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Messages - Maintain FL 350

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Current Law Students / Re: Stay or leave?
« on: June 05, 2015, 10:19:29 AM »
As Groundhog said, the curve at your particular school can vary greatly and determines your class rank. Your GPA could place you anywhere from the bottom 25% to the top 25%. However, you are probably ranked somewhere in the middle along with the majority of your classmates. 

If your GPA is the only reason you are considering dropping out, then I would say NO, don't do it! If you hate law school (sounds like you don't) or are resolutely against anything other than a Biglaw/federal job, that's a different story. But dropping out over a 2.9? No way. You have many good opportunities still open.

That said, here's some reality:

With an average GPA from a non-elite school you are almost certainly not going to be in the running for Biglaw, a federal position such as US Attorney, or a judicial clerkship. Those jobs are crazy competitive, and that's just how it is. I have no idea where you are located, but you may also have difficulty moving to another major city outside of your immediate geographical location. In other words, if you are ranked middle of the pack at University of Oklahoma that's probably not a big deal when you're looking at local govt and midsized firms in Tulsa. It is a big deal if you want to move to LA or NYC.

So, what you're realistically looking at in terms of post grad employment are small firms, local govt agencies like DA/PD (although these can be very competitive), and maybe midsized firms. If you can be happy drafting wills, reviewing contracts between small businesses, and defending DUIs, then great. If that is anathema to you and you will only be happy with the prestige of a big firm, well . . .

The vast majority of people are a bit shocked when first year grades come out. You work ten times harder than you did in undergrad, and you get Cs and maybe Bs. It's brutal, but that's law school. Don't feel bad about it, just recalibrate your goals and expectations.

My experience with mediation and arbitration has been that lawyers acting in that capacity are usually pretty experienced. I've never heard of someone getting into either field straight out of law school, but I could be wrong. Arbitrators are often retired judges, mediators are usually seasoned lawyers.

If you can participate, why not? You may get lucky, and at the very least you might make some contacts.

I really lack perspective on what grades are considered good, bad, or just average. So do you have to get a C to be considered in trouble?

Again, it really varies from school to school. LOTS of law students get Cs, which isn't necessarily bad. Remember, Cs are supposed to be average! The absurd grade inflation at undergrad programs has given everyone the impression that you're supposed to get a B for showing up. Not in law school. It's all about class rank, though.

Keep in mind that your grades will really only matter when it comes to getting your first job. After that, employers want to know what you've been doing with your degree, not what grade you got in Civ Pro. Do what you need to do to get a job that allows you to build up some experience, and use that to build a career block by block. Your first job doesn't have to be your dream job, it's a stepping stone and an opportunity.

Transferring / Re: Just drop out instead
« on: June 04, 2015, 09:57:58 AM »
I guess it depends on why someone is considering transferring, but this would be a really bad move for the vast majority of students.

First, good luck finding a lawyer or judge to sponsor your studies. I can't speak for NY, but in CA the supervising lawyer has to send in timesheets to the bar certifying that they've taught you X number of hours in Torts, X hours in Contracts, supervised exams, etc. It's not as freewheeling as people think, and most lawyers don't have the time or interest in spending half their day teaching law to someone. That's why even in CA only a tiny handful of people (like 4 or 5 a year) go this route.

Second, this type of study will not sufficiently prepare most students for the bar exam. The bar pass rates are close to zero.

Last, most employers will not hire you without a JD. If you plan on a solo practice, I guess that doesn't matter.

Bottom line, if you can't handle the rigors of traditional law school then there is no reason to think that this would be a viable alternative. If anything, it's a more difficult route and requires even greater discipline and brain power to succeed.   


There's a lot to address here, so I'm going to be pretty general.

First, in order to have a shot at readmission to your current school or transferring to another school you're going to have to convince them that your 1L problems won't be repeated. Simply reapplying without a clear plan for future success will be a problem.

They're going to want to see (at least) that you've identified the problems and have a plan to deal with them. Incidentally, you should want this too. It's necessary for success.

Second, it sounds like you haven't really done that yet. You stated that you changed things after the first semester but still had low grades. Clearly, something else needs to change. Until you figure that out, reapplying is putting the cart before the horse. I completely understand how anxious you must be to get back in the game, but unless you figure this out you're likely to have a repeat.

Lastly, this is a concern:

Issue (2): I am tired of having my soul crushed,  and swallowing my pride. Although my school is in the same state it is kind of far from the city where I want to practice.  The kids here are all way too smart and competitive. I have never been a "try hard" and I do not intend on starting now.

I'm not exactly sure what a "try hard" is, but if you mean that you are not willing to absolutely work your butt off then you need to seriously consider whether or not this is the right profession for you. It's not going to get easier. Not when you take the bar, and not as an attorney. Law school success is only partly based on intellectual prowess. Hard work (as cliché as this may sound) really is the key ingredient.

Yeah, the bar card is just a confirmation of what has already occurred (that you're a member of the bar). Plenty of people do as Loki said and just send in an affidavit.

Yes, I see your point but again you're attributing to me positions that I haven't advocated. I'm not advocating adoption of a uniform exam because it would either increase the national supply of lawyers (although, as you stated there would likely be regional increases), or because I believe it would provide better consumer protections.

My argument is very simple:

1) Current licensing requirements already provide sufficient consumer protection. The especially rigorous nature of the CA bar does not necessarily result in better consumer protection than any other states' exam.

2) The UBE is not an easy exam. It is at least as difficult, if not more, than most states' exams. An applicant who passes the UBE is sufficiently qualified to practice.

3) By adopting the UBE we can have both a rigorous exam which weeds out underperformers andallows greater mobility for lawyers. That seems like a win/win to me. 

Look, the Calbar is three years behind me so other than the mobility aspect I have no dog in this fight. But yeah, I think it would be awesome if I could apply for a job in Hawaii without having to take another bar.

And if you can't pass the CalBar, btw, you have absolutely no business practicing.

Well, that's not really the point. The question is whether the Calbar in it's current iteration is the only exam which can sufficiently meet our requirements. I mean, do you really think that a NY law grad who passes the UBE in Manhattan is so drastically under-tested that they can't be trusted?

As far as I can tell, the biggest difference between the two exams is the PT section, which I think is sort of BS anyway.

Nope. Look back to your original statement, re: competition and supply and demand. Simply put, you're trying to have your cake and eat it too. You want to keep in all the wonderful anti-competitive aspects of a licensed profession, but allow a little more labor mobility, which really only affects people currently licensed (aka, people who are already benefiting, such as us!) without really benefiting the consumers.

Ah, well I think that's where you and I fundamentally disagree.

I think greater labor mobility would benefit consumers and lawyers. Consumers would benefit from (presumably) greater access to lawyers and an accompanying reduction in cost, and we would benefit by getting to do business in multiple states.

Would the multi-state practice benefit outweigh the probable reduction in local fees? I don't know. I worked in an industry with no such regulation and tons of national competition before going into law, and everyone still made a very nice living. I guess I'm not as freaked out by competition as most lawyers.

Loki, are you saying that in order to be intellectually consistent I must either be against any restrictions, or in favor of all restrictions?

It would be a more consistent position, but it would also be an absurd position. I guarantee that none of us feel that way about anything. For example, I support "The Law" writ large. That doesn't mean that I support every single law on the books. Some laws are stupid and should be repealed. 

I think we're also using the word "protectionism" somewhat differently. You're talking about economic protection. You want the bar to protect you from other lawyers who might offer a better deal. I'm talking about public protection against liars and scammers, which I assume we all more or less support.

Nonsense, it's a straw man argument. I've never claimed to advocate a libertarian or pure free market approach to the practice of law.

I'm in favor of some restrictions and opposed to others, as we all appear to be. If a restriction legitimately serves the interests of the public by weeding out crooks and incompetents, I'm generally in favor. If a restriction has no demonstrable purpose other than seeking to keep lawyers' fees inflated, than I'm generally opposed.

When I say that I'm opposed to protectionism, it is with the assumption that the actors involved are competent to practice law and don't pose a risk to the public.

Yes, you should need a law degree, bar passage, and a positive C&F determination to prove  that you are competent to practice and aren't a criminal. I'm completely in favor of that. What seems ridiculous to me is the notion that someone who has done all of those things is able to practice in say, 35 states (by taking advantage of reciprocity agreements) but not all 50. Again, am I supposed to believe that the average lawyer in Ohio is drastically inferior to the average lawyer in California?

Has anyone here actually read the article? The UBE is still a bar exam, and still allows for state-specific questions. It would simply make your degree more portable. Why would any of us be opposed to that?

I think most of the posters on this thread are missing the point-

the Bar is pure protectionism. Now that we have licenses, we should want to keep the pass rates as low as possible. Barrier to entry and all that.

Instead of asking how to make the CalBar easier, you should be asking how to make it much, much harder. After all, three days is nothing. Why not five?

I agree that protectionism is a key function of the bar. The point is certainly not lost on me. The thing is, I'm generally against protectionism. As a consumer, I love competition in every single other field. Why be blatantly hypocritical and argue that the laws of supply and demand shouldn't apply to lawyers? If we're going to argue that the public should only have such  limited access to lawyers as we see fit to give them, should the public in turn have a say in limiting the lawyers fees?   

Chemerinsky isn't arguing that the bar should be dumbed down, he's arguing for the adoption of the Uniform Bar Exam. As far as I know, the UBE is still a demanding test and requires brains and skill to pass. The primary benefits would be greater economic and geographical mobility for lawyers, and yes, greater choices for the consumer. 

It is interesting how the unaccredited on campus is double digits below online. You'd think it would be the opposite. Anyone have links to any official studies on why that is? Sounds like an interesting paper class elective for any quasi ambitious but still not overly so 3L's who might be reading this.........

I wondered the same thing. Here is my guess: the majority of online grads come from one school, Concord. That school has a higher bar pass rate than any other online school. Maybe they're a little more selective, maybe they simply have a superior program, I don't really know.

Anyway, my point is that I'm not sure that the online format is necessarily better than the fixed facility format, it's just that Concord in particular has a better program, produces most of the online test takers, and pushes up the overall online pass rate. 

Another issue might be that the handful of fixed facility non-accredited schools are very small, and have very limited budgets. I think they pretty much rely on local attorneys to teach one or two classes, and there might be a lot of variation in the quality of the programs. Concord has enough money to hire good people and to provide academic support programs.

It would also be interesting to see what the attrition rates are at each school. I wonder if Concord weeds out a lot of underperformers quickly?

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