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Author Topic: Link to California Bar Website w/Distance and Online Registered Law Schools  (Read 3822 times)

financialandtaxguy

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To the Curious and Ignorant,

There is a lot of drama posted regarding the legitimacy of certain law schools in California, so here it is straight from their website.  As a current or future lawyer, remember you don't win an argument by inaccurate and misleading statements, so buckle up, and do your research.  Those of you who have been scared off by ignorant comments about online or distance learning law schools, California does have standards for these non-traditional law schools.  Remember, the old common law that most of us study are probably from lawyers and judges who did not attend Harvard or Yale, many of them were non-traditional, but had one very important ingredient - good moral character!

I am a Financial and Tax Adviser by trade, and have been researching law schools for over 15 years now.  If lawyers want to do business with me and my clients, I first usually interview them for their competency, because I don't care what law school they went to or if they passed the bar exam, they must prove to me they know what they are doing, then show good moral character, and that they are not trying to build their cabinets with Wills for future probate or Trusts for future settlement (lawyers know what I'm talking about here i.e. income in the future from probate and settlement fees after their or my client dies).

I chose Northwestern California University School of Law, for the content and price.  I failed the Baby Bar the first attempt but studying now for the second attempt.  I don't appreciate, as a professional with experience working with law, that I have to go through this extra hurdle of the Baby Bar here in CA.  But anyway, at age 51, I will have to see how much I will put up with.  I plan on using the Attorney License to continue in my work in Estate Planning and Contract Law.

For those without a Bachelors degree, please note that you only need 60 credits of college work to start at these online or distance learning law schools listed on Calbar.  So, here it is, the link you need to get started!

http://admissions.calbar.ca.gov/Education/LegalEducation/LawSchools.aspx

FalconJimmy

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I chose Northwestern California University School of Law, for the content and price.  I failed the Baby Bar the first attempt but studying now for the second attempt.

I don't mean to be cruel here, but don't you see this as a problem?  The education you receive wasn't even sufficient to get you past the baby bar.

You seem an intelligent, professional, competent individual. 

I believe you mentioned you are a CPA.  What if you could become a CPA through an alternative method of certification that didn't involve, say, finishing your bachelor's degree? 

CPAs are actually going the OTHER direction, requiring MORE education.  Plus, there's an experience requirement and a rigorous exam involved. 

Surely the practice of law is AT LEAST as involved as the practice of accountantcy.  I think you can understand that most people would consider it far more involved in both breadth and depth.

I know I sound like an old fuddy duddy because I'm defending the old school methods, but frankly, I got an MBA back in the 90s, and the fact that it is, essentially, a degree for which there are no standards whatsoever, has essentially rendered it a totally useless credential.  I virtually never mention it, but when I do, I also mention the school just so nobody will confuse it with an "executive" program at a non-AACSB school or worse yet, some correspondence or internet degree.

We have too many lawyers in this country as is.  The last thing we need to do is start abandoning the standards we have to throw the doors wide open to people who can't be bothered to attend a real law school. 

I understand the difficulties involved.  That's part of the reason why I wasn't able to do this until my mid-40s.  However, again, I don't see the few hurdles involved as being unreasonable in any way.

Just my two cents. 


financialandtaxguy

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I chose Northwestern California University School of Law, for the content and price.  I failed the Baby Bar the first attempt but studying now for the second attempt.

I don't mean to be cruel here, but don't you see this as a problem?  The education you receive wasn't even sufficient to get you past the baby bar.


No offense taken!  But don't confuse my limitations at age 51 with my probabilities of passing the Baby Bar on first attempt at an earlier age.  So, if we are judging the school by the failing of the Baby Bar by one of it's students, then what does that say about the many that passed the Baby Bar and General Bar on first attempt, from the same school?  Therefore, if the teaching is the same for all students, which is the case more consistently with online and distance learning, because we are not subject to hearing different lectures of the same course, by the same instructor, then I would say the determinative is not the content as much as it is the student's perseverance, and cognitive and intellectual abilities.

If you remember from my post, I also mentioned that I usually interview all lawyers who want my business or business with my clients.  The reason I interview prospective lawyers, is because I know from experience, that they are not all competent, and I don't ask them where they went to school, I want to know the quality of their work and their intentions with my client.  I learned more about Estate Planning, a very complex area of expertise, from a non-lawyer, and in this area of my practice, I make darn sure the lawyer I choose knows what he is doing otherwise he has no business with me or my client.

I believe that traditional law schools are over-rated, and the more esteemed ones, seem to be more liberal (now I'm revealing some of my political persuasion).  My contentions are not against the student of law as much as it is against the inflated cost of the system of education and exam method used to make lawyers by traditional methods.  I guess if I needed the status of a traditional law school, I may have chosen that avenue, but I would still be gambling at the outcome.  But I'm beyond that now, I am a Registered Investment Adviser, Tax Accountant, Financial and Estate Planner, and Business Consultant, and I thank God that he had me go down that path first, otherwise I would be a starving and desperate young law school graduate.  So, now after a 20 year waiting period, I want to add the Attorney license to my practice so I can continue on with complimentary work, and therefore a traditional school I don't need.

So maybe the point is employability for those who are not in a law related profession yet?  I don't know, I'm not in those shoes!  Maybe someone who has graduated from a distance or online learning law school can speak to the issue of employability.  I re-emphasize from my perspective, I will do business with an online or distance learning law school graduate who can demonstrate competence in Estate Planning and Tax Law.  Nice chatting with you!

john4040

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So, if we are judging the school by the failing of the Baby Bar by one of it's students, then what does that say about the many that passed the Baby Bar and General Bar on first attempt, from the same school? Therefore, if the teaching is the same for all students, which is the case more consistently with online and distance learning, because we are not subject to hearing different lectures of the same course, by the same instructor, then I would say the determinative is not the content as much as it is the student's perseverance, and cognitive and intellectual abilities.

The problem with this argument is that you haven't provided any evidence for it.  In fact, the evidence indicates to the contrary.  The school's bar and baby bar passage rates are absolutely abysmal.  Although a select few (35%) may manage to pass the baby bar through their "perseverance, and cognitive and intellectual abilities," only 26% of those select few actually go on to pass the California Bar.  If there isn't a problem with the education received at Northwestern California, why do the best-of-the-best (i.e., the 35% that passed the baby bar and are, therefore, eligible to sit for the bar) continuously fail the California bar?

Edit:
For the years 1997 through 2010, 164 Northwestern California graduates have taken the California Bar Examination as first-time takers; of that number, 42 passed the examination for a pass rate of 26%.

In October 2010, thirty-four Northwestern California students took the California First-Year Law Students’ Examination (the “Baby Bar”) for their first time. Twelve (35%) passed.

financialandtaxguy

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So, if we are judging the school by the failing of the Baby Bar by one of it's students, then what does that say about the many that passed the Baby Bar and General Bar on first attempt, from the same school? Therefore, if the teaching is the same for all students, which is the case more consistently with online and distance learning, because we are not subject to hearing different lectures of the same course, by the same instructor, then I would say the determinative is not the content as much as it is the student's perseverance, and cognitive and intellectual abilities.

The problem with this argument is that you haven't provided any evidence for it.  In fact, the evidence indicates to the contrary.  The school's bar and baby bar passage rates are absolutely abysmal.  Although a select few (35%) may manage to pass the baby bar through their "perseverance, and cognitive and intellectual abilities," only 26% of those select few actually go on to pass the California Bar.  If there isn't a problem with the education received at Northwestern California, why do the best-of-the-best (i.e., the 35% that passed the baby bar and are, therefore, eligible to sit for the bar) continuously fail the California bar?

Edit:
For the years 1997 through 2010, 164 Northwestern California graduates have taken the California Bar Examination as first-time takers; of that number, 42 passed the examination for a pass rate of 26%.

In October 2010, thirty-four Northwestern California students took the California First-Year Law Students’ Examination (the “Baby Bar”) for their first time. Twelve (35%) passed.

Thank you!  I think you have made my point more than you know.  It only takes one student to pass the Baby Bar and General Bar the first time to prove my point, it doesn't have to be a majority, and that one student doesn't pass by luck, when all things are constant in the equation except for the student's perseverance, cognitive and intellectual skills.  Thanks for the Stats!

john4040

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Your response is why they need a test for minimum competency.  Need to work on those reasoning skills.  Thanks for the laugh!




FalconJimmy

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Thank you!  I think you have made my point more than you know.  It only takes one student to pass the Baby Bar and General Bar the first time to prove my point, it doesn't have to be a majority, and that one student doesn't pass by luck, when all things are constant in the equation except for the student's perseverance, cognitive and intellectual skills.  Thanks for the Stats!

Let me try throwing a different spin on this.

The basic dings against standard classroom education are that it is very time-intensive, inconvenient and that there are better ways for people to absorb the material.

I don't think anybody ever said that classroom education is the absolutely optimal way for everybody to gain their highest level of mastery. 

It's sort of like a factory:  takes a large number of people and educates them in a manner that the vast majority meet some minimal standard at the end.  Some small number get really, really good, probably due to individual initiative.  Some small number fail, probably due to lack of ability or individual initiative.

However, MOST people gain the minimal level of competency that the classroom experience was meant to provide.  Most brick and mortar schools, near as I can tell, have a bar passage rate of 80-90% or thereabouts.  One school here in Ohio just had a 100% bar passage rate.  I'm sure it's not the only one.

However, when you have an educational experience where the MAJORITY of students do not pass tests of minimal competency, that is a pretty severe indictment of the process that educated them.

Yes, some will pass.  Hey, people are smart.  People are dedicated.  Frankly, you could probably find some segment of the population who would find a way to pass the baby bar and bar with no law school, whatsoever.

We're not talking about the students here.  We're talking about the process that educated them.

The current 3 years of law school in a classroom is a system that, no doubt, could be refined.  Maybe it shouldn't take that long.  Maybe they should re-introduce pre-law required coursework in undergrad.  Maybe different classes could be introduced.  Maybe a greater reliance on internships. 

However, GENERALLY SPEAKING, the current process produces 80-90% success at passing the bar exam, and thus being admitted to the bar.

Again, I don't mean to be cruel.  I don't think of myself as an elitist.  However, if brick and mortar schools need improvement, good lord, online education, frankly, needs to be scrapped and built up from scratch.  The amount of worthwhile stuff in online education is very small.  The amount that needs a complete overhaul is huge. 

What's it to me?  Honestly, I don't care.  If you want to get your education this way, more power to you.  I sincerely hope you find what you're looking for.  However, I wouldn't advise anybody I know to pursue this route. 

It's a shortcut.  People recognize that.  Prospective students are attracted because they like the idea of a shortcut.  Employers are turned off because they generally don't want employees who are looking for the easy way out or a way to avoid paying their dues. 

The results are pretty clear:  it's a shortcut to nowhere.

financialandtaxguy

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Thank you!  I think you have made my point more than you know.  It only takes one student to pass the Baby Bar and General Bar the first time to prove my point, it doesn't have to be a majority, and that one student doesn't pass by luck, when all things are constant in the equation except for the student's perseverance, cognitive and intellectual skills.  Thanks for the Stats!

However, when you have an educational experience where the MAJORITY of students do not pass tests of minimal competency, that is a pretty severe indictment of the process that educated them.

Yes, some will pass.  Hey, people are smart.  People are dedicated.  Frankly, you could probably find some segment of the population who would find a way to pass the baby bar and bar with no law school, whatsoever.

We're not talking about the students here.  We're talking about the process that educated them.

The current 3 years of law school in a classroom is a system that, no doubt, could be refined.  Maybe it shouldn't take that long.  Maybe they should re-introduce pre-law required coursework in undergrad.  Maybe different classes could be introduced.  Maybe a greater reliance on internships. 

What's it to me?  Honestly, I don't care.  If you want to get your education this way, more power to you.  I sincerely hope you find what you're looking for.  However, I wouldn't advise anybody I know to pursue this route. 

It's a shortcut.  People recognize that.  Prospective students are attracted because they like the idea of a shortcut.  Employers are turned off because they generally don't want employees who are looking for the easy way out or a way to avoid paying their dues. 

The results are pretty clear:  it's a shortcut to nowhere.

I guess we agree to disagree here folks.  Again I will say that logically speaking, if an online law school teaches the same material to all its students without variation, and 1 out of 10 students pass first attempt on Baby Bar and General Bar, then obviously the variable is the student's perseverance, cognitive and intellectual skills.  Let's not overcomplicate this equation.  Most online and correspondence students have to be very, very, self-motivated, disciplined, and sacrificial with their family, work, and free time to accomplish what is necessary to be a successful online or correspondence law student.  Online students pay more substantial dues than just classroom responsibilities and over-inflated tuition, as most of us have or had families to support and full-time jobs or careers.

I repeat, as a Financial and Tax Adviser, if lawyers want to do business with me and my clients, they need to prove to me competency in Estate Planning and Tax Law, and I and my colleague will not and do not ask them where they went to Law School, but will we will test their knowledge, experience, and ethical behavior.   

If you or your colleagues take MCLE courses online, remember what you said about online learning!  Thanks for the chats and have a great Sunday!


FalconJimmy

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I guess we agree to disagree here folks.  Again I will say that logically speaking, if an online law school teaches the same material to all its students without variation, and 1 out of 10 students pass first attempt on Baby Bar and General Bar, then obviously the variable is the student's perseverance, cognitive and intellectual skills. 


Total agreement.  We have an educational process whereby 90% of students fail.  The 10% probably succeeded due to "perseverance, cognitive and intellectual skills."

What conclusion to draw from that?  You obviously draw the conclusion that the education was sufficient, but 90% of students are just not very good students.

I see it the other way.  When 90% fail, that means the education was insufficient and that the students who succeeded did it despite the education, not because of it.

At a minimum, it shows that 90% of the people enrolling in these schools are just flat-out being ripped off.  Honestly, from an ethical standpoint, I can't believe the state of california won't put a smackdown on institutions that are robbing 90% of their students.





Let's not overcomplicate this equation.  Most online and correspondence students have to be very, very, self-motivated, disciplined, and sacrificial with their family, work, and free time to accomplish what is necessary to be a successful online or correspondence law student. 

Online students pay more substantial dues than just classroom responsibilities and over-inflated tuition, as most of us have or had families to support and full-time jobs or careers.


Gotta disagree on that one.  There are plenty of part-time and evening ABA accredited programs out there.  Even full-time students sometimes have all those issues, too.



I repeat, as a Financial and Tax Adviser, if lawyers want to do business with me and my clients, they need to prove to me competency in Estate Planning and Tax Law, and I and my colleague will not and do not ask them where they went to Law School, but will we will test their knowledge, experience, and ethical behavior.   



Good luck with that.  When you get done vetting a few dozen attorneys, you might even have time to do some Financial and Tax advising that decade.

passaroa25

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One thing neither of your have offered is that the Baby Bar concept is designed to have a lot of students fail.  Most people who are studying law school online are not rich kids with enough resources to sit and just read for 8 to 12 hours a day, seven days a week.  They are enrolled in online courses either because they don't have the financial resources to attend a brick and mortar law school or because they don't have the time to attend law school full time.  I would bet that a good portion of online law school students don't have the financial resources and (because of family commitments) don't have the time.  As a result, studying for anything on a part time basis almost guarantees that you will need more than one year to fully grasp all the concepts.  I went to a brick and mortar law school and left after one year because financial aid was not as available for law school students as it is now.  And, I knew much more about legal analysis after attending California Southern School of Law online than I did after attending Mercer University School of Law.  I believe that the students who fail the FYLSE really did not received a poor education.  I believe they simply were not given enough time to absorb all they needed to know to pass the FYLSE the first time.  I would bet anyone that if online law school students were given at least two years to absorb all the black letter law from criminal law, contracts, and torts, the pass rate would be much higher. 
Angie