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Messages - Maintain FL 350

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Online Law Schools / Re: Mid-Atlantic School of Law
« on: January 14, 2013, 10:04:09 PM »
Would studying with MASL even qualify one to take the FYLSE in the first place? Although CA is comparatively open, they do still have some hoops you have to jump through. If a school is neither ABA/CBE accredited or registered with the CA bar (like Taft, Concord, etc.), then I think you'd have to qualify under the attorney-study option (not sure what it's actually called). Is that what MASL does, do they put their students in contact with CA attorneys who supervise their work?

I think Livinglegend makes a good point. Much criticism of the ABA is focused on the notion that there is a glut of lawyers, and that the ABA should be in the business of limiting the number of new law grads in order to alleviate this perceived glut. Much of this criticism comes from recent law grads who feel cheated, and think the ABA should have done more to dissaude them from attending law school.

A couple of points:

There isn't a long term over-supply of lawyers, there is a short term glut because the economy is in shambles. Previous to 2008, my lower tier alma mater had something like a 70-80% employment rate (within nine months of graduation). In the last five years that has drastically reduced, but it's not because the country is churning out any more lawyers now than in 2008. How many new law schools have been accredited since then? Maybe two or three? Until the economy recovers that won't change. But what can the ABA really do about that? De-accredit schools? Force schools to reduce class size? I'm not sure they have the power to do that.

It's not realistic to think that the ABA can develop policies which are pegged to economic fluctuations, and will reduce/increase the supply of law grads according to market needs.

Secondly, the cost of legal education has far more to do with the law schools themselves than the ABA. Some of the ABA accreditation criteria (tenured faculty, faculty pay, facilities requirements, etc) do indeed add to the cost of a legal education. However, these policies also add to the quality of an ABA accredited education, and that's why its seal of approval still carries weight in the legal world.

Other factors that are beyond the control of the ABA also contribute to the increasing cost. For example, in my state, California, the cheapest public law school is now almost $40,000 per year. Is that because of the ABA? No, it's because California is practically bankrupt and has no money for state universities.

Lastly, I meet people every single day who are successful graduates from T4 schools employed at small firms, solo offices, and government offices. Conversely, I also meet people who graduated from T1 schools and are unemployed. An individual who is smart, personable, and willing to take a low paying job so that they can build experience will be fine. That means doc review, DUIs, insurance claims, child custody disputes, and all of the other stuff that many T1 grads seem to think is beneath them.

At the end of the day, the ABA isn't your counselor or your life coach, it's just an accrediting/lobbying organization. 


If the OP is located in California he may want to consider the CBE (California bar) accredited law schools. Of course, there are many factors that should be considered when contemplating a non-ABA school, but in the OP's case it might be a viable option.

CBE schools don't necessarily require a bachelor's degree for admission, I think two years of college work will suffice. This could save the OP a couple of years worth of tuition and time. They also tend to be cheaper than ABA schools and offer part-time programs.

The main factors to consider are the OP's post-law school plans. If he wants to work at a large firm or government office, then an ABA degree is a must. Also, many states will not accept a non-ABA degrees for bar admission. Considering the other factors the OP has listed, however, this may be a route to consider. 

Transferring / Re: Transferring v. Reapplying
« on: January 11, 2013, 02:56:22 PM »
Maybe.  My LSAT wasn't very good and I still transferred up multiple tiers.  I started at a tier 4 as well.  I don't think LSAT grades are very important for transferring.  Easily the most important are grades and class rank.   

The answer, as always, is "It depends."

In the majority of situations grades and class rank are the dispositive factors. If you have very good grades and a high class rank you can probably transfer from a T4 to a T1. The thing that transfer applicants have to keep in mind, however, is that terms like "T1" and T2" describe a broad range of schools with varying degrees of selectivity in admissions.

For example, if you're trying to transfer from a T4 to Stanford, I think they might very well take your LSAT into account along with class rank, GPA, and the reputation of your current law school. The competition for those few transfer spots is going to be fierce. (I know someone who transferred from Hastings to Berkeley, both T1. They were ranked near the very top of their class after 1L, and had an impressive resume to boot).

OTOH, transferring from the local T4 to the local T2 (or even a non-elite T1) is going to be based largely on GPA/class rank.

One thing the OP may want to consider is whether transferring makes much sense in the first place. I'm not sure that any benefits gained from transferring to a California T2-T3 are necessarily much better than those gained from graduating top 10% at a T4. In fact, I recently worked at an office where a top 10% T4 grad would have been viewed as highly preferrable to an average T2 grad.

I went to a T3-T4 in CA, and the top 10% of my class secured good jobs. Some went to Biglaw, others to government/judicial clerkships, others to very reputable boutique firms. If you transfer, I assume there is a good chance you rank will drop. Also, I believe transfers are often not eligible for law review. Things like that may or may not be compensated for by the increased tier rank.

Just something to think about, good luck! 

Incoming 1Ls / Re: Common Law v. Civil Law
« on: January 11, 2013, 09:45:03 AM »
Keep in mind that if you plan to take the bar in any state other than LA, you will be tested on common law. Your decision depends on where you plan to take the bar(s).

That's interesting. I actually didn't know until recently that the UK offered this route to the bar. I always thought an LL.B was required. I assume a university degree is stil required for barristers?

I'd love to see an incorporation of this type of apprenticeship into the J.D. program. In my ideal world the J.D. curriculum would be comprised of two years of basic course work (contracts, torts, conlaw, etc) and at least one full year of supervised training. The law schools classes themselves would also be at least somewhat skills-oriented. For example, in Wills & Trusts perhaps the students could learn to, oh, I don't know, draft a will?The apprenticeship would focus heavily on writing motions, conducting discovery, making appearances, etc. Not just the research or doc review that interns usually get stuck with.

It would benefit the entire profession (but not the ABA).

I agree with Jonlevy, the OP seems like the ideal candidate for a correspondance/online degree.

I have respect for people who possess the intelligence and discipline to learn the law essentially independently, pass the baby bar, and then pass the CA bar. Frankly, I find it far more impressive than graduating from an ABA school and being admitted automatically by degree privilege, or passing a bar exam with a 90% first time pass rate. I've had the pleasure of meeting few graduates of CA correspondance schools, and they struck me as highly motivated, goal oriented individuals. It's not for everyone, but it sounds like the OP fits the mold.

IIRC, Taft, Northwest CA, and Concord have the highest FYLSE/bar pass rates. I'd probably be inclined to look at those schools. There a several others that have abyssmal pass rates. I'm not entirely sure what that indicates, but I'd be wary. Check out the CA bar website for statistics. The University of London option is interesting, and (as Jonlevy said), probably carries more name recognition than any of the CA correspondance schools. The only issue is that you'd have to jump through some additional hoops in order to take the bar exam.

Good Luck!

Choosing the Right Law School / Re: Where should I go?
« on: January 10, 2013, 09:45:46 PM »
Is it worth it to save the money to go TTTT or should I look to my other schools?

In my opinion, saving money is your best option. If you were comparing local schools like Widener to Yale or Penn, I'd say it's probably worth racking up the student loan debt in order to accrue the benefits of attending a nationally recognized elite school. If, however, your goal is to practice in rural PA, MD, etc., I think you'll be better served by not having an huge loan payment each month.

Among the schools you're considering some may be ranked higher than others, but don't let this mislead you. In reality, they will all offer similar employment and networking options within their immediate geographic regions. Each school probably offers an advantage within it's specific neck of the woods, so that may be something to consider if you prefer to eventually live in one area over another.

The reason I'd focus on minimizing debt is simply because  graduating from one of these schools you'll likely work at a small-mid sized firm, or in local government. When you start, it's likely you won't be raking in a six figure salary. Hence, you probably don't want a six figure debt. 

Law School Admissions / Re: Exaggerations on Law School Application
« on: January 09, 2013, 10:22:13 PM »
Maintain FL 350, I think the "flat out lied" is a little harsh as a general matter

It is a little harsh, and I apologize. I wasn't trying to be snarky.

Maintan FL 350 states that its not inconceivable that they would ask about extracurricular college actvities on a bar application, but think that it is.

Not exactly. I said that it's not inconceivable that the bar might ask about organizational membership (fraternities would be included), and officer's positions held therein (VP is an officer's position).

They most certainly will have a copy of your law school application, and likely will conduct at least some comparison with your bar app. That's how people get caught lying about things like criminal records, for example. Let's say someone initially fails to disclose a criminal conviction on their law school application. Law schools don't really do background checks, so they get away with it. Later, they disclose the conviction on their bar application. The bar investigator compares applications, notices the discrepancy, and they have some 'splaining to do.

Look, it's not a huge deal and the chances of you getting caught are very low indeed. My opinion is simply that it's better to be completely open and to avoid any potential problems with the bar, even if remote. After three years of law school the last thing you want is for your bar app to take an extra few months to process because you have to answer a bunch of new questions or appear for an interview with the Character and Fitness Committee. In my state (CA) this wouldn't be a problem if you disclosed it, but might be an issue if you get caught trying to hide it. Your state may be different, and you can check your bar's rules to confirm.

Law School Admissions / Re: Exaggerations on Law School Application
« on: January 09, 2013, 09:35:55 AM »
On my application to law school, I exaggerated my involvement in campus activities. 

Let's be clear: you didn't exaggerate, you flat out lied. However, the lies were fairly minor and involved a non-critical aspect of your application (as opposed to GPA/LSAT/criminal activity, etc.).

In my opinion, it is ALWAYS better to disclose the issue than to sit around nervously hoping that no one discovers the lie. Admittedly, it is unlikely that this particular lie would be discovered, but why take the chance? Starting now you are expected to act in conformity with the bar's rules. In these situations the bar almost always views the cover up as worse than the lie. The only thing that can likely hurt you here is not disclosing.

I don't know what state you're in, but it's not inconceivable that the bar application will ask about organizational membership (especially officer positions). They will have your law school application, and may compare the two.

Lastly, no one on this site is a representative of your state bar. The opinions you get here are just that, opinions. Follow your state bar's rules and don't count on anonymous advice from me or anyone else.   

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