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Author Topic: Non-ABA J.D. + ABA LLM = Not eligible for D.C. Bar  (Read 10102 times)

gallagheria

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Re: Non-ABA J.D. + ABA LLM = Not eligible for D.C. Bar
« Reply #10 on: August 10, 2010, 05:39:52 PM »
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Americans with a J.D.

Americans with an unapproved JD is more accurate. Again, going to those schools, you need to know the risks. They close a lot of doors, because frankly, there are a lot of scam schools out there that just want your money.
How is it an unapproved JD? If it is an unaccredited schools then yes. But remember, all accrediting bodies are voluntary. From the regional to the national to the specific professional. A law school can be accredited by a regional body but still be non-ABA. I have seen J.D.'s accredited by a regional body and thus eligible for federal financial aid, but not by the ABA.  The JD is thus just as valid as a Ph.D. from the same university. Now, to practice law is a different issue. What about law schools that are not members of the AALS? Or what about those not members of the Order of the Coif? Many view these schools as losers with limited opportunities. 

I do agree with needing to evaluate the whole situation. Depending on what type of school you attend--unaccredited, state-accredited, ABA-accredited, etc.--you will have different options. But as long as you attend a school whose J.D./LL.B. will allow you to practice law where you want, then by all means go for it. As for cost, I have looked at some of these schools and most of the state-accredited schools are just several thousand dollars per year.

Personally, unless you have a decent job and only want to practice law on the side or test it out, then I say stay away from most limited schools. Attend only an ABA-school that will let you have portability. However, I know judges, lawyers, and politicians (federal and state) who have attended non-ABA schools.

pacelaw2013

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Re: Non-ABA J.D. + ABA LLM = Not eligible for D.C. Bar
« Reply #11 on: August 11, 2010, 07:24:31 AM »
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How is it an unapproved JD? If it is an unaccredited schools then yes. But remember, all accrediting bodies are voluntary. From the regional to the national to the specific professional. A law school can be accredited by a regional body but still be non-ABA. I have seen J.D.'s accredited by a regional body and thus eligible for federal financial aid, but not by the ABA.  The JD is thus just as valid as a Ph.D. from the same university

Sure, I am not saying that they are not schools. I am saying they are a waste since something like 40/50 states will not allow you to sit at a bar because they are not approved by the ABA. It is not the same as having a PhD. Sure, some doors in the non-law sector are opened up, but not enough to justify the cost of having this IMO useless JD. Also, lets not kid ourselves, most of these schools are not universities in the traditional sense, they are stand alone law schools in many cases.
Sure, once and a while there are success stories, I never said it was impossible. But its exceedingly rare. If every year they graduate 200-300 people, they are bound to get a couple of local politicians (those positions aren't all that hard to obtain, I have worked on a few campaigns and its all about who you know, not your background).


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A law school can be accredited by a regional body but still be non-ABA. I have seen J.D.'s accredited by a regional body and thus eligible for federal financial aid, but not by the ABA.

Ding! Ding! Ding! There is the problem. A law schools that is state-accredited will present it as if that is no big deal that its non-ABA since you can practice in one of these six states! I stated before, if you already have a job lined up in law (most likely real estate or something along those lines), have almost no chance of moving out of the state the school is in, or have some really really close friends at a firm, it is not a good investment. However, there are a lot of places that will not hire from there because A) you have NO flexibilty in where to practice, and B) They are considered substandard schools (for good reason!).

Now look, there are some very smart people that go there, I am not knocking the students of those schools. There are legitamite reasons to go to those schools. For example, my former teacher is going there in order to do minor legal consulting on the side while still working at the school. Fine, legitamite. I know someone else who wants to do real estate and handle the final paperwork, again, fine. But short of that its not a good idea (and no, politics is not a good idea since most state/local politicians aren't lawyers, most are small business owners).


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betazed

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Re: Non-ABA J.D. + ABA LLM = Not eligible for D.C. Bar
« Reply #12 on: August 26, 2010, 09:06:41 AM »
Florida Coastal's policy with respect to Americans with non-ABA J.D.s. actually is not so clear.  In one place, the web site describes the LLM program as being for foreign lawyers and in another it describes the LMM program as being for lawyers with degrees from foreign countries (which would include Americans with LLBs from any of the British external programs).
 
Rather than speculate as to the School's policy with respect to Americans with non-ABA J.D.s, I exchanged emails with and spoke directly with an administrator in the program. Although it expects to be asked at at some point, the school has never been asked to decide if it will accept Americans with non-ABA J.D.s.  The administrator with whom I spoke strongly preferred inclusion but emphasized that School had not decided the question. Given that FCSL is a for-profit operation, I suspect that it will decide to allow Americans with non-ABA J.D.s into the LLM program if asked to decide. As noted below, however, admission to the FCSL LLM is the lesser of the problems facing the non-ABA JD seeking admission in DC.

The bigger issue concerns whether the DC Bar will accept the FCSL distance LLM in fulfillment of its 26 hour requirement.  I exchanged letters with the DC Court of Appeals Committee on Admissions and learned that the Commottee interprets literally the rule that the student complete "26 semester hours of study in the subjects tested in the bar examination in a law school that at the time of such study was approved by the American Bar Association". Specifically, the Committee on Admissions requires those 26 hours to be completed while the student is physically present "in" the law school. So much for using the FCSL LLM in DC!

Someone with a non-ABA JD wanting to practice in DC has another option for satisfying the 26 hour requirement. The University of the District of Columbia 's David A. Clarke School of Law offers admission (competitive and the LSAT is required) to 5 non-degree students per semester for no more than 9 credit hours per semester.

passaroa25

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Re: Non-ABA J.D. + ABA LLM = Not eligible for D.C. Bar
« Reply #13 on: August 26, 2010, 02:32:32 PM »
You don't have to physically be in the school.  You just have to have 26 credits that consist of torts, criminal law, property, evidence, wills and trusts, civil procedure, evidence, constitutional law and any ohter subjects the bar exam tests.  The FCSL LLM teaches all those subjects. 
Angie

betazed

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Re: Non-ABA J.D. + ABA LLM = Not eligible for D.C. Bar
« Reply #14 on: August 26, 2010, 04:22:46 PM »
If someone can tell me how to post a .pdf here, I will include the letter signed by the Deputy Director of the Committee on Admissions in another post.  The following (including (Emphasis added)) is taken directly from his letter to me dated August 18, 2010.

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As you are aware, D.C. App. Rule 46(b)(4) provides that: An applicant who graduated from a law school not approved by the American Bar Association shall be permitted to take the bar examination only after successfully completing at least 26 semester hours of study in the subjects tested in the bar examination in a law school that at the time of such study was approved by the American Bar Association. (Emphasis added).

The Committee on Admissions' long-standing interpretation of the meaning and intent of above-underlined text is that a student's physical presence in an ABA-approved law school is necessary to meet this requirement. Accordingly, the Committee cannot not accept credits awarded by an ABA-approved law school which were completed through correspondence or online study.

It seems pretty clear to me that you do, in fact, "have to be physically in the school." I've got no reason to make this stuff up...I was hoping to to use the FCSL LLM precisely for the purpose of qualifying to sit for the DC Bar exam.

By the way, I also asked the Committee if the LLM program content satisfied their requirements.  The Committee limited its response to the statement above that it "cannot not accept credits awarded by an ABA-approved law school which were completed through correspondence or online study."

Swede1

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Re: Non-ABA J.D. + ABA LLM = Not eligible for D.C. Bar
« Reply #15 on: September 25, 2010, 01:38:28 PM »
@betazed.  Let me start out by saying that I am not the guy who will go after people for typos. I make more than my fair share myself. But in your post there is a fairly significant grammatical issue:

"cannot not accept credits awarded by an ABA-approved law school which were completed through correspondence or online study."

"Cannot not" would mean that they MUST accept those credits. So I'm curious if that is a typo? Or if that is actually what the admissions official said?

betazed

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Re: Non-ABA J.D. + ABA LLM = Not eligible for D.C. Bar
« Reply #16 on: September 26, 2010, 09:26:26 AM »
Great catch!

The letter from the Deputy Director actually does say "cannot not". I believe that the first sentence in the paragraph makes it clear that he meant "cannot" regardless of what he actually wrote.

I'll send him another letter to make sure.

passaroa25

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Re: Non-ABA J.D. + ABA LLM = Not eligible for D.C. Bar
« Reply #17 on: September 26, 2010, 02:32:59 PM »
Some ABA approved schools provide a limited number of law school courses online.  It's just that none of them advertise (or just don't offer) the entire J.D. program--from the first year through the third year--online.  This means that a law student, enrolled in a brick and mortar school, would be able to take a couple of electives online, through the school he/she is already enrolled in, and receive full credit for having taken that course.
Angie