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Messages - Maintain FL 350

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381
Don't get me wrong, I know there are alot of people that want a law degree to practice law. But there are other options that one can use the law degree for. We can agree that everyone goes to law school for a different reason.

Agreed. Like I said, an online degree can be the right choice for the right person. The trick is for the student to determine whether they are that type of person. As long as the student understands what they're doing, and is fully informed, they should be fine. If they're not informed, good luck.

2. Your point about many firms are snooty. All that I will say in regards to this comment is that when anyone says "many blah blah blah" that means that they don't have the research to back up what they are saying.

Well, can you provide an example to the contrary? A big or mid-sized firm that regularly hires online grads as attorneys? Do any of the corporate counsel at your Fortune 500 company have unaccredited JDs? 

If you think that many firms are not snooty when it comes to academic pedigrees, then take a look at the firm profiles in Martindale-Hubble. At the big firms (especially in places like NYC, LA, WDC) you will hard pressed to find anything but T14. Check out federal agencies and Fortune 500 legal departments (not non-legal departments) and you'll see the same pattern. Can you find one or two examples to the contrary? Sure, but that does not refute my claim that many firms are prestige obsessed.

This isn't just my uninformed opinion, it's something that permeates the legal world. I spent several years working in the corporate world (consulting/accounting) before going to law school. I have experience in legal and non-legal jobs. In the corporate world it is very common for people to get hired with a BA, then later pick up an online MBA for advancement. Online degrees aren't necessarily looked down on.

This is not the case in law. You don't typically get hired with a BA, pick up a JD along the way, and get promoted to lawyer. In law, the JD is what gets you hired in the first place, and many attorneys are highly suspicious of unaccredited degrees. They might wonder why the school is unaccredited in the first place (not an unreasonable question). I think part of the problem is that only CA and maybe a handful of other state allow non-ABA grads practice. Therefore, most attorneys haven't had any experience with online grads, and it's an unknown quantity.   

Do you disagree that sooner or later there will be an online accredited ABA law school?

I don't know. It seems possible that eventually an online school will get ABA approval, but so far neither the ABA or CBE has made any indication that they're interested. Frankly, I'm not sure that many attorneys are interested either, and the ABA is, afterall, a memebership organization. I can't say what the ABA or CBE will do ten or twenty years from now, but it seems unlikely in the near future.

The thing is, it's not just a question of the ABA modifying its rules to accomodate online education. The online schools are going to have to improve their standards, too, if they want to be taken seriously. Before an online school could really pursue ABA approval it would have to require the LSAT for admission, raise bar pass rates, hire full time tenured faculty, and presumably provide access to some kind of online law library (which maybe they do, I'm not sure).


382
Where should I go next fall? / Re: Do you think i will get into SMU Law
« on: December 02, 2012, 02:25:08 AM »
My expected GPA when applying will be around 3.56 and my expected LSAT score will be around 165-167?

Also check out LSAC's admission profiles. They have grids for most schools that will give you a very good idea as to your chances.

Keep in mind, though, that until you have a real LSAT score everything is speculative. If you've been consistently scoring 165-167 on timed practice exams, that's good, but your actual LSAT may very well be lower (or higher). That said, if you actually end up with those numbers, I think you'd have a good shot at SMU. 

383
See, the arguments about the job prospects for non-aba grads is not that great of a point. In fact, I have a job that most people graduating from an ABA approved school would die to have! So the argument about not having a job upon graduation is of no merit to me at all.

I think you're missing the point. If your job as a commodities trader doesn't require a JD for advancement, then it doesn't matter where you go to law school. Most people who go to law school, however, intend to practice law. For those people it does matter where they graduate from. Most firms (big, medium, and small), government offices, and corporate legal departments will not hire online grads. Personally, I think it's silly, but it's true nonetheless. That matters to people who plan on spending tens of thousands of dollars on an online JD in hopes of passing the bar and getting hired.

Of course, not all doors are shut. Some small firms will consider an online JD, and others will go into solo practice. I know lots of people who graduated from non-ABA (Calbar/CBE accredited) law schools who have successful careers, and I don't think the current ABA scheme is the only game in town. That said, I've worked at a couple of private and government law offices who would hire a CBE grad, but would never consider an online JD.

My company has agreements with several so called online degree colleges like Capella, Regis, and others so that employees can get their degree. In fact, the vice-president of my company, which is a fortune 500 company got his MBA from Regis. The thing is that most people who claim to know about job prospects etc are still in law school and have no real corporate world experience, they're talking out their ass!
   

MBAs and JDs are very different. Have any top 500 law firms hired online grads? Hell, many of those firms are so snooty they won't even hire ABA grads from less-than-prestigious schools. It's the same story at most mid-sized and government offices, too. I'm sure you can find a handful of exceptions, but that doesn't defeat the general rule.

I totally agree with you on the second point. Students with experience and street smarts will beat out green, naive competitors every time. I went to law school in a part-time evening program, and the evening students seemed to do much better when it came to finding jobs. They already had experience, were more mature, made connections, etc.

it's just a matter of time before a schoo like Concord becomes accredited. And who knows, maybe by the time I and the original poster graduate, we will be graduating from either a temporarily approved ABA school or better an ABA approved school. Nonetheless, it doesn't matter to me, I'm set and the sky is the limt!

The ABA has not shown any movement on this issue, neither has Calbar (the only state bar that might be expected to accredit online JDs.) There is no reason to believe that online JDs are going to be accredited anytime soon. According to the new ABA rules, a schools' first time bar pass rate must be within 15% of the statewide ABA average. That means Concord would have to raise it's bar pass rate from 35% to about 62% (assuming that they use CA's bar pass rates as the baseline).

I'm not against online education. An online JD can be the right move for the right student. However,  I think people should be entirely informed and realistic about the limitations of any unaccredited law degree. It doesn't mean that the education is inferior, but to pretend that it makes little or no difference is to ignore reality.

384
General Off-Topic Board / Re: Best Pre Law Course
« on: November 30, 2012, 11:17:48 AM »
Honestly, there are very few classes you can take in undergrad that will prepare you for law school. The intensity, methods, and dynamics are on a totally different level. My undergrad offered a few legal history classes, but they were broad survey courses and didn't utilize the case method. I think lots of schools offer a few business law classes, too, but I'm not sure how helpful those are.

That said, I suppose classes like logic and constitutional history would be helpful. Also, anything with a heavy writing focus. I had a friend who was a journalism major and felt that the process of distilling large amounts of info into short articles helped with law school exams.   


385
Law School Applications / Re: 2.69gpa/175lsat chances?
« on: November 28, 2012, 06:19:45 PM »
Also it's worth mentioning that if you do want to practice biglaw some regional schools can be a good choice too.  For instance Fordham and Cardozo aren't bad choices for NY biglaw, I don't think.  Hell, even UTK sends a few students to NYC each year.

That's true, but I think it's important to point out that the students from regional/local schools who get hired at biglaw firms are usually academic superstars. They tend to be law review, top 5%, maybe did a stint as a judicial clerk first, etc. I've also known a few grads of T3-T4 law schools who weren't necessarily top of their class but had some other marketable experience (engineering, biotech, etc). It can be done, but the applicant has to bring some pretty serious credentials to the table.

386
Bottom Line you can take the California Bar and their are a couple LLM programs and some that are online that gear you to take the California bar.

Yes, that seems clear now. You can take the CA bar exam and seek admission to the bar. However, as I asked previously, has anyone actually accomplished this? Has any foreign DL LL.B/DL LL.M holder managed to pass the CA bar exam?

The bar exam is basically your first year of law courses plus the California Professional Responsibility course.  The LLM in American Legal Sudies  or US Legal Studies all have the first year courses that are tested on the bar exam.

The CA bar exam covers much more than first year courses. It also covers Evidence (FRE/CEC), Wills & Trusts, Community Property, Criminal Procedure (separate from Crim Law), California Civil Procedure (in addition to the first year Federal Civ Pro course), and both ABA and CA professional responsibility. It would be very, very difficult to learn these fields of law plus Torts, Property, Con Law, etc, in a one year LL.M course.

I'm sure that it can be done, and some people will pass. But you should be fully informed as to the level of difficulty of the CA bar exam before assuming that a one year LL.M course is sufficient preparation. I don't think anyone here is anti-DL per se, but there are people on this board (myself included) who have actually taken the CA bar and are familiar with it's difficulty. In order to pass you must demonstrate a high degree of competency in many fields of law. Does the LL.M in American Law actually cover all CA bar-tested topics? If not, you'll have to learn them on your own or from BARBRI.

387
Suggest New School Specific Boards here / Re: Empire College School of Law
« on: November 15, 2012, 06:15:11 PM »
I don't have any personal experience with Empire, but I think the same caveats/potential benefits that apply to any CBE law school are applicable here, too. If you're not interested in biglaw, federal jobs, or leaving CA then Empire might be fine. I don't think there is quite the same pecking order for CBE schools that exists with ABA schools, I think they're all viewed about the same. That said, locality is probably even more important when choosing a CBE school. CBE reputations are probably very local, and your best chance to gain experience is likely going to be in the school's immediate vicinity.

Their first time bar pass rates for the last few administrations range from around 36%-50%. That's actually better than a lot of CBE schools, but for some of those exams the number of takers was extremely small (like 2-4), so I'm not sure if that really indicates anything.

It looks like a decent number of Empire grads have been hired by the local DA's office, which is good. It's possible that local govt jobs are less of an option now, however. I can't speak for Sonoma County, but I can tell you that here in Southern CA the govt offices have been hit with such heavy budget cuts that hiring is pretty much at a standstill. When a few positions do open, they get flooded with experienced applicants. If your plans include any kind of government work, you might want to keep that in mind.

388
Did Northumbria disclose whether any of their online grads have actually been admitted to any U.S. jurisdiction? Being allowed to apply and getting admitted are two different things. I wonder if any graduate of any foreign online school has been admitted?

I'm not sure if people realize how little U.S. bar preparation they'll receive in most LL.M programs (as opposed to three to four years of J.D. study). Hence the 17% pass rate (which presumably includes Canadian lawyers, whose legal education increasingly resembles a U.S. program).


389
I don't mean to be rude, but didn't you take the MPRE and a class in professional responsibility when you went to law school? The general rule is that you can't provide legal advice without a license. Contact your state bar and ask them any specific questions, they are the only source you should rely on. As livinglegend said, the unauthorized practice of law can subject you to criminal and civil liability.

390
Both of the above posters have given some good advice. I would just add that labor law is a combination of other fields of law: contracts, constitutional, etc. You'll learn those areas of law at any school you attend.

The thing about schools that tout a particular program or concentration is that in reality it usually is comprised of a few classes and maybe the possibility of an internship. For example, if you go to a school that promotes a great environmental law program you'll likely only be able to take three or four of the environmental law classes they offer. This is because law school is loaded with required courses, leaving little time for electives. Also, courses simply aren't offered every semester, and you can't always arrange your schedule to take all the classes you'd like.

My school offered a good choice of entertainment and sports law classes, but I chose take some bar courses like California Civ Pro and Community Property. This of course left less time for other electives.

If SJU, for example, offers a good array of labor law classes that's great. Just understand that law school is not like undergrad, you won't be able to load up on employment/labor classes. Internships with labor organizations are probably just as valuable, if not more. 

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