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Messages - Maintain FL 350
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« on: March 10, 2014, 12:27:27 PM »
Let me first echo Citylaw's comment and thank Law Dean for posting here. It's a very helpful perspective to have.
A couple of points regarding MCL's bar pass rate:
0/11 is a poor performance, I don't think anyone disputes that. One bad performance, however, is not a trend. If you look at MCL's bar pass rates for the last five years it's much better. This cohort seems to be an outlier, and is not indicative of overall performance.
Now, if this continues then there is obviously a problem. But at this point there is no reason to suspect that it will continue. Past performance, in fact, suggests the opposite.
The size of the CBE law school cohorts is so small (often 10-20 students) that I'm not sure you can draw too many conclusions, either positive or negative. One individual student can affect the pass rate by 5-10%!
If a school has consistently low or high pass rates, that probably does mean something. But an individual cohort which performs below average (as is the case here) is not necessarily indicative of anything other than the specific issues faced by that specific cohort.
Which leads to my last point...
Part Time Programs
I went to law school part time, and I can tell you from experience that it is a brutal process. Trying to prepare for the toughest bar exam in the nation while working, or taking care of a family, or both is very difficult. Schools like MCL are taking students who have much more going on than the average 22 year old law student and are trying to prepare them for the California bar.
If anything, I'm impressed by that fact that MCL routinely gets 50-60% of their students to pass on the first attempt! Remember, Tier 1 out of state schools often have a CA pass rate of only 20-30%.
I would say the same for lower tiered CA ABA schools, too. Personally, I'm more impressed with a 65-75% pass rate on the CA bar than an 80% pass rate on a much easier bar exam. Again, lower tier CA schools often beat the pants off much higher ranked out of state Tier 1 schools.
All of these factors, especially the difficulty of the CA bar, have to be taken into account when evaluating bar pass rates.
« on: March 10, 2014, 12:06:16 PM »
I was told it most definitely matters. Anyone have any experience with this? Thanks.
I think it depends on what state you're in. Some will pay more attention to this issue than others. There was a recent Ohio case where a guy was declined admission to the bar because he had something like $300k in debt, but I think that's unusual.
In most states I think what they're looking for is any indication that you've acted in a fraudulent manner or that you are irresponsible. For example, running up huge bills and then simply walking away or having multiple bankruptcies could raise red flags. In most cases I think bad credit alone is not going to be much of an issue, but you may have to explain it and it could hold up your application.
I have been told that some states like Florida do pay more attention to this than others. In California I seem to remember that the Moral Character application only required a credit report of you were currently
behind on any bills. Be sure to check with your state bar, though. They are the only source you should trust on these matters.
« on: March 06, 2014, 04:20:32 PM »
Yes, you must turn in all transcripts from all college level institutions attended even if it was for only one individual class. If you do not, it will likely be viewed as an ethical breach. You could be rejected from law schools or even prohibited from taking the bar exam. DO NOT risk it. Turn in all your transcripts.
I never had any law school ask for my HS transcripts. I think what Miami88 is referring to are college level classes taken in HS.
« on: March 04, 2014, 12:50:40 PM »
I want to practice family law. I got a special certification in family law and am now VOLUNTEERING for around 50 hours a week at a family law firm. Obviously, I'm not waiting for things to be handed to me, but rather am working as hard as I can (and trying to learn as much as I can).
Without trying to sound condescending or critical, there are some aspects to your approach that strike me as counterproductive. Volunteering
If you have a JD and have passed the bar you should not be volunteering 50 hours a week. Maybe volunteering 10-20 hours per week is OK to gain experience and learn the law, but the rest of your time should be spent trying to get a practice going.
Even if you get one client per month, or only bill 10 hours per month, you'd be better off than giving away your time for free. I would really focus my attention on how the firm gets clients, how referrals work, etc.
I understand that it's tough to find clients and to navigate the system without guidance, but you are a lawyer. You know how to learn the law, and you can talk to others who have started solo practices. Spending 50 hours a week volunteering is crazy, in my opinion. Family Law
You may need to branch out. Take DUI cases, worker's comp cases, social security administration cases, and family law cases. As a new lawyer you can't afford to be too picky, and it's all good experience. Talk to solo practitioners and see how they did it.
I don't doubt that you have the motivation and intelligence to succeed, but your approach does seem flawed. You're spending inordinate amounts of time on a path that will likely not produce results.
Lastly, consider moving if necessary. Other than that, I don't know what to tell you. Law is a business like any other and you aren't guaranteed a job. You will have to make your own luck.
« on: March 03, 2014, 04:42:38 PM »
BTW, some of the CBE schools in southern California are Glendale College of Law, University of West Los Angeles, Santa Barbara, Ventura, and there's one in Long Beach but I can't remember it's name. Some have decent bar pass rates and good connections to the local bar, others don't. Check them out individually.
There are also a few ABA schools (in addition to the ones you mentioned) which might accept someone with a 2.8 GPA, as long as it was accompanied by a decent LSAT score. These would include La Verne, Western State, and (in San Diego) Thomas Jefferson and Cal Western.
« on: March 03, 2014, 03:18:12 PM »
Go to the California State bar website, they have a list of all ABA, CBE (state accredited), and non-accredited schools.
If you are interested in the CBE schools, take a look at some of the threads on this site regarding them. They can be the right choice for the right student, but it is imperative that you understand the potential limitations of such a degree.
The biggest is that many states won't let you practice, so if you plan on leaving CA that's a problem. Another is that many firms and government offices won't hire a non-ABA grad. However, others will. If you plan on solo practice, that won't matter anyway. Just be sure to look into all aspects.
« on: March 03, 2014, 12:24:43 PM »
Before I go any further, let me say that without a real LSAT score everything is speculative. It's difficult to guess what your eventual LSAT score will be, and most people grossly overestimate their abilities.
With a 2.8/163 you have very little chance at UCLA.
LMU, Pepperdine, USD, and UH (Hawaii?) are also longshots. Your speculative 163 would be average for those schools, but your 2.8 is significantly below average.
Santa Clara would also be a longshot. Southwestern, Chapman, and McGeorge are possibilities. You'd have a decent shot at all three. BYU is tough to get into, you'd need around a 3.5/165.
As a non-traditional student you should be thinking more about your post law school goals rather than which specific school you'll attend, and let that determine your choice of school. If you're going to be 45 and just starting out in law, you don't want a $150,000 debt hanging over your head 20 years before retirement. I would suggest studying like crazy for the LSAT and using your score to secure a scholarship offer, rather than seeking mere admission (without a scholarship) to a higher ranked school.
If your goal is to work for a small firm or solo practice, you do not need a degree from a high ranked school. As another poster mentioned, you may be the kind of student who should look into the California accredited law schools. You'll save $70,000 - 100,000. That savings may be worth more than any slight reputational advantage gained by attending a lower ranked ABA school.
One thing to understand is that the importance of your pedigree is directly proportionate to it's prestige. In other words, a Harvard degree may be worth $150,000 because it's Harvard and will open doors. When it comes to schools like Chapman, McGeorge, and Southwestern, most employers view them as interchangeable. They all exist on the same level, more or less. I would take the cheapest one.
Lastly, spend a little time checking out life at small firms and solo practices before you invest the time and money. Make sure it's for you. I went to law school when I was a little older too, and I can tell you from experience that you should only do this if you are absolutely 100% committed. It is a grind, and after law school you will still have to tackle the bar exam.
Good Luck with your decision!
« on: February 25, 2014, 03:31:25 PM »
The addendum is probably sufficient for the purposes of law school admission, but I would highly advise contacting your state bar and asking about their admission requirements.
There is variation among the state bars as to how much this type of thing will affect you. In some states an explanation and proof that you fulfilled any requirements may be all that is needed. In other states, these types of things could delay your admission for a long time.
Law schools may be willing to admit you and to accept your money for three years, whereas the bar may not. Definitely check into it before you spend the tuition.
« on: February 25, 2014, 12:52:23 PM »
I strongly disagree with the above replies. I graduated two years ago from a tier-1 school, did an externship with a federal judge, completed a certification in my desired field, volunteered to do pro-bono work, and still have not been able to find a real job. Although its true that the job market for young professionals is generally weak, the legal job market is particularly bad. Anyone thinking of going to law school now is a real fool.
Well, I don't know the details of situation but have you considered moving to different area? Or opening a solo practice? Or starting a small firm with friends from law school?
Look, it's tough out there and I completely get that. But I know people who graduated from T4 schools in the last couple of years, and have successful practices. Clearly it can be done. I think the key to develop skills that actually translate into gaining clients and learning how to practice law.
« on: February 25, 2014, 12:44:10 PM »
Interesting list, thanks for providing it.
It is a sad state of affairs when some of the most expensive law schools in the state are PUBLIC institutions. The costs for legal education have gone so through the roof that it's absurd. There is literally not one reasonably priced law school in California.
I agree with Citylaw that a CBE school can be the right choice for the right student, as long as they understand the potential limitations. I've met plenty of very successful CBE grads.
That said, I am little bothered that the CBE schools are now only comparatively inexpensive. $60,000 - $70,000 is not exactly pocket change, and is far more expensive than many public ABA schools outside of California.
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