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Messages - Maintain FL 350
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« on: May 21, 2014, 11:52:33 AM »
The question isn't whether someone with a CBE degree can become President, Supreme Court Justice, or big firm partner. That's not what these schools are for.
The question is whether they have a realistic shot at passing the bar and practicing law. Are the bar pass rates lower than ABA rates? Yes, they are. Sometimes by a lot, sometimes by a little. I think this has more to do with the nature of the student body (working adults) than with some deficiency in the program.
Again, we're not talking about one or two individuals. Small firms, solo offices, and government offices in CA have lots of CBE grads. They only make up about 5% of all people taking the CA bar exam, but they are concentrated in those fields. In my area, probably 25% of the government attorneys are CBE grads.
I think you also have to distinguish between CA accredited schools and non-accredited schools. The non-accredited schools tend to have much lower pass rates, and much smaller classes.
« on: May 21, 2014, 10:57:15 AM »
Personally, I would go for the least expensive option.
Mercer may be ranked higher, but it's not an elite school. Are the opportunities available to a Mercer student going to be significantly different from those available to a FAMU student? Is the Mercer "pedigree" going to open more doors?
You need to do a realistic cost/benefit analysis. If your choices were between FAMU and Duke, Emory, or even UGA it would be a tougher call. You need to do what's best for you, but seriously consider the implications of taking on a huge debt.
« on: May 21, 2014, 01:58:46 AM »
No, we're talking six figure careers.
None of the positions I mentioned require you to dispense legal advice, so bar admission is not necessarily critical. Knowledge of the relevant law, however, is considered a huge asset.
« on: May 21, 2014, 01:41:18 AM »
Concord has greater resources than any other online law school, regional accreditation, and has been lobbying for a shot at accreditation. They are the only ones who have any realistic chance at pulling it off.
The problem they face is bar pass rates. They need to get within 15% of the CA statewide ABA average. With a current pass rate of only 19%, they've got their work cut out. They need to get up to about 60% before they can apply for provisional accreditation (substantial compliance), and present a plan to bring the school into full compliance within 3-5 years.
This requires either attracting better applicants or being more selective in admissions (or both!). Better applicants, however, will almost always choose an ABA school. And if they get too selective, they don't make money.
It's a Catch-22.
Established schools that already have successful track records might start offering these hybrid programs, but I still we're a long way from a purely online school getting ABA approval. I just don't see the ABA approving a school with a 19% pass rate.
« on: May 20, 2014, 08:22:35 PM »
OK, here's the answer.http://www.abajournal.com/news/article/william_mitchell_online-hybrid_law_school_program/?utm_source=maestro&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=weekly_email
WM was approved for a variance from ABA standards. The thing I still find confusing is that the ABA article says the variance allows for 50/50 classroom and distance learning. Looking at the WM schedule, however, it looks like only one week per semester is in class. Maybe that week accounts for a higher number of credit hours?
Whether this means anything for schools like Concord remains to be seen. It looks like the ABA was willing to take the proposal from WM seriously because they were already an established school with a good track record.
It looks like this program would still be more or less limited to people in the immediate geographic region, unless they're willing to fly to MSP at the beginning and end of each semester.
I wonder how exams work? How do you know who's actually taking the exam?
« on: May 20, 2014, 06:36:15 PM »
What has me confused is that, as far as I know, the ABA still only allows 1/3 of the units to be counted towards the JD as DL. The rest must be in a traditional classroom.
I doubt if an established school like WM would launch a program that isn't ABA approved, but at the same time I'm not aware of any significant changes to the ABA's policy.
This could be the test case for online ABA education. If the bar pass rates are comparable to traditional programs, then who knows? The ABA currently requires that a law school's first time bar pass rate be within 15% of the statewide average. I was told that this may soon change to 10%. That means that the online program at WM will have to show pretty high bar pass rates in order to avoid bringing down the school's overall average.
I wonder if WM is being especially selective in who they admit in order to maximize pass rates and avoid attrition. Interesting.
« on: May 20, 2014, 05:28:17 PM »
I have always wondered what those "other fields" are that would prefer a JD over an MBA?
I've had two non-legal jobs where a JD was preferred. One was in environmental consulting, where knowledge of property, land use, and especially state and federal environmental regulation was an asset. The other was in film marketing and distribution, where knowledge of copyright, intellectual property, and contracts was necessary. Many of the people I worked with were JDs, but not necessarily practicing attorneys. An MBA would have been considered alright, but a JD was considered better.
Human resources is another field where it's common to find JDs. At most larger companies and government agencies the HR Director and managers will be JDs.
« on: May 18, 2014, 09:13:17 PM »
Out of state pass rates are relevant because they demonstrate how much tougher CA's bar exam is. I think it's reasonable to assume that if DL students were permitted to take easier bar exams they would have a higher
(though not necessarily high
) pass rate.
What about in state ABA?
In state ABA schools generally do better, which leads me to a theory I've been kicking around for a while.
It's possible that lower ranked California ABA schools (and some CBE schools) are better institutions than their admissions criteria would indicate. What I mean is, if a school can take students with relatively low GPAs and LSATs and get them to pass the hardest bar exam in the country at a rate of 65-80%, that's not bad. Especially considering that many T1 schools can't seem to do it.
« on: May 18, 2014, 01:24:25 PM »
There is a lot of guessing in that. Perhaps SD has a higher pass rate BECAUSE they don't let them in?
It's a common misconception that CA has low pass rates because of all the non-ABA takers. Here are the actual numbers:
July, 2013: 6635 first timers 95 from unaccredited schools
, 337 from CA accredited schools
The pass rate is low because the exam is brutal, not because of DL/unaccredited takers. If every single non-ABA grad failed it would affect the rate by about 6%. The actual effect is probably 4%. What brings down CA's rates are the thousands
of ABA grads who fail.
« on: May 18, 2014, 01:08:31 PM »
It's impossible to say exactly what DL bar pass rates would look like if more states allowed them to sit for the bar, but I think it is safe to say that they would increase.
These are pass rates from the July, 2013 CA bar:
Mich State 36%
Univ of Arizona 21%
Univ Nevada 29%
Each of these schools has a 70-90% pass rate in their home state. Clearly, the CA bar is tougher. It stands to reason that if DL students could sit for easier exams they would have a higher pass rate. That said, even if DL pass rates doubled they'd still be comparatively low.
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