« on: April 24, 2014, 11:55:51 PM »
Updated for California applicants who are wait listed or rejected during the 2014-2015 cycle. If your 2014 "Plan A" isn't working out. Gut check time . . . What is your most important objective? If the answer is becoming a lawyer . . . and not just becoming a [fill in specific law school name here] law school graduate . . . then it is NOT too late to consider one of the 17 California accredited law schools (such as Monterey College of Law) for Fall 2014. These regional schools are accredited by the State Bar of California, not the ABA. Many of them have very respectable bar pass rates (competitive with the unranked ABA law schools), are a fraction of the cost of the traditional ABA schools, and offer part-time programs so that you can actually begin working in law related jobs to gain relevant experience before graduating. Most have strong ties to the local bench-bar that result in jobs after graduation
Of course this is not the path if your goal is to work in a large urban center in a multinational law conglomerate. But if the idea of being a small firm lawyer, DA, Public Defender, Legal Services lawyer, or solo practitioner is what you are after . . . select one of the California accredited law schools in an area that you might like to live/practice and get an application in . . . right away. Then go visit to see if it fits your goals. Ask hard questions about bar pass rates, costs, job placement, clinical,programs, etc. Most of the non-urban areas of California need lawyers (despite the articles in the national news) and many of them are great places to live and raise a family if you have not already decided to be a big city lawyer.
The biggest limitation is that upon graduation from one of the California accredited law schools you must take (and pass) the California bar exam first. You cannot go directly to another state and sit for their bar exam until you are licensed in California (and some states will require minimum years of practice as well). That is why the option is primarily for those who already know that they want to live and practice in California.
Bottom line, if you really want to be a lawyer, there is still time to make it happen.