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Distance Education Law Schools / Re: Mid-Atlantic School of Law
« on: January 15, 2013, 10:06:02 PM »
They're definitely not accredited, but California allows students from unaccredited schools to sit for the FYLSE and bar. The problem is that they're not registered with Calbar, either. I just took a look at Calbar's summary of requirements for admission. As far as I can tell, the only unaccredited law schools whose degrees qualify one to sit for the bar are those which are registered with the State. I assume the requirements for the FYSLE are similar, since what would be the point in allowing someone to take the FYLSE if they can't sit for the bar?

So to answer your question, Financialandtaxguy, no, I don't this is a good option for FYLSE prep either.

Where should I go next fall? / Re: I want to be a...
« on: January 15, 2013, 11:43:08 AM »
I am very interested in obtaining either a judicial clerkship or getting a job as a prosecutor right after graduating from law school.

I don't have any personal experience with either the NYC market or the schools you're referring to, but I can offer some general observations.

Judicial clerkships are very competitive, and usually go to people who were top 10-20%, on law review, and maybe did a judicial internship during law school. There are only a handful of clerkships compared to the number of law grads who would like to obtain them, and you'd definitely be competing against the NYU/Columbia/Cornell crowd as well as top students from the other local T2-T4 schools. That doesn't mean you can't do it, just understand that it's highly competitive. 

As far as the prosecutor's office, check to see if they're still doing any real hiring. State and local government budgets have been hit very hard the last few years, and many prosecutor's nd public defender's offices simply aren't hiring. The best bet for maximizing your chances at getting hired is to intern at the prosecutor's office during law school. Making personal connections in incredibly important, and will go a long way towards landing a job later. Take all of the crimlaw/crimpro classes you can, do well, and try to squeeze in some trial advocacy classes. Even if you can't get an internship, volunteer at the D.A.'s.

Generally, I think you should go to law in the area in which you want to live (unless you're attending an elite, nationally recognized school). If you want to live in California, for example, you'd be much better off going to school in LA or SF than NY. At most schools the post-grad employment opportunities, alumni network, and reputation are going to be local or regional. It's very difficult to show up in a new city after law school and to compete with the local talent for jobs. All of the schools you're looking at have good local reputations, and will offer the best opportunities within their immediate geographic region.

Lastly, view any law schools' post-grad employment and placement data with a skeptical eye. Law schools will sometimes include unpaid positions, non-legal positions, etc. Frankly, I'd be surprised if any school was acheiving "amazing" public service placement right now, since many government offices are laying people off. Call the school, ask how old the data is, whether that includes unpaid positions, etc. Set your BS detector to "stun" when you view this information.

Distance Education Law Schools / Re: Mid-Atlantic School of Law
« on: January 15, 2013, 12:04:09 AM »
Would studying with MASL even qualify one to take the FYLSE in the first place? Although CA is comparatively open, they do still have some hoops you have to jump through. If a school is neither ABA/CBE accredited or registered with the CA bar (like Taft, Concord, etc.), then I think you'd have to qualify under the attorney-study option (not sure what it's actually called). Is that what MASL does, do they put their students in contact with CA attorneys who supervise their work?

I think Livinglegend makes a good point. Much criticism of the ABA is focused on the notion that there is a glut of lawyers, and that the ABA should be in the business of limiting the number of new law grads in order to alleviate this perceived glut. Much of this criticism comes from recent law grads who feel cheated, and think the ABA should have done more to dissaude them from attending law school.

A couple of points:

There isn't a long term over-supply of lawyers, there is a short term glut because the economy is in shambles. Previous to 2008, my lower tier alma mater had something like a 70-80% employment rate (within nine months of graduation). In the last five years that has drastically reduced, but it's not because the country is churning out any more lawyers now than in 2008. How many new law schools have been accredited since then? Maybe two or three? Until the economy recovers that won't change. But what can the ABA really do about that? De-accredit schools? Force schools to reduce class size? I'm not sure they have the power to do that.

It's not realistic to think that the ABA can develop policies which are pegged to economic fluctuations, and will reduce/increase the supply of law grads according to market needs.

Secondly, the cost of legal education has far more to do with the law schools themselves than the ABA. Some of the ABA accreditation criteria (tenured faculty, faculty pay, facilities requirements, etc) do indeed add to the cost of a legal education. However, these policies also add to the quality of an ABA accredited education, and that's why its seal of approval still carries weight in the legal world.

Other factors that are beyond the control of the ABA also contribute to the increasing cost. For example, in my state, California, the cheapest public law school is now almost $40,000 per year. Is that because of the ABA? No, it's because California is practically bankrupt and has no money for state universities.

Lastly, I meet people every single day who are successful graduates from T4 schools employed at small firms, solo offices, and government offices. Conversely, I also meet people who graduated from T1 schools and are unemployed. An individual who is smart, personable, and willing to take a low paying job so that they can build experience will be fine. That means doc review, DUIs, insurance claims, child custody disputes, and all of the other stuff that many T1 grads seem to think is beneath them.

At the end of the day, the ABA isn't your counselor or your life coach, it's just an accrediting/lobbying organization. 


Non-Traditional Students / Re: Looking for some advice....
« on: January 14, 2013, 01:06:07 PM »
If the OP is located in California he may want to consider the CBE (California bar) accredited law schools. Of course, there are many factors that should be considered when contemplating a non-ABA school, but in the OP's case it might be a viable option.

CBE schools don't necessarily require a bachelor's degree for admission, I think two years of college work will suffice. This could save the OP a couple of years worth of tuition and time. They also tend to be cheaper than ABA schools and offer part-time programs.

The main factors to consider are the OP's post-law school plans. If he wants to work at a large firm or government office, then an ABA degree is a must. Also, many states will not accept a non-ABA degrees for bar admission. Considering the other factors the OP has listed, however, this may be a route to consider. 

Transferring / Re: Transferring v. Reapplying
« on: January 11, 2013, 04:56:22 PM »
Maybe.  My LSAT wasn't very good and I still transferred up multiple tiers.  I started at a tier 4 as well.  I don't think LSAT grades are very important for transferring.  Easily the most important are grades and class rank.   

The answer, as always, is "It depends."

In the majority of situations grades and class rank are the dispositive factors. If you have very good grades and a high class rank you can probably transfer from a T4 to a T1. The thing that transfer applicants have to keep in mind, however, is that terms like "T1" and T2" describe a broad range of schools with varying degrees of selectivity in admissions.

For example, if you're trying to transfer from a T4 to Stanford, I think they might very well take your LSAT into account along with class rank, GPA, and the reputation of your current law school. The competition for those few transfer spots is going to be fierce. (I know someone who transferred from Hastings to Berkeley, both T1. They were ranked near the very top of their class after 1L, and had an impressive resume to boot).

OTOH, transferring from the local T4 to the local T2 (or even a non-elite T1) is going to be based largely on GPA/class rank.

One thing the OP may want to consider is whether transferring makes much sense in the first place. I'm not sure that any benefits gained from transferring to a California T2-T3 are necessarily much better than those gained from graduating top 10% at a T4. In fact, I recently worked at an office where a top 10% T4 grad would have been viewed as highly preferrable to an average T2 grad.

I went to a T3-T4 in CA, and the top 10% of my class secured good jobs. Some went to Biglaw, others to government/judicial clerkships, others to very reputable boutique firms. If you transfer, I assume there is a good chance you rank will drop. Also, I believe transfers are often not eligible for law review. Things like that may or may not be compensated for by the increased tier rank.

Just something to think about, good luck! 

General board for soon-to-be 1Ls / Re: Common Law v. Civil Law
« on: January 11, 2013, 11:45:03 AM »
Keep in mind that if you plan to take the bar in any state other than LA, you will be tested on common law. Your decision depends on where you plan to take the bar(s).

That's interesting. I actually didn't know until recently that the UK offered this route to the bar. I always thought an LL.B was required. I assume a university degree is stil required for barristers?

I'd love to see an incorporation of this type of apprenticeship into the J.D. program. In my ideal world the J.D. curriculum would be comprised of two years of basic course work (contracts, torts, conlaw, etc) and at least one full year of supervised training. The law schools classes themselves would also be at least somewhat skills-oriented. For example, in Wills & Trusts perhaps the students could learn to, oh, I don't know, draft a will?The apprenticeship would focus heavily on writing motions, conducting discovery, making appearances, etc. Not just the research or doc review that interns usually get stuck with.

It would benefit the entire profession (but not the ABA).

I agree with Jonlevy, the OP seems like the ideal candidate for a correspondance/online degree.

I have respect for people who possess the intelligence and discipline to learn the law essentially independently, pass the baby bar, and then pass the CA bar. Frankly, I find it far more impressive than graduating from an ABA school and being admitted automatically by degree privilege, or passing a bar exam with a 90% first time pass rate. I've had the pleasure of meeting few graduates of CA correspondance schools, and they struck me as highly motivated, goal oriented individuals. It's not for everyone, but it sounds like the OP fits the mold.

IIRC, Taft, Northwest CA, and Concord have the highest FYLSE/bar pass rates. I'd probably be inclined to look at those schools. There a several others that have abyssmal pass rates. I'm not entirely sure what that indicates, but I'd be wary. Check out the CA bar website for statistics. The University of London option is interesting, and (as Jonlevy said), probably carries more name recognition than any of the CA correspondance schools. The only issue is that you'd have to jump through some additional hoops in order to take the bar exam.

Good Luck!

Where should I go next fall? / Re: Where should I go?
« on: January 10, 2013, 11:45:46 PM »
Is it worth it to save the money to go TTTT or should I look to my other schools?

In my opinion, saving money is your best option. If you were comparing local schools like Widener to Yale or Penn, I'd say it's probably worth racking up the student loan debt in order to accrue the benefits of attending a nationally recognized elite school. If, however, your goal is to practice in rural PA, MD, etc., I think you'll be better served by not having an huge loan payment each month.

Among the schools you're considering some may be ranked higher than others, but don't let this mislead you. In reality, they will all offer similar employment and networking options within their immediate geographic regions. Each school probably offers an advantage within it's specific neck of the woods, so that may be something to consider if you prefer to eventually live in one area over another.

The reason I'd focus on minimizing debt is simply because  graduating from one of these schools you'll likely work at a small-mid sized firm, or in local government. When you start, it's likely you won't be raking in a six figure salary. Hence, you probably don't want a six figure debt. 

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