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Author Topic: Cal Western  (Read 4252 times)

DannyJames

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Cal Western
« on: October 27, 2009, 06:48:13 PM »
Ok, now I am NOT interested in your view of Cal Western's ranking.  From everything I have read/seen from actual students/faculty, the school is a great place to be.  I am interested in the school itself, ie the atmosphere, faculty, and actual preparation for becoming a lawyer. 

any input would be appreciated :)
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HTNguyen

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Re: Cal Western
« Reply #1 on: November 18, 2009, 12:28:10 AM »
I actually applied there for Spring 2010 and was recently admitted. In addition, I applied to a number of other (better ranked) schools come Fall 2010. I'm seriously considering this school... have you visited the campus yet? I don't know much about the school. If anyone could shed some light, that'd be much appreciated!

credo

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Re: Cal Western
« Reply #2 on: November 23, 2009, 12:56:47 PM »
Anecdotal but 3 out of the 4 Cal Western peeps I know just failed the CA bar. One of whom was very highly ranked...

thedudeabides

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Re: Cal Western
« Reply #3 on: November 23, 2009, 01:15:10 PM »
The grading system for Cal Western is pretty weird.  I talked to the head of admissions at Cal Western last week and this is what I got out of it.

Cal Western uses a number scale.  90-95 is in the A range.  80-89 is in the B range.  74-79 is in the C range.  If you average below a 74 for the first year, THEY KICK YOU OUT.  Simple as that.  I read about some guy who had a 73.75 and was still asked to leave.

Cal Western does this to keep their bar passage rate very high (which it is).  I think it gives out some good scholarship money, and in an effort to compensate for this, admits a lot of unqualified individuals for sticker price.  Even if these unqualified individuals leave after the first year, Cal Western still gets first year tuition from them.

I was talking to a 2L there and she said it was weird because she made some friends first year, and at the start of second year some of them were gone. 


On the positive side, if you can maintain passing grades, I hear they have good connections with downtown San Diego, particularly at the DA's office.  They also have really good international externships.  The library was pretty decent as well. 

Yhezel

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Re: Cal Western
« Reply #4 on: November 28, 2009, 12:24:02 PM »
I actually applied there for Spring 2010 and was recently admitted. In addition, I applied to a number of other (better ranked) schools come Fall 2010. I'm seriously considering this school... have you visited the campus yet? I don't know much about the school. If anyone could shed some light, that'd be much appreciated!

If you mean the campus, I've visited, it is located in Downtown SD, close to bus routes and the SD trolley. The gaslamp district is nearby and there's housing availabe if you're willing to have a roomate. The staff was very helpful and so were the students I talked to. It has a very relaxed athmosphere. The campus is divided in three buildings, the library (a fairly modern building), administration, and classrooms, courtroom, student lounge-organizations, etc. You have to cross the street to go from one to another. Not big deal and weather is SD is always good.

It is located very close to major law firms and employers. The only problem is parking, I'm taking the trolley if I go there.

DannyJames

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Re: Cal Western
« Reply #5 on: November 29, 2009, 10:09:16 PM »
Thanks for the replies, finally haha!  I am retaking the LSAT next saturday and hopefully will improve on my current score.  but i have a friend that loved attending Cal Western, and the staff has been great through this process.  I will look to visit upon my acceptance, and I will definitely take into account the grading system.  Any other input would be appreciated! 
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Ninja1

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Re: Cal Western
« Reply #6 on: November 30, 2009, 12:25:07 AM »
Cal Western is good for what it is, but yeah, try to escape to somewhere better. I honestly considered the school before my LSAT came back, but in retrospect, I probably shouldn't have done that.
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DannyJames

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Re: Cal Western
« Reply #7 on: December 01, 2009, 12:28:06 PM »
Cal Western is good for what it is, but yeah, try to escape to somewhere better. I honestly considered the school before my LSAT came back, but in retrospect, I probably shouldn't have done that.

Thanks for the insight.  i want to practice in the SD area with the possibility of returning to Las Vegas.  USD is my only other real option, and unless i bump my score up to 165ish i won't be getting in there.  Cal Western has a draw because i have a connection back here in Vegas (allowing me to escape the "SD only" trap) and it's also where i can see myself practicing for many years. 
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MCB

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Re: Cal Western
« Reply #8 on: December 06, 2009, 12:15:53 AM »
Ok, now I am NOT interested in your view of Cal Western's ranking.  From everything I have read/seen from actual students/faculty, the school is a great place to be.  I am interested in the school itself, ie the atmosphere, faculty, and actual preparation for becoming a lawyer. 

any input would be appreciated :)

This is just my anecdotal experience, so take it for what it's worth...

I clerked at a non-profit in San Diego last summer.  The clerks were pretty evenly split between Thomas Jefferson, Cal Western, and USD students.  The actual supervising attorneys at this organization were all Cal Western grads, and they were very loyal to and proud of their school.  I mean, they had nothing but great things to say about the campus, the administration, the professors, etc.  Of course, to be fair, these are the graduates who became working attorneys.  Thomas Jefferson students were hungry as hell and were the most obviously hard workers, the Cal Western students were great and the USD students were the best leaders.

Through my job, I ended up connecting with a lot of other attorneys in the SD area.  I met a surprising number of solo practitioners- and they were all from either Cal Western or Thomas Jefferson.  They were working attorneys though, with, for the most part, successful practices. 

In general, my impression of the lower ranked law schools has improved through my real life experiences.  I know the odds are still against you and I don't disagree with the advice that students at lower ranked schools ought to be fully prepared for what they are getting into.  But there are flesh and blood graduates of Tier 3/4 schools that are not the fist dragging mouth breathers you start to picture when you're in the middle of law school apps and all anyone can do is proclaim lower ranked schools to be bastions of idiocy.  The Thomas Jefferson kids I worked with were very bright.  I felt like a pretentious ass thinking to myself, 'I wonder what their LSAT scores really were, why didn't they score higher?!'

I'm not advising you what to do because only you know what's best for you.  Nor am I asserting any conclusions about what my personal experience means, just throwing my random observations out there.
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moonpie

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Re: Cal Western
« Reply #9 on: December 07, 2009, 02:00:38 AM »
My concerns don't come from thinking t4 or unaccredited schools are full of mouth breathers - there's some fairly intelligent people there, though I do think the quality of writing and talent are significantly lower at those places. (My friend's mom is a clinical prof at a low-tier school, and just dipped her first toe into teaching a substantive class...and she confirms that the kids just aren't as smart or as good at writing as they are at better schools.)  PLenty of bad writing comes from good schools, mind you, but in the big picture it is a meaningful drop.


I think going to law school at all right now is a mistake -  I would wait a year or two and if the economy is picking up, go then.  But if you have to go, keep retaking it until you get a high enough score to go to a T1, or USD with money.