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Messages - Maintain FL 350
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« on: May 28, 2015, 01:37:23 PM »
A few people stated that by working as a lawyer I wasn't necessarily going to be dealing with the constitution and law school is probably not what I think it is. Can anyone give me some more insight on what to expect?
What they mean is that the vast majority of lawyers do not practice Constitutional law. Constitutional cases, which would include things like civil rights, free speech, voting rights, etc., make up a VERY small percentage of all the cases filed. The people who do handle these cases tend to be highly experienced specialists.
The majority of lawyers deal with more mundane things like contract disputes, wills, divorces, and DUIs.
In law school you will take one required Constitutional law class, and have the option to take a few electives that also deal with Constitutional issues. You don't major in law school like you do in undergrad, you just take a lot of required courses and a few electives. Most of your time will be spent taking required courses like Contracts, Torts, Property, and Corporations. Most of it is very dry and difficult (especially the first year).
« on: May 28, 2015, 11:47:02 AM »
I don't have the exact quote, but there's only like a dozen lawyers who regularly deal with Constitutional issues, and they all went to Yale, Harvard or Stanford decades ago. Don't let this discourage you but you should have a realistic picture of what lawyers do.
Along those lines, I had a conversation with the daughter of a family friend a while back who had just been accepted to a mid-range local law school. She told she wanted to go to law school to be a "human rights lawyer", working at the UN and travelling around the world. (Forgive me if I'm repeating this story, I think I told it once before).
"Wow" I said, "that's a really admirable goal. Would you also be happy as say, a public defender? Or some other kind of public interest lawyer?"
"No, I'll get my law degree then go to grad school for International Relations."
I mentioned that in the ENTIRE world there are maybe a couple of hundred people who do that job, that they tend to be highly experienced, that they tend to be graduates of places like Harvard and Oxford, that law school is a big and expensive undertaking, blah blah blah. She politely ignored me, and said she would follow through.
I didn't want to seem like a crusher of dreams, but at the same time I almost felt obligated to point out the reality of the situation. She was surrounded by a bunch of people who know nothing about law or international relations all telling her to follow her dream, if you want it badly enough, it will happen, etc etc.
If it was all free, then yes. But when you're talking about a six figure debt you need to be a little more objective.
« on: May 28, 2015, 10:36:53 AM »
As others have stated, it doesn't really make much difference what you major in. A biochem major with a 3.5 GPA will be considered a little "better" than an Art major with a 3.5, but it's not a huge difference. As far as the slew of potential social science/liberal arts majors (poly sci, history, English), they'll all be viewed as more or less the same.
One thing I would urge you to consider is debt. I know that when you are 18 and choosing colleges the cost of attendance can seem almost abstract. You see the numbers, but it doesn't really hit home until you actually have to start paying back those loans. If you accrue $100,000 debt for undergrad, defer it for three years while you attend law school, then accrue another $100-200,000 law school debt, you are talking about a debt that will control your life.
If you're rich or you get a full scholarship, then obviously this is inapplicable. Otherwise, be careful.
BTW, unless you get into someplace like Harvard or Yale nobody will care where you went to undergrad. Having a bachelor's from the #50 ranked music program versus the #25 ranked program will make no difference. The vast, overwhelming majority of employers won't care one bit.
« on: May 27, 2015, 04:41:54 PM »
Exactly and if someone went to Novus Law School and held themselves out as a lawyer obtained payment and did not have a license to practice law then it would be a crime.
Although I definitely agree with that statement, it does sound like the TX statute goes a little further. It seems to say that you can't use an unaccredited degree to obtain a financial benefit. So, if you applied for a job as a law professor and used an unaccredited degree as your qualification, then you'd presumably be in violation.
Here's where I think these kinds of rules would be really hard to enforce, though:
What if a guy applies for a job as say, an insurance adjuster and lists the Novus degree on his resume? He's not saying "Hire me because I'm a lawyer". In fact, the degree isn't even required for the job.
The prosecutor would have to prove that he listed the degree in order to get hired, and that his intent was to make the employer rely on the degree. At the very least you would have to establish that the defendant knew the employer was relying on the degree. That would be very hard to prove. If the employer calls the guy and says "What's this Novus degree?", and the guy simply says "It's an unaccredited law degree", then I think there is no violation at all. At that point there would be no intent.
« on: May 27, 2015, 02:32:01 PM »
1) The FL story is inapplicable because that guy clearly lied about having any degree, not just an unaccredited degree. The intent to deceive was obvious.
2) The TX statute you cited pretty much backs up what I posted earlier: if you use an unaccredited degree to gain pecuniary benefits or to otherwise deceive, then you have committed a crime in certain jurisdictions. In other jurisdictions, it would be totally fine.
Even in TX, however, just listing the degree does not appear to be a crime. You would have to somehow use the title to gain a financial benefit. Don't worry, when you go to law school they will teach you how to read statutory language.
« on: May 26, 2015, 07:35:23 PM »
It is absolutely, positively NOT perjury to put an unaccredited JD on your resume. Your resume is not a sworn document.
Filling out an application which states that the information provided is true to the best of your knowledge may be different. Holding yourself out to the public as "Mr. Smith, J.D." may also be prohibited, depending on the state. It depends. Certain states do regulate the use of unaccredited titles/degrees, but I believe the prohibition would only extend to instances where the unrecognized degree is being used in a somewhat deceptive manner. For example, if you were a teacher and you claimed an unaccredited degree in order to get a pay raise, that's probably prohibited.
« on: May 26, 2015, 07:25:39 PM »
I didn't pass the CA February bar exam
I'm all signed up for the July test. I couldn't believe the 39% pass rate on the February exam, I was shocked but I'll pass (HOPING JULY will be my final test) and be completely shocked.
First off, congrats on finishing law school and taking the bar. It is a HUGE undertaking, far more than most people con comprehend.
Lots of people who graduated from ABA schools didn't pass, either. Don't let that become a mental obstacle. Like Lawguy said, examine your individual scores and see where you did well and where you need to improve. I know that sounds obvious, but many people don't make changes in their strategy and that's why they repeatedly fail.
Some people have a tough time with IRAC, some freak out on the MBE, and others just need more TIME to prepare. Find out what you need, fix it, and you'll be alright.
« on: May 26, 2015, 03:20:10 PM »
I find it highly unlikely anyone will go to jail for putting a school they attended on an application.
It may not be recognized by a state bar, but there is no way anyone is going to jail for applying to a job.
Agreed. The only way I could imagine someone getting into trouble would be if they claimed to be a lawyer and practiced law without a license. Just putting the degree on your resume would not be illegal unless you did it with an intent to deceive.
« on: May 26, 2015, 02:15:55 PM »
I think one of the important things to consider about Oak Brook and NWCU is that they have consistently better pass rates than other DL schools. As you stated, some places will post a 50-100% pass rate but they only have one or two takers. The sample size is just too small to make any conclusions. I seem to remember that Oak Brook and NWCU usually have at least 10-20 takers and their pass rates are consistent (low compared to ABA, but better than average for DL).
As far as some other schools, here are two things I'd be VERY wary of:
1) Schools with consistently low pass rates (one good year does not make a trend).
2) Schools who have NO bar takers at all for several years. You can check the Calbar site to see the yearly results.
« on: May 26, 2015, 02:06:53 PM »
I'm not aware of any movement per se, but as Citylaw said there are a few states that might allow a non-ABA grad to sit for the bar.
So, why don't more states allow it? I think it's due to several factors.
Part of a state bar's job is to make sure that the market doesn't get flooded and prices stay high. Is it fair or just? I'm not sure, I have mixed feelings. Nonetheless, it's a factor.
The ABA is a dinosaur
Even their rules for fixed facility accreditation are behind the times.
Performance of online schools
This is the big one. There is a lot of skepticism out there regarding the quality of online education in general, not just law schools. Most employers at competitive, reputable companies pretty much roll their eyes at online BAs, MBAs, etc. The same goes for JDs. Most lawyers (especially outside of CA) are VERY skeptical of online degrees.
Some of the skepticism is unfair snobbery, and some of it is legit. The fact is, online schools have high attrition and low bar pass rates. That's not a good combo. It means that either the admissions are too easy, the academic rigor is too low, or both.
I really don't think there will be any serious move towards either ABA accredited online education or towards more states' allowing online degrees until that changes. There is the example of William Mitchell School of Law, but that's fairly unique.
In CA it's a little different because we've always done things are own way. Although even in CA, I do see that most employers draw a big distinction between non-ABA (but state bar accredited) and unaccredited online schools. Most CA lawyers know enough smart, practicing non-ABA grads that the stigma is sort of dissipated.
As far as states like OR and NV, I just don't think there is any internal pressure from the state bar members to amend the rules and expand the educational requirements. I fact, most would probably be against it. Until that changes, I don't think outside lobbying will be sufficient to change the rules.
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