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Messages - loki13

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1
On the most recent California Bar the overall pass rate was 34%.  Online and correspondence stacked up pretty well at 18% and 26% equivalent to fixed facility non ABA schools (accredited 18% and unaccredited 25%). If the trend continues that means distance learning is finally the equivalent of a non ABA fixed facility law school, a major development in my opinion.

http://abovethelaw.com/2017/05/californias-bar-exam-results-are-absolutely-abysmal/?rf=1

It's certainly interesting. Some things to note, however-

1. February always has lower passage rates than the June administration.
2. June 2016 was also the lowest on record (for Junes).
3. Even so, June 2016 was higher than February, because June has the most traditional (ABA accredited, on normal track) students taking it.
4. You should pay attention to the "repeater" stats- those are the people who failed the first time, and are re-taking it. In both the June and February administration, ABA-accredited schools have much higher repeater rates than all other schools. In addition to having much higher fist-time rates.

What to make of this? The quality of the incoming students is bottoming out. Overall. Which is to say that if you aren't qualified to get into an ABA school, you should seriously look at why you want to go to law school.

That said, it is increasingly apparent that there is little, if any, distinction between on-campus and other forms of non-ABA accredited schools.

(I would include the usual about California and the Baby Bar, portability of the degree, etc., but that's a dead horse by this point. If you want to be a practicing, bar-licensed attorney, your best chance for success is to attend the lowest-cost ABA accredited school in the jurisdiction that accepts you, with the exception of the very top schools (HYS).)

2
Law School Admissions / Re: Whittier Law School Closing
« on: May 01, 2017, 03:39:05 PM »
Another interesting article on the Whittier debacle. Honestly, I feel for these students. That is a bitter pill to swallow, and must make the law school experience feel very hollow.

https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2017/04/25/whittier-law-school-shutdown-raises-prospect-future-closures-and-access

Thoughts-

1. Would that make a Whittier JD a collector's item?

2. My heart does go to the students and faculty- they didn't deserve it. I hope they have the unwinding properly planned.

3. That said, the best thing that can happen is a good retrenchment. There are too many law schools, and too few good students. It's a supply and demand issue, and the best cure would be a reduction in the number of ... less than great law schools.

3
Choosing the Right Law School / Re: Chapman law or USD law
« on: April 21, 2017, 02:05:44 PM »
By USD I think you mean San Diego, not Davis?

As between USD at close to sticker price and Chapman for free, I'd take Chapman in a heartbeat. Frankly, neither school can justify the obscene tuition they charge, so I'd go for the cheapest option. Your job prospects graduating from either school will be very similar, with an advantage to USD if you want to live in SD. I don't think many employers draw a big distinction between these schools, they operate on a fairly similar level. 

I'm surprised that if you had the numbers to get a full ride from Chapman, that you did not get a better offer from USD. Their admissions numbers are not too disparate.

Last note: be prepared to live and work in Southern California. I don't know where you are from, but these are not exactly the kinds of schools that will land you job interviews in NYC (or at big firms) based on pedigree. Not really a big deal, but something to be aware of.

Good catch- I must have immediately read that as UC-Davis (UCD), not USD, as you correctly note.

Agreed.

4
Choosing the Right Law School / Re: Chapman law or USD law
« on: April 21, 2017, 06:50:34 AM »
Hello,

Just got accepted to both Chapman and USD law. Just wanted to hear everyone's thoughts on which school I should attend. While Chapman law is offering a full ride, USD is offering 5k a year.

Thanks,

Briefly-

UC Davis is a better school, with better employment prospects. BUT ... that's a lot of money to turn up. Review the terms and conditions of the free ride at Chapman; it is almost assuredly predicated on maintaining some type of class standing. Check to see what it is (minimum GPA, etc.) and review what the curve is at Chapman. Everyone assumes that X Gpa is easy because of undergrad, forgetting about the forced curve- law school GPAs are not the same.

Assuming the terms and conditions of the free ride are not too onerous, I would probably go with Chapman. The increase in quality of UC-Davis just isn't enough to pass up a free ride. IMO.

5
Law School Admissions / Re: Interview. . . what to expect?
« on: April 14, 2017, 07:29:51 AM »
My questions are:  Is this a good sign?  Does anyone have ideas on what I should expect to be asked[/i] (outside the logical  question "what do you contribute your low score to?")? What is the best way to prepare?

One of the universities called to set up a meeting to discuss my low LSAT score because everything else in my file looked really good.  I took the LSAT in February and (surprisingly) only scored 145 - which was a shock to me as my lowest PT was 150.  I am an older student with a strong GPA (3.61) and 20 years of management/leadership experience. My personal statement was good and I have strong letters of recommendation.

The other university put my application on hold pending the June LSAT stating if I scored 5-6 points higher I would get accepted for this fall.  Of course, I'd rather not take that again if I don't have to and the college wanting to meet with me is actually my #1 choice.

Also, any suggestions on questions to ask them are greatly appreciated.

Thank you!

I feel it's necessary to state the following- an LSAT score of 145 is at the extreme / very high risk of not getting through law school, and if you do get through law school, not passing the bar. But everyone is different- this is just in aggregate. LSATs don't determine your life, you do.

So here's the thing- I don't see you write any reason why you think your score came in low. There were no extraneous factors. That's not necessarily a bad thing. No one appreciates excuses. So if I were in your shoes, I would own it. Just explain that you put the work in, and you were disappointed with the result as it came in lower than you expected.

If they are meeting with you, I'd take that as a good sign. Concentrate on your positives (work experience, putting work in, strong GPA). Explain why that will help you succeed in law school.

6
Law School Admissions / Re: Should I Apply/Do I have a chance?
« on: April 14, 2017, 07:22:19 AM »
I'm a 23-year-old junior at Rutgers University.

I started my college career at the University of Rhode Island in the Fall 0f 2012. I suffered a series of strokes and other neurological issues that caused my grades to suffer. I finished my freshman year with an abysmal 1.85 GPA...I was told by multiple advisors that this should not affect my chances of admission since they are grades from years ago, and I have a legitimate excuse for my performance that I can explain in an addendum essay.

After my freshman year, I transferred to a local community college where I did fairly well and graduated after the Fall of 2014 with an associate's degree.

I then took 2 and a half years off to work and deal with some personal issues, including the ramifications of my health issues. I returned to school in the Fall of 2016 where I started at Rutgers University. During this semester, I enrolled in four classes. I got an A in my Journalism 201 class, a C+ in my Urban Political Systems class, I withdrew from an elective, and got an F in my Journalism 101 class. I retook the class the following semester and got an A in it.

Is the F and "application killer?" I got the F because I missed the withdraw date, and beyond rebounding from my strokes and other neurological issues, I was newly becoming clean and sober. As I was adjusting to my new lifestyle, it was incredibly difficult for me to gauge exactly how much I could handle. I believe my "self-appraisal system" was off, meaning, I thought I could handle more than I could at the time.

What are your general thoughts on the things I presented?

Please let me know when you get the chance.

Thanks!

Sam

Hey Sam!

I agree with what Maintain what, as usual. I am going to add a few things for you to consider.

First, I recommend trying to take a few practice LSATs and seeing how you score on them, just to get an idea. The LSAT score is going to be a huge factor in the process. To be honest, if you have a bad uGPA and a bad LSAT, it will be exceptionally difficult to get into even a mediocre law school. That would be useful information.

Next, think about where you want to practice. I noticed you said "clean and sober," in addition to your other medical issues. Different bars (different states) have different rules for admission; some states, to be honest, don't care much about a prior history of alcohol or drug dependency unless there is a criminal record associated with it. There are some states that care quite a lot, even absent a criminal record, and will require further information, disclosure, and perhaps some additional hurdles for you to jump through. And of course, you will be expected to be candid.

Finally, as Maintain points out, law school can be exceptionally stressful.

The long and the short of it is that nothing you wrote is an absolute bar to practicing law. But it is also true that past is prologue; make sure you take care of yourself and that you have established a good track record of being able to handle your personal and academic side before taking the plunge. Good luck!

7
Law School Admissions / Re: Personal Statement
« on: March 23, 2017, 07:16:55 AM »
Thanks again to those who offered advice a few months ago.

As an update, I did bomb the LSAT twice.  I came to the conclusion that I simply suck at the LSAT.  My apps were completed prior to any scores being released, but I put the idea of going to law school out of my head, threw away my LSAT materials, and continued on with life (other job interviews, looking into other grad school options etc...)

One random morning recently I received an email from a school back east that I had no business getting into, and got in.  A few minutes later I received an email from another school I had no business getting into indicating I was on the "priority wait list."

So I guess the lesson is that while the numbers are vital, they are not everything... I have decided not to move back east for school, so it's the waitlist school or bust.     

Well, thank you for the update, and kinda sorta congratulations? Many law schools are allowing in certain parts of the class with less-than-stellar LSATs due to the decline in applications, so your story isn't completely atypical, but bad news for law schools is good news for you!

Now, on the wait list, a few things.

Depending on the school, you might want to make sure that their admissions office is aware of your continuing interest. Give them a friendly heads up - especially if, as you say, that's the only school you are interested in attending.

8
Good Morning All,

I realized I never closed this thread, and I wanted to express appreciation for everyone's reasoned thoughts.

I have decided that I will be going to FSU. Now I just have to bide my time till August... So close and yet so far away...

Congratulation, and good luck!

Free advice - your first year is really, really important. So make sure you treat it appropriately. Do all the work, and do even more. And don't pay attention to the 1L rumor mill. All 1Ls are overworked, scared, and don't know what they are talking about.

(But a study group will be a good idea)

9
Choosing the Right Law School / Re: Tier 4?
« on: March 06, 2017, 09:59:57 AM »
I am looking at some Tier 4 schools since that is all I can manage. I have heard some negative, some positive. If I am not looking at going to big law firms and just aspire to my own private practice, am I still at a disadvantage? Some people have tried to discourage me completely while an attorney I know said it really doesn't matter what school you go to, depending on your expectations.

There is no easy answer, here. Or, as any attorney would say, "It depends."

Let's take three "Tier 4" schools (I don't know if they are all Tier 4 currently, but generally have been): UMaine, Suffolk, and Florida Coastal.

These are three very different schools. All of them are "tier 4" in the sense that the applicant pool tends to have lower scores (uGPA + LSAT), they don't have great placements (BigLaw, good firms), and they aren't well-respected nationally.

But they are also very different-
UMaine is the only law school in Maine, and the state law school. If you want to practice in Maine, if you want to be a Maine attorney ... well, it's a fine choice. Maine does have some transplant attorneys (highly ranked New England law schools), but there is nothing wrong with going to State U if you want to practice in that state.

Suffolk is fine if you want to take a job in Boston- not a white shoe job, but one of the other legal jobs in the Boston market (PD, prosecutor, government, smaller firm, etc.).

Florida Coastal, on the other hand, is "classic" Tier 4. For profit, low standards, and competing in an oversaturated legal market. There are 11 law schools in Florida, and it might be the worst. That said, you can still pass the bar, or transfer, or do well out of Florida Coastal!

It's just probabilities. Tier 4 schools give you fewer options. And you have to do better at a Tier 4 school to get an equivalent position than you would at a higher-tier school; your competition might be less, but there is far less margin for error.

As practicing on your own- all you have to do is pass the bar. It is certainly doable, but most people struggle in solo practice without a few reps or some connections.


10
Let's see.

Rule I(a)(1).
“Accredited” means that a law school is recognized as being qualified by the competent accrediting agency of a state or foreign jurisdiction, by a political subdivision of a state or foreign juris.

Read in pari mutuel with the provision cited, then:
(1) You have to have a degree (but not a JD) from a law school that is accredited in that jurisdiction; AND
(2) The studies must be substantially similar to an ABA ("approved") law school.

If you go here, you will see that Taft (for example) is specifically listed as an unaccredited school:
http://admissions.calbar.ca.gov/Education/LegalEducation/LawSchools.aspx

So I would agree with Maintain- regardless of any intent, the actual wording is clear. While California has specific rules allowing unaccredited schools to have their graduates sit for the Bar, that does not mean those schools are accredited.

In addition, there are other jurisdictions where the state has an accreditation for the law school, but it is not ABA-accredited (or "approved").

That said, there is case law in some jurisdiction (minority) where people have been able to successfully petition the State Bar to take the Bar Exam after they have shown a period of good practice, despite unorthodox credentials. I don't think that this gives you it as a matter of right.

As always, YMMV, and I would contact the Texas Bar for a dispositive ruling on the issue. State Bars are usually happy to help.

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