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Messages - Maintain FL 350
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« 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.
« on: November 13, 2012, 12:07:54 PM »
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).
« on: November 09, 2012, 08:49:29 PM »
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.
« on: November 08, 2012, 03:11:49 PM »
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.
« on: November 08, 2012, 12:29:54 PM »
Also I have a 2.6 GPA and have been scoring in the low 140s on the LSAT can any California residents point me out to a school ( ABA or Non-ABA approved) for which I stand a chance of getting admission?
I don't know if you mean practice LSATs or actual LSATs, but if you can get your score up to about 150-155 you might be able to get into a few CA ABA schools. Schools like Southwestern, La Verne, Chapman, and Cal Western might take someone with a 2.6/150-155. An in-state ABA school is probably a better investment than either a CBA or out of state T4 ABA school.
« on: November 08, 2012, 12:12:45 PM »
I'm retaking next month in december, should I wait till after I get those results to apply. Or should I right now and write an low LSAT addendum?
I think it depends on whether the school has rolling admissions. If they make the decisions as they receive the applications, there will likely be fewer spots available by the time you get your new LSAT score (which is February/March?) I could be totally wrong, though. Contact the schools and ask.
Either way, I'm not sure that LSAT addendums really help. You can write one if you like, but the decision will be based primarily on your GPA/LSAT profile. If your LSAT is low, they don't really care why. They want to be able to report the highest possible numbers.
« on: November 08, 2012, 10:17:54 AM »
If you have never heard of the University of Massachusetts then that fact does not reflect favorably upon your credibility since UMass is the Massachusetts'
I should have said "except for UMASS and Cooley." UMASS's new law school at UMASS/Dartmouth is the old Southern New England Law School re-branded with the UMASS seal. Many people have heard of UMASS/Amherst, but not UMASS/Dartmouth. The law school is only provisionally accredited, and largely unknown outside of it's region. That's not a criticism of the school, BTW, but it takes a while to build a reputation. Either way, it does not possess the kind of elite reputation that's going to allow the OP to land a job in CA based on pedigree. Further, UMASS's first time bar pass rate for February 2012 was 0% (that's not a typo).
The school only recently received provisional accreditation. The bar pass rate will be taken into account by the ABA when the school applies for full approval. Some of the other schools you mentioned have no bar pass rates to report because they have not yet graduated a class.
Roald .... 'fess up; what is your connection to ABA unaccredited law schools? are you a student, grad or employee?
Nice try, but none of the above. I graduated from an ABA accredited law school in CA.
Now, based on your vast experience in the CA legal market, why do you think a degree from a largely unknown ABA school is better than a CBA school? How many out of state T4 grads show up in LA with no local experience and land a job? Have you seen the CA bar pass rates for out of state T4s?
« on: November 08, 2012, 02:35:48 AM »
CBA schools can be a good option for the right student, as livinglegend said. The key is to ascertain whether you are that type of student.
One of the most important questions to ask is "What do I want to do after law school?" If you can answer that, it will help you figure out if a CBA school is a good option. Most CBA grads end up in small firms, as solo practitioners, and in local government offices (DA, Public Defender, etc.) Big firms, many mid-sized firms, many big corporations, and many federal jobs are likely not going to hire a non-ABA grad. If you're interested in one of those jobs you need to go to an ABA school and do very well.
Also, as livinglegend pointed out, there is geographic variation. Firms in bigger cities like LA and San Francisco are going to be more competitive, and a CBA degree may put you at a disadvantage in those places. OTOH, I've met many CBA grads who are successful attorneys with thriving practices, and some who earn considerably more than the average biglaw partner.
I think the key is to be realistic and informed, and to understand the potential limitations of a non-ABA degree. You're not going to be able to rely on your pedigree to get a job or an internship, so you're going to have to really hustle. If you know what to expect, and your goals are congruent with a CBA degree, you can do just fine. Do the research, and talk to CBA grads.
Let me repeat- - only attend a non ABA accredited law school after you have exhausted all efforts and been rejected by the above established schools which are working towards accreditation.
Although I agree that it generally makes sense to attend an ABA school, I don't think that any
ABA school is always better than any
CBA school. The OP stated that he wants to stay in CA. I seriously doubt if an unknown, out of state, provisionally accredited or T4 ABA school carries more weight in LA or SF than the local CBAs.
Honestly, I'd never even heard of most of the schools you mentioned (except Cooley) before reading this post. I'll bet very few others in CA have either. It's nothing against those schools, I'm sure they're all good institutions. I'm just not sure how beneficial a degree from an unknown ABA school is compared to a known local CBA. Most employers would probably draw very little distinction between the two.
Getting hired at small firms and government offices is often based much more on experience than pedigree. That's why a student should probably go to law school in the region in which they intend to practice. It's much easier to get internships, clerkships, and to network. A local CBA school will likely have at least some alumni network and, depending on the school, might have a good local reputation. That's probably more than you'd get from an out of state T4, which makes me question the cost vs. benefit.
« on: November 07, 2012, 06:59:31 PM »
Take a look at LSAC's law school profiles. According to LSAC, the bottom 25% of admitted students at GSU had a 158 average. It seems highly unlikely that even with a 3.72 GPA you'd be admitted. If possible, take a prep course, study hard for a couple of months, and see where you're at.
If you don't see a significant increase, you may want to consider whether it makes sense to drop tens (or hundreds) of thousands of dollars on a law degree. If you have great difficulty with the LSAT, then the bar exam, MPRE, and even law schools exams are going to be very tough to pass. Consider this very carefully before spending the money.
« on: November 06, 2012, 12:37:44 PM »
I appreciate your candor. I was hoping I'd be awash in replies telling me that I should get in no problem, but I'm afraid that was wishful thinking on my part.
That depends on which school you're talking about. Take a look at the law school profiles on LSAC's Official Guide to U.S. Law Schools. It will give you a very good idea as to your chances at each school.
According to the LSAC profiles, you have a good shot at both Tulsa and OKCU. At the University of Oklahoma the bottom
25% of admitted students had a an average LSAT of 155. That doesn't mean you can't get in, but you can see the difficulty. According to LSAC, for the numeric range of 3.50-3.75 GPA and 150-154 LSAT, the U of OK had 57 applicants and 12 admits. That's about a 20% acceptance rate.
I will add a few things. I'm an alum of U of Oklahoma, with good extracurriculars (Student Congress, Academic Misconduct Council, etc.) and with what I would consider a relatively impressive resume (Taught overseas with Fullbright, accountant at fortune 500 company for 2 yrs). Will that have much, if any, sway? Could good recommendation letters have an impact? I know they say that admission depends roughly 90% on GPA & LSAT score, but I'm wondering if those extra intangibles could make up, in some part, for the 151?
Obviously I can't predict what the University of Oklahoma admissions panel will do, but I think that there are general rules which apply to most law school applicants.
First, law school admission is primarily a numbers game. This is clearly evidenced by the admissions profiles on LSAC. Take a look at them closely. At most schools there is an LSAT score below which your chances for admission are very, very low. Soft factors like the ones you've mentioned are good, but are most useful when you're being compared to similarly qualified applicants. In other words, if you're a borderline admit/not admit case, these factors can help. I'm not sure that a 151 is in that borderline territory, however (at U of OK). The fact is, there's very little incentive for law schools to admit students with lower LSAT scores. The schools want to report the highest numbers possible in order to raise their rankings. I think if you could bring that LSAT up to 155-157 you'd stand a much better chance.
Again, I have no knowledge of the inner workings of the U of Oklahoma admissions panel, this is just my opinion. You should do your own research too, and talk to the school.
Considering this, how would it reflect if I went ahead and applied for 2013/14 with my current 151/3.6, viewed the offers, and if I didn't like what I saw, retook the test and reapplied for 2014/15? Would they take note of that? Would it have any negative impact?
I seem to remember that the law school applications I filled out asked if I had applied to that particular school previously. I don't know what impact that has, but they do seem interested.
and I know plenty of people around here who made a good living with a law degree from OCU or Tulsa.
That's an important point to remember. I know lawyers here in CA who didn't even go to ABA schools and could buy and sell a biglaw partner ten times over. A million bucks is spare change to some of these guys. I also know plenty of graduates of small local law schools who may not be millionaires, but make a comfortable living as DAs, family law specialists, etc. The people who tell you that you're doomed if go to anything less than a top tier school are usually lacking in any real world experience. Be realistic about your options, try to avoid debt accumulation, make connections, and you'll likely be alright.
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