Law School Discussion

Concord Law School


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Re: Concord Law School
« Reply #10 on: September 16, 2004, 07:27:08 AM »
I do not attend an online law school but my first take on it would be that if you were trying to get into a law firm, i'm not sure how you would fare.  Not that you would not get as good as an education, but there's a certain stigma that comes with an online degree whether is undergrad or law school.

If you are just trying to enhance your own knowledge to help your business or advance in your current employment, I think that would make sense, but other than that, I think it's too risky of a move.

Re: Concord Law School
« Reply #11 on: September 17, 2004, 01:06:19 PM »
There are several states that will allow you to sit for the bar after receiving your JD through a DL school if you have an LLM from an ABA school.  That is the route I plan to take.  I will probably begin Concord in January after practicing nurse anesthesia for 28 years.  I have looked at all of the DL schools and still feel that the online experience with Concord will be the best.  Any opinions out there?  Later, Prolodoc

Re: Concord Law School
« Reply #12 on: September 23, 2004, 11:29:06 AM »
I have a question for you then.  How will you get a LLM from an ABA-approved school if Concord is non-ABA approved?

Just wondering and asking.  Also, if you have researched this issue, which ABA-approved schools will accept Concord, for example, for the LLM degree.

I am still exploring my options, as I complete my bachelor's degree in five months.

Thanks and good luck!

Re: Concord Law School
« Reply #13 on: November 30, 2004, 10:16:34 AM »
Concord Law School is an excellent place of higher learning. That being said, there are some issues that need to be clarified.

1. Do IVY League schools "look down" on Concord?
Answer: Yes. They also look down on all state universities that are not rated in the top tier. You do yourself a disservice if you chose your school based on how students at IVY league schools will perceive you.

2. What are Concord's Bar passage rates?
Answer: Concord is a new institution. It was founded in 1998. Only two classes have sat for the California Bar. Six out of the ten students passed the first time out of the original class. Six out of fourteen passed on the first try from the second class. To date: 12 out of 24 have passed the California Bar exam on their first try.

3. How does this compare with other schools?
Answer: Pretty well. On the last Cal Bar exam, 3 of 5 Stanford students passed the exam. Only 38% of USC law school grads passed the same exam. UCLA was the only California school that posted an exceptional pass rate on the Cal Bar at 79%. Cooley, an ABA school in Michigan ,recorded a 0 out of 22 on the same test; no Cooley grad passed the Cal Bar. What does that say about Concord? They are doing pretty well at this point. The Cal Bar seems to be a particularly tough exam.

4. How selective is admittance to Concord?
Concord is not at all selective. Almost anyone can go there. HOWEVER! Beware. There is one large caveat. The State of California requires that all students from non-ABA approved schools must pass the FYLSX (First Year Law Exam) before they can receive credit for their second year of legal studies. The FYLSX is very difficult; many students from ABA schools could not pass it. So Concord's upper level students are a select group.

5. How does the FYLSX compare to the LSAT?
Answer: It does not at all. The FYLSX is far more difficult. Moreover, the FYLSX tests students on their first year of legal studies. The LSAT is a multiple guess test on logic problems. All in all, it is easier to make it at an ABA school if you are only an average law student. BTW -- tier 4 ABA schools are not very hard to get into; getting a 148 on the LSAT is a lot easier then passing the FYLSX!

6. Is Concord inexpensive?
Answer: yes and no. If you score in the 160's on the LSAT, you can attend most tier 4 law schools free of charge. Concord does not offer financial aid. So a tier 4 ABA school may cost less if you do reasonably well on your LSATs. However, Concord, despite its lack of ABA accreditation, may be better than many tier 4 ABA schools, so be careful. (Keep in mind that Concord only lacks ABA accreditation because it is an Internet school. Concord is well-regarded academically.) Ultimately, you want the best education for the money. It is what you *learn* that will determine your future.

7. Describe the prototypical Concord student:
Answer: Very smart and very motivated. Concord's academic standards, from the first year on, are dictated by the California Bar. Students only have three times to pass the FYLSX. If they fail three times, they cannot finish their legal studies. Thus, Concord's standards are, by necessity, harder than those of many schools -- particularly in the early stages.

8. Can I become a practicing lawyer with a Concord degree?
Answer: Absolutely. You are initially limited to taking the Cal Bar; however, most states will allow you to take their state bars after you have practiced a year or so in California.

9. Can I make a living with my Concord degree?
Answer: A Concord degree is not the equivalent of a degree from Harvard, Yale, Michigan, Stanford, NYU, or Chicago. You should be aware that most law schools have regional reputations; a degree from Detroit's excellent Wayne State University Law School is golden in the Detroit area, because many judges and attorneys in Detroit studied there. On the other hand, in California, a WSU degree is meaningless. As more and more Concord students pass the bar, these individuals will undoubtably begin law firms. As their firms are successful, Concord's reputation will spread and they will in turn hire more Concord graduates. This is the way all law schools (except those on the elite list) operate. Concord is new. There are only a handful of graduates. In the 1600's how many Law School graduates were there from the Harvard Divinity School? Were they respected by the elite institutions of Europe? Of course not! Judging the success of Concord's alumni in building solid relationships with the community at large is premature at this point. However, to date Concord has a fine record. Undoubtably they will succeed.

Re: Concord Law School
« Reply #14 on: December 20, 2004, 06:18:00 PM »
Aren't they a little "pricey" for DL?

That stated, I think they are required to divulge their "1st time pass"-rate on the Baby Bar.  In my opinion, if that's over 20%, they are a pretty good school.

Before making the commitment, you might want to look at past Baby Bars yourself, at:

That should shatter any illusions that the first year at a California Distance Learning school is going to be some kind of picnic...

Re: Concord Law School
« Reply #15 on: January 04, 2005, 09:00:14 PM »
I'm a Concord student, at least 'till the end of week when my transfer out is final.  I completed part of the 4-year program and decided it's time to move on.  Reason: value. 

The ten or so correspondence schools in CA seem to operate with the same formula which is based on two essentials: a) provide 864 hours of instruction within a 48-52 week period, b) provide a 4-year degree granting curriculum.  Anything beyond that is pure marketing, designed to attract and retain clients.  Concord's edge is its association with Kaplan, a very big name in the distance learning industry.  That seems to provide its program the illusion of quality, something many of the others struggle to achieve.  Does it make Concord a better school than the rest?  Opinion reserved. 

For the most part these correspondence "schools" are basically expensive prolonged bar prep courses, in essence not substantially different than commercial short courses.  To me there is no doubt that some people could learn enough in other ways, in less time at far less cost to pass the Bar, but CalBar has made attendance at one of these businesses almost mandatory. In my opinion they do this to protect their reputation, such as it is. Imagine the fallout if the Bar started being passed by the unwashed masses with nothing but an undergraduate degree and a cheap Bar Review course under their belt. Outrageous! .....and potentially bad for the business of distance law education which not surprisingly is by and large run by California attorneys.  What a coincidence.

My personal experience has convinced me that those enrolled essentially teach themselves.  The "school" does very little beyond the bare business basics to help it's clients prepare for the Bar.  After paying what in many cases is an exhorbitant tuition you do nothing more than read the texts, do the limited assignments and pass some open book quizzes.  Even Concord's final exams are technically open book since they merely depend on students' compliance with their Honor Code to not use notes. Yeah, right, like that really happens when no one's looking.  NWCALaw at least requires its finals to be proctored, which is to its credit.  Day to day in these schools there is virtually none or very limited intellectual interaction with teaching staff.  Concord, however, does provide email access to professors and does provide interactive chat sessions.  Hardly ground-breaking 21st century technology.  Grading is another interesting and frustrating experience.  First, its slow.  Finals from early December are still not graded. That has not stopped the administration from advancing students to 2L even though their PR clearly indicates advancement is predicated on successful completion of all prior year requirements and achieving a passing grade.  Hmmm, could it be the lure of that $7800 which can be transferred immediately to their account, only later to be returned in cases of academic failure?  Business first, academics second.

Those considering the correspondence school route should understand there is no substitute for real, live one-on-one discussion with a professional, and by and large these businesses do not provide that, depite the marketing hype. The hidden costs should also be carefully considered. The texts required by the programs are generally not adequate to provide a student with a clear understanding of the law.  Most of the folks I've talked to purchase various 3rd party study aids which are not particularly expensive, until you realize you need to do this for all four years. It will add considerably to the cost of the degree.  So what does Concord provide that justifies $7800 a year?  It's a matter of opinion, but if you are one of those people who needs someone constantly checking on your progress and reminding you to keep moving then maybe it's the place for you.  If you are self-motivated, which I would hope most correspondence school students are, then there are much cheaper solutions. 

Concord makes a very big point of touting its high tech methodology.  While adequate, it is by no stretch of the imagination particularly high tech.  Each student is provided a home page from which they can access school resources.  Included is a progress chart that tracks accomplishments as you chunk throught the various modules of instruction.  If you get too far behind they change color to warn you.  If you attempt to go too fast the system will stop you by proventing access to the assignments which consist of readings, online videos, essay writing and quizzes.  Attendance at the periodic live chats is optional.  The videos run inside RealPlayer which some people would just as soon not have installed on their machines because of its annoying tendency to hook into other functions.  Access to the system is restricted through the use of a Verisign digital certificate, which you must purchase each year.  Only about $15 bucks just another little nickle-dime annoyance.

For the most part I believe that Concord provides as good a learning experience as you will find among the various correspondence schools.  In my opinion, it could be better.  There is also a fairly robust student community which is accessible through various Yahoo groups where just about anything is discussed.  Unfortunately, lawyerly analysis of issues is not high on the agenda of most of these groups, but rather an uncomfortable amount of opinionated dialogue on various current affairs.  Something you could find on any number of open Usenet boards.  But the students are enthusiastic and, for the most part, supportive.  They are also notably well-educated.  You will find yourself in and amongst a fair number of post-graduate educated individuals.  They seem to develop true friendships despite the virtual connection.  One particularly noteworthy board is that moderated by Dr. Wm. Weston called Res Ipsa Loquitor.  Here he restricts discussion to the analysis of specific legal dilemmas.  He participates openly and provides valuable feedback to posters on their legal theories.  A real gem of a resource but it's something he does on his own, not something sponsored by Concord, as far as I can tell.  I will miss that board.  There is also a student bar association which I believe is fairly unique among correspondence schools.  Its value to students is questionable but it does provide an outlet for the joiners to play-act as budding lawyers.  There is no law review or moot court.  Pay the big bucks and attend a traditional school for these.

In summation, it is my opinion these "schools" are primarily businesses and academic institutions second.  Some provide the bare minimum to satisfy the Cal Bar requirements and some others throw in a bell or whistle to make them distinguishable from the crowd.  From what I see, students should be forewarned they will be largely responsible for teaching themselves the law and that mere attendance is probably not going to be enough to pass the Bar.

Having said that, I'm transferring to Northwestern California Law School.  It meets the test I described above at a much lower price point then most of the others.  It boils down to value, how much you get for your money.  Whether or not this is a good decision, time will tell.

Hope this helps.   ;D

The information here is my opinion only.  It is not intended to interfer with any business relationships or compromise the conduct of business.  It is provided with the intent to facilitate reaching an informed purchasing decision.  Any inaccuracies in the information are unintentional and will be corrected immediately upon notification by a recognized authority.

Re: Concord Law School
« Reply #16 on: January 06, 2005, 09:57:39 AM »

Are you concerned at all about national accreditation? As I understand it, the 50 states do not have to recognize an unaccredited degree as legal.  Oregon, for example, has a list of schools from which degrees claimed are illegal.  The schools are not recognized by the CHEA or US Dept of Education.  In order for a school to grant degrees legally in the states that care about this, the school must be at least accredited by the DETC, which is on the list of US Dept of Education approved accreditation agencies. 

The only two distance learning law schools that qualify are Taft and Concord.  I have chosen Taft, because as you say, I find that I will be teaching myself for the most part, and I want to have more funds to put toward self-study aids.

I appreciate your post.  It is the most honest, straight-forward assessment of Concord and distance learning law as I have read in my two months long research on the subject.  For one thing, students of these schools have a desire to legitimize their choice, and for another, if they are not self-directed or suited for distance learning, their experience is tainted...

...anyway, I find that I learn better alone.  I do not know why, although I have tried to understand.  I suppose it is because I get bored sitting in classes, or find the line of BS teachers toss out while they try to be entertaining, distracting.  Or maybe I have a learning disability that requires the focus of distance learning.  Whatever the reason, I'm going to claim that my DL JD is the reward for being a rebel and non-conformist.

Best of luck to you...


Re: Concord Law School
« Reply #17 on: January 06, 2005, 03:10:55 PM »
The latest stats I can find show Concord with a first-time pass rate on the Baby Bar of 35.1%.

Res ipsa loquitur...

Re: Concord Law School
« Reply #18 on: January 06, 2005, 03:27:01 PM »
I wonder what Baby Bar reviews the Concord students use...

Re: Concord Law School
« Reply #19 on: January 06, 2005, 10:43:56 PM »
Sharkfish -
Response to a couple of your questions.  First re. accredidation.  It has crossed my mind but it's not a show-stopper.  I rationalize that these schools are so far down the food chain within the legal education hierarchy that quasi-accreditation is meaningless for my purposes.  My reason for going through this ordeal is primarily self-improvement and business credentials.  I'm in it primarily for the knowledge which I can use to my advantage without being licensed. So, why not just study on my own without the expense of a school?  Because I'm not THAT motivated.  I need someone poking at me occasionally to keep up the pace.  But not $7800 worth of friendly reminders, $2850 will do just fine.  If I'm so lucky as to become licensed in CA I will practice there as a virtual law office, putting in the required time to qualify to sit for the Bar in my home state.  If I don't make it, oh well.

The Concord students for the most part do not use a Baby Bar prep course.  The school offers a pre-test weekend with Professor Bracci who provides that last minute dose of review together with pep talk.  They also provide all 1L sudents with the Practising Law Institute's Multistate Bar Review comprehensive outlines, sample MCQ and essays on CD's.   You also have access to the material at the PLI website. This is a particularly useful resource because the outlines are pretty much spot-on, simple and logical.  If you have a chance to acquire them I recommend you do so.