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Messages - Maintain FL 350
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« on: June 03, 2014, 04:30:36 PM »
If you're going into business for yourself as a solo practitioner doing SSA or VA advocacy, it doesn't matter if you're licensed. It's not going to prevent you from hiring yourself, and nothing you learn for the bar exam is going to prepare you anyway.
Is it a good idea to go into solo practice straight out of law school, and without a mentor? Depends on the individual. Some people are smart enough to figure it out, especially if they have previous experience in the field. Others aren't, and need some hand holding at first.
I could see it being a problem if clients want a licensed attorney as opposed to a mere advocate, but frankly, I doubt if most actually care. What they want is someone who can win, regardless of licensure.
« on: June 02, 2014, 04:50:32 PM »
It may not be perfect, but its better than the online "alternative" is my point
I don't disagree with that. I would never argue that online is a better/equivalent option. I've taken online courses, and there is a big difference between the traditional classroom experience vs online. If a person has the option of attending a brick and mortar ABA school, that is almost always
a better option in my opinion.
I was just remembering back to 1L and how lost I often felt, and that the profs didn't really seem to care. I'm sure there is variation among schools, however. Mine came with a heavy dose of "you're on your own".
« on: June 02, 2014, 02:37:35 PM »
Very good post by the Taft student. The reality is at an ABA law school you are mainly self taught as well and there is no homework or personal feedback. This is just plain untrue
Upon graduation you may be able to obtain a public defender position in some of the smaller Califirnia Counties and maybe DA in a rural California county such as Siskiyous to gain experience.
Good luck on the exam and stay positive
Which part is untrue?
If you're referring to the notion of self-study, that was definitely my experience at an ABA school. We were pretty much left on our own to figure out what mattered and what didn't, had no homework, got minimal feedback. Lectures often consisted of the prof waxing on about some theoretical aspect of the law which was the focus of their academic research, and had nothing to do with our exams or the bar exam.
« on: June 02, 2014, 02:32:48 PM »
Has anyone done any more research into any city, county or state govt's that might hire in California with this degree from TAFT?
I don't think there is necessarily a definitive list of which govt agencies might hire a DL grad, but you'd probably have better luck at some than at others.
For example, where I live in Los Angeles County it would be nearly impossible for a DL grad to get hired by any govt office. That's due to the fact that we have large numbers of ABA grads (many from well respected schools) competing for those jobs.
In a rural county in northern or central California, there may not be the stiff competition and a DL grad may have a better shot. Even then, however, I would caution that many lawyers are highly skeptical of DL degrees. It may be unfair, but it's true nonetheless.
It's conceivable that a DL grad who gains some experience first as a solo practitioner or small firm lawyer might get hired as a PD, DA, county counsel, etc. in a rural county. There definitely are examples of DL grads in those positions, but the numbers are very low. My guess is they probably brought some experience to the table.
DL can be the right choice for the right student, but it's important to understand the potential limitations before embarking on the journey. Just do your due diligence, have realistic goals, and you'll be pointing yourself in the right direction.
« on: June 02, 2014, 01:02:08 PM »
For example, Philadelphia law firms will hire from the T 14 first, and after they've done that they will likely still have a need for associates that exceeds their T 14 pool of candidates. In order to fill their need, they will next turn to the law students in their region which would include graduates of Penn State, Temple, Rutgers Camden and Villanova. Those same Philadelphia firms would probably NOT go out of their way to hire a graduate from the University of Illinois School of Law, even though that school is technically ranked higher than all of the area Philadelphia law schools. Likewise, a University of Illinois grad will have a much better time securing employment in the Chicago market than the graduates of the aforementioned Philly market schools.
This is an excellent summation of how so many law students completely misjudge the impact of rankings. Every law school applicant should read this.
Clearly, a degree from an elite school like Harvard or Yale is going to be hugely beneficial. That degree is instantly recognizable anywhere in the world, and will open doors. Once you get away from those handful of truly elite institutions, however, you're talking about local/regional reputations.
I would even argue that several of the T14 are essentially highly respected regional schools.
I knew so many people who went to college with me in LA, then went to law school in Wisconsin, Minnesota, or Washington because they simply chose the school with the highest USNWR rank. They quickly found out upon returning to LA that local students had a distinct advantage in terms of connections and employment, and that nobody really cares that you went to the #42 school instead of the #53 school. At that level, alumni connections and location are far, far more important.
« on: June 02, 2014, 12:44:49 PM »
By any metric (overall pass rate, first time pass rate, in-state, out of state, etc), California consistently ranks at or near the bottom in terms of pass rates. The pass rates don't exist in a vacuum, and have to be compared to other states' pass rates.
The overall pass rate (55%) is low in comparison to
other states' overall pass rates, which are often in the 75-85% range. The first time pass rate is also quite low, compared to
other states' first time pass rates. A few other jurisdictions such as D.C. and Louisiana also have similarly low rates.
You said that:
"Fully accredited ABA schools from out of state often have pass rates in CA that are 20-30%"
That's actually not true. For the July 2013 California Bar Exam, the bar passage rate for ABA schools from out of state was 64.2% (906 out of 1,411 out of state students passed). That same stat for July 2012 was 63.6% (907 out of 1,425). In other words, the majority of out of state students at ABA schools pass the California bar exam.
Once again, I would argue that 63-64% is comparatively low. But here's something to consider: that statistic is an average. California attracts large numbers of out of state applicants, many from elite or at least well respected schools. Some of these schools have very high pass rates, and others look like this:
Michigan State 36%
Univ of Arizona 21%
Univ of Nevada 29%
(These are from the July, 2013 bar)
Each of these schools has an 75-90% pass rate in their home state. The 64% rate you mentioned averages these performances with those of Harvard and Yale. If anything, the out of state pass rate is probably somewhat inflated by the number of elite law grads who flock to California. I mean, how many Harvard/Columbia/Chicago, etc. grads are taking the Louisiana bar?
This article is by a prof at Pepperdine. It's interesting. He took numerous factors into account, not just pass rates, to rank the difficulty level of bar exams. Guess which ranks as most difficult? http://abovethelaw.com/2013/04/which-state-has-the-most-difficult-bar-exam/
« on: May 28, 2014, 03:45:37 PM »
#1-Do you know if they take just my NCSU undergrad work alone of if admissions takes an average of all college work? I have about a 3.0 if they take the average. Regardless I realize this probably disqualifies me from the T14 schools.
LSAC will calculate your GPA based on all college courses taken before receiving your Bachelor's. So your community college work and NCSU work will both be counted.
#2-I know some schools require a statement on why I didn't complete a legal program. I was enrolled in a Paralegal program but did not complete it. Actually it is part of the reason I decided to go to law school. But the reason I did not complete the program has other circumstances as well. Would it be a good idea to explain these circumstances in an addendum?
Well, if they require an explanation then you have to provide one. I don't think any of the schools I applied to required me to explain programs that I hadn't finished, though. If you are in fact required to explain, be completely honest and succinct. I seriously doubt if the fact that you didn't finish a paralegal program will much (if any) effect on admissions.
#3 I'm starting to brainstorm on my personal statement. To make a long story short, I am thinking about writing about my depression and what I learned from it.
This is a deeply personal topic, and only you can decide what to write about. That said, in my opinion it is best to steer your essay towards strengths rather than weaknesses. I know that writing about how you overcame an obstacle can highlight your personal strengths, but it almost seems a little too
personal for an essay topic. Just my opinion.
« on: May 28, 2014, 12:48:02 PM »
I didn't apply to any CBE schools, but I did consider them initially. They were cheaper and offered more flexible part time programs. In the end, I did well enough on the LSAT to get a large scholarship to an ABA school so the decision to go to an ABA was easy.
If I hadn't gotten a scholarship, then a CBE degree for $50k vs. $150k at an ABA might have been much more attractive. Also, I already had numerous contacts within the legal market so finding a job wasn't really going to be a problem. If I had been younger and less experienced, accreditation would have been a much bigger issue.
« on: May 28, 2014, 12:13:43 PM »
With regard to the CA bar specifically, it has one of the lowest pass rates primarily because it permits anyone to sit for the bar irrespective of whether or not they graduated from an ABA accredited law school. Most other states, by contrast, only allow ABA grads to sit for their respective bar exams. When you compare ABA stats to ABA stats, it becomes apparent that California is not the "hardest bar exam in the country" that most think it is.
Take look at the statistics available on Calbar's site. Non-ABA grads made up a whopping 6% of first time test takers last February. If every single non-ABA grad failed, the effect would only be 6%.
Fully accredited ABA schools from out of state often have pass rates in CA that are 20-30%, even though their in state pass rates are 80-90%. The fact that CA has a tougher than usual bar exam is evidenced not by the handful of non-ABA grads who fail, but by the thousands and thousands of fully accredited ABA grads who fail.
« on: May 25, 2014, 03:29:31 AM »
I don't think it will make much difference. One semester on academic probation isn't great, but it's not that big of a deal either. I suspect you won't be the only applicant who has spent a semester on academic probation.
Your cumulative GPA is far more important than what you got one particular semester. You have to disclose it when you apply to law school, and again when you apply to the bar. Be honest, and don't make lame excuses. Take responsibility, and move on.
The best thing you can do at this point is to get the best possible LSAT score. Start preparing ASAP, and Good Luck!
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