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writing out of state bar exams


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writing out of state bar exams
« on: March 25, 2003, 12:06:20 PM »
i'm a canadian student so forgive my ignorance. how hard is it to attend school in one state and write the bar and actually find a job in another??? i'm talking about attending a second or third tier school, not Harvard, NYU etc. in other words, is it necessary that i factor in where i want to practice into my choice of school?


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Re: writing out of state bar exams
« Reply #1 on: March 26, 2003, 04:20:54 AM »
It depends in large part on what point in your career you expect to pursue an "out of state" job.  If you want to be able to take the bar exam in any state immediately upon graduation from law school, then you will need to attend an ABA (American Bar Association) accredited law school (See for a list).  If you go to a state-accredited law school, you are only guaranteed to be able to take that state's bar exam upon graduation.  Regardless, most states still allow you to take their bar exam once you have practiced law 3-5 years in any other state.

Most people will tell you that you should always go to an ABA accredited school if you can get into one.  This is not necessarily true.  Such a claim seems to rely on two fallacies:  the "quality of education" fallacy and the "bang for your buck" fallacy.  

One of the primary assumptions relied upon is that you will always get a better legal education at an ABA school than a state-accredited school.  This assumption apparently ignores the relatively undisputed fact that the quality of your legal education relies primarily upon how well you absorb and apply legal concepts and case law.  Legal concepts and case law are generally presented to you from the same books and in approximately the same manner from one school to the next.  

As far as the "bang for your buck" issue is concerned, consider the following example:  Going to a good Los Angeles ABA school part-time (4-year program) will cost about $18,000/year; whereas a nearby state accredited school would cost about $5,500/year.  Over 4 years, that comes out to a $50,000 cash difference.  Granted, by graduating from a non-ABA school you'll be essentially forced to work in-state for the next 3 years; but that's like an recruiter coming up to you on graduation day, handing you an $84,000 bonus check (pre-tax) for agreeing to work in-state for the next 3 years.  Most people would willingly grab that check and accept those terms on the spot.

So there are a number of things to consider.  This commentary is by no means a complete analysis of the options, nor is it intended to argue against pursuing an ABA accredited law school.  There are certainly advantages to ABA schools that I have not addressed here.  I just want to give the other options their due consideration, and encourage further input from all sides of the argument on this issue.


Re: writing out of state bar exams
« Reply #2 on: March 28, 2003, 12:17:07 AM »
thank-you for your reply! it was very informative.