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Author Topic: Non-Bar Law Degree  (Read 28115 times)

moneymanager

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Non-Bar Law Degree
« on: December 30, 2007, 03:23:41 PM »
I am a financial advisor and have numerous clients who have estate planning needs. I have no desire to be a licensed attorney, but I'd like to have the knowledge to inform them of the options available to them, e.g. trusts, etc.

Would an online degree from one of the more reputable schools be a good means by which to accomplish this?

Of course, I'd like to be able to say that I have earned a JD, but I'm more interested in the knowledge than anything.

joemama

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Re: Non-Bar Law Degree
« Reply #1 on: January 14, 2008, 03:55:07 AM »
to be a reputable school you need to be aba approved and no online schools are aba approved so save your money, a degree from a non aba school is worthless.  Do not waste your money.

1LMan

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Re: Non-Bar Law Degree
« Reply #2 on: January 14, 2008, 07:42:45 AM »
I am a financial advisor and have numerous clients who have estate planning needs. I have no desire to be a licensed attorney, but I'd like to have the knowledge to inform them of the options available to them, e.g. trusts, etc.

Would an online degree from one of the more reputable schools be a good means by which to accomplish this?

Of course, I'd like to be able to say that I have earned a JD, but I'm more interested in the knowledge than anything.

Not to mention you shouldn't be advising anyone of legal rights without being a licensed attorney.  That could definitely lead to some law suits.

NeverTrustKlingons

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Re: Non-Bar Law Degree
« Reply #3 on: January 14, 2008, 11:20:03 AM »
Several schools do one-year 'Master of Legal Studies' programs, either in general law or in a specific area of the law.  If you don't want to spend the three years required to take a bar exam, I suppose it would be a good way to get some basic familiarity with the law?

Programs I know of are Yale (MSL), Albany (MS in Legal Studies w/ Tech Transfer) and Vermont Law School (Master of Science in Environmental Law).  I am sure there are others!

There are lines between using the knowledge you acquire in one of these programs and substantively 'practicing law'... if I had one of these degrees I would contact my state bar and have them spell it out for me.
I'll never trust a Klingon.  Klingon bastards killed my son.  -- Captain James T. Kirk, USS Enterprise NCC-1701

1LMan

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Re: Non-Bar Law Degree
« Reply #4 on: January 14, 2008, 11:47:59 AM »
Regardless of what degrees you have, one can't be advising clients of their legal rights without being a lawyer.  It simply isn't ethical and a financial planner sure as hell shouldn't be writing a will or trust or anything like that.

jd2008

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Re: Non-Bar Law Degree
« Reply #5 on: January 22, 2008, 03:26:39 PM »
some bar approved law schools have "executive JD" program to those who want to graduate sooner and not practice law or sit the bar. An example is

http://www.scups.edu

thorc954

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Re: Non-Bar Law Degree
« Reply #6 on: January 22, 2008, 03:34:59 PM »
Regardless of what degrees you have, one can't be advising clients of their legal rights without being a lawyer.  It simply isn't ethical and a financial planner sure as hell shouldn't be writing a will or trust or anything like that.


agreed, i would just play it safe, tell your clients to get see an attorney (which is what you should be doing anyway)...

online schools suck.  There is absolutely no point to the degree...  if you want to learn about trust, but a book on it or search through the internet.  Avoid giving legal advice at any cost though.

jd2008

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Re: Non-Bar Law Degree
« Reply #7 on: January 27, 2008, 02:04:58 PM »
I would say play it safe. Dont pretend to be a lawyer if your not licensed, but if you want the education go for it. Many employers will reconise it even if its "executive jd" as long as it is at least nationally accredited. Best of all it would help you as a person if you really do want it. Some employers might even reimburse you, but I'd check first on that with your own boss first.

jeffislouie

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Re: Non-Bar Law Degree
« Reply #8 on: January 29, 2008, 10:40:06 AM »
you'd think that the ones that are nationally accredited by DETC which is reconised by the US dept of education would have to meet some standards.

You'd think.
Then again, a quick perusal of the DETC standards and you can see why their accrediation is fairly worthless:
http://www.crnaa.org/CPEC%20Response%20Addendum%20III%20Faculty.pdf

Law schools, graduate schools, and colleges/universities have a higher standard to live up to.  They worry very little about their accreditation standard and focus more on their legacy and reputation.  If they turn out graduates with a high level of knowledge, it reflects highly on them.
On-line universities rarely get referral business.  People rarely go to them to dedicate their efforts to acheive mastery of a topic - most people that attend these on-line colleges do so to qualify for a raise.  I found out the other day that one of my friends worked for phoenix online selling to potential students.  That is not made up.  His job was to convince potential students to sign up and enroll.

To illustrate the issue, put yourself in a hypo:
You are a managing attorney for a boutique firm.  Every year, you are bombarded by hundreds of resumes.  One pops across your desk from a potential employee who graduated from an online program.  Are you going to hire him, or any number of attorneys that went to any real law school?
Let's say you are the ceo of a small but growing company.  You are looking for a competent cfo.  You have candidates with MBA's from the following schools: 1 got his MBA from Illinois State University and the other got his MBA from phoenix online university.  Which would you hire?
When the choices are there to be made, it is pretty clear that the value of the degree from an online institution is questionable at best and a serious disadvantage at worst.
To the OP:  Why do you need to be a lawyer to advise people on trusts and estate planning?
Isn't that something that can be acheived by taking a few classes and getting board certified?
http://www.icfs.com/designations/BCE_Curriculum.html
Justice is tangy....

DanteHicks

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Re: Non-Bar Law Degree
« Reply #9 on: January 29, 2008, 01:36:46 PM »
In these times, the reality is that the ABA could be construed as a monopoly on legal education.  While it's true there is a need in the legal profession to have set standards, watchdogs, etc....ultimately it's just a way to charge law students more money.  I have read posts like these time and time again and kept silent but no more.

Is a law degree from a non-ABA school worthless?  Well, what is your definition of worthless?  Can't practice big law, hard to practice outside of the state your non-ABA school was in, stigma; all of these, sadly, are truths of having a non-ABA degree.  Ok, but why is it this way?  Can it be said that overall, the law education received at an ABA school is superior?  If you can say that then can you say that without smirking or can you say that while looking at yourself in a mirror?  I think not.

Here's some ideas to consider (mind you I'm speaking about brick 'n mortar non-ABA schools..not sure yet what to make of online law degrees):

(1)  A non-ABA school (that's worth a flip and yes...there are such schools) utilizes the SAME casebooks, hornbooks, etc.  SAME COMMON LAW, same rules, same principles and by gosh...I would bet a shiny new silver dollar that students from BOTH ABA & non-ABA use the SAME study guides (canned briefs, Gilberts, Glannons..whatever).  Law is law...period.

(2) Students from non-ABA & ABA schools take the SAME...hello...SAME bar exam.  The SAME.  Does the curve get messed with?  Do ABA students get more benefit of the doubt when their essays are graded? Who really knows? Would any of the test graders tell us if they did? Probably not.

(3) Who are your professors?  Of course who am I to judge...yet...think about these facts objectively.  Traditionally, non-ABA schools tend to utilize actual attorneys and judges to teach class whereas ABA schools tend to use professors who mostly live in the academic realm.  More philosophy, more mind games, etc.  Of course there are exceptions and I know that a great deal of ABA professors are legal geniuses and have and do practice law.  In the non-ABA setting, students may get more of a practical education,  particularly in the state-specific area.

(4)  Truth be told....yes 0Ls & 1Ls....by your 3rd or 4th semester...you can TEACH YOURSELF the law!!  Shhhhhh...don't tell anyone.  That's what you do in law school anyways...well plus the hazing and mind-numbing case briefing.  Please don't misconstrue this as egotistical or unfounded gibberish...I'm just a simple, average intelligent guy who happened to notice the truth and will say it openly.  Those of you who are in denial...think about it some more.  I do not know it all and I'm by no means brilliant...just simple obervations.  Does law school have it's usefulness?  Yes of course..it keeps you disciplined, focused, and provides an easy way to measure your progress, but most importantly they give you the basic tools to analyze law and cases.  In the end though...really you're teaching yourself.  So again..ABA...what's the point?  Huge student loans...the price of paying for a name..just like a pair of Levis.

You are paying for the privilege to play lawyer in big arenas.  It's an old elite club where you have to pay your dues.  If that's what you need or what you want...you should grasp it and never apologize!!  For those of you who want to practice the noble profession of law but can't afford it or couldn't go while you're younger and now have to fend for a family...then non-ABA will let you fulfill that dream.

Believe this or not...some young attorneys with mortgage-like student loans have actually said these words when they met other attorneys who attended a non-ABA school:  "Man...I wish I had gone that route".

We all come from different walks of life.  Do not demean someone because of WHERE they got their JD or how much they paid for it!  Walk in someone else's shoe first before you criticize non-ABA schools!

Where do I attend school?  You'd be surprised actually.  Does it really matter where I attend law school?  No...that's my whole point here.

The world is my garbage can.