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Messages - Maintain FL 350

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Online Law Schools / Re: ABA online law schools
« on: May 20, 2014, 10:41:18 PM »
I agree.

Concord has greater resources than any other online law school, regional accreditation, and has been lobbying for a shot at accreditation. They are the only ones who have any realistic chance at pulling it off.

The problem they face is bar pass rates. They need to get within 15% of the CA statewide ABA average. With a current pass rate of only 19%, they've got their work cut out. They need to get up to about 60% before they can apply for provisional accreditation (substantial compliance), and present a plan to bring the school into full compliance within 3-5 years.

This requires either attracting better applicants or being more selective in admissions (or both!). Better applicants, however, will almost always choose an ABA school. And if they get too selective, they don't make money.

It's a Catch-22.

Established schools that already have successful track records might start offering these hybrid programs, but I still we're a long way from a purely online school getting ABA approval. I just don't see the ABA approving a school with a 19% pass rate.


Online Law Schools / Re: ABA online law schools
« on: May 20, 2014, 05:22:35 PM »
OK, here's the answer.

WM was approved for a variance from ABA standards. The thing I still find confusing is that the ABA article says the variance allows for 50/50 classroom and distance learning. Looking at the WM schedule, however, it looks like only one week per semester is in class. Maybe that week accounts for a higher number of credit hours?

Whether this means anything for schools like Concord remains to be seen. It looks like the ABA was willing to take the proposal from WM seriously because they were already an established school with a good track record.

It looks like this program would still be more or less limited to people in the immediate geographic region, unless they're willing to fly to MSP at the beginning and end of each semester.

I wonder how exams work? How do you know who's actually taking the exam?

Online Law Schools / Re: ABA online law schools
« on: May 20, 2014, 03:36:15 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, 02:28:17 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, 06:13:17 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, 10:24:25 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, 10:08:31 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, 03:45:32 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, 09:58:38 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, 08:54:19 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.   

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