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Messages - Maintain FL 350
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« on: July 15, 2012, 05:29:10 PM »
True, it's the unfortunate reality of living in a depressed economy. And, BTW, it doesn't mean that a non-ABA can't get a job, it just means that applicants should be aware of the pecking order that most law offices adhere to: Big Name ABA, Small Name ABA, Calbar, everything else.
Of course there are always exceptions to the rule. A Calbar grad with 3-5 years experience in criminal law, for example, would probably stand a better chance at getting hired by the DA or PD than an ABA grad with no applicable experience. Geography also plays a role. The thing about online J.D.s, in my opinion, is not that they have a bad reputation, but it's that most attorneys just don't know what to make of it. Most attorneys in CA have worked with both ABA and CBE grads, and know that there are good and bad lawyers from each category. There are so few online grads, however, that I think it's simply an unknown quantity. I think that the lack of knowledge leads to skepticism, which might be unfair. As online education becomes more common, may be this will change, but I wouldn't hold my breath.
« on: July 15, 2012, 02:55:25 PM »
BTW, there is a lot of talk about if someone goes to an online school they won't be able to get a job. Many threads by grads of traditional schools focus on getting a job. Can get, hope to get, can't get. A job.
A lawyer not being able to find a job has nothing to do with their online law J.D degree. There are lots of lawyers that attended brick and mortar ABA approved J.D programs that can't work as lawyers either. If they can't a find it's because they are not good writers or good public speakers. Most law firms will require a sample of the applicant's writing in addition to a face to face interview. The new lawyers are failing the interviews. Has nothing to do with where they attended law school.
I see ads in the online employment section all the time for associate attorneys. The employer does not care where you attended law school, he only cares whether you passed the state bar exam in that state.
I think something is wrong with lawyers that say they can't find a job. If they can't find a job, then they could open up their own office and make their own job. As stated, their writing sample given to the employer is subpar and that is why they cant find work.
The public defender offices in every state are always hiring. However, they demand a writing sample.
You should do a little market research (or gain some actual experience) before you make such broad claims. The PD offices in each county are absolutely, positively, NOT
always hiring. The budgets of all California counties have been slashed dramatically over the last few years. PD, DA, City Attorney, County Counsel, and state legal departments have been severely impacted. Most PD/DA offices cannot even get the funding to replace attrition due to retirement, let alone create new positions. My local PD's office recently got permission from the Board of Supervisors to hire something like eight new PDs, the first hiring they've done in a couple of years. They received something like 300 applications for those eight positions, and hired a combination of experienced criminal defense attorneys and lawyers who had been working for free hoping that a position would open up.
You're right that an attorney with bad writing skills or bad intwerview skills is screwed, regardless of where they graduated from. OTOH, the fact that an applicant submits an impressive writing sample is not sufficient to get the interview in such a competitive market. When you're competing against hundreds (or even dozens) of applicants, more than a few will have great writing and interviewing skills. Government law departments are in a position now to be much pickier than they have been in the past, and yes, they will look at where you went to law school.
If you've read any of my posts on this or other topics you'll see that I'm not a snob when it comes to legal education. My own degree is from a small, regional school. But I have personal, recent experience with government law offices, and hiring is much more competitive than you seem to think. At both the office I worked at, and the office my wife (a local government attorney) currently works at, an online or unaccedited grad would not have gotten an interview no matter how good their writing sample was. And if you can't get the interview, who cares how good your interpersonal communication skills are? A Calbar grad might have gotten an interview if they had 5-10 years of relevant experience, but unquestionably there is a strong preference for ABA grads.
It's possible that in a rural county with fewer applicants the results would be different, or that small firms would not be quite so competitive.
« on: July 13, 2012, 03:10:00 PM »
I think the student is required to take the FYLSE after the first year (or after the first 1 1/2 years, since they're part-tme). If they pass they can continue on to the second year. The CA bar requires the online/unaccredited school to certify that the student has completed something like 864 hours of instruction, divided into specific categories: a certain number of hours in torts, contracts, etc. This is the same requirement for applicants who study with an attorney or in judges' chambers.
After that, the requirements are the same as any other applicant: pass the MPRE, positive C&F determination, pass the bar.
BTW, the FYLSE is not typically required for students at CA accredited law schools unless they fail classes. Some (maybe all?) CA ABA schools require the FYLSE for re-admission if a student has been academically disqualified. If you look on the Calbar website you'll see a number of students from ABA schools taking the exam, but I don't know if that's required by the Calbar or if certain individual schools make it a requirement for re-admission.
Anyone who has more specific info, please feel free to correct me!
« on: July 13, 2012, 02:04:28 PM »
I was a non-traditional splitter like you, OP. I had a high LSAT/average GPA/great softs. The thing is, as other posters have already stated, law school admissions is very numbers driven. GPA and especially LSAT will dominate your admissions profile. As a splitter, your chances for admission to certain schools is a little less predictable, but if you focus on schools with average LSAT scores below your eventual score, you'll likely be alright.
It's difficult to predict how you'll do on the LSAT based on practice tests (some are easier/tougher than others), but if you score anywhere near 170 you will be fine. A high 160s/low 170s is probably sufficient to obtain a full ride at lots of schools in the T3-T4 range, and admission (but possibly without $$$) at lots of other places. The more prestigious the school, obviously, the less predictable the chances.
If you plan on staying in Florida you might want to check out FIU, Miami, and FSU. With a 170 you could probably get significant scholarships at all three.
« on: July 13, 2012, 01:53:21 PM »
Disrespecting an attorney because of whree they went to law school is the lamest thing in the world. Yes, it happens, and perhaps it's even common, as JonLevy pointed out, but it's still lame. People choose to go to various law schools for highly personal, specific reasons: geographic, limitations, familial obligations, etc.
In the end, however, everybody has to pass the same bar exam whether you went to Concord or Harvard. In this way the bar exam can be the great equalizer. I have some specific issues with online schools (like the fact that the LSAT is not required), but I would never assume that someone who has passed the CA bar is anything less than qualified. Frankly, I'd probably have more respect for an online grad who passed the CA bar than an ABA grad from a state that has a 90% pass rate or no exam requirement at all.
Will online schools ever be regarded in the same fashion as brick and mortar traditional schools? I don't think so, but I would never discredit their acheivement.
« on: July 12, 2012, 05:38:50 PM »
Not necessarly, considering about half of all the Assistant District Attoney's here in my area all graduated from a local law school that is not ABA accredited. It may limit where in governement you can work, but it doesn't exclude you from it.
Has that office ever hired an online grad, though? I've met lots of DAs, PDs, etc who are Calbar grads, but never an online grad. Doesn't mean it can't happen, but I've never seen it.
« on: July 12, 2012, 11:24:19 AM »
Jennings, "bottom feeder" may have been harsh, but you are right to realize that there is a very distinct pecking order in law schools.
The better the law school, the better your chances of success. The worse the law school, the worse your chances. Simple as that.
So, no need to be apologetic. This sort of debate happens here all the time. There are folks who think that some 0Ls are a little too "brand conscious" when they pick a school. So, they draw out anectdotes. X judge went to crappola law school. Y senior partner went to Clown Law College.
Yeah, it happens, but you don't want to make a career in the law any harder than it already is.
I agree that prestige matters, and that law can be a prestige-obsessed profession. If Student A goes to Stanford and Student B goes to Golden Gate, obviously Stanford guy has an immensely better shot at most (if not every) job. The fact is, however, that Stanford (and other elite law school) grads make up a small percentage of all law schools grads. The GGU grad will mostly be competing with grads from McGeorge, USF, Santa Clara, even JFK. Between those schools, I'm not convinced that what ever reputational advantage Santa Clara might have over GGU would be worth $150k. OTOH, I believe it would
be worth $150k to attend Stanford or Berkeley over any of those schools.
OP, I certainly didn't mean to sound like I was scolding you, sorry if I did! Kick ass on the LSAT, score scholarship, and you'll do fine. Good Luck!
« on: July 11, 2012, 08:21:11 PM »
43% is actually a higher first time pass rate for the California bar than that of many out-of-state ABA schools. Nonetheless, a few things to consider when looking at any online/unaccredited school's pass rates are the number of takers (usually very low, 10-25), widely fluctuating pass rates (10% one year, 35% the next), and the fact that bar pass rates are only reflective of those students who have not already been weeded out by the FYLSE.
I think that an online JD can be a good option for the right student. I have a huge amount of respect for anyone who can get through an online JD program, pass the FYLSE, and pass the bar. It must take ahuge amount of self-discipline and motivation. Before selecting an online school a potential applicant should probably spend considerable time figuring out whether or not they are that type of student.
« on: July 11, 2012, 04:06:43 PM »
WOW, that rocks. Don't be afraid of the amount going up. If it does, figure you will be still paying around 25,000 for a law degree. They have FANTASTIC STATs for the FYLSE too. Almost makes me want to switch and pay less, but I love Concord's program and if I pass the FYLSE, I'm not sure I'd want to change mid stream. Yes, I'll pay 50,000 for my law degree - I know I'll either land a great job OR I'll become a sole practicioner and will enjoy the smallness of my own business. GOOD LUCK!
In your experience, do most of the students at Concord plan on becoming solo practitioners? If not, does Concord help its students out with placement, or help you get in touch with alumni? Just curious. My own school had a pretty abyssmal career services office, we were pretty much left on our own.
« on: July 11, 2012, 03:22:30 PM »
That's some of the best advice I've ever seen on this board.
The fact is, legal education has been standardized to an astonishing degree. The classes at Harvard and Cooley, for example, are almost identical, especially during the all-important first year. That's the entire point of ABA accreditation. It allows potential students like yourself, OP, to rest assured that a school has met minimum requirements ranging from bar pass rates, to long term financial stability, to faculty hiring practices. Acquiring ABA accreditation takes years of planning, making constant improvements based on ABA site-evaluation team reports, and costs millions of dollars. It's not like getting your driver's license, and it's hardly the stuff of "bottom feeder" institutions.
I've worked at offices where graduates of Ivy League law schools worked alongside grads from T4s. The only thing anyone cared about was skill and performance. Most actual attorneys I've met, as opposed to law students or 0Ls, seem to have mellowed out on the whole rankings/prestige kick. They work with other lawyers from a variety of educational backgrounds and realize that there are good and bad lawyers from all ranks. The first judge I ever appeared in front of graduated from an unaccredtited law school.
This is why I believe that the USNWR rankings scheme has been so detrimental to legal education. Non-scientific, subjective criteria are used to rank schools which leads students to spend tons of money on degrees from schools that are not elite anyway, but are simply ranked higher than another school. Trust me, going to the #74 school will not impress anyone more than going to the #136 school. The rankings utterly fail to take into account the uniformity of the education offered at each. Places like Harvard and Yale will always be in a class by themselves, they were long before USNWR came out. The absurdity, however, is drawing tiny, minute, meaningless differences between non-elite local schools and then proclaiming that one is better than the other. Ridiculous.
OP, just remember two things:
1) You may not do as well as you'd like on the LSAT, and may have to attend a school that's not as prestigious as you'd like. Would you consider yourself a "bottom feeder"? I wouldn't.
2) You may do just fine on the LSAT, get into Marquette and spend three years working your ass off to get that JD. After all that hard work, there are snobs who will brush you aside because they consider Marquette a "bottom feeder" school. I think that's absurd.
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