Law School Discussion

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Messages - Maintain FL 350

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211
Law school professors have to be licensed attorneys.  This means they have to have passed a bar exam.

Is that an ABA rule? I've never heard that before.

I know that you definitely don't have to be a member of your state bar to teach. Several of my law school profs were not members of the CA bar, although they had passed another state's bar.

212
Syracuse / Re: Warning regarding Syracuse Law
« on: July 16, 2013, 10:12:59 PM »
1...... where did I say it placed Syracuse "in the top 25 for attrition"?

You didn't. I'm merely making an observation.

2...... since you referenced the "the top 25 for attrition" please identify the law schools with the top 25 attrition rate

http://taxprof.typepad.com/taxprof_blog/2008/04/law-school-ra-1.html

His numbers are a few years old, but if you check them against LSAC you'll see they haven't changed much. The precise order of schools may shuffle around a bit, but it's pretty much the same list.

BTW, I have no connection to Syracuse. It doesn't really matter to me if they have the highest or the lowest attrition in the nation. My only point is that if their "onerous" grading curve still allows 91% of the students to pass, well, that doesn't seem too harsh.

Check out this article if you get the chance. Law school attrition is actually at an historic low. Perhaps students are generally better, but I suspect this has to do with keep those student loan dollars rolling in.

http://www.thefacultylounge.org/2013/02/what-has-happened-to-law-school-attrition.html



213
Syracuse / Re: Warning regarding Syracuse Law
« on: July 15, 2013, 05:44:30 PM »
18.2% represents all attrition, including transfers, etc. Academic attrition at Syracuse accounts for less than half of that, about 9%. In other words, 91% of the students at Syracuse passed their classes and moved on to 2L.

Although 9% is still higher than many law schools, it doesn't even place Syracuse in the top 25 for attrition.

214
L.L.M. Board / Re: U of Washington(UW) Tax LLM
« on: July 14, 2013, 04:13:01 PM »
UW is very well respected in the Pacific Northwest, but I have no idea what the market is like for tax lawyers in Seattle. Although it's a well respected school, you still might have a hard time relying on a UW pedigree alone to land jobs outside of the western U.S.

I'd contact UW and ask about their placement for tax LL.Ms, and about the tax market in general.

215
For what it's worth, some of best teachers I had were adjunct faculty (prosecutors, public defenders, etc.) and some of the worst were tenured academics with impressive pedigrees.

Your point is well taken, though. The bar pass rate is just one of many factors the ABA considers. The entire institution is evaluated over a period of several years. The ABA looks at financial resources, bar support services, academic attrition, the physical plant, you name it. They even interview past and present students to get candid opinions on the school. This is why ABA approval is the gold standard for law schools, it's difficult to attain. 

In order to have a shot at accreditation either the ABA or Concord will have to drastically change its current requirements. I don't see that happening anytime soon.

216
I agree, it's a Catch 22. They can't attract better students without approval, and they can't obtain approval without better students. This is why ABA approval seems unlikely to me, despite Concord's financial resources. 

I suppose there is one route:
Concord could start requiring a degree and the LSAT for admission, which would drastically reduce it's class size but provide higher quality students. Then, attrite the underperformers and seriously support the rest with quality bar prep. If they were thus able to raise their pass rate it might give them more leverage with the ABA.

At this point, however, I just don't see what Concord is bringing to the table other than open admissions and low pass rates.

217
Transferring / Re: Emory or WashU for Tfer
« on: July 13, 2013, 02:20:23 AM »
If his goal is to end up in D.C., he should look into transferring to a local school: Georgetown, GWU, American, George Mason, etc.

As between Wash U and Emory, I doubt if one has better connections to D.C. than the other. Frankly, showing up in D.C after law school and having to compete with the multitudes of local talent who have had three years to network is not an enviable situation. I would advise your brother to make every effort to secure internships in D.C. and make connections.

218
I agree that Kaplan has the money and the lobbying ability to take on the ABA. They have the biggest bankroll of any online school, by far.

However, is the ABA is going to extend approval to a school with a 35% pass rate? Remember, they've recently denied approval to schools with much better pass rates.

Which brings me to my point:

Either Concord will have to drastically increase it's bar pass rate to 60-65% on the California bar (which gets them within 10-15% of the statewide ABA average), or the ABA will have to drastically reduce it's bar pass requirements. Neither is an impossible scenario, but both seem unlikely. Maybe there is another route, but I don't know what it would be.

California CBE approval is a different story, and I could definitely see Concord becoming the first CBE approved online school.

219
Concord is the most prominent and very likely will become the first accredited on-line law school in he US. As a subsidiary of a publicly owned corporation they have the means to make it happen . . . a quest they have been on for more than a decade. I predict it will happen within two years. Since the new ABA accreditation czar is Barry Currier, former dean of Concord . . . they also have an informed and sympathetic ear at the ABA . . . I predict less than five years before they get provisional ABA accreditation as well . . .

Although I'm sure that CA Law Dean has a better understanding of the subject matter than I do, ABA accreditation of online schools seems unlikely to me (at least in the near future) for a number of reasons.

Bar Pass Rates
I believe that until Concord greatly increases its first time bar pass rate accreditation is nearly impossible. The current ABA scheme requires that a school's bar pass rate be within 15% of the statewide average, or that they have a cumulative pass rate of 75% over five years. Concord's first time pass rate is around 35%, and thus Concord would have to drastically increase that rate to meet the ABA standard.

Of course, the ABA could simply adopt a less rigorous standard for online schools. This seems unlikely, however, since the ABA has recently considered tightening the requirement from 15% to 10%.

Effect of Concord's Dean at ABA
Although it's helpful to have a sympathetic ear at the ABA, accreditation is not the decision of one man. Under the current rules, Concord simply cannot comply. Therefore, the rules would have to be re-written to accommodate online programs. That process would require the support of numerous ABA committees and members. Currently, the ABA seems hostile to the concept.

The accreditation standards cover everything from bar pass rates and faculty tenure, to financial resources and student services. It would be a gargantuan task for the ABA to overhaul those rules, and would they be willing to do it simply for the benefit of online schools?
   
If anything, the ABA appears committed to its traditional standards. They recently refused to extend provisional accreditation to Lincoln Memorial University, a brick and mortar law school with Tennessee state bar accreditation, and Whittier Law School was put on probation due to low bar pass rates and high attrition.

In closing, I've said before that to have a shot at accreditation online schools are going to have to meet the ABA half way. As long as they have high attrition and low bar pass rates, I don't think they'll be able to drum up enough support within the organization. And, frankly, I'm not sure if online schools are capable of both becoming more selective in admissions (a necessary prerequisite to increasing bar pass rates), and garnering enough students to turn a profit. 

220
Amazing. The entire phenomenon of offering scholarships as enticements (as opposed to offering scholarships as rewards) has been highly destructive, in my opinion. Law schools attach absurd stipulations, knowing that the majority will lose some (or all) of the aid.

How many students are saddled with 150K debt because they were enticed by the scholarship? Maybe a good number of those folks wouldn't have even attended law school absent the scholarship offer, which would have a generally positive impact on the profession.

I understand the caveat emptor aspect, and do believe that students are also at fault. There is just something so utterly lacking in dignity about universities playing these kinds of games with people's futures.   

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