Law School Discussion

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Messages - FalconJimmy

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11
I am under the impression the online schools are not state accredited, they are registered with the state.  The state accredited law schools are not online.

That's exactly right, the California state bar (like the ABA) will not accredit distance learning J.D. programs whether online or correspondance. The online schools have no specific programmatic accreditation, but in the case of Concord I think it has some kind of other distance learning-based accreditation. For the practice of law, however, only two kinds of accreditation matter: ABA or state bar. Unaccredited CA schools are "registered" with the state bar, but that's it.

Graduates from CA state accredited (CBE) law schools can, as Cher1300 pointed out, take the bar in other states depending on the state's specific regulations. Sometimes they require 3-5 years practice, sometimes not, it varies. Many states, however, will not admit an online of otherwise unaccredited grad, period. It's one pretty big advantage the CBE schools have over online (along with no FYLSE requirement).

Ah, so that's one huge difference:  if you go to a calbar school, you may be able to practice outside of california under the right circumstances.  However, the distance-learning folks can't.  got it.

12

It can be done, and I'm sure you can find testimonials from people who have done it. I'd be willing to bet that most of the success stories involve people who had small business/entrepeneurial experience before attending online law school. In the end, my point is this: unless you have a very clear plan and understand the ramifications of attending an unaccredited school, you may not save that 40k after all. The decision is yours alone, and I might be totally wrong about everything I've said. These are just a few things that I want to consider if I were in your position.

For me, this is a pure curiosity.  I attend an ABA school in the midwest.  Right now, it's about 90% certain that I'm just going to return to school and finish my JD as a full-time student.

So, this is all purely hypothetical.  Around here, pretty simple equation:  want to be an attorney?  go to an ABA school.  all other paths are virtually impossible and at a minimum, risky and impractical.

It is just interesting to think of the options available to california residents.  I actually attended community college in CA when I was 17.  I could have had an associate's degree before my 19th birthday.  From what I can gather, you can attend some of the calbar schools with only an associate's degree.  So, I literally could have been a full-blown attorney at age 21. 

Not that I wish I had done it, have regrets, or am interested in doing it now.  It's just an interesting hypothetical discussion for me.

13
So attending law school via correspondence is a good fit for me, as I don not reside near an ABA school and I have experience attending school online. Where I find myself torn is whether I should go to the B&M Cal Bar school two miles away from my house for about $50,000; or should I attend a law school via correspondence for approximately $12,000 out the door?

So, the cal-bar school near your house, is that correspondence?

If I lived in California, honestly, I'd look at the distance learning / calbar schools.  But it depends a lot on your goals.  I am not ever going to be top
10% of my law school class and I intend to hang out a shingle when I'm done. 

14
So, is there any advantage to state-accredited v. unaccredited distance learning schools?  Seems like they both have to go through the same stuff.

15
Okay, I am sincerely curious about this and curious what you folks have to say.

On distance law schools, let's say you wanted to practice in California.  (Not sure if you could practice in any other state, but let's just say california.)

How does the process work?  You take the baby-bar like the california accredited school folks do?  Then, you're eligible to sit for the bar?

16
Not that I'm advising going there, but cooley would give you a full-ride.

There are probably other schools that would, too.

http://www.cooley.edu/prospective/scholarships.html?gclid=CP7v5reAl7ECFYe6KgodE3AVjw

17
General Off-Topic Board / Re: Presidential Names
« on: July 13, 2012, 10:36:13 AM »

Saying a politician is named after a rat is pretty darned insulting... to the rat.

18
With a 170, if you don't care what tier you go to, you will probably have a shot at a scholarship.  Just keep researching and apply. 

The soft factors?  Nice, but not going to matter much.  You just want a knockout personal statement in case they read them.

19
Pre-Law in high school / Re: DO NOT GO TO LAW SCHOOL!!!
« on: July 12, 2012, 01:23:10 PM »
I agree that this outlook is refreshing.   But let's crunch the numbers.

Consider $125,000 in loans, payable over 25 years at 7.2 percent.

$125,000 in principal
$144,845 in interest
$120,000 in opportunity cost (From not working those three years of law school)

That works out to $15,593 per year for 25 years.   To break even, you have to average $15,593 more annual NET INCOME per year for 25 years.

Who knows how much you would have made without law school... but it's plausible, maybe probable, that a legal education will pay off by the 25 year mark for the median law student out there.

The BLS says the median pay for lawyers (not starting salary) in 2010 was $112,760.  http://www.bls.gov/ooh/Legal/Lawyers.htm
sales managers in 2010 was $98,530.  http://www.bls.gov/ooh/management/sales-managers.htm
computer systems analyst in 2010 was $77,740  http://www.bls.gov/ooh/computer-and-information-technology/computer-systems-analysts.htm
Network Administrator: $69,160  http://www.bls.gov/ooh/Computer-and-Information-Technology/Network-and-computer-systems-administrators.htm
Here's a list of some other business field careers and their medians.  http://www.bls.gov/ooh/management/sales-managers.htm#tab-7

A legal career pays off against almost all of those careers (for the median person).

I think it's a good investment in the long run for most people,  but:

1: A lot of people are below the median.  And a large portion (impossible to know how large) won't make enough money for it to be worth it.  However, maybe they would have sucked at everything else.
2: Law school doesn't teach you how to be a practicing lawyer or how to make money.
3: Law school is inefficient and the tuition was rising far too rapidly.
4: Legal jobs are so diverse, that it's extremely difficult to predict what kind of work you will be doing after graduation.
5: The first five years can be brutal for the massive portion of attorneys who start at less than 60k per year.

Jack, love the analysis, but the opportunity cost element of this equation is overstated if you ask me.

The reasons are:
1.  You will not save any of that money.  You'll consume 100% of it by living day-to-day.
2.  The day-to-day living is already accounted for in loans on the other half of the equation.

So, this is really taking the same variable and working against law school on both sides of the ledger.

Now, what is more accurate to say is that by working, you'll eat a little less ramen.  At the end of both periods, though, you won't have anything to show for it.  In the work case, you will break-even, in the LS case, you will have debt.  Once you account for the debt, you account for the entire impact of not-working.

Also, I am one of the majority of law students who, no way, no how, will get a lucrative job offer upon graduation.  Just won't happen.

I'm already resigned to starting my own practice, and I already know that's a road fraught with pitfalls.

Seems like the law is a great career for people who are either ultra-brainy (can pull a high class rank) or highly entrepreneurial.  It is not necessarily a great move for people who are merely moderately bright and get a minimal set of credentials.  (Unremarkable class rank and bar passage.)  Those folks might have had a great career in the law 50 years ago.  Not so much today.

20

I agree that prestige matters, and that law can be a prestige-obsessed profession. If Student A goes to Stanford and Student B goes to Golden Gate, obviously Stanford guy has an immensely better shot at most (if not every) job. The fact is, however, that Stanford (and other elite law school) grads make up a small percentage of all law schools grads. The GGU grad will mostly be competing with grads from McGeorge, USF, Santa Clara, even JFK. Between those schools, I'm not convinced that what ever reputational advantage Santa Clara might have over GGU would be worth $150k. OTOH, I believe it would be worth $150k to attend Stanford or Berkeley over any of those schools.


That's a very valid point.  As I've said here on these boards, if a school is ranked, say, #96, and another school is ranked #68, personally, I don't think the differences in ranking should be one of the top considerations in choosing one school over another.  It should be A factor, but not necessarily THE factor that tips the scale.

I think, honestly, once you get out of the top 14 or so, where you want to practice should have a lot more to do with the decision than most other factors.  Still, if you can hold all other things equal, going to, say, the #43rd best school in the country is probably a better idea than going to the #75th. 

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