board for soon-to-be 1Ls / Re: Baby Bar
« on: December 15, 2012, 03:32:53 PM »
I agree. This illustrates one of the problems I have with unaccredited programs. Unaccredited programs accept almost everyone and have little in the way of prerequisites. Bachelor's degree not required, good UGPA not required, LSAT not required. In other words there's no "weeding out" process previous to matriculation and many unqualified applicants are admitted. Not surprisingly a huge number fail the FYLSE and bar exam.

Certainly there are smart, successful graduates of unaccredited schools. I've had the pleasure of meeting several. Statisically, however, these graduates are the exception, not the rule. If someone hasn't demonstrated that they can succeed academically or on a standardized test (LSAT), I'm not sure what criteria (if any) is used to determine that they'll be able to pass the state legal exams.

Hi, Maintain. Good, thoughtful post. I have mixed emotions about unaccredited law schools. One the one hand, they may serve a purpose for the right person. On the other, that purpose is probably something other than putting a J.D. on one's resume in furtherance of applying for jobs as an attorney. I attend a CBE school. My decision to enroll required a balancing test similar to that which students of unaccredited schools would have to apply, even though my school is accredited in California and the school enjoys local respect. With an unaccredited school, you get the education, for whatever it's worth. A CBE school is only a few notches above that, since outside of the local legal market, the J.D. is pretty well meaningless, except maybe to non-attorneys. But I understood that when I enrolled. For me, the goal is less about enhancing my resume for job hunting and more about developing my capacity to analyze risk as an attorney. Once I've passed the bar, my mission will be accomplished. I already have an established career in insurance underwriting. A killer degree from a ranking ABA school would be suh-weet, but I don't believe it would advance my career much further than my blue collar J.D. will. Not enough to justify the hit that my retirement savings would take, at any rate. I'm in law school because 15 years into my career, I felt like I'd reached an insuperable plateau. I work with other lay underwriters who have been doing the same thing now for 35 years. My only shot at rising above my lay peers is to become underwriting counsel. With a CBE education and a bar card, I'll rise well above my colleagues and I won't have to spend 35 years in the business to do it. The license makes all the difference. And my company is completely behind me. My mentoring attorneys have all said, "Just get the license." Fifteen years ago, when I had no experience and no industry contacts, the advice would have been different. But my law school alma mater won't matter as much once I pass the bar because my position and reputation within my company are already firmly established. That said, I'll never run the legal department. But that's not my goal, anyway.

I think unaccredited schools can serve a niche market of people who just want to learn how to apply the law, but don't intend to become BigLaw attorneys. On a more basic level, they also provide people who would never be accepted by regular law schools with a chance to ride the bumper cars, as it were. Maybe their chances of success are slim, but inasmuch as the law applies to everybody, I believe everybody should have an opportunity to take a stab at it. If they get a hard dose of reality, well... That's life. But with unaccredited schools, at least giving it a try doesn't come at a ridiculous, crippling cost. And if they succeed against the odds, they'll do with the license whatever they can.

Personally, I would not not attend any institution of higher learning that wasn't at least accredited by my state. The statistics are scary enough for evening students like myself for passing the bar, so students of unaccredited institutions really need to weigh the realities. But accreditation itself is a competitive field, and the higher the accreditation value, the higher the cost of enrolling. Prospective law students need to identify the point where the cost-to-value ratio satisfies their goals and investment-backed expectations.

General board for soon-to-be 1Ls / Re: Baby Bar
« on: December 15, 2012, 03:09:54 AM »
Jenn is right. The key is issue spotting. I got a terrible grade on my crim midterm, which was the first law exam I took after the LSAT. Unfortunately, I didn't have the luxury of taking pre-law, so I really didn't know what I was doing. Thankfully, it was weighted only 25% of my grade. There was a homicide and I threw every factoid of law in the book at it, whether it applied or not. Puking law. When the exam ended, I hadn't addressed all of the issues. I hadn't even addressed the whole call of the question. But by the time I took my final, I had figured out the game. When they said, "Go," I didn't even open my test. I took the scratch paper and wrote down a checklist of all of the crimes and inchoate crimes, and all of the defenses we had covered. As I went through the facts, I had my finger on my checklist and I check off every single one, plus every plausible crime for analysis, even if I could see that it didn't have all of the elements. And boom: aced the final. That's how you pass law school exams. You spot all of the issues and talk about them intelligently. The baby bar is no different. If you hit all of the issues and talk about them with the right rule, passing the BB should be a snap.

That said, if somebody is reading a fact pattern on the BB, and they start talking about torts when the problem is crim, then they need to just give it up. They aren't lawyer material.

Oakland Raider games rule. Some of the most fun I've ever had.

General board for soon-to-be 1Ls / Re: Baby Bar
« on: December 11, 2012, 01:46:12 PM »
Here's another reason so many people fail the Baby Bar: Most of the people taking it are complete morons who don't belong anywhere near the law.

I don't think a pejorative term like "moron" is necessarily a fair or accurate way to describe those who fail the baby bar. Skill in any field is relative and people aren't morons simply because they aren't quite as adroit as others when it comes to applying the law to a set of facts.

However, there is truth in your statement. I've been maintaining this exact point for some time now, if trying to express it a little nicer. The reason the baby bar seems hard is because so many of the people who have to take it have already demonstrated that passing law exams gives them trouble. I've read some of the essay questions that appear on the baby bar. They look like ordinary law school essays to me. Nothing more difficult than the essay questions I faced with my first year final exams. It's all the same material. Contracts is contracts. Torts is torts. Crim is crim. It's easy if you know your outline and you've gotten some decent feedback on enough practice tests. There is no good reason to fail the baby bar unless you fail to prepare properly, you write at an elementary level, or you just can't think logically under timed constraints. My guess is that the majority of those who fail the exam do not prepare properly, or effectively. They haven't practiced writing about the law nearly enough. But most law students who passed their first year exams by a comfortable margin would have no problem passing the baby bar. It'd just be another exam to them. The BB's reputation for difficulty reflects only the perceptions of those who struggle to pass ordinary law exams to begin with.

General board for soon-to-be 1Ls / Re: military options
« on: December 06, 2012, 01:25:53 AM »
Welcome to the forum.

Let's see. You want the government (i.e., the taxpayers) to pay for your college education. Then you want them to pay for your law school education. In return, you want them to make you an officer so you don't have to swab the deck and clean the head. Then you want them to keep you tucked away somewhere nice and safe from bullets and other harm where you can have a comfortable job indoors representing veterans who are living with the black memories of having killed people and watched their best friends get their heads, hands and legs blown off before suffering some internal meltdown and going on a rampage.

I think you're going to need to bring a little more to the table. The JAG Corps is fiercely competitive and frankly, the government doesn't need to pay to put people through college and law school. They have a huge surplus of candidates who have already taken care of that themselves. I'm not saying don't try. But you have to be real about it. (I never realized how "real" the world was until I joined the Marines.) If you're serious, you might consider enlisting and taking your chances with combat. Your odds of surviving a tour intact are very good, statistically speaking. And if you think you're scared, how do you think those other people feel when the U.S. Army is coming to kill them? Serving would get you a bundle of money to apply to college when you got out - which is one way to get them to pay for your schooling. And you can also work on your degree at night while you serve. I did, anyway, when I wasn't deployed. An honorable tour of duty in any branch would look good on your JAG application later. Then get straight As in college and shoot for the best law school you can get into. Graduate in the top 5% of your class. Then maybe they'll agree that you have what it takes.

It's a pretty steep hill to climb. But you'll never know if you don't try. Good luck.

Hi Nor-Cal. I attend a CBE school in Sacramento. My commute is an hour each way, but I work down there, so it's not like I have to make a special trip to get to class. Even though there are two ABA schools in the Sacto area, I never seriously considered either one, despite a solid UGPA from UC. The cost isn't justifiable when you're over 40. I spent four years in the Marines after high school, then another four years in college. For most of the past two decades, I've been forging a career in insurance underwriting, and at this point, the only meaningful prospect that law school holds for me is to get the license. Sure, I'd love to go to an ABA school, and after ranking very high after my first year, I toyed with the idea of transferring to McGeorge's night program. But the cost is ridiculous. Untenable. As it is, my CBE education is expensive enough, and like you, I have a mortgage. However, if I were 20 years younger, I wouldn't hesitate to apply myself toward getting into an ABA school. But at my age and station in life, the only goal is to get the license. I'm not going to be interviewing with local law firms when I pass the bar. Passing the bar will vault me out of the realm of laymen, regardless of which school I attend. There's a lot to be said for that. Granted, I'll never run my company's legal department, but my company has numerous in-house counsel who went to state schools. If you have expertise and existing contacts in a particular field, I don't believe having an ABA degree is quite as important as it is when you're 28 and you've never done anything in life but sit in classrooms. If the only thing on your resume is your law degree, then it should be the best degree you can get. On that point, I question some of my young classmates' decision to attend a state school. They're going to be at a disadvantage when they compete for jobs. (That said, my friends in class are all currently employed college graduates representing a wide array of fields of endeavor. They don't appear to be losing any more sleep than I am about their job prospects after graduation.) The fact is, as you get older, your ROI from having an ABA degree decreases. I don't see the point in saddling myself with exorbitant student debt 20 years into my career. I have no goal or interest in working for BigLaw. None. Just get the license. Once you've done it, you can say you've done it. And whatever rights and privileges that might attach become yours to cultivate however you can.

Wow this is good someone is going to join the law school which is good carrier move and really a proudy movement in life hope he will finish it good.

"Wow" is what I'm thinking as well, but not for the same reason.

To succeed in law school takes extraordinary commitment. You're going to have a real balancing act on your hands between paying attention to your kids, paying attention to your husband, and paying attention to your studies. Not to mention making time for yourself. Especially in the beginning. And further, many of your friendships may begin to stagnate. This would prove to be the case even if you had only a 15-minute commute. Three hours a day in your car is an awful lot of time to kill with so many people pulling on you from all directions. That said, commuting doesn't have to be a complete waste of time. You can spend it productively by listening to law lectures and exam approaches. Still, sacrifices will have to be made on all fronts. Your younger kids will not have the attentive mom they want. Your husband will have to run family errands during and after work and monitor the kids while you're holed up in the den preparing for exams. Your studies will have to wait while you attend little league games or whatever. It'll be very tough to compete against the 20-somethings who have nothing to do but drink beer and study contract formation. I suspect the person who will end up sacrificing the most will be your husband. In the priority of interests, it's a natural thing to brush aside one's spouse when the children want attention. Only you can know your own situation, but his full commitment and support will be critical while you're in school. He needs to completely understand that he is going to be replaced by casebooks and "things the professor said" in your life. It'll be easy for him to feel abandoned, ignored, unappreciated and unimportant in your life. Law school is exciting and it's probably healthy not to let your own dreams fall by the wayside in the wake of having children, as often happens. But law school isn't necessarily all you think it's going to be. Here in my third year of study, the true result of law school is coming into focus. Coleridge said it the most eloquently: "A sadder and a wiser man he rose the morrow morn."

Just food for thought. Good luck.

Or, if you don't meet the physical requirements, exercise until you do. I used to run laps around my block with a backpack full of books to get ready before I enlisted. The hardest thing I had to do in Marine Corps boot camp was control my laughter at the sight of so many others huffing and puffing to do a few pullups or to run a few miles.
huh, and here I thought CS gas might have been unpleasant...........guess those laps around the block made you able to breath toxic fumes...... ::)
(presuming the marines have to do MOP Gear training like the Army)

"Huh?" back atcha.   ???

Of course we were gassed and yes, it was unpleasant. But watching each other react when the mask was removed was one the funnier moments of boot camp, especially after you had already put your turn in the tent behind you. My only point was that if the Army won't accept you because you don't meet the physical requirements as a result of spending your life in front of video games, there is something you can do about it besides looking for something else to do. You can get off your butt and exercise until you're fit. The physical requirements will preclude very few people if they're determined to be accepted. I was already in pretty good shape, but I got myself into fantastic shape before I ever left for San Diego. And if a person arrives in terrific shape, even Marine Corps boot camp isn't completely unbearable, unpleasant as it can be. Then, when daily exercise no longer intimidates you, there are moments when boot camp can be absolutely hilarious.

Or, if you don't meet the physical requirements, exercise until you do. I used to run laps around my block with a backpack full of books to get ready before I enlisted. The hardest thing I had to do in Marine Corps boot camp was control my laughter at the sight of so many others huffing and puffing to do a few pullups or to run a few miles.

The military is an option to be seriously considered by anybody with a college degree and a J.D., whether you're accepted into the J.A.G. program or not. Your education will make you an immediate officer candidate, and they are not likely to throw you in front of a lot of flying bullets in a first-wave assault on Hamburger Hill with that kind of pedigree. You can live in the officer's quarters while you repay your student loans and serve the country at the same time. It's easy to save money or repay debts while serving, and it will give your resume an excellent boost. That said, you need to have what it takes to be an officer. There's a long road to travel between officer candidate and second lieutenant.

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