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Author Topic: New Non-Trad here  (Read 1926 times)

7Dreams

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New Non-Trad here
« on: February 22, 2009, 03:45:21 AM »
I've been reading posts and it would seem I'm pretty darn non-traditional.

I'm still trying to finish my AA in English at the CC. I'm a 30-something single parent. Don't have several years in any one industry on my resume (moved around a bit), and am currently working as a process server.

I have absolutely no idea how I'm going to do it, to be honest. But I love law and know for sure this is what I want to do.

It seems that there is a school in CA that I can go to without having my BA but this is all so confusing! I don't even know how I'll get my BA; CA waives tuition at the CC for low-income (which I very much am) so all I pay for now is books and that is hard enough.

My credit is thrashed. I've gone through foreclosure fairly recently, so I don't know if I could even get student loans. No, I don't have anyone that would loan me the money or co-sign for me.

So...do I have a chance in he** of making this work?

PaleForce

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Re: New Non-Trad here
« Reply #1 on: February 22, 2009, 01:06:54 PM »
Hey Dreams, welcome.  I don't know about the CA school that accepts AA's (is it ABA accredited?), but I think you would be in a much better position if you spent the two years and got your BA before applying to LS.  You'd have many more options when it comes to schools, and likely better career options upon graduating because you'll have gone to a more prestigious school.  Just a warning: Going to a non-accredited school can be an alright option for a few, very specific situations, but for most people it is an extremely bad idea.

Your first step seems to be finding out about getting loans for your BA--I have no idea how it works if your credit isn't the greatest.  If you can get loans for your BA just major in something you love that you'll be able to pull off the best grades in. 

Don't worry about being 30-something...there are a ton of people in their 30's and 40's in law school.  Good luck!

r6_philly

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Re: New Non-Trad here
« Reply #2 on: March 08, 2009, 12:37:28 AM »
I am late but federal stafford loans, subsidized and non subsidized, are not dependent on your credit, only financial aid. you should fill out a FAFSA and you will be eligible for grants and loans. independent students like me and you can make over 30k with 1 child and still go to undergrade without paying pretty much anything. and you can take out quite a bit extra on non-subsidized loans each year to support you going to school. so if you go to the cheapest state school, get the max amount of pell grants, and take out the highest stafford loan amount you are allowed to take out, you should be ok, may even have quite a bit left over to supplement your income (if you go full time and have to work less). Here in PA, the cheapest undergrad state university cost about 7000 a year, pell grant covers 5500, state grant cover the rest, and I can take out extra stafford loans, which they dont even check your credit. and stafford loans are low rate, its 6.8% now and going lower for the 09-10 year.

It may be tough for you to afford law school but undergrad you should be able to get through without paying anything.

phreejazz

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Re: New Non-Trad here
« Reply #3 on: March 08, 2009, 07:08:38 AM »
Hey Dreams,

I've researched taking the same route that you are talking about, also in California.  A couple of things... I'm assuming that you're talking about one of the Ca Bar committee approved schools, that is *not* ABA approved (so-called "access schools".)  A couple of them actually have decent local reputations (Lincoln Law School in San Jose is decently respected in Silicon Valley, for example.) Some of the schools are known in their respective geographic areas for professionals using the school to make career-shifts and the like.   On the other hand, some of them are known for taking students' money for a couple of years, and then failing them out before they have a chance to take the bar.  Of course, if they aren't even Ca bar committee approved, find another program.  Find Alumni and talk to them, see what they're doing, find out who the professors are and where they've practiced/taught, etc. etc.  I've talked to a few successful attorneys that came out of access schools.  You probably wouldn't be looking at working for a large "powerhouse" corporate firm with an access school J.D., but if that's not what you're going for then finding a career in law by this path seems very possible, with the right school.  From what I've seen and heard with my attorney friends, passing California Bar on the first try speaks relatively loudly on its own if you can pull it off, period.

That said, you would be limited in where you could practice, even after passing the Bar.  Many states won't let you even sit for their Bar w/out a B.A. and/or graduation from an ABA school.  And, finally, going to an ABA school can make finding financing easier. 

SplitFinger

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Re: New Non-Trad here
« Reply #4 on: March 09, 2009, 01:32:52 PM »
For crying out loud, you should never never never even consider going to a non-ABA accredited law school.

I mean seriously, what are you people thinking???
Emory '09

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dbgirl

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Re: New Non-Trad here
« Reply #5 on: March 12, 2009, 03:31:57 AM »
For crying out loud, you should never never never even consider going to a non-ABA accredited law school.

I mean seriously, what are you people thinking???
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phreejazz

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Re: New Non-Trad here
« Reply #6 on: March 12, 2009, 03:32:37 AM »
Kinda depends on the situation and the school in question.  Don't be *too* quick to write off all such programs.  For example, at last count in my local county (Santa Clara (silicon valley, basically)) several superior court judges, many court commissioners, the deputy chief of police, the vice-mayor of San Jose, many well-respected corporate lawyers for big silicon-valley firms, head of the bar assoc. for the neighboring county, etc etc  all came from non-aba schools.  If you can A) pass the California bar on the first try and B) develop the right connections, you're competitive in the job market.  One very real consideration though: the states that you can practice in will be very limited.