« on: April 08, 2013, 09:09:09 AM »
Thanks for the "plug" JL. CBE (Committee of Bar Examiner), also known as CALS (California Accredited Law Schools) are small, regional law schools accredited by the State Bar of California, not the ABA. Many of them have 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 evening programs so that you can actually begin working in law-related jobs to gain relevant experience before graduating. Most have strong ties to their local bench-bar that provide valuable networking for jobs after graduation.
In reference to the question . . . they would indeed be a "bad joke" if your goal is to work in a large urban center in a multinational law conglomerate or if you intended to move out of California within three years after graduation. But if the idea of practicing in California, being a small firm lawyer, DA, Public Defender, Legal Services lawyer, or solo practitioner is what you are after . . . and you like the idea of graduating with reasonable or no student loan debt, a CBE school is absolutely not a joke. Just like any other law school, before you get serious about a decision, ask hard questions about bar pass rates, costs, job placement, clinical,programs, etc. One of the most compelling arguments for the regional law schools is that 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.