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Messages - Maintain FL 350

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Online Law Schools / Re: ABA online law schools
« on: May 20, 2014, 04:36:15 PM »
What has me confused is that, as far as I know, the ABA still only allows 1/3 of the units to be counted towards the JD as DL. The rest must be in a traditional classroom.

I doubt if an established school like WM would launch a program that isn't ABA approved, but at the same time I'm not aware of any significant changes to the ABA's policy.

This could be the test case for online ABA education. If the bar pass rates are comparable to traditional programs, then who knows? The ABA currently requires that a law school's first time bar pass rate be within 15% of the statewide average. I was told that this may soon change to 10%. That means that the online program at WM will have to show pretty high bar pass rates in order to avoid bringing down the school's overall average.

I wonder if WM is being especially selective in who they admit in order to maximize pass rates and avoid attrition. Interesting. 

Incoming 1Ls / Re: ANXIETY!!!!!
« on: May 20, 2014, 03:28:17 PM »
I have always wondered what those "other fields" are that would prefer a JD over an MBA?

I've had two non-legal jobs where a JD was preferred. One was in environmental consulting, where knowledge of property, land use, and especially state and federal environmental regulation was an asset. The other was in film marketing and distribution, where knowledge of copyright, intellectual property, and contracts was necessary. Many of the people I worked with were JDs, but not necessarily practicing attorneys. An MBA would have been considered alright, but a JD was considered better.

Human resources is another field where it's common to find JDs. At most larger companies and government agencies the HR Director and managers will be JDs.

Online Law Schools / Re: July 2013 Bar Exam Results
« on: May 18, 2014, 07:13:17 PM »
Out of state pass rates are relevant because they demonstrate how much tougher CA's bar exam is. I think it's reasonable to assume that if DL students were permitted to take easier bar exams they would have a higher (though not necessarily high) pass rate. 

What about in state ABA?

In state ABA schools generally do better, which leads me to a theory I've been kicking around for a while.

It's possible that lower ranked California ABA schools (and some CBE schools) are better institutions than their admissions criteria would indicate. What I mean is, if a school can take students with relatively low GPAs and LSATs and get them to pass the hardest bar exam in the country at a rate of 65-80%, that's not bad. Especially considering that many T1 schools can't seem to do it. 

Online Law Schools / Re: July 2013 Bar Exam Results
« on: May 18, 2014, 11:24:25 AM »
There is a lot of guessing in that. Perhaps SD has a higher pass rate BECAUSE they don't let them in?

It's a common misconception that CA has low pass rates because of all the non-ABA takers. Here are the actual numbers:

                    July, 2013:  6635 first timers
                    95 from unaccredited schools, 337 from CA accredited schools

The pass rate is low because the exam is brutal, not because of DL/unaccredited takers. If every single non-ABA grad failed it would affect the rate by about 6%. The actual effect is probably 4%. What brings down CA's rates are the thousands of ABA grads who fail.

Online Law Schools / Re: July 2013 Bar Exam Results
« on: May 18, 2014, 11:08:31 AM »
It's impossible to say exactly what DL bar pass rates would look like if more states allowed them to sit for the bar, but I think it is safe to say that they would increase.

These are pass rates from the July, 2013 CA bar:

Mich State   36%
Univ of Arizona  21%
Syracuse  25%
Suffolk  10%
Univ Nevada  29%

Each of these schools has a 70-90% pass rate in their home state. Clearly, the CA bar is tougher. It stands to reason that if DL students could sit for easier exams they would have a higher pass rate. That said, even if DL pass rates doubled they'd still be comparatively low.

Online Law Schools / Re: Practice of "Law" w/out a License
« on: May 17, 2014, 04:45:32 PM »
 I agree, there are many associated problems. For selfish purposes I would rather see the legal field restricted to lawyers. However, many people can't afford a lawyer and need some very basic guidance. There could be a way to regulate this stuff, as they do in the UK. 

They tend to operate as solo practitioners now, and I assume that would be the case even if they got some kind of license. Firms aren't going to hire them.

Another issue is this: many of their clients may not care whether or not they're licensed or bonded, so regulating the field may not have much impact. 

As it is now, they are allowed to help with stuff like document preparation. However, they routinely give (very bad) legal advice. It's a serious problem.

Online Law Schools / Re: Practice of "Law" w/out a License
« on: May 17, 2014, 10:58:38 AM »
The best bet is probably SS advocate, simply because there are so many potential clients.

Something like McKenzie Friends is probably necessary in the U.S. in order to provide low(er) cost, basic legal assistance. But it's got to be regulated, and the regs need to be enforced.

Here in CA we have a problem with "notarios", which are a common feature in Latin America but operate here without any oversight. They often have no legal training, don't carry malpractice insurance, and give out bad advice. In many cases they are simply practicing law without a license, and their clients get what they pay for.

I'd rather see that replaced with something like McKenzie Friends.

Pursuing an LLM / Re: we should replace the JD with an LLM.
« on: May 17, 2014, 09:54:19 AM »
I'm not sure you understand how an LLB actually works.
It requires to first have an undergrad in prelaw and then get  a "second bachelors" in law

I love it when people speak authoritatively, yet are completely wrong.

An LL.B does not require a preceeding Bachelor's degree. The LL.B is usually completed in four years, followed by supervised on the job training. This is how it works in the UK, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, and the Caribbean.

I'm currently preparing for the UK exams, and have several friends and family who are UK solicitors. Trust me, this is how it works.

I believe that Jon Levy is also a licensed UK solicitor?

In civil law jurisdictions the law diploma has various iterations. Sometimes it's a doctorate, sometimes not. It can be completed in four to six years depending. Admission to both LL.B and civil law diploma programs is usually quite competitive, and universities will strictly limit the number of entrants. 

Half of law school is electives anyways. Why waste peoples time with that an internships?

I agree. Electives at the graduate/professional level are an absurd waste of time. Just a way to get more tuition. Most students would be far better served spending that time learning how to draft a will or living trust, review a contract, or filing a motion. Our legal education is almost entirely academic, and needs more practical training.   

Law School Admissions / Re: Appalachian School of Law-PASO Program
« on: May 15, 2014, 03:26:14 PM »
It depends on what you want to do and where you want to live.

For the majority of law students, ABA is definitely the way to go. If you ever plan on leaving CA, get an ABA degree. But I disagree that any ABA degree is always better than any non-ABA degree. If we're talking about non-accredited/online schools, then yes, I'd agree. But the California (CBE) accredited schools are a little different.

They've been around for a long time and a significant portion of the CA bar is comprised of CBE grads. It's not just one guy here and there. They are exempt from the FYLSX, too. The DA/PD/City Attorney and small firms in CA are pretty well stocked with CBE educated lawyers. For example, in Orange County something like 25% of the DAs and judges are Western State grads (before it became ABA approved).

As a result, the stigma that might normally attach to a non-ABA is somewhat reduced in CA. In my experience, CBE and low ranked ABA schools are viewed as roughly equivalent. A firm that is willing to hire a Whittier grad is probably willing to look at a CBE grad, too. A firm that actually cares about pedigree, however, likely won't hire from either.

For a non-traditional student who wants to hang out their own shingle and practice DUI defense in the suburbs, it might make more sense to spend $50k on a CBE degree than $150k on an ABA degree.

statistics don't lie

That's true. The bar pass rates for CBE schools are usually a lot lower than in-state ABA schools. However, they are comparable to many out of state ABA schools. Have you ever looked at the bar pass rates for out of state schools in CA? A lot of schools with 80% rates in their home state have a 30% rate in CA. In that case, an ABA school is not necessarily a better choice.

Again, depending on the person's goals a CBE could make complete sense. 

General Off-Topic Board / Re: Feb vs July bar exam scaled scores
« on: May 14, 2014, 02:57:50 PM »
Yeah, I know what you mean.

My understanding (and this based only on the CA bar exam) is that the nature of the test taker pool (repeaters, etc) does not necessarily increase your chances of passing.

It would seem that a high performing student would benefit from being compared to lower performers, but I've been told the impact is minimal.

I was told that because the overall performance on the MBEs is lower than in July, scores which are already above average receive very little boost from scaling. Thus, someone who is borderline supposedly has a better chance of being pushed over the top due to scaling in July than in Feb.     

As far as the essays and PTs, I'm not sure. You still have to hit all the issues to get a 65. The fact that the pass rate is significantly lower makes me think the bar examiners aren't cutting much slack based on comparative performance.

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