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Messages - Maintain FL 350

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As far as a law degree, it really doesn't matter which online school you go to.  In the end, the degree is the same and only allows you to sit for the bar in California.  Regardless of the pass rate for the bar or for the First Year Exam, you make what you want out of it. 

I'd have to disagree with you on that point. As Jon said, these places are not all created the equally. Taft's first time CA bar pass rate for Feb 2012 was 75% (4/5), and for Feb 2011 was 5/7. Oak Brook is routinely in the 50-60% range, and Concord is usually about 25-35%.

Although the number of exam takers from these schools is relatively small, the results are repetitive. Compare that to other schools that routinely have a 0-5% pass rate, and I think it's clear that some places are offering a much better product than others.

What if the law student is hired, signed contract and all that, what if he did not pass the bar, will he be dismissed?

Usually firms will hire you on as a law clerk with the undertsanding that you'll be promoted to associate upon passing the bar. Your promotion is simply contingent. A lot of places will give someone two chances to pass, but some won't. 

Are law schools the same thing? 

Essentially, yes. That's the entire point of ABA accreditation. Legal education in the U.S. has become standardized to an amazing degree. When a school has that seal of approval, so to speak, it means that it has adopted a predictable, accepted format. Most ABA schools use the same books, teach the same courses, and use socratic method. In fact, most schools even teach their classes in the same order. Even exams are pretty much the same. I once saw an Evidence exam from Harvard and it was nearly identical to the exam I took at small local law school.

I think the same is true for the California accredited schools, too, who seem to have adopted the same system. I can't speak for the handful of other states that have state accredited law schools.

The difference, of course, is in the student body. At Harvard you'll be surrounded by a bunch of future Chemerinskys and Dershowitzs. At a local law school you'll be surrounded by chumps like me.

Please list any valid reasons for attending an online/distance law school.

I can't speak from experience, but geographic isolation seems like the most valid reason. If there is no way you can physically get to a brick and mortar school,  I guess online is the only option. However, since you'll have to probably move to CA anyway in order to practice, geography will continue to work against you even after law school.

The main problem I see is that many online students have a "lottery mentality" about their chances. Even though they can do the research and see that only a small percentage of students pass the FYLSE, and an even smaller number pass the bar, they're willing to spend tons of time and money on that slight chance. Statistically, the vast majority will have nothing to show for it.

I have no doubt that there are very smart, hardworking, disciplined online students (we have several on this board) who will pass the bar and become lawyers. My criticisms are not directed at them. I actually have more respect for an online student who passes the CA bar than an ABA student who gets admitted to WI without even having to take the bar! For most people, though, online is probably a waste of time and resources.

Non-Traditional Students / Re: Novus Law School
« on: September 05, 2012, 09:50:51 PM »
If a "law school" is not accredited by any recognized accrediting agency, or registered with the California State Bar, under whose authority does it grant degrees?

Where on earth is the ABA and the state bar?

I'm increasingly convinced that we need to move in the direction of Germany on this issue. Germany has restricted the commercial and professional use of terms such as "university". Only accredited institutions meeting specific criteria can call themselves universities and grant degrees. Other institutions can only grant certificates, etc. Individuals can only legally claim degrees earned from legit schools.

We've allowed the definition of university, law school, doctorate, etc to become so watered down that pretty much anybody can start issuing Ph.Ds from their garage and it's fine. Call me old fashioned, but I think earning a Ph.D should mean more than sending $5000 to an offshore account. It's stupid, and undermines the value of an education.


I always get this place mixed up with California Southern Law School in Riverside, CA.

This law school appears to be an unaccredited program registered with the California bar. That means that a graduate can qualify to take the CA bar exam. There are a few things to keep in mind when considering such a school, however.

This law school is not programmatically accredited by either the ABA or the CA state bar, they are only registered with the CA state bar. There is a big difference between being accredited and being registered. A graduate of a registered law school (like this one) will have to take the First Year Law Student's Exam (the "Baby Bar") after the first year. You can't move on until you pass the FYLSE, and the pass rates are very low. You'll have to travel to CA to take the exam (and return if you need to re-take). Go to the Calbar website and check out the school's FYLSE pass rates.

After passing the FYLSE, getting a positive moral character determination, and passing the CA bar, you will be able to practice law in CA. There is an excellent chance, however, that you will not be able to gai admission to your home state's bar. Most states simply don't allow non-ABA grads to sit for the bar, period. You'll find a lot of unsubstantiated claims on the internet about alternative methods of bar admission, but most states will not allow you in.

California has what is generally acknowledged as the hardest bar exam in the country, and you will have to pass it before you can even attempt to gain admission in another state. Take a look at the bar pass rates for this school on the Calbar website, it's very low. Think long and hard about this stuff before writing a check to this or any other unaccredited law school, especially if you want to practice outside of CA. 

Actually I have met faculty at a HBCU that had only a JD and also Community College faculty with just a JD, but not an online JD.

What is an HBCU? I'm not familiar with the term.

Colleges and universities will count the JD (brick and mortar) as a doctoral degree for accreditation and tenure track purposes.  They will grant the JD equivalency for these two issues.  However, if the teaching position requires a doctoral degree the JD is NOT an academic/subject matter substitute.  The doctoral degree expected is usually the PhD. 

Exactly. If someone can obtain a college teaching position with a J.D. only, then the J.D. will suffice for purposes of tenure. However, the chances of actually obtaining a full time, tenure track position (in fields other than law, of course) with only a J.D. is near zero. A J.D./MBA might be able to land a business/business law position, for example, but that's very rare. The traditionally law-related fields, such as poly sci, history, philosophy and econ will almost invariably require a Ph.D.

I live in the LA area, and even the community colleges here have newly minted Ph.Ds teaching intro courses while they look for full time positions. The competition to get hired at the local universities (even the small, non-elite schools) is insane, and I imagine it's similar in all major metropolitan areas. In any case, even if a college was willing to hire a J.D., I don't think an unaccredited J.D. would suffice. There is just too much competition.

Studying for the LSAT / Re: talk to me...
« on: September 05, 2012, 02:40:01 AM »
There are a few things to address, but the major issues are your LSAT prep and criminal record.


As you already know, 135 will not get you into law school. Here's the good news: You've only taken two practice tests, and you've got time to raise your score. What I find curious (and what may be the bad news) is that your GPA is so out of step with your LSAT practice scores. This may mean that your study methods are ineffective or that you have a mental block which needs to be overcome.

Either way, you need to do a critical self-evaluation of your strengths and weaknesses, and identify the problem(s). You'll never be able to improve if you don't clearly understand exactly what's causing you to stumble. Is it test anxiety, reading too slowly, misunderstanding what the question is asking? I found when I was studying that going through each individual question and really understanding why I got it wrong or right was hugely helpful. When you understand why you got a question right, you start to understand what the testmakers are looking for.

A lot of what the LSAT is seeking to measure is not readily apparent. The LSAT uses its own specific verbage in order to tip you off as to what it's looking for, and you've got to learn to decipher its code. I would highly recommend a prep course with a live instructor, I think it works better than just studying on your own or online. You've got to get the unbiased, objective opinion of a disinterested party to compliment and (if necessary) re-direct your self evaluation. A weekend course probably isn't enough, and you may need to find a way to dedicate more time to prep.

The LSAT is a standardized, learnable test. After a while, you'll start to recognize patterns and be able to anticipate the answer. 

Criminal Record

I don't know what your specific problems were, or how long ago. I doubt if misdemeanors would keep you out of law school, as long as some time has passed and you fully disclose the issues. Failure to disclose is often a much bigger deal than the crime itself. Don't lie about your record, or try to step around it. Full and frank disclosure is the key.

As far as bar admission, I don't know how your state treats misdemeanors. In my state, California, misdemeanors would probably not be a problem unless they were recent or involved dishonesty. Of course, full disclosure is required. Texas may or may not have the same attitude. Check with the state bar.

Lastly, congratulations on overcoming some daunting odds on your path to law school (and life!). Good luck with everything .

In the end I spoke with the Dean at AHU Law school and realized this was an excellent option to Learn the Law and qualify to sit for the bar and eventually practise law. 

Did the Dean mention that according to the CA state bar, only one AHU student has managed to pass the Baby Bar since 2007? Or that zero AHU grads have passed the CA bar exam since 2007? (The records on Calbar's website only go back five years). Do you intend to be the first?

A law school that continually fails to produce even a single California bar-admitted lawyer should be approached with extreme caution.

I understand that you're in a position which requires a distance learning format, but that's an abyssmal record. I'd at least ask a few detailed questions before writing a check to these guys. 

Non-Traditional Students / Re: Novus Law School
« on: September 04, 2012, 01:01:00 PM »
 For someone like the OP, who does not intend to practice law, such a program might be fine to learn something about the law. My issue (as always) is that if the program is not accredited by the ABA or a state bar, then it's difficult to ascertain whether or not the education is up to snuff. Is it rigorous? Does it abide by minimally acceptable academic standards? With an accredited school the consumer knows what their getting, with unaccredited programs there is less certainty. There are exceptions of course, such as Taft and Oak Brook, which seem to have better reputations than other unaccredited schools.

Personally, I believe that absent ABA or state bar accreditation these schools should not be permitted to grant J.D.s. I think it misleads the public, who associate the granting of a law degree with certain academic standards and admissions requirements.

You are saying that you went to Novus and then just one year at Concord and they let you take the state bar? Never heard that in my life. Can you provide a link to where the state of CA shows they allow this method?

The CA bar allows different paths to bar admission that other states don't. One method is graduation from an unaccredited school that is registered with the CA bar. Novus is not registered with the CA bar, but Concord is, and the Calbar website says something like a "combination" of methods may be used to gain bar admission. It's also possible that a Novus grad can qualify under the attorney-assisted study method. 

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