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Messages - LegalFielder

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Western State College of Law / Re: oL at Western State
« on: February 17, 2013, 09:09:11 PM »
Cher1300:  That interesting because I knew someone who went to Western State as well. I was informed that there is no set curved grading system at Western State, unless a professor chooses to do so (most don't). Since there is no curve, there are a disproportionate number of students at Western State who receive lower than a 2.5 gpa (foundation point gpa minimum).  If there was a set curve for a classes with a median of 2.4, then there would be a lot more students at Western State.  Also, students transferring out because of the FLP is not a good sign for any law school that would have such a system.

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Western State College of Law / Re: oL at Western State
« on: January 18, 2013, 08:41:34 PM »
Western State's attrition rate always hovers around 50% and the 1L exams are not graded the same as most other law schools, which use a curved-system of grading.  Also, in Western State's eyes, it makes practical sense to force students out because the main reason they're ABA accredited is their bar-passage rate.  So Western lets in a large amount of students (more students then there is parking available), then they are able to get that federal aid money, then dismiss many of them in order to keep their bar-passage rate high.  They also entice students by providing scholarships knowing that most of the students will not be able to keep those scholarships.  If you look at the highest attrition rates in the country, you'll see that Whittier and Western State are consistently in the top 5.  Both law schools are located close to each other in Orange County, California but usually Whittier has a higher attrition rate their first year.  The foundation points program allows Western State to keep their first-year attrition rate lower than Whittier's while still being able to dismiss just as many, if not more, students to keep their bar-passage rate high. This gives potential law students the wrong impression about Western State's attrition rate.

I'm sure that there are dismissed students at Western that wouldn't have passed the bar the first time and should be dismissed, but I honestly do believe that Western dismisses many students that are actually able to pass the bar.  Look at the statistics for the bar exam by law school after Western State started their "foundation points" program: http://admissions.calbar.ca.gov/Examinations/Statistics.aspx#statsGBX.  You'll see that Western State is up there with schools that are actually ranked much higher.  In fact, for the February 2012 bar exam, Western State's bar passage rate was higher than every other ABA-approved CA law school.  That means Western State did better than Stanford, Berkeley, UCLA, USC, UC Davis, Loyola Marymount, Pepperdine, etc.  I highly doubt that Western State has a better law program than those schools. They are so afraid of losing their accreditation that they dismiss more students than they should, IMO.

I am fine with the academic dismissals (being dismissed for not having a 2.0 GPA or above) because most law schools operate However, the foundation points system is ridiculous and there is essentially no other law school in the country that uses a grading system like Western State.  Western State needs to do something about their "foundation points" program and/or the way they evaluate their students.

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Uzziyah -- Thank you for the information and your help, it's really nice of you to try and help me. Also, thank you for your service to this country. 

Unfortunately, as the two comments above point out, AHU might not be the best option for me.  I would also suggest that you speak with the Dean again and ask about bar preparation provided by the school and the opportunities for employment post-graduation.  Don't make the same mistake as I did and just enroll into a law school because it seems like it might be a good fit.  I am absolutely not saying that if you attend AHU that you will not pass the Baby Bar and California Bar Exam, but as a law student you want to put yourself in the best position to succeed in already highly competitive field.

Let us know what the dean says when you with him/her.

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Cher 1300 -- First of all, much luck to you and your fellow classmates at Western State.  I hope you do not see the same fate as I have.  I was thinking about going to a CBE school because I could transfer some first-year credit since I passed my first year, but I don't want to take on more debt and still not be able to find a job after graduation.  That's why I'm going into a paralegal program, getting a job, paying off some of the debt I have already accrued, taking the LSAT again and reapplying to better law programs.  This course of action will take longer but I believe it is better in the long-term.

jonlevy -- I agree with you but my paralegal plan is temporary while study for the LSAT again and pay off some law school debt.  I absolutely plan on going back to law school, but this time a better program.

jack24 -- I am absolutely trying to network with attorneys by going to local bar association events, local law firms, etc.  But I believe that going the paralegal route, while at the same time trying to network, may help in the long run.  I just don't want to commit to only one thing considering my academic record now. Still need something to fall back on.

Roald -- Hopefully the ABA does something about it.



Thank you all for the advice! It is very much appreciated!    :)

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legend -- First of all, I never put all the blame on Western State, I'm not sure how you got that idea. I mentioned earlier that I could/should have focused more and done better. But I also mentioned that I could have picked a better choice in a law school considering the attrition rate and "foundation points" program.  I also did get through first year exams, but I was dismissed after my third semester (which is the first semester of 2L).

Also, the 33.3% attrition you mentioned is only for the first year, which I successfully passed.  The 50% attrition that I mentioned includes the first, second, and third years, and I never said that it was mandatory that they kick out 50%, just that it's mandatory that they kick many of their students out.  The majority of the 22 you mentioned that left for "other" reasons were because of Western State, including their foundation points program, so even though those students had above a 2.0, they probably didn't have any, or one, foundation points so they transferred to a CBE school or a neighboring ABA school that would let them in.  Very few students from the "other" reasons category transferred because they had all of their foundation points, a great GPA, and transferred to tier-1 and tier-2 law schools.  I should have transferred after my first year, since I had above a 2.0, but since I already had some foundation points I believed that I could have fulfilled that requirement, which turned out to be a mistake.

Actually, in Western State's eyes, it does make practical sense to kick out students because the main reason they're ABA accredited is their bar-passage rate.  So they let in a large amount of students (more students then there is parking available), then they are able to get that federal aid money, then dismiss many of them in order to keep their bar-passage rate high.  They also entice students by providing scholarships knowing that most of the students will not be able to keep those scholarships.  If you look at the highest attrition rates in the country, you'll see that Whittier and Western State are consistently in the top 5.  Both law schools are located close to each other in Orange County, California but usually Whittier has a higher attrition rate their first year.  The foundation points program allows Western State to keep their first-year attrition rate lower than Whittier's while still being able to dismiss just as many, if not more, students to keep their bar-passage rate high.

I'm sure that there are dismissed students at Western that wouldn't have passed the bar the first time and should be dismissed, but I honestly do believe that Western dismisses many students that are actually able to pass the bar.  Look at the statistics for the bar exam by law school after Western State started their "foundation points" program: http://admissions.calbar.ca.gov/Examinations/Statistics.aspx#statsGBX.  You'll see that Western State is up there with schools that are actually ranked much higher.  In fact, the latest information available as now, which is for the February 2012 bar exam, shows that Western State's bar passage rate was higher than every other ABA-approved CA law school.  That means Western State did better than Stanford, Berkeley, UCLA, USC, UC Davis, Loyola Marymount, Pepperdine, etc.  I highly doubt that Western State has a better law program than those schools. They are so afraid of losing their accreditation that they dismiss more students than they should, IMO. 

I am absolutely not saying that I got dismissed because Western State is unfair, which would put all the blame on the law school, but I do believe that Western State needs to do something about their "foundation points" program and/or the way they evaluate their students.

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You're right about Prof. Dellinger's class, which why most 1Ls are so stressed during their first year at Western State.  Most students in every class, not just Prof. Dellinger's, do not receive a foundation point which is why the attrition rate is so high.  Western State actually has "double attrition," meaning that students get dismissed after their first year for not having >2.0 and then even more students are dismissed after their third semester, midway through law school, for not receiving the required amount of "foundation points."  The latter being the category that I fall in.  I believe that the ABA only reports attrition rates of students after the first year, but I'm not 100% sure about that one.

Oh, I absolutely do not want to get back into Western State's law program, even though I believe I would do much better.  Western State does not care about their students.  All they care about is keeping their ABA accreditation because they're unranked.  Instead of changing teaching methods so students are better prepared for the bar, they punish their own students by dismissing so many of them.  I wish I knew what I know now about Western State before I enrolled.  Attrition rates never really crossed my mind before I started at Western State.  I would never recommend to a prospective law student that he/she go to Western State.

As far as what I have changed that will cause me to have a different result, I'll explain my success in a paralegal program and, if I can find a paralegal job, how working in the legal field has motivated me to do much better the second time around.  My lack of focus at Western State, also having to take care my elder parents, played a role and I'll attempt to show to an admissions committee that between the time of my dismissal and the time of my admissions application that I am much more focused and am more motivated to do well in any law program.  I plan on retaking the LSAT and obviously studying much harder and smarter to increase my score as much as I can.  I'll still only apply to law schools in California but definitely not Western State, nor Whittier because I know people there who told me that their attrition is also high.  I was recently dismissed so I still have a little less than two years to "rehab" myself so that I can get into a better law program.

Any other ideas on what I should do? Constructive criticism is always appreciated.


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Western State College of Law / Re: oL at Western State
« on: August 15, 2012, 12:36:25 AM »
Uh oh, if you still have time then you should not enroll at Western State. 

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I was academically dismissed from Western State for not having enough "foundation points."  Western State has a notoriously high attrition rate.  Not only must students achieve above a 2.0 (which is how it is at most law schools), but students must also attain at least four foundation points after the first year, otherwise the student is put on probation for one semester then subsequently dismissed if the student does not attain four foundation points at the end of the probation semester.  A foundation point is earned by receiving at least a 2.5 in specific courses (such as Torts, Crim Law/Pro, Contracts, Civ Pro, etc.), which are bar-tested.  Western State's bar passage rate is extremely high considering is a for-profit unranked school because about 50% of each class is academically dismissed.

I had above a 2.0 but unfortunately did not receive all four foundation points.  I petitioned to continue my studies but it was denied by the faculty and no reason was given.  I felt like I was ready for all of my exams, except maybe one midterm which I did not study enough for, but I was not able to fulfill the foundation points requirement.

Getting dismissed has been a huge setback, monetarily and mentally, and it seems as if no one at Western State even wants to speak with me now but I'm still very interested in staying in the legal field.  I was actually thinking about waiting the ABA mandated 2-year period regarding academically dismissed students, getting into a paralegal program, try to find a job in the legal field, and retake the LSAT next year during maybe the Summer or Fall of 2013.

As far as the type of legal work, I want to be involved in civil litigation.  I wouldn't mind the hours or the stress involved in litigation.

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I was dismissed from Western State after 3 semesters, should I try to stay in the legal field, for example getting a paralegal certificate, and then try to go back to law school?

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