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Messages - Maintain FL 350

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If you have never heard of the University of Massachusetts then that fact does not reflect favorably upon your credibility since UMass is the Massachusetts'
public university.

I should have said "except for UMASS and Cooley." UMASS's new law school at UMASS/Dartmouth is the old Southern New England Law School re-branded with the UMASS seal. Many people have heard of UMASS/Amherst, but not UMASS/Dartmouth. The law school is only provisionally accredited, and largely unknown outside of it's region. That's not a criticism of the school, BTW, but it takes a while to build a reputation. Either way, it does not possess the kind of elite reputation that's going to allow the OP to land a job in CA based on pedigree.

Further, UMASS's first time bar pass rate for February 2012 was 0% (that's not a typo). The school only recently received provisional accreditation. The bar pass rate will be taken into account by the ABA when the school applies for full approval. Some of the other schools you mentioned have no bar pass rates to report because they have not yet graduated a class.

Roald .... 'fess up; what is your connection to ABA unaccredited law schools?  are you a student, grad or employee?

Nice try, but none of the above. I graduated from an ABA accredited law school in CA.

Now, based on your vast experience in the CA legal market, why do you think a degree from a largely unknown ABA school is better than a CBA school? How many out of state T4 grads show up in LA with no local experience and land a job? Have you seen the CA bar pass rates for out of state T4s?

CBA schools can be a good option for the right student, as livinglegend said. The key is to ascertain whether you are that type of student.

One of the most important questions to ask is "What do I want to do after law school?" If you can answer that, it will help you figure out if a CBA school is a good option. Most CBA grads end up in small firms, as solo practitioners, and in local government offices (DA, Public Defender, etc.) Big firms, many mid-sized firms, many big corporations, and many federal jobs are likely not going to hire a non-ABA grad. If you're interested in one of those jobs you need to go to an ABA school and do very well.

Also, as livinglegend pointed out, there is geographic variation. Firms in bigger cities like LA and San Francisco are going to be more competitive, and a CBA degree may put you at a disadvantage in those places. OTOH, I've met many CBA grads who are successful attorneys with thriving practices, and some who earn considerably more than the average biglaw partner.

I think the key is to be realistic and informed, and to understand the potential limitations of a non-ABA degree. You're not going to be able to rely on your pedigree to get a job or an internship, so you're going to have to really hustle. If you know what to expect, and your goals are congruent with a CBA degree, you can do just fine. Do the research, and talk to CBA grads.

Let me repeat- -  only attend a non ABA accredited law school after you have exhausted all efforts and been rejected by the above established schools which are working towards accreditation.

Although I agree that it generally makes sense to attend an ABA school, I don't think that any ABA school is always better than any CBA school. The OP stated that he wants to stay in CA. I seriously doubt if an unknown, out of state, provisionally accredited or T4 ABA school carries more weight in LA or SF than the local CBAs.

Honestly, I'd never even heard of most of the schools you mentioned (except Cooley) before reading this post. I'll bet very few others in CA have either. It's nothing against those schools, I'm sure they're all good institutions. I'm just not sure how beneficial a degree from an unknown ABA school is compared to a known local CBA. Most employers would probably draw very little distinction between the two.

Getting hired at small firms and government offices is often based much more on experience than pedigree. That's why a student should probably go to law school in the region in which they intend to practice. It's much easier to get internships, clerkships, and to network. A local CBA school will likely have at least some alumni network and, depending on the school, might have a good local reputation. That's probably more than you'd get from an out of state T4, which makes me question the cost vs. benefit.

Law School Admissions / Re: Good GPA, Low LSAT
« on: November 07, 2012, 04:59:31 PM »
Take a look at LSAC's law school profiles. According to LSAC, the bottom 25% of admitted students at GSU had a 158 average. It seems highly unlikely that even with a 3.72 GPA you'd be admitted. If possible, take a prep course, study hard for a couple of months, and see where you're at.

If you don't see a significant increase, you may want to consider whether it makes sense to drop tens (or hundreds) of thousands of dollars on a law degree. If you have great difficulty with the LSAT, then the bar exam, MPRE, and even law schools exams are going to be very tough to pass. Consider this very carefully before spending the money.

I appreciate your candor. I was hoping I'd be awash in replies telling me that I should get in no problem, but I'm afraid that was wishful thinking on my part.  :)

That depends on which school you're talking about. Take a look at the law school profiles on LSAC's Official Guide to U.S. Law Schools. It will give you a very good idea as to your chances at each school.

According to the LSAC profiles, you have a good shot at both Tulsa and OKCU. At the University of Oklahoma the bottom 25% of admitted students had a an average LSAT of 155. That doesn't mean you can't get in, but you can see the difficulty. According to LSAC, for the numeric range of 3.50-3.75 GPA and 150-154 LSAT, the U of OK had 57 applicants and 12 admits. That's about a 20% acceptance rate. 

I will add a few things. I'm an alum of U of Oklahoma, with good extracurriculars (Student Congress, Academic Misconduct Council, etc.) and with what I would consider a relatively impressive resume (Taught overseas with Fullbright, accountant at fortune 500 company for 2 yrs). Will that have much, if any, sway? Could good recommendation letters have an impact? I know they say that admission depends roughly 90% on GPA & LSAT score, but I'm wondering if those extra intangibles could make up, in some part, for the 151?

Obviously I can't predict what the University of Oklahoma admissions panel will do, but I think that there are general rules which apply to most law school applicants.

First, law school admission is primarily a numbers game. This is clearly evidenced by the admissions profiles on LSAC. Take a look at them closely. At most schools there is an LSAT score below which your chances for admission are very, very low. Soft factors like the ones you've mentioned are good, but are most useful when you're being compared to similarly qualified applicants. In other words, if you're a borderline admit/not admit case, these factors can help. I'm not sure that a 151 is in that borderline territory, however (at U of OK). The fact is, there's very little incentive for law schools to admit students with lower LSAT scores. The schools want to report the highest numbers possible in order to raise their rankings. I think if you could bring that LSAT up to 155-157 you'd stand a much better chance.

Again, I have no knowledge of the inner workings of the U of Oklahoma admissions panel, this is just my opinion. You should do your own research too, and talk to the school.

Considering this, how would it reflect if I went ahead and applied for 2013/14 with my current 151/3.6, viewed the offers, and if I didn't like what I saw, retook the test and reapplied for 2014/15? Would they take note of that? Would it have any negative impact?

I seem to remember that the law school applications I filled out asked if I had applied to that particular school previously. I don't know what impact that has, but they do seem interested.

and I know plenty of people around here who made a good living with a law degree from OCU or Tulsa.

That's an important point to remember. I know lawyers here in CA who didn't even go to ABA schools and could buy and sell a biglaw partner ten times over. A million bucks is spare change to some of these guys. I also know plenty of graduates of small local law schools who may not be millionaires, but make a comfortable living as DAs, family law specialists, etc. The people who tell you that you're doomed if go to anything less than a top tier school are usually lacking in any real world experience. Be realistic about your options, try to avoid debt accumulation, make connections, and you'll likely be alright.

Good Luck!

Online Law Schools / Re: Online LLB
« on: November 05, 2012, 11:49:03 AM »
Sorry, I meant the solicitor's exam (the QLTT?). I take it the QLTS is for barristers?

My main question is, did you find it necessary to approach the QLTT as you would the bar exam, ie; several months of studying/practicing. Was it a question of primarily learning new vocabulary, or new substantive law?

Online Law Schools / Re: Online LLB
« on: November 05, 2012, 10:16:41 AM »
How would compare the QLTS to the bar exam, in terms of difficulty?

Ususally, I don't think it makes sense to retake the LSAT unless you can identify a specific reason which you can legitimately link to a low score. Often people simply hope that they'll do better next time, and don't. Your case, however, might be one of those exceptions where retaking is a good idea.

First, you seem to have an identifiable obstacle that may have lowered your score. Although it's very speculative to gauge the impact of such external factors, it stands to reason that it probably had some negative effect.

Additionally, you have a good GPA and even a small score increase (say, to 155) would greatly expand your oppotunities. In other words, there is a potentially big payoff for a rather small investment. In order to have a shot at significant scholarship money, I think you'd probably have to score considerably higher, probably above 160. (I could be totally wrong, BTW. I can't speak for what any individual school might offer.)

You might be able to get into OKCU and Tulsa with your current numbers, but University of OK seems a longshot at best. Some other schools in your region like Loyola-New Orleans, AK-Little Rock, and maybe a few TX schools might take you with a 151.

 If you have the time and money, by all means take a prep course and treat it seriously. Like any other academic endeavor, you will get out of it what you put into it.

Online Law Schools / Re: Online LLB
« on: November 04, 2012, 10:41:13 AM »
3.  February 2012 CalBar stats showed a 17% pass rate for applicants with foreign law degrees

17% is roughly equivalent to many online/correspondance J.D. programs. However, I imagine that the majority (perhaps the vast majority) of foreign applicants attended traditional brick and mortar universities. Presumably this statistic includes Canadian law students who took American J.D. courses through various programs as well.

The pass rate for online foreign grads may in fact be significantly lower. Although foreign online grads are permitted to seek admission, how many (if any) have actually succeeded?

Again, I'm not trying to be argumentative or overly critical, but this seems like such a circuitous route to bar admission. The statistical probabilities are stacked against the applicant. 

Online Law Schools / Re: Online LLB
« on: November 03, 2012, 09:56:46 PM »
I completely agree, it's absurd. If an individual can pass the California bar, isn't that a far better indication of their legal acumen than the fact that they hold a degree from an online foreign school? Pure snobbery, that's the issue. Bar associations tend to be archaic, fussy, and elitist. A British degree, even if it's from an online school, sounds better to the petit bourgeoisie than a non-ABA California school.

A few questions:

1) Does NY require that the applicant be a licensed solicitor first? California's rule on this particular aspect is still unclear to me.

2) Don't LL.B programs usually require some supervised training in order to earn the degree, a sort of practicum? If so, it would seem very difficult for an American to complete an LL.B online. Wouldn't they have to secure a training contract? Or is the training only required to qualify as a solicitor?

3) If an individual's only exposure to U.S. law is a one year long LL.M program, and maybe BARBRI, what are the chances of passing the CA or NY bars?

I ask these last two questions because I don't really understand why an American law student would choose to pursue an online LL.B rather than an online or correspondance J.D. (assuming they plan to practice in  the U.S.).  An American J.D. doesn't require the added expense of an LL.M to meet bar eligibility, and actually teaches American law (which you may encounter on say, an American bar exam).

I suppose if the individual holds dual citizenship, like my family does, and plans on eventually moving to the U.K., it might make sense. Otherwise, the chances of landing a job in the U.K. are pretty minimal.

Studying for the LSAT / Re: Guidance Needed please 162 LSAT 2.58 GPA
« on: November 02, 2012, 08:32:57 PM »
For the most part, location is not an issue at all except we wish to stay away from the east coast. Other than that cost and scholarships are the most important factors for us.

There are quite a few schools you can get into with a 2.58/162, far too many to list here. If you had a geographic preference that would narrow it down.

As far as scholarships, there are many schools that might offer you anything from a 10%-50%. There may even be a few places that offer considerably more. Again, if you had a regional preference that would help you come up with a list.

Your best bet is to apply to schools which list a 75th percentile LSAT score below 162 (by a few points, at least). Your GPA is low, even for T3/T4, so you're going to have to rely on your LSAT. A school with an average/median LSAT around 150-155 might be willing to offer you some decent money.

A few schools that come to mind include Cooley, Phoenix, Charlotte, maybe a few of the Florida schools. I think each have 75th percentile LSAT scores around 155, so a 162 might be very attractive to them. Some California schools like Southwestern, La Verne, Chapman, and Cal Western might offer money, too. If you're interested in CA schools, I checked out many of them and can offer some observations.

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