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Messages - Maintain FL 350

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Distance Education Law Schools / Re: Novus Law School
« on: September 07, 2012, 06:20:41 PM »
I think brick and morter law school is easier. Although I have not attended one, I heard that everybody pretty much passes and they have open book tests and you do not even have to attend class for the lectures. You just have to show up for the open book tests. You can also take classes though the summer and get it over with in 2 years insted of the 4 years that online law school makes us do.

Sorry to resurrect an old thread, but I've come across this same sentiment from other posters and had to comment. Is this a commonly held belief among DL students? Who is telling you guys this nonesense?

I can't speak for every brick and mortar grad, but that description is not even remotely close to what I experienced. Everybody at my school was a stressed out basket case (especially during 1L) when exams rolled around. I never took a single open book test during law school, and all of my exams, without exception, were demanding. My school also had a mandatory attendance policy, only three absences were permitted, and you could be marked absent for being unprepared. 

Further, everybody definitely did not pass. The academic attrition rate at my school was usually around 4-6%, but a larger percentage could fail a single class without being dismissed. Lastly, I have never heard of anyone taking extra classes and graduating in two years. Southwestern has the SCALE program which is two years long, but that's unique. I believe my school limited summer school to six credits for full-timers, nine for part-timers. 

All lawyers are not created equal and my experience is that you better be ready to start at the very bottom with a DL Degree - solo practice with very few lawyers willing to mentor till you prove yourself.  This involves taking cases others won't touch with a ten foot pole.  In California this means Social Security, Workers Comp, never ending cutody disputes, parole hearings and misdemeanors.
so basicly the legal internships that the rest of us do while in law school.

Yeah, except that unlike a law school internship your ability to pay rent and buy food depends on getting paid from these cases. Not an easy task. 

Non-Traditional Students / Re: Novus Law School
« on: September 06, 2012, 03:20:12 PM »
They're not breaking any laws.

Studying for the LSAT / Re: Study books?
« on: September 06, 2012, 03:18:32 PM »
Sorry, I completely missed the topic. Try Powerscore. Also, if possible, I'd recommend a prep course. I took Kaplan and found it more effective than studying on my own.

Studying for the LSAT / Re: Study books?
« on: September 06, 2012, 02:04:50 PM »
It's a really personal choice based on your learning style, but I liked Examples & Explanations. They put the law into context, as opposed to just providing you with a schematic diagram like many commercial outlines do.

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.


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