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Author Topic: Non-Bar Law Degree  (Read 28524 times)

amberadams

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Re: Non-Bar Law Degree
« Reply #40 on: March 22, 2008, 10:22:00 AM »
This debate is utterly pointless. It's along the same lines of Pepsi v. Coke, Democrat v. Republican, or Yankees v. Red Sox. Both sides are convinced they're right and no amount of arguing is going to change their minds, because when it comes down to the final tally both sides are right and both sides are wrong. Law school is a personal choice, and as reassuring as it might be to "prove" your school is objectively the bestest place in the whole wide world, there are too many subjective factors that go into that decision to truly make one school better than another.

Obviously, not everyone can go to Harvard. But let's suppose for a moment that things like time, money, geography, grades, and other challenges that often prevent admission to the top-rated law schools wasn't an issue. Would everyone still want to go to Harvard? I submit that the answer to that question, if we could answer it, still doesn't matter, because the question exists in a vacuum. Admissions committees aren't the only ones making the decisions in these situations. Students have their own priorities, too.

I only applied to one law school. It was a non-ABA night school, with a long and established relationship to the local community. I easily met the admissions standards. I might have applied to some ABA schools, and I probably would have been accepted to a few of them based on my grades and LSAT score, but frankly I studied it out and decided that the non-ABA school was the only place that met my needs. Time, money, and geography were my major concerns. I needed to have a regular job so I could continue supporting my family while I went to school, and ABA schools range from discouraging regular work to disallowing it (and for good reason). I could not justify going tens of thousands of dollars into debt for a degree, especially considering that the job prospects (even with an ABA degree) were not guaranteed. I also needed to stay close to home, which limited my choices to only a few schools from the outset.

Of course, there are tradeoffs for going to a non-ABA school. It's true that your degree is not as portable as it would be if you went to an ABA school. You are limited to immediately taking the Bar exam in only a few states, primarily your own. You might be able to expand that number if you're willing to make a special petition, and you can take the Bar in about half the states after you've been practicing for a few years. This was actually one of my least concerns. My family has lived in our state for a couple hundred years. I'm happy to live here for the rest of my life, too. I already work in the legal field and don't feel the need to establish myself in some other community. It's possible that some unforeseen circumstances in my future might inspire me to move somewhere else, but it's equally possible that I might decide not to be a lawyer. The risk does not outweigh the benefits in my case.

There is also a limitation on your job prospects. Some firms simply will not hire graduates of non-ABA schools. I wasn't very concerned by this because I don't want to work for those firms, anyway. I have a friend who went to Duke. He works for one of the more prestigious firms in town. His firm doesn't hire graduates from my school. He's earning money hand over fist, but he's miserable, primarily because he's stuck where he's at because he has to pay for his degree, and he doesn't enjoy the kind of law he's practicing or the ungodly hours he's expected to put in. It doesn't take very long in the real world to realize that money doesn't equal happiness. My job prospects are good enough with my degree that I can have a satisfying career in law and make a decent income, and those things are precisely what I want. Working for the more competitive firms that require an ABA degree does not appeal to me and is not the reason I decided to become a lawyer.

It all basically comes down to an issue of prestige. Since the ABA has not accredited our school (even if the school has never sought it) the assumption is that something in it must be lacking, and that will make our degree inherently less valuable. Other lawyers will not respect you and judges will think you're a hack. I think the people who raise this issue are typically being disingenuous. At least in my community, over half the judiciary graduated from my school, and over half the Bar is composed of its graduates. The firms that will not hire us are a minority. I think there is an understanding among professionals that after everyone has passed the same Bar, it's the lawyer you trust more so than the degree. That is undoubtedly different in areas where non-ABA schools are less accepted, but it is certainly the case where I will practice. Many of the attorneys in our community even regard graduates of my school as more prepared to practice law than the ABA school graduates, probably because our professors are practicing lawyers and judges (the majority of whom went to ABA schools), and they make a special effort to provide a practical curriculum as well as legal theory.

The truth is, law school is an investment, and like all other investments, there is a gamble involved. Students who attend an ABA school are taking a higher risk financially than those of us who do not, and therefore they need to believe that their risk is going to pay higher dividends than the dividends those of us who decided to be more conservative in our investment are going to receive. When these students start sniping at my degree, I try to keep in mind that it's their own insecurity as much as any actual concern that's doing the talking. I rest easy in the knowledge that I did not make my choice unwittingly. I took in all the information, weighed out the factors, and came to the right decision under the circumstances. If I end up being wrong, I didn't risk anything that I would regret losing later. If you can honestly say those things yourself, then your law school is right for you.

jd2008

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Re: Non-Bar Law Degree
« Reply #41 on: March 23, 2008, 02:19:34 PM »
very nicely written. Very good points based on life experience.

breakingthelaw

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Re: Non-Bar Law Degree
« Reply #42 on: April 17, 2008, 05:42:57 PM »
I totally and completely disagree with those of you who say that those enrolled in non-aba schools were too dumb to get into aba accredited schools. That remark is so close minded and stigmatized, I couldn't believe anyone with a brain would write that. I know many successful lawyers and judges who graduated from non-aba schools, while still maintaining to keep their integrity, which must be hard considering the degrading comments posted on this site. I wish you guys would take a step back and actually re-read what you have written. You should be ashamed.  We all have to pass the bar regardless of where we went to school (if the state allows). If one can manage to do that with an education from a non-aba school, then as far as I am concerned, they are just as smart as someone who graduated from UCLA's law school.

jeffislouie

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Re: Non-Bar Law Degree
« Reply #43 on: January 27, 2008, 02:41:22 PM »
While it may seem attractive to have somewhat of a legal education, this is the wrong way to go about it.
On line educations are typically worthless.  Think of it this way - if they don't have any educational requirements and accept everyone who applies, the degree is going to be worthless and the education is going to be limited, to say the least.
Plus, if you do graduate from a non bar approved law school, you won't be able to practice, which means you won't be able to give any legal advice whatsoever (well, maybe once then jail and a serious fine).
My best friend was conned into taking on-line courses in an attempt to get his masters degree.  Nevermind that the degree isn't worth the paper you print it on.  He was lumped into a group of people that he would be 'learning' with until graduation.  Their class assignments were required to be completed as a group.  My friend is smart.  The others were not.  He once emailed me a copy of part of a paper they had to compose.  He sent me an unedited section from a guy in rural alabama who was attempting to make his point by saying "That's like hooking up a horse trailer and loading it up with cows."
I'm not joking.
There is no quality of education in the online schools, which is why most aren't accredited by anyone.
That said, if you want to be able to advise your clients as to their estate planning needs, I'd recommend hooking up with a competent attorney and making a financial arrangement for referrals.
If you want to do it yourself, attend law school part time and get an actual JD from an accredited law school.  You can't cheat your way into a law degree, and going online is cheating.
OR, move to a state that doesn't require you to attend law school and take the bar.
Be warned....
Here's an article for your perusal....
http://www.boston.com/news/local/maine/articles/2008/01/19/self_taught_lawyers_vanish_as_more_states_require_law_school/
Justice is tangy....

jd2008

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Re: Non-Bar Law Degree
« Reply #44 on: January 27, 2008, 06:13:10 PM »
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.

Challenger3

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Re: Non-Bar Law Degree
« Reply #45 on: March 15, 2009, 04:31:04 PM »
the thing is, not everyone is suppose to be a lawyer.  anyway, the education differs because of both the socratic method (learning from less intelligent students is less likely to benefit you, and, the quality of professors is severely disproportionate at unaccredited schools).  That being said, the bar passage rates are unbelievably disproportionate which suggests that both the professors and the students have serious problems.


1) The argument (these are second career people, etc, etc.) isnt really going to cut it, because lots of tier fours have part time programs and so do many state schools which means that both people on a budget and people with lower lsats have options.

2) Its crazy to me to think that anyone would chose a non-aba school over an aba school when they really have a desire to be a lawyer.  Its like going in to the lsat and choosing, voluntarily, to only fill out half the exam.  It just doesnt make sense.


3) Anyway, I will agree that some things are comparable at both schools, but clearly some things are not (level of education, quality of students, job opportunities).

4) anyway, on the point of schools choosing not to be accredited, the dean of liberty(I think?) was saying a while ago that he didnt want to be accredited because he didnt want to deal with the requirements and regulations that the aba has.  I think it was liberty, forgive me if I am attributing that statement to another school.


5) Anyway, even if it is the same casebook in a class, the professor wont teach it as well and the student wont comprehend it as well.

6) And, same bar exam, but ill pass it my first try and get a job, and those students, if they are even allowed to take it, are not likely to pass if they even graduate and are even more unlikely to get jobs as lawyers.

Oh, and I agree with you completely on one thing, tax puts you to sleep.  however, i am going to go back to it for now.

if you get a chance, explain why anyone logical would want to go to a non-aba school This is a very interesting discussion. You rely heavily on your theory about the Socratic method. Why don't we use a little philosophy here. I think your assumption is flawed in the first place. The assumption that any student who gets into an ABA Accredited Law School can get into any ABA Accredited Law School. That is not the case when they all have different standards. Does that make them dumb? All it means is someone had a higher LSAT or GPA. Even though that might be the case Law Schools use diversity policies in their admissions. Some students get in that way. All of them don't fail. So your statement that they are all dumb is flawed on that premise too. You are free to respond.

thorc954

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Re: Non-Bar Law Degree
« Reply #46 on: March 15, 2009, 06:10:33 PM »
Wow, way to dig up posts from three months ago and attempt to get me into a debate.  I'm not doing getting into this argument.  This is clearly no way to convince you that going to a bad school is a bad idea.  I'm looking around my school name and watching kids less than 70 days from graduation that do not have jobs yet and really dont have leads.  They went to a good school.  How are people from non-accredited schools going to find anything to do in this economy?  If you want to take a gamble, take it.  I wont try to persuade you otherwise.

planman

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Re: Non-Bar Law Degree
« Reply #47 on: March 13, 2010, 05:23:43 PM »
Im a 45 year old investment advisor in NYC. Im considering Northwestern online law program in CA.  My reasons are simple, I cannot justify spending over 100K plus what ever income reduction I suffer due to my studies, Which could be as high as another 100-300K on getting a law degree.   Does anyone here know about Northwesterns online program its prices right at only $2850 year, but as many on the board have noted, price in not the only consideration.

My primary purpose in getting a law degree is increase my skills representing clients in New York based securities arbitrations.  As some may be aware you do not need to be a lawyer at all to represent clients in arbitration in New York.  New York has long held that representation by a non lawyer in arbiration is not the unauthorized practice of law.  Unlike Florida,GA, AZ and CT which have deemed non lawyer representaion in arbitration is a violation of their state UPL statues.

Thanks in advance for your comments

jacktrader38

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Re: Non-Bar Law Degree
« Reply #48 on: March 15, 2010, 09:05:44 PM »
Im a 45 year old investment advisor in NYC. Im considering Northwestern online law program in CA.  My reasons are simple, I cannot justify spending over 100K plus what ever income reduction I suffer due to my studies, Which could be as high as another 100-300K on getting a law degree.   Does anyone here know about Northwesterns online program its prices right at only $2850 year, but as many on the board have noted, price in not the only consideration.

My primary purpose in getting a law degree is increase my skills representing clients in New York based securities arbitrations.  As some may be aware you do not need to be a lawyer at all to represent clients in arbitration in New York.  New York has long held that representation by a non lawyer in arbiration is not the unauthorized practice of law.  Unlike Florida,GA, AZ and CT which have deemed non lawyer representaion in arbitration is a violation of their state UPL statues.

Thanks in advance for your comments


Hey I am a registered principal at a firm in FL and am in my 2nd yr at NWCU... I passed the BB on my first go around and would be happy to answer any questions for you. I have testified in several FINRA arbs. and am surprised to hear that one can represent in NY... many sec. lawyers I know here in FL won't touch a NY case due to UPL.

Anyway I am happy w/ what I have learned and scored an A on the FYLSE, which despite what many on this site may think is not the easiest of feats, especially while overseeing an office. 

GovLaw

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Re: Non-Bar Law Degree
« Reply #49 on: March 18, 2010, 03:42:57 PM »
I’ve not been on here in a long, long time, but the ignorance displayed in this thread is appalling.  I’m amazed that many of you are getting thorough law school with your apparently non-existent research skills. 

I just want to clear up a couple of points which have apparently been accepted as fact by the “research challenged”.

1.No state except the seven listed will allow a non-ABA graduate to practice under any circumstances – didn’t you bother to do any research?  Were you more preoccupied with bashing non-accredited schools than with facts?  Most states will allow non-ABA graduates to take their bar (and practice if they pass) after five years of active practice in a state where they have passed the bar.  While I have not checked exhaustively, I know of none which will not.

2.Online degrees are worthless, in any field – many fully regionally accredited universities now offer degrees online which are no different than those offered on campus.  I am not discussing law degrees here, as all online law degrees lack ABA accreditation and generally the offering schools lack any form of meaningful accreditation.  If a university has legitimate regional accreditation then it reasonable to assume the degrees granted are of a high caliber.  Many of these are state flagship universities.  Some of these institution offer programs such as Master of Science in Law degrees – perfectly legitimate for their intended purpose, but which will not allow you to practice law.

3.DETC - For online institutions DETC accreditation is better than nothing, but does not appear to present much in the way of standards.

4.Non-ABA Degrees are worthless – no, I don’t think so, but you have to go into it knowing what you can and cannot expect from the degree.  Some of the schools offering these degrees seem misleading and overall extremely dubious, so a great deal of caution would be advised.