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Messages - Maintain FL 350

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That's an incredibly tough situation to deal with, no matter what. I really feel for you and your family. My father died of bone cancer when I was 18, just as I was starting college, so I have some notion as to what you've got on your plate.

I don't know enough about your situation to feel competent to offer advice, but here are a few things to think about.

1) The first year of law school is very tough, tougher than you think it's going to be. You will have to be able to dedicate yourself to it 100% in order to pass. Law school is nothing like undergrad. You will be expected to digest voluminous amounts of very dense material every day, then turn right around and apply it to legal problems. That first year is difficult, confusing, and stressful.

2) As exams get closer you will be required to invest even more time into preparation. Unlike undergrad (where you can get away with cramming the night before), law school exams require practice to master. You will need lots of time.

3) Just based on what you've written, I think it would be tough to dedicate yourself 100% to law school and 100% to your family. Something is going to suffer. If you decide to wait a year, that's not the end of the world.

Lastly, don't take anonymous internet advice from me or anyone else too seriously. You know your capabilities better than anyone. Good luck!

Online Law Schools / Re: Current ABA Response to Distance Education
« on: July 16, 2013, 10:20:55 PM »
Law school professors have to be licensed attorneys.  This means they have to have passed a bar exam.

Is that an ABA rule? I've never heard that before.

I know that you definitely don't have to be a member of your state bar to teach. Several of my law school profs were not members of the CA bar, although they had passed another state's bar.

Pursuing an LLM / Re: U of Washington(UW) Tax LLM
« on: July 14, 2013, 02:13:01 PM »
UW is very well respected in the Pacific Northwest, but I have no idea what the market is like for tax lawyers in Seattle. Although it's a well respected school, you still might have a hard time relying on a UW pedigree alone to land jobs outside of the western U.S.

I'd contact UW and ask about their placement for tax LL.Ms, and about the tax market in general.

Online Law Schools / Re: Current ABA Response to Distance Education
« on: July 14, 2013, 02:09:01 PM »
For what it's worth, some of best teachers I had were adjunct faculty (prosecutors, public defenders, etc.) and some of the worst were tenured academics with impressive pedigrees.

Your point is well taken, though. The bar pass rate is just one of many factors the ABA considers. The entire institution is evaluated over a period of several years. The ABA looks at financial resources, bar support services, academic attrition, the physical plant, you name it. They even interview past and present students to get candid opinions on the school. This is why ABA approval is the gold standard for law schools, it's difficult to attain. 

In order to have a shot at accreditation either the ABA or Concord will have to drastically change its current requirements. I don't see that happening anytime soon.

Online Law Schools / Re: Current ABA Response to Distance Education
« on: July 13, 2013, 07:54:16 PM »
I agree, it's a Catch 22. They can't attract better students without approval, and they can't obtain approval without better students. This is why ABA approval seems unlikely to me, despite Concord's financial resources. 

I suppose there is one route:
Concord could start requiring a degree and the LSAT for admission, which would drastically reduce it's class size but provide higher quality students. Then, attrite the underperformers and seriously support the rest with quality bar prep. If they were thus able to raise their pass rate it might give them more leverage with the ABA.

At this point, however, I just don't see what Concord is bringing to the table other than open admissions and low pass rates.

Transferring / Re: Emory or WashU for Tfer
« on: July 13, 2013, 12:20:23 AM »
If his goal is to end up in D.C., he should look into transferring to a local school: Georgetown, GWU, American, George Mason, etc.

As between Wash U and Emory, I doubt if one has better connections to D.C. than the other. Frankly, showing up in D.C after law school and having to compete with the multitudes of local talent who have had three years to network is not an enviable situation. I would advise your brother to make every effort to secure internships in D.C. and make connections.

Online Law Schools / Re: Current ABA Response to Distance Education
« on: July 12, 2013, 04:16:01 PM »
I agree that Kaplan has the money and the lobbying ability to take on the ABA. They have the biggest bankroll of any online school, by far.

However, is the ABA is going to extend approval to a school with a 35% pass rate? Remember, they've recently denied approval to schools with much better pass rates.

Which brings me to my point:

Either Concord will have to drastically increase it's bar pass rate to 60-65% on the California bar (which gets them within 10-15% of the statewide ABA average), or the ABA will have to drastically reduce it's bar pass requirements. Neither is an impossible scenario, but both seem unlikely. Maybe there is another route, but I don't know what it would be.

California CBE approval is a different story, and I could definitely see Concord becoming the first CBE approved online school.

Online Law Schools / Re: Current ABA Response to Distance Education
« on: July 10, 2013, 12:31:47 PM »
Concord is the most prominent and very likely will become the first accredited on-line law school in he US. As a subsidiary of a publicly owned corporation they have the means to make it happen . . . a quest they have been on for more than a decade. I predict it will happen within two years. Since the new ABA accreditation czar is Barry Currier, former dean of Concord . . . they also have an informed and sympathetic ear at the ABA . . . I predict less than five years before they get provisional ABA accreditation as well . . .

Although I'm sure that CA Law Dean has a better understanding of the subject matter than I do, ABA accreditation of online schools seems unlikely to me (at least in the near future) for a number of reasons.

Bar Pass Rates
I believe that until Concord greatly increases its first time bar pass rate accreditation is nearly impossible. The current ABA scheme requires that a school's bar pass rate be within 15% of the statewide average, or that they have a cumulative pass rate of 75% over five years. Concord's first time pass rate is around 35%, and thus Concord would have to drastically increase that rate to meet the ABA standard.

Of course, the ABA could simply adopt a less rigorous standard for online schools. This seems unlikely, however, since the ABA has recently considered tightening the requirement from 15% to 10%.

Effect of Concord's Dean at ABA
Although it's helpful to have a sympathetic ear at the ABA, accreditation is not the decision of one man. Under the current rules, Concord simply cannot comply. Therefore, the rules would have to be re-written to accommodate online programs. That process would require the support of numerous ABA committees and members. Currently, the ABA seems hostile to the concept.

The accreditation standards cover everything from bar pass rates and faculty tenure, to financial resources and student services. It would be a gargantuan task for the ABA to overhaul those rules, and would they be willing to do it simply for the benefit of online schools?
If anything, the ABA appears committed to its traditional standards. They recently refused to extend provisional accreditation to Lincoln Memorial University, a brick and mortar law school with Tennessee state bar accreditation, and Whittier Law School was put on probation due to low bar pass rates and high attrition.

In closing, I've said before that to have a shot at accreditation online schools are going to have to meet the ABA half way. As long as they have high attrition and low bar pass rates, I don't think they'll be able to drum up enough support within the organization. And, frankly, I'm not sure if online schools are capable of both becoming more selective in admissions (a necessary prerequisite to increasing bar pass rates), and garnering enough students to turn a profit. 

Amazing. The entire phenomenon of offering scholarships as enticements (as opposed to offering scholarships as rewards) has been highly destructive, in my opinion. Law schools attach absurd stipulations, knowing that the majority will lose some (or all) of the aid.

How many students are saddled with 150K debt because they were enticed by the scholarship? Maybe a good number of those folks wouldn't have even attended law school absent the scholarship offer, which would have a generally positive impact on the profession.

I understand the caveat emptor aspect, and do believe that students are also at fault. There is just something so utterly lacking in dignity about universities playing these kinds of games with people's futures.   

Current Law Students / Re: Newbie to the forum..couple question
« on: July 07, 2013, 03:36:49 PM »
But is it absolutely impossible to get into a good law school if my GPA was in the high 2's at the time of graduation?

It depends on you mean by a "good" law school. You can get into plenty of ABA approved law schools with a below 3.0 GPA if you have a very good LSAT score to compensate. Since your GPA is relatively low, the law schools are going to need to see some evidence that you're capable of handling the rigors of law school. Thus, everything hinges on your LSAT score.

Nationally recognized, elite schools are almost certainly out of the picture since they require high GPAs and high LSATs. Less prestigious local and regional schools are a possibility, however. Please keep in mind that many of these schools can be good choices depending on your career goals. 

Lastly, you need to do a critical assessment of your academic capabilities and ask yourself why you have a low GPA. Law school is far, far tougher than undergrad, and if you had specific problems that held you back in college you need to make sure that those issues won't get in the way during law school. The amount of information you'll need to digest, and the speed at which it comes at you, means that you need to be able focus much more than you in undergrad.

Are there any schools that don't look at GPA at all?


And also when would be a good time for me to start prepping for the LSAT

Yesterday. Seriously, get started ASAP.

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