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Author Topic: 2nd JD at 1st-tier school: possible? Will holding an online JD hurt my chances?  (Read 1949 times)

pkcdave

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Hi all,

My situation is distinctly unconventional, and I'm hoping for some help on thinking it through.

My current situation: I had to leave a top-10 US undergrad program in my 2nd year for personal and financial reasons, and I'm not planning on returning to complete that undergrad degree within the next few years. (I hope to complete this degree eventually, preferably at the same institution, but I may ultimately end up transferring.) I'm a few credits shy of the 60 that the California schools seem to want, but I could make those up somewhere in the next few months. My plans at this point call for me to be out of the country more than half the time over the next few years, mostly in the Southern Cone of South America. (For the curious, I'm a natural-born US Citizen from the Northeast, and no family ties to SA). My ultimate goal is to to complete my obscenely expensive top-notch undergrad degree and (potentially) go on to an obscenely expensive top-notch law school (after which I would want to practice some kind of public-interest law -- or I might just say **** it and go for a humanities PhD). Haven't taken the LSAT, but my SATs (older version) were 800 Verbal, 780 Writing if that's any indication.

Now, all this said, I'm (1) flat broke and hell-bent on avoiding any more loans, and (2) a square peg in a round hole, entirely comfortable with blazing my own trail. I stumbled upon the existence of these California schools by sheer chance, and it gave me some nutty ideas. To wit: suppose I were to do everything ass-backwards?!
:-D

Could I:
*Finish up my 60 credits
*Enroll in one of the CA law schools
*Graduate with a JD
*Pass the California bar
*Spend some time practicing law, either in California or in another state that I might challenge to let me sit the bar (and/or remotely from South America? I hear that's possible...http://www.law.com/jsp/lawtechnologynews/PubArticleLTN.jsp?id=1202489275110).
*Use my lawyer's fees to pay for completing my undergrad (!) (with flying colors, of course), and
*Ultimately apply to a top law school as an already-practicing lawyer (!).

My question: How do top schools feel about offering second JDs? Would the admissions committees be scandalized and slam the door in my face? And would an unaccredited JD even count as a first JD to them? I don't expect them to offer any transfer credit, but would this bizarrely unconventional life trajectory damage my chances of admission?

john4040

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1. How do top schools feel about offering second JDs?
2. Would the admissions committees be scandalized and slam the door in my face?
3. Would an unaccredited JD even count as a first JD to them?

1.  They don't allow it.
2.  They wouldn't be scandalized, but, they would slam the door in your face.
3.  Yes.

FalconJimmy

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Your plan makes a lot of sense, except for the part about going back and finishing your undegrad, then applying to a top law school.

Although in many walks of life, and especially HERE, where you have prospective law students and law students, people regard getting into law school as a destination, it is not.

It is supposed to be a preparation for a journey, not the destination to a journey.

It is a 3 year school designed to prepare people for a 4-decade-long career. 

Once you have a law degree, even an unaccreditted one that only allows you to practice in California, you should view this as your journey beginning. 

Stop trying to hit the reset button.  This isn't a video game where if things don't go perfectly, you just start again from the beginning at no cost, in the hopes of getting a perfect score because the game isn't actually that challenging, otherwise.

You have probably deduced, correctly, that going to an online school is going to severely limit your opportunities.  For example, 49 states regard that education as grossly inferior and unlikely to ever produce a competent attorney.

In the 1 state where it is allowed, none of the best jobs will be available to you at graduation.

HOWEVER, there are other aspects of the law, especially if you're entrepreneurial, where you can make a great living.  If you want to handle divorces, criminal defense (especially DUIs), you can even try your hand at personal injury. 

Once you get that degree, your focus needs to be on building a great career in the law.  A great career in the law, at least in my opinion, is likely to involve six figure earnings.  If you manage that, then you aren't likely to want to go back to school at $0 in earnings for 3 years (or more if you go back and finish your undergrad). 

If you don't manage to make a career for yourself in the law? Then, frankly, you should probably consider that you're not cut out for this, and doubling down with another law degree might be singularly inadviseable.

passaroa25

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If you haven't already started, omit the online law degree and become a legal assistant instead.  Then, after you start working for a law firm, maybe that company will help you out with tuition and study time.  You don't need a B.A. to be a legal assistant.

If you are determined to get the online law degree anyway, start writing and publishing articles on legal issues.  Publish them online.  You won't get paid for them. But, your reputation as a legal scholar will be boosted.

Accredited law school admissions offices don't even consider online law degrees.  It's similar to zero in a math equation.  I wouldn't even bother to send an admissions committee transcripts from an online law school.  I did study at an online law school and later applied to apply to an accredited law school.  There isn't even a slot on the LSAC registration form for an online law school.  Like you, I don't have any money.  I have 3 degrees from brick and mortar schools and I have worn out my welcome for federal student loans.  I borrowed too much to complete the other degrees.  Now, I'm studying for th Certified Legal Assistant exam and I am on the civil procedure module at the Mid-Atlantic School of Law.  It is law school by correspondence.  My final project will be a book on domestic violence court opinions and statutes in California. 
Angie

passaroa25

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I'm writing these responses from my HTC G1.  I see that I left off the "e" in the word "the."
Angie

john4040

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I'm writing these responses from my HTC G1.  I see that I left off the "e" in the word "the."

There's a "Modify" button for that.   ;)

Specks

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I'm writing these responses from my HTC G1.  I see that I left off the "e" in the word "the."

Hah. Impressive. I wouldn't have the patience to text all of that out, however wonderful swype may be.

Hamilton

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Great analogy!

Stop trying to hit the reset button.  This isn't a video game where if things don't go perfectly, you just start again from the beginning at no cost, in the hopes of getting a perfect score because the game isn't actually that challenging, otherwise.

passaroa25

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I didn't even think about the "modify" button.
Angie