See, the arguments about the job prospects for non-aba grads is not that great of a point. In fact, I have a job that most people graduating from an ABA approved school would die to have! So the argument about not having a job upon graduation is of no merit to me at all.
I think you're missing the point. If your job as a commodities trader doesn't require a JD for advancement, then it doesn't matter where you go to law school. Most people who go to law school, however, intend to practice law. For those people it does
matter where they graduate from. Most firms (big, medium, and small), government offices, and corporate legal departments will not hire online grads. Personally, I think it's silly, but it's true nonetheless. That matters to people who plan on spending tens of thousands of dollars on an online JD in hopes of passing the bar and getting hired.
Of course, not all doors are shut. Some small firms will consider an online JD, and others will go into solo practice. I know lots of people who graduated from non-ABA (Calbar/CBE accredited) law schools who have successful careers, and I don't think the current ABA scheme is the only game in town. That said, I've worked at a couple of private and government law offices who would hire a CBE grad, but would never consider an online JD.
My company has agreements with several so called online degree colleges like Capella, Regis, and others so that employees can get their degree. In fact, the vice-president of my company, which is a fortune 500 company got his MBA from Regis. The thing is that most people who claim to know about job prospects etc are still in law school and have no real corporate world experience, they're talking out their ass!
MBAs and JDs are very different. Have any top 500 law firms hired online grads? Hell, many of those firms are so snooty they won't even hire ABA grads from less-than-prestigious schools. It's the same story at most mid-sized and government offices, too. I'm sure you can find a handful of exceptions, but that doesn't defeat the general rule.
I totally agree with you on the second point. Students with experience and street smarts will beat out green, naive competitors every time. I went to law school in a part-time evening program, and the evening students seemed to do much better when it came to finding jobs. They already had experience, were more mature, made connections, etc.
it's just a matter of time before a schoo like Concord becomes accredited. And who knows, maybe by the time I and the original poster graduate, we will be graduating from either a temporarily approved ABA school or better an ABA approved school. Nonetheless, it doesn't matter to me, I'm set and the sky is the limt!
The ABA has not shown any movement on this issue, neither has Calbar (the only state bar that might be expected to accredit online JDs.) There is no reason to believe that online JDs are going to be accredited anytime soon. According to the new ABA rules, a schools' first time bar pass rate must be within 15% of the statewide ABA average. That means Concord would have to raise it's bar pass rate from 35% to about 62% (assuming that they use CA's bar pass rates as the baseline).
I'm not against online education. An online JD can be the right move for the right student. However, I think people should be entirely informed and realistic about the limitations of any
unaccredited law degree. It doesn't mean that the education is inferior, but to pretend that it makes little or no difference is to ignore reality.