« on: June 19, 2013, 10:11:49 AM »
There are a lot of things to consider based on your post. First and foremost is your motivation for attending law school.
You say you have and a family and work 40+ hours a week if you are going to throw law school on top of that it probably will not go well. Having been through law school myself I saw the majority of part-time students not make it and if they did graduate they finish near the bottom of the class simply because they cannot compete with 25 year olds with no responsibilities who do nothing, except study. Not to mention many that made it through did not pass the bar and for the few that did graduate and pass the bar they obtained 0 legal experience while in law school and then compete with grads who did better academically and did legal internships and so forth.
Do people manage law school, family, and working 40 hours. Yes it does happen, but I would not bet on it going well for anyone as the majority end up failing out or not making it through. I personally think part-time law school is a bad idea for anyone and if you want to do it go all in, but that is just me.
On to the next point Lincoln Law School, Monterey Law School, or any other CBA school will do enough to get you a bar admission ticket and the reality is at any law school whether it be CBA or ABA you will learn the same thing. In law school you read Supreme Court cases and your first year will be torts, contracts, civ pro, property, etc. At the end of three or four years of law school if you attend part-time you will then choose between BarBri, Kaplan, or one of the other bar tutoring companies to help you pass the bar. You then take the bar exam in a room of about 1,500 anxious people and you wait four months for your results. On your exam you do not list what law school you attended and if you pass you get a bar card and you can represent clients.
The only issue with CBA schools are you will have some doors closed you cannot take the bar in the majority of states without a legal battle and there are many employers that will only take an ABA grad particularly in government work. Also if you go into private practice or open up your own firm potential clients will look up the school you attended and unaccredited law schools do not instill confidence in potential clients even though the education is the same.
However, despite those obstacles plenty of CBA grads do quite well for themselves and the reality is whether you make it in the legal profession has a lot more to do with you than the name on your diploma, but a CBA degree will close some doors.
You then go onto mention Hawaii and UNLV as options. Those schools are great if you want to work in Hawaii or UNLV, but not if you want to live in California. Also remember law school is three years of your life and if you have a family will they be able to handle living in Hawaii or Vegas? Will uprooting them be a strain on you? Could you live in Hawaii or Vegas?
These are all questions only you know the answers to, but Hawaii is literally an island in the middle of nowhere and living there is tough on people. It is beautiful, but you do not have access to a lot of things you do on the mainland. Furthermore, you will not be able to do internships in California or make connections anywhere other than Hawaii. However, if you want to live in Hawaii after graduation there is quite literally no better school to attend than University of Hawaii. as it is the only University there.
On the same note Vegas is a unique place to live for three years and probably the rest of your career. 100 degree weather, gambling, shows, drinking, there are a lot of distractions I know you have a family and probably will be better able to deal with those things, but I know several people that developed gambling addictions living in Vegas and particularly law students. You get $15,000 in your bank account on day one from Student loans and a few blocks away is a craps table it can go badly.
Furthermore, will your wife/girlfriend be able to find employment in Hawaii or Vegas? Will she be happy there? You will really need to understand law school does not exist in a vacuum and life happens so be careful when making this life altering decision.
As for Golden Gate, USF, Santa Clara, they are all fine schools. I am an attorney in the Bay Area and work with attorneys from these schools regularly and there is no prestige of one over the other. Remember U.S. News is a for-profit, unregulated, magazine offering an opinion nothing more. I look at resumes and treat all those schools equally.
If you are considering those schools I highly recommend you visit all three and see what school feels right for you. Each school has a culture to it and what feels right for you might be different for someone else. I personally do not like Santa Clara the location is isolated, they seem on a highhorse, etc, but that is me plenty of people like Santa Clara. Conversely, I think Golden Gate is great it is in the heart of San Francisco and everybody seems very friendly. However, the campus of GGU is pretty ugly same with Hastings, but this is all personal subjective feelings and you know better than anyone else what you will like.
I think if you want to stay in the Bay Area you should consider Lincoln, Monterey, JFK for CBA schools there might be others, but visit them all compare costs and see if any of them fit assuming you are ok with the limitations a CBA degree provides.
If you want an ABA degree, which you might as it will open more doors and you are willing to pay the money then visit those schools, compare costs, and see if any of them fit for you.
This is a highly personal decision and do not let rankings or anonymous internet posters such as myself make the decision for you. The reality of law school or any educational experience is that you will get out what you put into it and the same goes for your legal career it is a results driven profession and if you get results you will do fine whether you went to a CBA or ABA school.
However, you will have to fight harder from a CBA school than an ABA school, but you will still have to fight hard from an ABA school particularly when Stanford and Boalt are right here. Not to mention there is no shortage of Harvard, Yale, NYU, Columbia, etc grads eager to move to San Francisco.
Good luck whatever you decide.