Deciding Where to Go > Acceptances, Denials, and Waitlists

What do you do when you get denied by every school you applied to??!

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CA Law Dean:
Idea for California applicants who are terminally wait listed or rejected. O.K. The 2013-2014 cycle is almost over and Plan A isn't working out. Gut check time . . . What is your most important objective? If the answer is becoming a lawyer . . . and not just becoming a "________" law school graduate . . . then it is NOT too late to consider one of the 17 California accredited law schools (such as Monterey College of Law) for Fall 2013. These regional schools are accredited by the State Bar of California, not the ABA. Many of them have very respectable bar pass rates (competitive with the unranked ABA law schools), are a fraction of the cost of the traditional ABA schools, and offer part-time programs so that you can actually begin working in law related jobs to gain relevant experience before graduating. Most have strong ties to the local bench-bar that result in jobs after graduation Of course this is not the path if your goal is to work in a large urban center in a multinational law conglomerate. But if the idea of being a small firm lawyer, DA, Public Defender, Legal Services lawyer, or solo practitioner is what you are after . . .  select one of the California accredited law schools in an area that you might like to live/practice and get an application in . . . right away. Then go visit to see if it fits your goals. Ask hard questions about bar pass rates, costs, job placement, clinical,programs, etc. Most of the non-urban areas of California need lawyers (despite the articles in the national news) and many of them are great places to live and raise a family if you have not already decided to be a big city lawyer.

The biggest limitation is that upon graduation from one of the California accredited law schools you must take (and pass) the California bar exam first. You cannot go directly to another state and sit for their bar exam until you are licensed in California (and some states will require minimum years of practice as well). That is why the option is primarily for those who already know that they want to live and practice in California. Bottom line, if you really want to be a lawyer, make it happen.

CA Law Dean:
An update on this topic for the 2014 cycle - If you were denied by every school you applied to . . . then you didn't have the right list! In these times of reduced applications to law schools across the country, if you have the passion and desire to earn a law degree (with the focus on EARN), there is no reason that you cannot get into an accredited law school. This doesn't mean that law schools are, or should, take every applicant. However, it does mean that there should be a law school that fits your profile.

For example, Monterey College of Law (disclaimer! where I serve as dean) has a rigorous academic support program for non-traditional students who may need supplemental workshops or tutoring to reach their potential. We are less interested in LSAT scores (a poor predictor) and are willing to consider special circumstances that had a detrimental effect on undergraduate GPA. For our older students who are returning to graduate school with considerable work experience, that undergraduate GPA is sometimes decades old . . . and has no relationship to the current potential of an adult student.

We look at every file from the perspective of evaluating the student's current potential to be successful in the study of law. Maturity, dedication, work ethic, academic passion . . . these are critical aspects of a successful law student.

If you have been denied admission by traditional ABA law schools that use a formula of LSAT/UGPA . . . consider a "Plan B" and look at one of the California accredited law schools such as Monterey College of Law. Feel free to send me a direct message if you have questions. If you want more information about California accredited law schools, check the posts on this site under the school specific comments in "M" for Monterey College of Law. Dean Mitchel Winick.


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