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Messages - Maintain FL 350
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« on: August 10, 2012, 01:19:46 PM »
Is it possible to attend law school part-time and work during the day? I know that UIUC doesn't have an evening option, but several other ILL law schools do. I went to law school part-time with a wife and kids, and it's difficult, but it can be done. I still managed to graduate with a relatively high class rank, did internships, etc. You need discipline and stamina, which as a 22 year army vet I'm sure you have.
As far as paid internships, good luck. You may be able to score one, but they're few and far between. If you really need to make money, either work and attend at night or take out loans. Personally, considering the state of the job market, I'd look at the part-time option before accruing debt.
Lastly, can you obtain cheap insurance from the VA or from your wife's job? I was under the impression that teachers were eligible for family coverage at low rates. If you have any specific questions about attending law school with a family, feel free to post here or PM me.
« on: August 02, 2012, 06:59:12 PM »
Additional question. I am teaching a college political science class this fall. How douchey, on a scale of one to ten, would it be to ask them to call me Doctor?
I don't really want the freshmen to call me by my first name, and "Mr _____" seems odd to me. Perhaps i'll go with "professor."
I'd say about a five, not terrible but moderately douchey. Frankly, I find the notion of a lawyer asking to be called "Doctor" more legit than people with "Ph.Ds" in management or education from some bull$*** degree mill who insist
on being called "Doctor".
In many countries (much of Latin America, Germany, Netherlands, etc) lawyers are commonly referred to as "Doctor". The J.D. is a professional doctorate (like an MD, DDS, Pharm.D, etc.), as opposed to a research based doctorate (Ph.D, D.Phil). All other holders of professional doctorates in the U.S. are called doctor. Some of those degrees (Ed.D and D.M., for example) are way easier to obtain than a J.D., and certainly don't involve anything like the bar exam. People used to get an LL.B (bachelor of laws) until I think 60 or 70 years ago, and the J.D. was ushered in to give the profession more respectability. There really is no reason why a lawyer in the U.S. can't be called doctor, but it's just not part of our legal history and culture.
In Europe and Latin America law has always been associated with a university education, and thus the upper class. Those people tend to be very status-conscious, and like titles. Here, people used to do it Abraham Lincoln-style, and the formalized university-based legal education is comparatively new. I think that accounts for part of the unwritten rule that lawyers should not insist on being called doctor.
« on: August 02, 2012, 06:34:00 PM »
Are you within commuting distance of a Calbar or ABA school? If you can go to night school while continuing to work it might be worth it. I did it, and it's a grind, but it can be done. The cost is much higher, of course. As far as having to accept any legal job at all, the fact is whether you go to an ABA, CBE, or unaccredited school you may have to spend a few years at crappy jobs building up experience.
Good luck with whatever you decide , let us know happens.
« on: August 02, 2012, 11:20:42 AM »
Yeah, the RAP is great example of how law professors can waste inordinate amounts of your time and money. CA has statutorily modified the common law RAP, and yet in both Property and Wills & Trusts we spent endless hours dealing with validating lives and pregnant octogenarians. On the CA bar there were maybe 2 or 3 MBEs that dealt with it, and nothing in the essays. Absurd.
Are most of the people who attend online/correspondance doing so for reasons of geographic isolation, like you were? Or are most just not able to attend a brick and mortar school due to work schedules? It makes sense that if you live in, say, Reno, your options are online or nothing. I'd do it, too, if it were the only option. If other states would open their doors to unaccredited grads I think you'd see better bar pass rates from these schools. The fact that they're limited to CA is a huge impediment.
« on: August 01, 2012, 11:06:19 PM »
Honestly, I can't imagine. It must be incredibly difficult. Even sitting through classes, getting called on, and studying with friends I still found certain concepts difficult to grasp (the Rule Against Perpetuities still baffles me). That's why I have huge respect for the people who make it through and pass the Ca bar, they must be very disciplined, motivated, and smart.
So, if 20% pass the FYLSX, and another 30-50% of those folks pass the bar, you're looking at 6-10% of those who start actually finishing the process. Pretty sobering odds.
« on: August 01, 2012, 08:42:51 PM »
I've met attorneys who have told me that they found the FYLSX to be really tough, but I just looked at some past exam questions and they seemed pretty straightforward. You definitely need to know your stuff and to be prepared, but it seems doable. My law school finals in contracts, torts, and crimlaw were considerably more complex and lengthy than anything I saw on the FYLSX essays. Not to mention the fact that law school exams are typically three hours per topic, as opposed to one hour per topic on the baby bar.
Why is the pass rate so low? Frankly, it probably has to do with the academic capabilities of the average test taker. I went to a lower tier ABA school, and we had some students who clearly should not have been in law school. They did not possess the skills or drive to learn voluminous amounts of information and then to effectively apply those rules to a complex fact pattern. The people who squeeked in with low GPAs and low LSATs often failed out. I imagine (and maybe I'm wrong!) that unaccredited schools attract a larger number of these types of students, ie; those who didn't get accepted anywhere else.
I don't mean to paint all students at unaccredited law schools with a broad brush, I know that there are success stories, and I know that some very smart people have graduated from such schools. However, it seems to be the most obvious reason.
« on: July 31, 2012, 01:37:34 AM »
I didn't know that a school could deny you access to federal student loans, I thought that was up to the federal govt? Is your school saying that because you fell below the minimum credits you can't qualify? I seem to remember that my law school required that you be enrolled in at least 9 units, even for parttime.
As far as transferring, unless something changes you're likely to have the same problem at another school that you have at your current school: not enough time. Trust me, I know how it is. Any school you seek to transfer to is probably going to have a minimum credit requirement, and you're back at square one unless you can make some kind of change in your schedule.
I'm not sure where you're located and which school you attend, but even making a lateral transfer (transferring to a school of the same general ranking as your current school) is probably going to be tough with a 2.0. Were you on academic probation at some point? I'm assuming that if your cumulative GPA is 2.0, then you must have had several grades below passing. That will all make transferring very tough.
Another option is to take a leave of absence while you figure out how to manage your schedule, then return to your current school. If you can enroll for the required number of units you should be able to get federal loans again.
« on: July 27, 2012, 01:52:37 AM »
I have no experience with the Chicago market, but I'd be willing to bet that if you want to be a prosecutor top 3% at JMSL is probably better than middle of the pack at Loyola or Kent. I understand that both may have higher rankings than JMSL, but lots of prosecutors went to small, local schools. In fact, in my area (CA) many of the prosecutors I've met fit your profile: they were top students at T3/T4 schools. JMSL probably has good connections to the local DA's offices, and top 3% is very impressive. If that's your goal, you'll probably be fine.
« on: July 27, 2012, 01:41:30 AM »
Hi Niques, sorry it took me so long respond.
I graduated from lawschool in CA recently and I have a little experience working at a firm and later at a government agency. I know a little about juvenile dependency, but not too much. Just so you know, I've met plenty of people who had LSATs in the 140s, went to CA accredited schools, passed the bar, and are practicing attorneys. Does that mean it will be easy, or that it's guaranteed? No, of course not. Those people may be the exceptiions to the rule. Nonetheless, they exist. I also know a guy with a JD from an ABA school who has not been able to pass the CA bar after multiple attempts. The point is, you know yourself better than anyone else does. Do a critical, realistic evaluation of your strengths and weaknesses, and go from there.
Good Luck, let us know what you decide!
« on: July 22, 2012, 12:32:21 PM »
This issue has been discussed pretty extensively in other threads, check put some of the older threads.
In my opinion, state-accredited law schools can be a good choice for the right student. Generally, if you have the opportunity to attend an ABA school that's probably a better idea. The key is to really take the time to consider what you want to do after law school, and to think about whether or not a non-ABA degree can help you achieve that goal.
The cost of attending SJCL is (I think) about $50-60,000. That's a huge investment of money and time. Whether you're considering a state school or an ABA school, you need to think about whether the cost of attending will be outweighed by the benefit. In other words, after spending $50-60K will you be able to get a job that will allow you to make thise loan payments?
The job market is very, very tight right now, and I'm sure it's tighter for Calbar grads vs. ABA. Nonetheless, I seem to remember that SJCL has a good reputation in the central valley, and many of the local attorneys are grads. If you plan on staying in the immediate area, SJCL probably has a decent alumni network that can help you get some experience with internships, etc. Outside of the central valley, you'll have to compete against grads from bigger name schools.
As far as working in juvenile dependency, a degree from a state school probably won't hold you back, especially considering your experience as a social worker. The biggest problem you'll face in that field is that there are very few jobs available. The dependency positions that are state/county funded have had their budgets slashed, and the government dependency jobs (county counsel, DCFS) are almost all on a hiring freeze. When a position does open up, they get flooded with applicants.
One last point, and please don't take this as criticism: the LSAT is easy compared to the bar exam. The LSAT is one morning long, and covers a few topics. The CA bar exam is three days long, covers something like 16 topics, and is notoriously difficult. If you had a tough time with the LSAT you might want to think about how you'll handle the bar exam before you drop 60k on law school.
Good Luck with everything!
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