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Messages - Maintain FL 350

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531
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.

532
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.

533
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!

534
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.

535
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.

536
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.

537
I know where you're coming from. I went to law school with a wife, kids, and a mortgage. Moving out of the area wasn't an option for me, so I focused on getting the highest possible LSAT score and a scholarship. BTW, that's also something you may want to consider: if you have the option of going to school outside of your ideal geographic region but with a large scholarship, it may be worth it in the long run.

Schools tend to focus heavily on LSAT and GPA for the purposes of scholarships and admissions. Like I said before, your softs are great. They will mostly matter, however, when you are being compared to other applicants with similar numbers. That is why it is imperitive to get the highest LSAT score you can. A high LSAT is often more beneficial than a high GPA. With your GPA and softs, a high LSAT (say, 165+) could probably secure some huge scholarship offers at the schools you've mentioned. You've got a couple of years to prepare, and the LSAT is a learnable, standardized test.

Just wanted to throw a couple of other possibilities out there: Toledo (which I think FalconJimmy mentioned), UW-Madison (depending on LSAT), and maybe some Minnesota schools. I have two friends who went to St. Thomas and had a great experience. I think you said you'll be in Kansas,so maybe Washburn, too.

538
Maximizing the LSAT

As FalconJimmy said, takes tons of practice exams and, if possible, a prep course. I wouldn't worry about the prep course until maybe a year or so before the LSAT. When you take practice exams try to take them under actual testing conditions if possible (I realize this may be impossible in your sitution.) Also, really take the time to go over your answers and understand why you got a particular question right or wrong. I marked the problems that gave me the hardest time and specifically went back to those after the practice exam in order to figure them out. When you take enough exams you'll start to see patterns and you'll be able to predict many of the answers. You have lots of time, so you're in a good situation.

Resume

I don't think there is anything you can do that will make your resume look better than it already does. You have great "soft factors", and that will help you. Nonetheless, admission to law school is based almost entirely on GPA/LSAT, so you should focus on scoring the highest possible LSAT.

One last point, OP. I don't know you or your situation, but I think that there are broad general concepts which are applicable to just about everybody when it comes to law school admissions. Among those broad generalities, I believe, is a need to be flexible and realistic. I noticed that you stated that if you don't get into one of three specific schools you just won't go at all. That's fine, but understand that such rigidity will severely limit your choices both during and after law school.  Also, you may want to think about whether or not you really want to be a lawyer after all. Law school is a difficult, expensive, life changing experience. If you really want it, then you may have to make some sacrifices in terms of geography. You might want to check out Detroit-Mercy, Michigan State, and maybe some Chicago schools as well.

You also mentioned that Marquette has a sports law program. One of the funny things I've noticed about law school is that specialty programs usually matter less than you think. The fact is, if you go to Marquette specifically for sports law, there is still a very good chance that you won't end up practicing sports law. My guess is that the sports law market in the midwest is pretty limited (I think most jobs are probably in LA and NYC), and you may have to take another job. I'm not bringing this stuff up in order to be difficult or critical, it's just based on my experience.

If you are flexible and open to various opportunities you will have a better overall experience. Good Luck with everything!

539
General Off-Topic Board / Re: Obamacare upheld
« on: July 09, 2012, 07:49:19 PM »
I'm increasingly convinced that a single payer system may be the only way to go. I just don't see how else we can get costs down. Fareed Zakaria mentioned last week that doctors in Taiwan get paid about $14 per office visit. My doctor charges $350. Seriously, $350. Admittedly, my insurance probably negotiates that down by half, but still. Doctors here argue that you'll get less time with the patient, crappy care, etc. Well, for $350 my doctor only spends about five minutes with us anyway then moves on.

In Germany doctors make between $90-$130,000 almost without exception. Still a good living, but not the Porsche-driving, golf-playing, trophy wife-divorcing lifestyle that every doctor here I've ever met believes that they "deserve".

540
Not sure where to direct you, but I heard that there are some online foreign law schools that are reasonably priced at under $4000.00 for an entire 4 year law degree. Every State bar within the united states accepts foreign law degrees and will allow you to sit any state bar. This includes online foreign law degrees. The problem with this, is that other countries have different laws, so it would be difficult to learn, or rather difficult to pass the American state bar since you are learning a different countries law. For example, other countries do not have the constitution and we do.

What online foreign schools?  Every state bar does not accept foreign law degrees, they accept only certain ones and only if you have qualified in that jurisdiction first as a lawyer.  Quit making stuff up.

Jonlevy is exactly right. Some states accept some foreign degrees. In California there is an entire separate application for foreign lawyers, and the bar will do an evaluation of the foreign degree to see if meets acceptable standards. Sometimes an LL.M from a U.S. law school is required, especially if the foreign jusrisdiction is a civil law (as opposed to common law) system.

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