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Messages - Maintain FL 350

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Law School Applications / Re: Should I take the LSAT again?
« on: November 02, 2012, 01:20:56 PM »
With a 3.4/165 you can into plenty of law schools, and even get full scholarships at many.

Retaking the LSAT is a calculated risk. Unless you have some very specific, identifiable reason which leads you to believe that you'll perform better the second time around, I'd be careful. There is a big difference between a 165 and a 170, and you could easily go a down a few points, too.

Honestly, I think the LSAT is a reality check for a lot of people. We all like to think that we're smarter than a standardized test would indicate. When we get a disappointing LSAT score we think "Oh, that's wrong. I must have had a bad day. I can do better." Maybe, maybe not. The fact is, your LSAT score doesn't just represent your individual aptitude. It measures your aptitude against thousands of other takers, and there are lots of very smart people in the world.

My view is that absent some catastrophic event on test day, the LSAT is fairly accurate at defining the outer parameters of the taker's abilities. I don't mean that to sound critical towards you personally, it's just my opinion. Try to objectively evaluate your performance, and assess the overall probability of acheiving a higher score.

That's good, always better to get your info straight from the source.

So, in other words, your foreign degree will be evaluated and a determination will be made as to whether it qualifies, it doesn't qualify, or if an LL.M is required. The point is, the bar does have latitude in accepting or denying a foreign degree (unlike an ABA/CBE degree, which is automatically accepted). Thus the degree evaluation form.

They lead me to the evaluation form online and said that you have to prove your LLB is a first law degree period plus you need  either ABA LLM or a state accredited LLM with the required Califorinia courses.

A U.K. based degree is obviously legit and should receive favorable treatment, in my opinion.

But would a six month-long online course from Jamaica or Uganda (also common law nations) be acceptable as long as it results in the first degree in law? I would be surprised if the evaluation ceases once it's determined that such a degree is the first degree in law.

I hope this info can be helpful to someone, because their are a lot of negativity on these boards, seek the knowledge for yourself and follow your dreams, when one door closes another open.

I agree, there is a huge bias against distance learning on these boards and in the legal profession itself. Some of the criticisms are fair, and others are based on ignorance. Here's what you have to understand, though: if you seek a path to bar admission which is somewhat circuitous and completely different from the path that 99.9% of your future colleagues follow, people are going to be skeptical. Maybe it's unfair, but that's the price of following such a route.


Like I said, I  might be totally wrong. Personally, I love the fact that CA offers alternatives to the traditional ABA-dominated route to bar admission. I think our state accredited schools are an especially good example, and one which other states would do well to emulate. I really do wish you the best of luck. 

Just curious, why not get a J.D. from one of the online or correspondance CA schools, which would definitely meet eligibility standards? The cost would probably be about the same if you factor in the LL.M, and some (like Taft) seem to have okay bar pass rates.

Law School Applications / Re: Expunged Records
« on: November 01, 2012, 12:41:05 PM »
Legend is right, the only thing that can really hurt you is if you don't fully disclose your past. Most law schools won't care too much as long as you're totally honest. State bars will let you in with certain past problems, but they have no tolerance for dishonesty. State bar associations have differing rules on these things, and you should contact the WV bar in order to understand any specific process they may require for bar admission. There might be hoop or two you have to jump through first.

Here's an example of why it is so important to be totally candid:
In some states an expunged record is not actually "clean". The prior charge is simply shown as "dismissed" rather than "convicted". Any background check is going to reveal that issue, and you don't want to look like you were trying to hide the fact.


Whenever these threads about bar admission rules get going, I always remember something you once wrote regarding Novus. It was something like "Imagine a pro per plaintiff latching on to 2-207." That really stuck with me, and I think of it every time the discussion turns to statutory interpretations. It's a great comment, and really sums up the problem.

Sorry, I wasn't trying to be argumentative. The info you provided says absolutely nothing about foreign distance learning degrees. Since the rules appear to be silent on the issue, you shouldn't assume that a foreign distance learning LL.B plus an American LL.M will confer CA bar eligibility. I'm not saying it's impossible (or even unlikely!), it's just unclear.

Good luck with everything, let us know what happens!

General Board / Re: 2.9 GPA-Looking to get into ASU Law or USD
« on: October 30, 2012, 06:01:48 PM »
Within the SD market, USD probably has a reputational advantage over TJSL and Cal Western. The employment numbers and placement statistics are probably slightly better, too. Outside of SD, I'm not sure that any of the three schools has a significantly higher profile than the others.

In 2011 (I think) TJSL had a low bar pass rate, around 35%. I think a lot of the negativity you see is probably related to that issue. IIRC, though, Cal Western's recent bar pass rates are better than both USD and TJSL.

Small local schools like TJSL can be a good choice or a poor choice depending on what you want to do. If you want to work at a big national firm or a prestigious federal agency, then you need to go to a big name school and graduate top of your class. But if you want to work at a small firm, as a prosecutor, or as a solo practitioner, a school like TJSL can be just fine. In fact, for many people a scholarship at a small local school probably makes more sense than a huge six figure debt from a higher ranked school (unless that school is elite: Harvard, etc.) 

General Board / Re: 2.9 GPA-Looking to get into ASU Law or USD
« on: October 30, 2012, 05:14:05 PM »
I want to take the BAR in California, and live in California.

Bottom line, going to law school in California will better prepare you for the California bar exam and help you develop contacts and market familiarity. It's always a good idea to go to law school where you want to live.

Is Thomas Jefferson a good school? I have read really negative reviews and your suggestion on attending that school confused me.

Well, I'm not suggesting that you attend TJSL (or any other law school, for that matter). I was just using that school to illustrate the point I made above, that you should go to law school where you want to live. My point is that if you want to live in SD you'd probably have better networking opportunities at a San Diego school than at an Arizona school, even if the Arizona school is higher ranked. You'll find that once you get away from the Harvard/Yale crowd, most law schools have local reputations.

I didn't attend any of the schools we're talking about, so I can't provide any personal opinions. All of those schools are ABA approved and have lots of alumni working in their respective areas. The education you'll receive at any one is practically identical. That's the primary effect of ABA accreditation: it creates predictable, standardized legal training.

Is Thomas Jefferson a "good school"? Personally, I don't think there are any "bad" ABA schools. The fact that they've met the accreditation criteria (which is no small task) speaks more to the quality of the education that whatever subjective BS a rankings scheme claims.   

I have met several people in my reserach that have gone the distance learning foreign track and 2 recent graduates of this track that are currently studying for the California bar. 

I would find out whether these grads were first admitted to practice in the U.K., or were able to go straight from the DL LL.B to the CA bar.

General Board / Re: 2.9 GPA-Looking to get into ASU Law or USD
« on: October 30, 2012, 03:57:11 PM »
Check out LSAC's law school database, they have the numbers. According to LSAC, it looks like you'd have a decent shot at USD with an LSAT above 160. For ASU, however, it looks like your GPA is a bit low and you'd have to compensate with a much higher LSAT. Even with 165-169, only a few people with your GPA were admitted.

Again, don't just take my word for it, be sure to check out the admissions data on LSAC's site. Other factors could also affect your chances (URM status, etc.), but law school admission is primarily a numbers game.

Here's something else to consider:
San Diego and Phoenix are very different cities and your post-law school options will likely be very different depending on which school you choose. Both schools have good local reputations, but neither is so prestigious that you'll be able to easily pick up and move to another part of the country and find a job based on pedigree alone. Your opportunities for internships, clerkships, and networking will probably be within the immediate area, and you'll therefore likely end up working in that area after law school.

Take the time to really think about what you want to do after law school, and where you want to live. If, for example, your goal is to live by the beach in SD, then you're probably better off going to USD than ASU even though ASU might be ranked higher. For that matter, you may even be better off going to Cal Western or Thomas Jefferson (with a possible scholarship).

Law school is a huge investment financially, emotionally, and mentally. Try to pick a school that is going to help you realize your goals, whatever they may be.

Hope that helped, and good luck.

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