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Messages - Maintain FL 350

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General board for soon-to-be 1Ls / Re: Baby Bar
« on: December 15, 2012, 12:27:39 PM »
Congratulations Jenni, I'm glad you passed!

That's how you pass law school exams. You spot all of the issues and talk about them intelligently. The baby bar is no different. If you hit all of the issues and talk about them with the right rule, passing the BB should be a snap.

Duncan, I'd go a step further and say that's essentially how you pass the bar exam, too. Take a look at the examples of passing bar essays on Calbar. The rule statements are often short and direct and the analysis is good, but not incredible. I think my law school placed a higher value on in-depth analysis than the bar examiners. If you fail to identify issues on the bar however, you're toast. The best analysis in the world won't score you enough points to pass if you miss a major issue.

One of the major obstacles people face on the bar essays and PTs (and, I assume, on the FYLSE) is simply organization. I knew a lot of classmates who knew the black letter law and could apply it to fact patterns. What they sstruggled with was distilling that mountain of info into a cohesive, easy to read format. The bar graders are going through hundreds of essays, and you've got make your essays as clear as possible. If you bury a key point in the middle of a long, complex paragraph that is otherwise full of brilliant analysis it may be missed. Writing good essays, whether it's law school, the baby bar or the bar is a learnable skill, but it takes lots of practice.

The reason the baby bar seems hard is because so many of the people who have to take it have already demonstrated that passing law exams gives them trouble. I've read some of the essay questions that appear on the baby bar. They look like ordinary law school essays to me. Nothing more difficult than the essay questions I faced with my first year final exams.

I agree. This illustrates one of the problems I have with unaccredited programs. Unaccredited programs accept almost everyone and have little in the way of prerequisites. Bachelor's degree not required, good UGPA not required, LSAT not required. In other words there's no "weeding out" process previous to matriculation and many unqualified applicants are admitted. Not surprisingly a huge number fail the FYLSE and bar exam.

Certainly there are smart, successful graduates of unaccredited schools. I've had the pleasure of meeting several. Statisically, however, these graduates are the exception, not the rule. If someone hasn't demonstrated that they can succeed academically or on a standardized test (LSAT), I'm not sure what criteria (if any) is used to determine that they'll be able to pass the state legal exams.

General board for soon-to-be 1Ls / Re: Baby Bar
« on: December 10, 2012, 12:02:51 AM »
How is it possible that you did so poorly on the essays, yet received a 77% on the MBE questions? Such circumstances are a complete distortion of how things work in these types of exams.

I'm not so sure about that. The multiple choice and essay sections are fundamentally different (that's why the bar tests both formats). Both portions of the exam involve the same black letter law, but each requires a very different output from the taker. The MBEs require the taker to simply identify and locate the rule. The essays are, in my opinion, more complex. The taker must not only regurgitate the rule, but apply the rule(s) to multiple facts and create an easy-to-read, logical essay under timed conditions. There are simply more moving parts, and I see how someone might do considerably better on the MBEs than on the essays.

BTW, on the bar 65 is passing for the essays. Is that the same for the FYLSE? If so a 60 doesn't seem so bad, certainly capable of being remedied.



Transferring / Re: Transferring from lower to tier to top 15?
« on: December 08, 2012, 06:45:07 PM »
I know that most law schools say first year grades are paramount but i wonder if the top 15 still focuses on undergrad as well. If thats the case my undergrad was more than rocky, and my lsat was mediocre at best.. Im wondering if that they will take that into account.

I don't know if your undergrad and LSAT are taken into account for transferring. Your first year grades are, I believe, the major factor. My impression is that transferring from a lower ranked to a T14 requires very, very good grades. The number of slots open to transfer students is small (many top schools only accept 10-20), and the competition will have some serious credentials. I knew someone who transferred from Hastings to Berkeley, and they were ranked near the very top of the class after 1L. I imagine it would be even tougher for someone coming from a lower ranked school.

Livinglegend's idea about using the transfer as leverage for scholarship money is worth exploring. Also remember that depending on where you want to live and work after law school am out of state T1 may not be the best option (unless we're talking about Harvard, Yale, etc). For example, if you want to live in Milwaukee I'm not sure that a degree from UCLA with average grades (your ranking may very well drop if you transfer) is more useful than a degree from Marquette with very high grades.  You may have better opportunities graduating top of your class from a good local school.

General board for soon-to-be 1Ls / Re: military options
« on: December 07, 2012, 05:35:05 PM »
One of my friends from law school was an officer, and hoped to get into JAG after graduation. He said that even with his background (years of active duty before law school) he wasn't guaranteed a spot, he'd still have to compete among a highly qualified pool of applicants. 

i dont know if thats what its called, but i want to be an officer that does not go into combat but stays on base.

As far as I know, JAG officers are routinely serving in places like Iraq and Afghanistan. I don't think the military has much interest in officers who seek to avoid combat.

Anyways, for a GPA of 3.36 what LSAT score do you think I would need to be accepted into Stanford, Yale, Harvard, Columbia, and Duke?

First, it's highly unlikely that you can accurately predict your GPA years into the future. For example, would you have predicted that you'd have a 2.7 by now, or would you have predicted higher?

That said, with a hypothetical 3.36 you'd probably need a 175-180 to have a shot at any of the schools you mentioned. Take a look at LSAC's admission profiles, it will give you a good idea. Even then it's probably unlikely. At this point any speculation about your future LSAT score is premature. The LSAT is a weird test, and you simply can't assume that you'll be in the top 1-2%. Remember, at top schools you'll be evaluated against other applicants who have 4.0 GPAs, ridiculously high LSATs, and amazing soft factors. As always, it's not about you, it's about the competition. Please understand that I'm not trying be overly negative, I'm just trying to answer your question honestly.

Here's something else to consider: there are lots of good law schools that will accept an applicant with a 3.36 and less than a 175 LSAT. You can get a great legal education and have a successful career even if you don't go to an elite school. Focus on getting good grades and start practicing for the LSAT as soon as possible.

The key in these situations is to be absolutely candid and to disclose everything. Don't make excuses, don't equivocate, just be honest. People get admitted to law school and the bar with similar issues as long as they are honest and don't repeat the mistakes. After law school you'll have to apply for a moral character determination from the state bar before you can be admitted. They will likely require full disclosure of any such incidents. The thing that they really don't tolerate is a lack of candor (the cover up is worse than the crime, often). They want to see that you own up to your mistakes and have learned from them. Keep squeeky clean from now on and fully disclose.

That said, you should always contact your state bar and get the answers straight from them. They may have certain requirements of which people here are unaware. Anything you get here is just an educated guess. 

Like Livinglegend said, you're probably fine as long as you disclose it. I think you're required to disclose any history of psychiatric care (at least in CA). I don't think that a problem so far in the past, especially without a recurrence, would cause any problems. Thousands of people apply to the bar every year, and I'm sure that many have had similar issues. This isn't going to be something they haven't seen before.

That said, you should of course contact your state bar and get the answers straight from them. Anything you get here is just an educated guess!

Don't get me wrong, I know there are alot of people that want a law degree to practice law. But there are other options that one can use the law degree for. We can agree that everyone goes to law school for a different reason.

Agreed. Like I said, an online degree can be the right choice for the right person. The trick is for the student to determine whether they are that type of person. As long as the student understands what they're doing, and is fully informed, they should be fine. If they're not informed, good luck.

2. Your point about many firms are snooty. All that I will say in regards to this comment is that when anyone says "many blah blah blah" that means that they don't have the research to back up what they are saying.

Well, can you provide an example to the contrary? A big or mid-sized firm that regularly hires online grads as attorneys? Do any of the corporate counsel at your Fortune 500 company have unaccredited JDs? 

If you think that many firms are not snooty when it comes to academic pedigrees, then take a look at the firm profiles in Martindale-Hubble. At the big firms (especially in places like NYC, LA, WDC) you will hard pressed to find anything but T14. Check out federal agencies and Fortune 500 legal departments (not non-legal departments) and you'll see the same pattern. Can you find one or two examples to the contrary? Sure, but that does not refute my claim that many firms are prestige obsessed.

This isn't just my uninformed opinion, it's something that permeates the legal world. I spent several years working in the corporate world (consulting/accounting) before going to law school. I have experience in legal and non-legal jobs. In the corporate world it is very common for people to get hired with a BA, then later pick up an online MBA for advancement. Online degrees aren't necessarily looked down on.

This is not the case in law. You don't typically get hired with a BA, pick up a JD along the way, and get promoted to lawyer. In law, the JD is what gets you hired in the first place, and many attorneys are highly suspicious of unaccredited degrees. They might wonder why the school is unaccredited in the first place (not an unreasonable question). I think part of the problem is that only CA and maybe a handful of other state allow non-ABA grads practice. Therefore, most attorneys haven't had any experience with online grads, and it's an unknown quantity.   

Do you disagree that sooner or later there will be an online accredited ABA law school?

I don't know. It seems possible that eventually an online school will get ABA approval, but so far neither the ABA or CBE has made any indication that they're interested. Frankly, I'm not sure that many attorneys are interested either, and the ABA is, afterall, a memebership organization. I can't say what the ABA or CBE will do ten or twenty years from now, but it seems unlikely in the near future.

The thing is, it's not just a question of the ABA modifying its rules to accomodate online education. The online schools are going to have to improve their standards, too, if they want to be taken seriously. Before an online school could really pursue ABA approval it would have to require the LSAT for admission, raise bar pass rates, hire full time tenured faculty, and presumably provide access to some kind of online law library (which maybe they do, I'm not sure).

Where should I go next fall? / Re: Do you think i will get into SMU Law
« on: December 02, 2012, 02:25:08 AM »
My expected GPA when applying will be around 3.56 and my expected LSAT score will be around 165-167?

Also check out LSAC's admission profiles. They have grids for most schools that will give you a very good idea as to your chances.

Keep in mind, though, that until you have a real LSAT score everything is speculative. If you've been consistently scoring 165-167 on timed practice exams, that's good, but your actual LSAT may very well be lower (or higher). That said, if you actually end up with those numbers, I think you'd have a good shot at SMU. 

See, the arguments about the job prospects for non-aba grads is not that great of a point. In fact, I have a job that most people graduating from an ABA approved school would die to have! So the argument about not having a job upon graduation is of no merit to me at all.

I think you're missing the point. If your job as a commodities trader doesn't require a JD for advancement, then it doesn't matter where you go to law school. Most people who go to law school, however, intend to practice law. For those people it does matter where they graduate from. Most firms (big, medium, and small), government offices, and corporate legal departments will not hire online grads. Personally, I think it's silly, but it's true nonetheless. That matters to people who plan on spending tens of thousands of dollars on an online JD in hopes of passing the bar and getting hired.

Of course, not all doors are shut. Some small firms will consider an online JD, and others will go into solo practice. I know lots of people who graduated from non-ABA (Calbar/CBE accredited) law schools who have successful careers, and I don't think the current ABA scheme is the only game in town. That said, I've worked at a couple of private and government law offices who would hire a CBE grad, but would never consider an online JD.

My company has agreements with several so called online degree colleges like Capella, Regis, and others so that employees can get their degree. In fact, the vice-president of my company, which is a fortune 500 company got his MBA from Regis. The thing is that most people who claim to know about job prospects etc are still in law school and have no real corporate world experience, they're talking out their ass!

MBAs and JDs are very different. Have any top 500 law firms hired online grads? Hell, many of those firms are so snooty they won't even hire ABA grads from less-than-prestigious schools. It's the same story at most mid-sized and government offices, too. I'm sure you can find a handful of exceptions, but that doesn't defeat the general rule.

I totally agree with you on the second point. Students with experience and street smarts will beat out green, naive competitors every time. I went to law school in a part-time evening program, and the evening students seemed to do much better when it came to finding jobs. They already had experience, were more mature, made connections, etc.

it's just a matter of time before a schoo like Concord becomes accredited. And who knows, maybe by the time I and the original poster graduate, we will be graduating from either a temporarily approved ABA school or better an ABA approved school. Nonetheless, it doesn't matter to me, I'm set and the sky is the limt!

The ABA has not shown any movement on this issue, neither has Calbar (the only state bar that might be expected to accredit online JDs.) There is no reason to believe that online JDs are going to be accredited anytime soon. According to the new ABA rules, a schools' first time bar pass rate must be within 15% of the statewide ABA average. That means Concord would have to raise it's bar pass rate from 35% to about 62% (assuming that they use CA's bar pass rates as the baseline).

I'm not against online education. An online JD can be the right move for the right student. However,  I think people should be entirely informed and realistic about the limitations of any unaccredited law degree. It doesn't mean that the education is inferior, but to pretend that it makes little or no difference is to ignore reality.

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