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Messages - CA Law Dean

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I am also familiar with these schools, being a dean from the region. I have met three of the four deans (not USF), and know that they are extremely capable and focused on the challenging issues going on in legal education today. I believe that in addition  to the considerations listed by Citylaw, you need to do a full COA analysis and seriously consider the implication of student debt post graduation. Go to Law School Transparency to review the financial and employment data for each school as well. In my opinion, none of the schools have rankings of a nature that make much of a difference in your decision-making. All of these schools have recent issues on job placement. That means you will need to go into the process accepting that you will be responsible for crafting and pursuing your own career path. All of the schools have active alumni networks in the Bay Area that will help you.

So how to decide? I second Citylaw's recommendation to visit each school to see whether you see yourself there. Talk with current students, either in person or through one of the many social media law student boards. I would add that your statistics (3.23/156) place you at, or slightly below, the medians at Hastings, USF, and SC. You are well above the median at GGU. One way to look at this might be that with a full ride (=no financial stress), and a more academically competitive standing, Golden Gate would statistically and financially appear to be your best placement for potential success. However, please note that I am very, very biased against six figure student loans (or the $100K or more COA) that you will have everywhere other than GGU.

Congratulations on having earned choices and good luck.

Pursuing an LLM / Re: Perks to an LLM
« on: April 21, 2014, 07:58:15 PM »
Thanks. Will keep you in mind. Have enjoyed your posts.

Pursuing an LLM / Re: Perks to an LLM
« on: April 19, 2014, 04:46:40 PM »
I thought I might renew this discussion to get an update on current LL.M. opinions. Our law school (Monterey College of Law) is the first California accredited (non ABA) law school to offer an LL.M. Our first two students are foreign educated lawyers, neither of whom intend to practice law in the US, but will take their experience back to their home countries where they believe that it will give them a unique practice advantage. We have also had inquiries from foreign educated lawyers who wished to use the LL.M. to qualify for the California bar exam. Although this is allowed, when we outlined what we thought was actually necessary to accomplish this feat (vs. just taking their money and wishing them good luck), it is a full-time one year commitment. No one has taken up the challenge yet. Although we are facility based (not online), we have flexibility to design individual LL.M. programs. Just wondering what flavor of LL.M. Programs might be appealing? We will not do tax because we do not have the expertise. We do have unique access to international law and environmental law faculty.

Law School Admissions / Re: CBE School or Wait Another Year?
« on: April 19, 2014, 09:22:41 AM »
I fully agree with MFL 350. All of his points are important and worth seriously considering. That said, given the supplemental academic support program that we have at Monterey College of Law (one of the CBE law schools) we have seen success with students who have similar scores to you. However, they have been honest about their need to improve on their undergraduate academic habits and were willing to do the extra workshops and tutoring necessary to bring their study skills and writing up to law school standards. Therefore, if you are willing to dedicate the extra effort, on top of the regular law school curriculum, a program like MCL could be an option for you. Let me know if you have additional specific questions about our program. We also have a conditional admission program that starts the first week of July and provides a ten-session course for pre1L skills such as study skills, time management, stress management, learning styles, and writing. It is taught by our first-year faculty and the Dean of Academic Support.

Excerpt from Karen Sloan’s article, April 16, 2014, National Law Journal:

Is now the ideal time to enroll in law school? Steven Freedman, assistant dean for admissions at the University of Kansas School of Law, has been making the counterintuitive case that it is.
In a series of posts on the law professor blog The Faculty Lounge, he argues that the relatively small number of people set to graduate with J.D.s in 2017 will mean better job prospects for those who do. In short, the supply of new lawyers will be much more closely aligned with the demand for their services than for the Class of 2013.

“Enroll today or you will miss out on what might be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” Freedman wrote on April 10. “Namely, the chance to graduate from law school in 2017-2018, which will likely be one of the best times ever to graduate from law school.”

Read more:

Update on MCL's Master of Legal Studies degree program. In addition to the description in the previous post, please note that changes in the California accredited law school regulations now permit a transfer student in the MLS degree program to continue in the JD program if their grades improve to meet the 70.00 minimum standard for progressing in JD degree program. Therefore, a law student who had a poor academic experience in another law school, but who might thrive in the smaller, hands-on, academically supportive environment of MCL, could still get back on track for the JD through the MLS degree program. Furthermore, if students successfully complete the mandatory MLS writing program, they may be eligible to graduate with both the MLS and JD degree. Please let me know if you have questions about MCL's concurrent MLS/JD degree program. It is new for the 2014-2015 academic year.

Law School Admissions / Re: Low GPA Questions
« on: April 15, 2014, 07:42:40 AM »
I agree with all of the previous advice and would add one additional consideration. If you have really turned your academic attitude around and believe that you have the initiative to buckle down and get your CPA, you might reconsider attending one of the California accredited law schools instead. First, you will be eligible with your GPA and a 150 LSAT. Second, you can work during the day and attend law school at night to reduce the financial burden and to start getting experience by working in a law firm. Third, these are smaller programs where you will get more attention and academic support. This will be a different experience than the large public school education that you are getting at Davis. Finally, in about the same time that it sounds like you will need to get your CPA (3 years), if you really buckled down as you have indicated you are ready to do, you could be finished with your law degree and begin studying for the bar exam.

So I think that the real question is what you envision for your career. If you are ready to do the work necessary to become a lawyer, why go become a CPA? On the other hand, if being a CPA sounds interesting, you should go do that. Both routes will take a dedicated effort that requires a serious focus and commitment. I think that is the first decision.

Let me know if you are interested in more information about the California accredited law schools. Lincoln Sacramento is close to you in Davis and there are 15 other programs such as ours at Monterey College of Law. Each have somewhat unique characteristics and locations that would likely serve whichever region that you see yourself living and working after graduation.

Choosing the Right Law School / Re: Considering Law School
« on: April 15, 2014, 07:18:10 AM »
I generally agree with Citylaw, but will take a different approach here.

Why do some law school graduates never “practice” law? I can answer this question from my own professional experience. Throughout the course of my 35+ year career, my law degree has provided me the opportunity to enjoy a range of different, interesting, challenging . . .  and occasionally profitable . . . professional opportunities. Of course, none have been as rewarding as serving as dean of MCL!

I must admit that I didn’t attend law school with the intention of practicing law in a traditional law firm setting. My first interest was politics, but after internships in state and national congressional offices . . . let’s just say I grew out of that phase. Early in my career, I practiced law as an Asst. State Attorney General. I enjoyed the public policy aspects of the work and the collegiality of working in a legal team environment. However, with an interest in economics and marketing, and a booming economy at the time, I was drawn towards the broader challenges and opportunities in the private business sector. As a management consultant, venture capitalist, public company executive, and entrepreneur, I put my legal education to great use . . .  even though I wasn’t “practicing law.”

One of the most valuable aspects of a legal education is the versatility of the training and the opportunity to integrate it into so many different professions. As a management consultant, I developed a niche practice of law firm consulting, working with individual lawyers and large firms to develop professional marketing plans. This lead me into CLE training for lawyers and eventually back into the law school classroom as a law professor in the areas of law office management, legal ethics, and law-related technology.

To bring the story full circle, it turns out that a combination of law, business, and legal education experience is also a great combination for law school administration . . . and here I am!

So to answer the question, “why do some law school graduates never practice law” . . . I would say that it is because some of us got too busy using our legal education.

Online Law Schools / Re: Did not get accepted to Concord Law School
« on: April 15, 2014, 07:11:17 AM »
I am familiar with Concord's EJD program and would agree with the advice here. Not because the program is faulty, it is not in my opinion. However, it does not appear to meet the OPs needs, which appear to be having a useful degree that will benefit their law career interests. I also agree that if the OP was rejected from Concord's JD program, they probably need to (prepare first) and retake the LSAT.

Now to actually answer the question about DL alternatives, I suggest looking at Cal Southern.

Like all of the online programs, since Cal Southern has almost open enrollment, the bar pass rates are very very low. However, the curriculum is sound, you have to pass the baby bar to progress to second year, and if you are a serious student, you will be eligible to sit for the California Bar exam upon completion . . . something not available through the EJD program.  We use Cal Southern to resolve scheduling conflicts when our students end up with two required courses on the same night and need a DL alternative to avoid waiting an extra year to finish our JD program.

The following link is to all of the correspondence and distance law schools in California:

Law School Admissions / Re: REJECTED, ETC. TODAY
« on: April 15, 2014, 06:49:51 AM »
I am sorry to hear that you were rejected from your law school choice. It is always disappointing, regardless of age and experience. If you will share your LSAT/UGPA, I can probably give you a better idea of what influenced the decision. Despite the applicant friendly admissions cycle this year, it still requires understanding the criteria of the target school to better judge your application prospects. In your case, despite having college grades that are likely several decades old (assuming college was prior to the birth of your 22 year old child), the formula of LSAT/UGPA still overshadows any work-life experience for traditional law schools. When you said "I.U" did you mean Indiana University, and if yes, was it Bloomington or Indianapolis?

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