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Rejection Pie. YUMMY

CA Law Dean:
It is interesting to look back over previous years posts on "Rejections". There is no question that the 2013-2014 cycle is turning out to be quite unique. OK, I admit to being a "data stalker" on Hey . . . we all have our issues. So far this cycle, if you have any portability at all, there is no "bottom" cut off on admissions for 2013. If you have your heart set on attending an ABA law school . . . and you have the resources to pay for it . . . there is a school this year somewhere for you.

I have never seen so many sub-2.5 UGPA and sub-150 LSAT scores direct-admitted to law schools before. That said . . . is this a good thing? I know you think I am about to whine about low academic standards, etc . . . but that is not my concern. What I hate to see are law schools skimming (scamming) a year of tuition (up to $50K) from law students who have no realistic chance for academic success . . . wait for the down beat . . . WITHOUT APPROPRIATE ACADEMIC SUPPORT.

It isn't that I think high risk (from UGPA/LSAT formulas) students cannot be successful in law school. However, I am CERTAIN that they cannot be successful without the school's commitment to identify at-risk students early-on and provide hands-on academic support. I do not fault law schools who are facing reduced applications for responding to market forces and opening their doors to a broader range of students. (Our school has statistics that show how poor of a predictor that the LSAT can be on ultimate law school and bar exam success.) However, with that change should also come an equal commitment to address the academic support needs of these students.

If you are an applicant who was rejected this cycle because you got caught up in the "how high in the rankings can I go syndrome" . . . there is still time for Fall 2013 to redial your strategy (particularly if you are a California applicant, or someone who envisions practicing in California) and look at one of the California accredited law schools. These schools are smaller, have hands-on, one-on-one academic support, cost 1/2 to 1/3 of tuition, and have very respectable completion and bar pass rates for good students. These schools are NOT for everyone. If you have your heart set on BigLaw and BigCity . . . not so much. But if you see yourself practicing in California as a small firm lawyer, DA, Public Defender, legal services, or non-profit lawyer . . . check out one of the 17 California accredited law schools before you check out of your dream to be a lawyer.

(for additional info on one of the CBE schools, see Monterey College of Law under "M" in the discussion boards)

CA Law Dean:
It looks like this will be a very good year for potential law students. With fewer potential law students taking the LSAT and lower number of applications nationally . . . it should be a "buyers" market. However, that does NOT mean that everyone will get accepted into the law schools that they initially choose. Soooo . . . what are you going to do if you get rejected from your first list of law schools? Do you have a plan B? As dean of Monterey College of Law, I would hope that you at least consider whether you might be a good fit at one of the California-accredited law schools (CALS). As small regional law schools accredited by the State Bar of California, CALS offer small classes, lower cost, and high employment results. This is because there ARE lawyer jobs available in the small non-urban communities of California such as Monterey, Santa Cruz, and Salinas. I would be glad to answer any questions you might have. AND we will take applications through JUNE, so there is still time to make us your "Plan B" law school if you are determined to be a lawyer.

Glad to see you back on this board CA Law Dean.

I think MCSL or any CBA school can be a great choice for the right person. However, you need to go in with realistic expectations and understanding.

Do not expect Cravath to recruit you out of MCSL, CBA school, or even 75% of ABA schools.

However, if you want to be a solo, possibly a public defender, small firm, rural area, etc a license to practice law can open doors in a lot of areas and MCSL can get you a bar exam ticket, but whether you pass that exam and what you do with your law license will have a lot more to do with you than the name on your diploma.

CA Law Dean:
I fully agree with Citylaw. The problem is not that there are not enough lawyer jobs to meet the new graduate demands . . . the challenge is that there are not enough lawyer jobs that pay enough to service the level of debt required to attend many of the large urban ABA law schools. If a new applicant hasn't spent time on Law School Transparency ( to better understand the economics of a law degree . . . they should do so before accepting any law school offer.

I can only speak to California, but there are many non-urban communities that NEED new, young lawyers . . . right now. Of course, small-community lawyers start out at $50-60K, not $120-160K that is theoretically available in BigLaw. Therefore, if someone enjoys the idea of living, working, and raising a family outside of an urban center . . . look for a law school that successfully channels their graduates into those markets.

At least in California, many of the non-ABA, state-accredited law schools such as Monterey College of Law will provide that opportunity.


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