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Messages - Maintain FL 350

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81
Well, my guess is that nearly all DL begin their JD studies with the intent to become a lawyer. They look at the stats and say "Ok, I'll be in that 15% that passes and gets licensed." For a few this works out fine, they get licensed, and have successful careers as solo practitioners or small firm lawyers. For most it doesn't, and these careers could offer viable alternatives. 

82
As with the other "advocate" positions raised earlier, one does not need a law degree to be a patent agent.  A Bachelor's will do just fine.  In other words, you don't need go through the time, energy and expense of law school in order to be an "advocate."  If that is your end goal, then you can get started on that path now and skip the J.D.

Indeed.

If the goal is to become a patent agent or SSA advocate, then spending money on a JD probably does not pass the cost/benefit analysis. I believe the OP's intention, however, was to point out career options for DL students who do not pass the bar.

Let's say you get an online/correspondence JD, take the bar a few times, and realize that it's not going to happen. Is there a way to utilize the knowledge and make money? Perhaps.

Although a JD is not required for these careers, knowledge of statutory construction, civil procedure, and maybe conlaw is useful. In that way the JD holder can enhance their abilities and be a better patent agent, SSA advocate, etc.

I don't think the OP was suggesting that anyone obtain a JD in order to become an advocate, or that they become an advocate in lieu of professional licensure.   

83
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.
   

This strikes me as professional suicide with HUGE liabilities

To be clear, when I say "solo practitioner" I'm talking about jobs that don't require bar admission, not lawyers. To practice law without licensure is flatly illegal.

As far as "professional suicide" and liability, I imagine the potential liability for an SSA advocate or patent agent, etc is similar to that of a lawyer: professional malpractice. I'm not sure if they are required to carry professional liability insurance.

As far as actually practicing law as a solo practitioner straight out of law school, I wouldn't have felt competent enough. I would have been scared of screwing up. But, some people have more experience than others. I have a friend who worked for several years as a paralegal at a family law firm, then continued working during law school. By the time she graduated and passed the bar she had something like 7-8 years of experience in family law, and felt totally competent going solo. It just depends.

84
Yes, that's absolutely right. Practicing law without a license is illegal and unethical.

I think what we're talking about I this thread are a few jobs in which a legal education would be helpful, but bar admission is not required.

The fine line that such an individual must walk is to avoid giving legal advice (practicing law) while still advocating for their client. My understanding is that non-lawyers can represent clients in certain administrative hearings such as SSA, VA, Patent Office, and some IRS proceedings.

They aren't supposed to hold themselves out as attorneys or offer legal advice, although I imagine that does indeed happen.

85
General Board / Re: Academic Dismissal
« on: June 03, 2014, 04:37:23 PM »
I started law school January of this year in a spring start program. I just received my first semester grades and got a 1.93 GPA. I need a 2.0 in order to be in good standing so I am one letter grade away from being able to stay in school. This semester has been very difficult for me as I have had A LOT of family issues and was homeless the first week of finals. I want to write a petition to the law school admissions committee because I really want to be in law school. Has anyone else been through this process and been successful with remaining in school? Do any of you have good advice or dos/do nots for my written petition? Thanks in advance.

Unless you have overcome the obstacles which held you back last semester, you may want to consider taking some time off anyway. There's no point in returning to law school unless you are in a position to succeed. I don't know enough about your situation to say what you should do, so you're going to have to do a critical self-evaluation and determine whether or not this is the right time to continue with law school.

Good Luck with whatever you decide!

86
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.
   

87
Distance Education Law Schools / Re: taft law school
« 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".

88
Distance Education Law Schools / Re: taft law school
« 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.

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
This is just plain untrue

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.

89
Distance Education Law Schools / Re: taft law school
« 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.   

90
Black Law Student Discussion Board / Re: Possibilities
« 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.

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