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Messages - Maintain FL 350

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411
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.

412
Jon:

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.

413
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!

414
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.) 

415
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.   

416
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.

417
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.

418
I've pondered this issue before, and I'm still somewhat skeptical.

Rule 4.30 deals with foreign law schools, but says absolutely nothing about foreign-based distance learning programs. That leads me to believe that the issue is open to interpretation by the state bar. If so, there are several ways they could go. They could cobble together a rule from several existing rules and find that 1) since a Northumbria degree qualifies the holder to practice in the U.K., and 2) since CA accepts both LL.Bs and distance learning degrees (usually), the Northumbria LL.B qualifies.

Conversely, they could find that since foreign DL degrees are not mentioned in Rule 4.30, the rule is inapplicable. They could also find that as a non-ABA/non-CBE/non-registered foreign DL program, Northumbria cannot be found to be equivalent to an ABA/CBE degree.

I know that there's a lot of anti-DL sentiment on these boards, and that's not the basis of my skepticism. It's that Calbar, as liberal as they may be, don't seem terribly interested in allowing foreign DL degrees to qualify. I've met several CA attorneys with foreign degrees (U.K., Ireland, Phillipines), but never a foreign DL degree.

There is a very simple test you can do before spending time and money on an LL.B/LL.M in hopes of getting admitted: contact both Calbar and Northumbria and ask if any Northumbria distance learning LL.B grads have been admitted in CA. That should clear up the issue pretty fast.

419
I'm seeing inexperienced law grads competing with experienced attorneys for entry-level (no jd/licensure reqs) part-time positions.  And who gets hired? It's the girl with a high-school education, because you know an attorney is going to be bitter filing papers and answering phones for $10/hr.

The market is bad, but let's not get carried away. I live and work in LA, one of the worst legal markets for new grads. I have never  heard of an "experienced attorney" competing for a $10/hr job with high school grads. I assume that you're in NY, and perhaps the market there is significantly worse.

Frankly, an experienced attorney who is competing for a $10/hr job has problems that go far beyond the economy. An experienced attorney should be able to go solo and make more than $10/hr.

What I do see are a lot of new grads with very little experience competing for entry level associate positions, deputy DA/PD, etc. , against attorneys who have 2-3 years experience. Many of the new grads think that their grades and pedigree should land them the job, but fail to understand that small firms and govt offices don't have the money train someone. At non-biglaw/non-federal jobs, applicable experience trumps just about everything else. I would encourage every law student to worry less about grades and to focus on gaining experience and networking. It will help you far more than being able to say "I got an A in civpro."

One quick example: my friend went to law school part-time at a T4 and worked in a small family law office during the day. By the time she graduated she had four years of experience doing everything from interviewing clients, to making appearances, to writing motions. On top of that, she hustled like crazy and made tons of connections. She had job offers at graduation, before passing the bar. She found a niche, focused on gaining real experience, and it paid off. She was probably in a better position than a UCLA grad with better  grades and one internship under their belt.   

It's very difficult straight out of law school for most new lawyers, but it does get better after a couple of years. I truly believe that many law students could reduce their disappointment by being a little more realistic about where they're likely to get employed (small firms, doing non-glamorous work like DUIs and divorces), and gaining real experience (not just research-based summer associate positions).

420
I'd have to agree with Duncanjp. Is it possible to commute three hours, raise kids, and still succeed in law school? Yes, but it's going to be very stressful. Law school is nothing like undergrad, it's far more difficult and time consuming.

I had a family and went to law school at night. My wife was already a lawyer and thus was more understanding than the average spouse. Even so, it put a strain on our relationship. For four years my evenings were spent in class and my weekends were a balancing act. I opted to spend more time with my family than many of my classmates, especially after the first two years. Nonetheless I still missed out on vacations, weekend trips, you name it. More significantly, a huge amount of the daily running of the house fell squarely on my wife, I simply wasn't around.

It's imperitive that you get your spouse fully onboard right from the outset. Especially if you have kids, this is going to have to be a serious team effort for the next few years. If there is a way to avoid the commute (a closer school?), do it.

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