The information you provided is too scant to draw any conclusions. Do you mean that you failed some classes, or just didn't do as well as you'd like?
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Messages - Maintain FL 350
I just want to make sure I would be able to sit the bar after three years, especially since a scholarship is involved.
Most states require a degree from an ABA approved law school in order to sit for the bar.
Check out the ABA website, you can read about the process and requirements involved with obtaining accreditation. Obtaining full approval is a long and expensive process, with many intermediate steps.
IIRC, a law school must operate for one academic year before they can apply for accreditation. The school can then apply for Provisional Accreditation, which means that the school is found to be in "substantial compliance" with ABA standards. The school must then maintain provisional accreditation for a while (three years?) before it can apply for full accreditation. The ABA looks at everything from financial resources to faculty qualifications to admissions processes. It's a very in depth process.
Here in California, the new UC-Irvine law school opened in 2009 with Erwin Chemerinsky (a huge name in Constitutional law) as dean, a $20 million gift from a local tycoon, and the full backing of the highly regarded UC system. Even so, they operated as unaccredited for the first year and then acheived provisional status. I believe they are still in the process of obtaining full approval. That's an example of the best case scenario.
Lincoln Memorial University in Tennessee, OTOH, opened a new law school and failed to obtain provisional approval recently. There is a good NY Times article on the topic which I'd encourage you to read. It explains how a school can fail to obtain accreditation. Look closely at the resources of the parent institution.
Thus, it is likely that in the best case scenario you would graduate from a provisionally accredited school. The ABA says that graduates of provisionally accredited schools should be accorded all the rights of graduates of fully approved schools. I have heard of some states giving applicants a hard time about provisional status, however.
Make sure to check with the state bar in the state in which you intend to practice, and get a clear answer as to their policy regarding provisionally accredited law schools. Also be sure to check out the ABA's rules, and ask the new school specific questions about their plans to acheive accreditation.
Monterrey's first time pass rate for July 2012 was 66%. That's better than several CA ABA schools, and significantly better than most out of state ABA schools. Check out Calbar's site for details.
I don't think CBE schools are required to report post-grad employment details like their ABA counterparts, so that info may not be readily available. You could have discovered this yourself in about 30 seconds.
"Are CBE schools a joke?" is the wrong question. It's subjective and vague, and can't really be answered. The question to ask is "Are CBE schools adequately fulfilling their intended function?" The answer to that question is that some are, and some are not.
CBE schools are not attempting to compete with the ABA schools. As Duncanjp noted, the typical CBE student is a working adult and has no intention of seeking a Biglaw position. The CBE schools do, however, provide a large number of California's prosecutors, public defenders, small Main Street firms, and solo practitioners.
I think it's difficult for attorneys from outside of California to understand the system, because most states have no equivalent. Law students, both inside and outside of California, seem equally confused. I graduated from an ABA school, and the entire focus was on grades, law review, and absurd ranking schemes. Everyone was gunning for those coveted few Biglaw or Federal positions, and most of my classmates openly disdained the notion of working in small firms or at the public defender's office.
From what I can gather, that's simply not the focus at CBE schools. Most CBE students I've met are very realistic about their options, and understand the limitations of the degree. However, visit any public agency or small firm in CA and you're bound to meet successful CBE grads. My county counsel's office is something like 50% CBE grads, and they're doing just fine.
Also, like ABA schools, some CBEs have better reputations than others. Some of them are geographically isolated, and are therefore able to attract more qualified applicants who would otherwise attend an ABA school. Those particular CBE schools produce a large percentage of the local bar and bench, and have good local reputations.
For example, we had a CBE school here in Los Angeles (University of La Verne) that was called "The Judge's Law School" for decades because it produced so many judges in southern California. Within it's region, ULV had (and still has) a good reputation and went onto earn ABA approval. Western State in Orange County had a similar history, and produced a huge number of OC's prosecutors and judges before gaining ABA approval. In the Central Valley, a large number of the attorneys and judges are graduates of San Joaquin COL, and the Santa Barbara area is well stocked with Santa Barbara COL grads.
Other CBE schools, however, have low bar pass rates,mmay be in danger of losing state accreditation under California's newly adopted rules, and are in regions where they have to compete with multiple ABA schools. Clearly, that's going to make things difficult for many of those grads. The point is you've got to look at the schools individually, and take into account the students' goals.
« on: May 03, 2013, 07:01:13 PM »
The world does not laugh at the US law school system, they flock to it in droves.
The US has more foreign law students than any other nation on Earth by far. Ask any lawyer in Hong Kong, Berlin, or Johannesburg to name the ten best law schools and the world and I'll bet they'll answer "Harvard, Yale, Columbia...", etc. The international competition to get into top US LL.M programs is intense.
US law schools definitely have problems with cost, lack of practical training, etc. But by and large, US graduate level education is considered to be very high quality internationally.
« on: May 03, 2013, 06:45:24 PM »
If you do transfer to a CBE law school I hope you keep us updated with your observations. You'd have a unique perspective, and it would be interesting to hear how you compare the ABA/CBE programs.
For many jobs, I really wonder if a lower tier ABA degree is worth very much more than a CBE degree. If your interest is solo practice or small Main Street firms, saving money and gaining practical experience may be the best bet.
Good luck with whatever path you choose!
« on: May 01, 2013, 12:17:54 PM »
One disadvantage to CBE schools is that I believe most are part-time and part-time law study is not what you need for the bar exam. It may lead you into a false sense of security and having only 3 exams spread out over a few days in law school is a cakewalk compared to what you are required to do on the bar.
True, however if you look at first time pass rates for ABA approved part time programs they're roughly equivalent to the full time pass rates. No significant difference. I think this has to do with the greater admissions selectivity at ABA schools. Even lower tier ABA schools have far stricter admissions criteria than CBE or (especially) online schools.
I absolutely agree with Livinglegend that the individual's personal dedication and drive (combined with luck) are the biggest factors, regardless of where they went to school. If you graduate from Stanford but don't bother to hunker down and study for a few months, you will be included in that 9% of Stanford grads who fail.
However, if the CBE schools are accepting numerous students without strong academic credentials, then it shpuldn't be too surprising that the pass rates are comparartively low. Law school and and the bar exam are very demanding, and it seems that many students are admitted to online and CBE schools who simply do not possess the academic background to succeed.
It's also important to point out that just like ABA schools, some CBE programs have better reputations and pass rates than others. Some of the CBE schools are geographically isolated, and I suspect they are able to draw a better applicant pool as result of being the only game in town (no ABA school to compete with). Such schools produce a large percentage of the local bar and bench, and their grads can effectively compete with ABA grads. In large metro areas with numerous law schools, of course it's much tougher.
« on: April 14, 2013, 05:55:40 PM »
By "traditional law school", I assume you mean ABA approved. My understanding is that the vast majority of ABA schools will not accept credits from a non-ABA school. A few of the ABA schools in California will accept credits from Calbar accredited schools, but not unaccredited schools. Just check the transfer applicant info on each school's site, and it should list their policy.
As far as other criteria (LSAT, etc), transfer applicants still have to meet the normal requirements for admission. This means taking the LSAT, holding a bachelor's degree, registering with LSAC, etc.
It's possible that some of the Calbar accredited schools might accept unaccredited coursework, I'd check with each school individually. No school, however, is required to accept such credits even if their policy allows for it. You'd probably have an uphill battle no matter what.
The bottom line is, don't attend a school you aren't prepared to graduate from. I think this is especially true of unaccredited programs, since transferring will likely be very, very difficult. I would contact each school you're considering and ask if they have ever had a student transfer to an ABA or CBE accredited school. That should give you a good indication.
What is your point? Are you just arguing that it may not be as bad as law school transparency says?
Yes, that is my only point and nothing more (or less) should be read into it. Employment statistics, like all raw data, should be viewed critically and within context. I come from a scientific background, and learned a long time ago that your final results are only as accurate as the data you collect. It's difficult to account for all variables, but this particular variable might affect the accuracy of the results. That's all.
My broader point, and the reason I responded to Anti's claim, is that the purpose of the data can be misunderstood. The numbers are based on voluntary self-reporting nine months after graduation. As far as I know, the numbers are not subsequently revised to reflect those who obtain employment after the reporting date.
This leads me to believe that the statistics are not designed to provide a platform upon which future projections of employabilty can be divined. Absent some evidence to the contrary, these numbers appear to have limited durational value and their accuracy probably diminishes the farther you get from the reporting date. This is not a flaw in the model. It's simply not intended to produce long term prognostications.
The statistics are accurate as far as they reflect the employment of participating graduates at that point in time. That is, X% of reporting grads were employed/unemployed at the time they voluntarily responded, period. But people should make an effort to understand the purpose, methodology, and inherent limitations of data collection before attempting to extrapolate these results beyond their intended parameters. It's a huge mistake to do so.
For example, if School X has a nine month employment rate of 50%, that does not mean that you automatically have a 50% chance of ever becoming a lawyer if you attend that school. No model can account for the personal attributes that greatly affect an individual's probability of securing employment. Some people have a 100% chance because they're brilliant and personable, and others have a 0% chance because they're immature fools. By making such claims, one is attributing characteristics to the model which it was never intended to address. Such conclusions will almost always be wrong.
As far as the overall employment outlook, I agree with you, Jack. It's bad, especially for those who have just graduated and are looking for their first job. I graduated from a non-prestigious law school in the state with the worst legal employment market (CA) within the last couple of years. Trust me, I don't need anyone to tell me how bad the market is. I also know, however, that those who continue to develop their skills and connections after law school, are willing to be flexible, and don't waste time pursuing jobs for which they're unqualified stand a good chance of eventually finding employment.
One other factor that has to be taken into account when evaluating employment statistics:
My law school, like many law schools with large part time/evening programs, had a significant number of people who graduated in December. The employment surveys for the December grads were collected in February, at the same time as the May grads. Most (if not all) of the December grads spent December, January, and February studying for the February bar as opposed to looking for a job. Their post grad employment data, however, gets counted with the previous academic year in which they graduated.
Considering that only two and a half months pass between graduation and data collection, this could significantly affect the statistics for the entire year's graduating class.
« on: March 21, 2013, 01:27:30 PM »
All of the schools you've been accepted to have good reputations, but you need to be very realistic about your options.
Hiring at the big U.S. firms is extremely competitive. You will most likely need to be ranked near the top of your class, which is no small accomplishment in law school. Your classmates will be just like you: disciplined, motivated, and smart. Everyone will be striving to reach those coveted few spots, and you simply can't assume that you'll be at the top. Before you commit yourself to law school, understand that there is a very good chance you will not get hired at a big firm.
I'm not sure what (if any) effect your immigration status would have on getting hired, but it may complicate the matter further. I'd ask other foreign law graduates directly about their experiences, as well as the law schools themselves.
The general rule is that you should not attend any law school which you are not prepared to graduate from. As I said above, all of the schools you've been accepted to have good reputations. Transferring to a T6, however, is very competitive. Many people attempt to transfer to higher ranked schools, and very few succeed. You will most likely need very high grades and a high class rank by the end of 1L. Like getting hired at a big firm, you need to understand that while it's possible it's easier said than done.
You've set some very difficult to attain goals for yourself. Be realistic about your chances of attaining these goals, and evaluate whether you still want to attend law school even if you don't get hired at a big firm or if you don't get to transfer.