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Author Topic: oL at Western State  (Read 4730 times)

Cher1300

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oL at Western State
« on: June 20, 2011, 02:33:22 PM »
Anyone starting Western State in the Fall?  OL here starting part-time evening.   :)

LegalFielder

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Re: oL at Western State
« Reply #1 on: August 15, 2012, 12:36:25 AM »
Uh oh, if you still have time then you should not enroll at Western State. 

SoCalLawGuy

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Re: oL at Western State
« Reply #2 on: September 20, 2012, 03:04:43 AM »
Why not, LegalFielder? I've never heard of bad reviews for Western State. Then again, it wasn't recommended to me either but seriously, why is it a bad idea ?

Maintain FL 350

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Re: oL at Western State
« Reply #3 on: September 20, 2012, 12:16:23 PM »
Why not, LegalFielder? I've never heard of bad reviews for Western State. Then again, it wasn't recommended to me either but seriously, why is it a bad idea ?
.

I didn't go to WSU, but my understanding is that they have a GPA policy that leads to very high attrition. All law schools are competitive and employ a grading curve, but I believe that WSU also requires students to maintain a certain GPA in specific core courses. I interned alongside a WSU student a couple of years ago and she said it made for a very high stress environment. (All law schools are high stress around exam time, but this sounded worse).

OTOH, the high attrition rates have helped WSU to increases its bar pass rates. I have mixed feelings about those types of policies. According to LSAC, attrition for the first, second, and third years combined was 52%. Of that, roughly 3/4 was due to academic attrition. That's pretty crazy.
 

Cher1300

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Re: oL at Western State
« Reply #4 on: January 08, 2013, 12:22:38 PM »
The gpa policy is actually called Foundation Law Points.  It has been very stressful wondering whether or not I got one after finals.  The requirement is that you must get a certain number of 2.5s in courses tested on the bar exam.  What is crazy is that you can have a decent gpa, even be on moot court, and be dismissed for not obtaining the required foundation points.  Part-time students must have 1 by the end of their 3rd semester or will be dismissed.  If a student does not have 4 by the end of their second year part-time, they will be dismissed.   Full time students must have 4 FLP's by the end of their first year or will be on probation regardless of their cumulative gpa.  If not, they are on probation and must get the 4 points prior to the end of their third semester or will be dismissed.  All students must have 8 FLP's when they graduate. As mentioned above, I believe the policy is done to have high bar passage rates for the school since they admit students with lower gpa's and LSAT scores.   Some students have no problem and get FLP's every semester, but many don't.  Hence the high attrition rate.     

livinglegend

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Re: oL at Western State
« Reply #5 on: January 11, 2013, 08:57:18 PM »
I know nothing about Western State never even visited the campus, but if you can't handle the pressure of a law school exam then your really going to struggle with the bar. I know attrition sounds bad, but having gone through the bar personally I can tell you 1L exams are an absolute cakewalk compared to the bar.

I don't imagine Western State requires people to get kicked out as that would make no sense if they think you are capable of passing the bar and you are paying them they will want you to succeed. However, if it does not appear you can handle 1L your much better of leaving then opposed to spending another two years of your life and 80,000 dollars to fail the bar. A J.D.without a license to practice law is really not that helpful in the real world.

I am not saying Western State is some pinnacle to legal education, but plenty of people attended Western State and are doing very well the head District Attorney of San Francisco is a Western State Grad, Head District Attorney of San Diego Western State Grad,

San Diego D.A.
http://www.sdcda.org/office/meet-da.html
http://members.calbar.ca.gov/fal/Member/Detail/74343 ( Bar Info)

San Francisco D.A>
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Gasc%C3%B3n
http://members.calbar.ca.gov/fal/Member/Detail/182345

I worked on a few cases in orange county and many of the city attorneys were Western State Grads and many were quite good. Bottom line is if you pass the bar from any school you are a lawyer it is extremly difficult to do though and realistically if you cannot handle 1L exams the bar is going to be literally impossible and your much better off getting out while your ahead.

Again I don't think Western State is some phenomenal school, but can get you a bar exam ticket and if you get a law license it is up to you to succeed with it. Sure going to Harvard will open more doors and attending Western State may close the door to becoming a Supreme Court Clerk, but not many people get those jobs anyways.

Just my two cents about the school having never been there, but I think that Western, Cooley, and many other schools get an unfair rap. If you think a law school exam is difficult when you are told exactly what the subject will be try balancing thirteen different ones for 3 days straight i.e. the California Bar Exam. Once you get into practice that isn't that tough either representing a client, getting objected to, being on time deadlines, etc is far more strenuous than the bar. The end of my rant  mercifully : ) and anyone that attends Western State good luck!



Cher1300

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Re: oL at Western State
« Reply #6 on: January 17, 2013, 05:55:00 PM »
You are absolutely correct livnglegend.  However as a student at Western State, I can tell you that Foundation Law Point system doesn't have that much to do with passing 1L exams.  There are two types of probation and dismissals there - Academic and Foundation Law Point.  Academic probation requires a student to maintain a 2.0 or above throughout their law school career.  The Foundation Point system is an additional requirement.  You can have a gpa of well above a 2.0 and still not get the 4 2.5s required in the courses tested on the bar.  The school will work with a student on FLP probation because they generally have gpa's above a 2.0, and do want them to stay.  However, many students have also been dismissed for failure to obtain these even though they were not on academic probation.  Just FYI...

Maintain FL 350

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Re: oL at Western State
« Reply #7 on: January 17, 2013, 06:43:08 PM »
Just my two cents about the school having never been there, but I think that Western, Cooley, and many other schools get an unfair rap. If you think a law school exam is difficult when you are told exactly what the subject will be try balancing thirteen different ones for 3 days straight i.e. the California Bar Exam.

I completely agree. I've worked with plenty of graduates of WSU, Whittier, Southwestern, La Verne, Chapman, Cal Western, and plenty of other local Socal schools. They've all been smart, successful attorneys, and a few were even judges.

Nonetheless, any policy that allows otherwise good students who have passing GPAs to be kicked out of law school seems unfair to me. I understand the purpose, and it's definitely helped WSU raise their bar pass rate, but I don't think it's necessarily picking on WSU to point out that this policy is uncommon and contributes to very high attrition.

Additionally, although a 2.5 requirement doesn't sound too bad, it really depends on the school's curve. I have no idea what WSU's curve is, but if the curve is low, you could end up with a significant number of people who receive passing grades but still fail to earn the required points.


livinglegend

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Re: oL at Western State
« Reply #8 on: January 18, 2013, 02:15:19 AM »
I really doubt Western State or any other school is doing anything to force students out. Remember all law schools are businesses first and foremost they want money, but I imagine these foundation points relate to bar performance and if you spend 100,000 and years of your life to get a J.D. and can't pass the bar that is tough.

I had a few friends in a law school that dominated mock trials, were great people, but never passed the bar. I imagine they woudl be great lawyers, but without passing the bar it all goes to waste. Western State does take in a lot of people that aren't great standardized takers and if it appears they can't handle these foundational classes they probably won't be able to pass the bar and the right thing to do is let someone go opposed to continuing to take their money when it seems quite likely they will be unsuccessful.

LegalFielder

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Re: oL at Western State
« Reply #9 on: January 18, 2013, 08:41:34 PM »
Western State's attrition rate always hovers around 50% and the 1L exams are not graded the same as most other law schools, which use a curved-system of grading.  Also, in Western State's eyes, it makes practical sense to force students out because the main reason they're ABA accredited is their bar-passage rate.  So Western lets in a large amount of students (more students then there is parking available), then they are able to get that federal aid money, then dismiss many of them in order to keep their bar-passage rate high.  They also entice students by providing scholarships knowing that most of the students will not be able to keep those scholarships.  If you look at the highest attrition rates in the country, you'll see that Whittier and Western State are consistently in the top 5.  Both law schools are located close to each other in Orange County, California but usually Whittier has a higher attrition rate their first year.  The foundation points program allows Western State to keep their first-year attrition rate lower than Whittier's while still being able to dismiss just as many, if not more, students to keep their bar-passage rate high. This gives potential law students the wrong impression about Western State's attrition rate.

I'm sure that there are dismissed students at Western that wouldn't have passed the bar the first time and should be dismissed, but I honestly do believe that Western dismisses many students that are actually able to pass the bar.  Look at the statistics for the bar exam by law school after Western State started their "foundation points" program: http://admissions.calbar.ca.gov/Examinations/Statistics.aspx#statsGBX.  You'll see that Western State is up there with schools that are actually ranked much higher.  In fact, for the February 2012 bar exam, Western State's bar passage rate was higher than every other ABA-approved CA law school.  That means Western State did better than Stanford, Berkeley, UCLA, USC, UC Davis, Loyola Marymount, Pepperdine, etc.  I highly doubt that Western State has a better law program than those schools. They are so afraid of losing their accreditation that they dismiss more students than they should, IMO.

I am fine with the academic dismissals (being dismissed for not having a 2.0 GPA or above) because most law schools operate However, the foundation points system is ridiculous and there is essentially no other law school in the country that uses a grading system like Western State.  Western State needs to do something about their "foundation points" program and/or the way they evaluate their students.