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Author Topic: Are CBA schools a joke?  (Read 10981 times)

Nor-Cal

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Re: Are CBA schools a joke?
« Reply #20 on: November 08, 2012, 01:47:34 AM »
Are CBA schools a joke?

Short Answer: Absolutely not.

Too many people believe there is a direct coloration between the school you attend and the perceived success you will experience as a result. The reality is that it is just one of several factors that contribute ones success; ability to win cases, attitude, maturity, education, experience, and work ethic all play a considerable role. So are CBA schools a joke. I would say some can be where others are excellent schools. It really depends on what your trying to do. I have never attended a CBA school, but I know a partner at a large law firm who did. Currently she has several attorney's working for her, some of which graduated from Tier 1 schools. Her success was not the result of where she went to school, but what she can bring to the table and produce. In the courtroom, she is an animal. Her reputation is awesome and nobody cares where she went to school; she even told me after you've established yourself as a good attorney, the topic of where you went to school is less and less of an issue beyond your first couple years practicing law.

I'll give you another example: I had a young Deputy District Attorney from a Tier 1 school working with me on a case involving a suspect that was arrested on 8 felonies and 3 misdemeanors. The evidence was strong and the case should have been a slam dunk. However, the Deputy District Attorney got bullied by the defense attorney so bad that his client walked.

On this board you'll often come across a younger demographic of students who are very opinionated and believe what school you attend is the biggest consideration that will follow you throughout your career. People can be very short sighted based on their very limited amount of life experience, and very opinionated based on their lack of maturity. Just remember a worthless attorney is a worthless attorney no matter where he/she went to school. What you have to determine is what do you expect to gain, and will a CBA school get you there. Only you can answer that one.

Good luck.


A.A., B.S., and soon to be 1L.
Operation Iraqi Freedom Combat Veteran

jonlevy

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Re: Are CBA schools a joke?
« Reply #21 on: March 05, 2013, 09:55:00 AM »
The CBA law school will get you a ticket to the California bar exam, it won't get you a job particularly in a competitive field like IT.  If you want to work for the Google legal department better suck it in and get a degree from the best law school that has the best program in IT law.  This is yet another case where being a thrifty Canadian will get you the sort end of the hockey stick.

baseball_2003

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Re: Are CBA schools a joke?
« Reply #22 on: March 09, 2013, 11:51:22 AM »
Have you heard anything about Monterey College of Law?  This is a CBA approved school as well. 

jonlevy

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Re: Are CBA schools a joke?
« Reply #23 on: March 09, 2013, 12:01:59 PM »

CA Law Dean

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Re: Are CBA schools a joke?
« Reply #24 on: April 08, 2013, 11:09:09 AM »
Thanks for the "plug" JL. CBE (Committee of Bar Examiner), also known as CALS (California Accredited Law Schools) are small, regional law schools accredited by the State Bar of California, not the ABA. Many of them have respectable bar pass rates (competitive with the unranked ABA law schools), are a fraction of the cost of the traditional ABA schools, and offer part-time evening programs so that you can actually begin working in law-related jobs to gain relevant experience before graduating. Most have strong ties to their local bench-bar that provide valuable networking for jobs after graduation.

In reference to the question . . . they would indeed be a "bad joke" if your goal is to work in a large urban center in a multinational law conglomerate or if you intended to move out of California within three years after graduation. But if the idea of practicing in California, being a small firm lawyer, DA, Public Defender, Legal Services lawyer, or solo practitioner is what you are after . . . and you like the idea of graduating with reasonable or no student loan debt, a CBE school is absolutely not a joke. Just like any other law school, before you get serious about a decision, ask hard questions about bar pass rates, costs, job placement, clinical,programs, etc. One of the most compelling arguments for the regional law schools is that most of the non-urban areas of California need lawyers (despite the articles in the national news) and many of them are great places to live and raise a family if you have not already decided to be a big city lawyer.

The biggest limitation is that upon graduation from one of the California accredited law schools you must take (and pass) the California bar exam first. You cannot go directly to another state and sit for their bar exam until you are licensed in California (and some states will require minimum years of practice as well). That is why the option is primarily for those who already know that they want to live and practice in California.
Monterey College of Law
www.montereylaw.edu

bobol

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Re: Are CBA schools a joke?
« Reply #25 on: April 29, 2013, 04:29:44 AM »
To "CA Law Dean"

Thank you for entering this discussion.

Please defend your position that CBA law schools ate not a joke by presenting detailed employment statistics (not antidotal or individual examples) of the employment histories of graduates at your school and graduates of other CBA Law Schools. 

Please also identify the CBA Law School at which you claim to serve as Dean.

Thanks.

livinglegend

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Re: Are CBA schools a joke?
« Reply #26 on: May 03, 2013, 02:21:41 AM »
He is the dean of Monterrey College of Law my two cents as a Bay Area attorney is that employment "stats" are highly inaccurate and do not reflect the reality that no matter what school you attend if you pass the bar and use common sense and have a modicum of social skills you can have a career as an attorney at least in California. It difficult to start out and I think without getting into costs, location, etc even CA Law Dean would agree having an ABA degree would be better than a CBE one, but CBE schools are great for certain people.

Overall are CBE schools a joke? They can be if your trying to get hired at Cravath or Latham, but so is a degree from a the 47th ranked ABA school. There will also be people out there who think CBE schools are a joke and plenty that don't. I have interviewed and hired CBE students for internships etc some were good some were not the same can be said for students at every law school I have dealt with in the Bay area GGU, Hastings, USF, etc. Whether a person is a good attorney has a lot more to do with the individual than the school they attended.

bobol

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Re: Are CBA schools a joke?
« Reply #27 on: May 04, 2013, 03:32:45 AM »

Let me again ask "CA Law Dean" to present employment statistics for his/ her schools recent graduating classes 2010, 2011 & 2013 similar to what the ABA requires its members to present.
http://employmentsummary.abaquestionnaire.org/

Please also provide bar pass stats for your school and the bar pass stats for other CAB schools.

Thanks.

Duncanjp

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Re: Are CBA schools a joke?
« Reply #28 on: May 05, 2013, 02:48:11 AM »
Let me again ask "CA Law Dean" to present employment statistics for his/ her schools recent graduating classes 2010, 2011 & 2013 similar to what the ABA requires its members to present.
http://employmentsummary.abaquestionnaire.org/

Please also provide bar pass stats for your school and the bar pass stats for other CAB schools.

The tenor of your posts sounds suspiciously like you would seek to discredit Monterey COL, its dean, and CBE schools in general if given the chance. Or at least to needlessly assert the superiority of an ABA education over the pedestrian variety of a CBE school. Correct me if I'm wrong. But that's how your posts read.

I attend a CBE school - Lincoln Law School of Sacramento. Our pass rate on the last bar exam was something over 50%, but less than 60%. I don't recall the exact number and I'm not inclined to look it up. Pass rates are posted on the State Bar's website if you want to see them. Nobody claims that CBE grads pass the bar in the same percentages that ABA grads do, or that they have any hope of even coming close. But CBE schools cannot be compared with ABA schools in many ways because unlike ABA schools, CBE schools are not populated with droves of 20-somethings with no professional experience and nothing to do but study the law. CBE schools are primarily attended by working adults, who juggle careers, families, mortgages and night school all at the same time. Landing a job in BigLaw is not on a CBE grad's bucket list. My classmates and I are already gainfully employed in career positions, primarily in law or closely-related fields. A significant number of my classmates work in government - that's Sacramento for you. But the point is that CBE grads do not typically get their degrees and then commence a desperate hunt for lucrative work in the impacted field of law. ABA grads have got that covered well enough without our help. A CBE education is more often a tool to further existing careers. I doubt that most CBE schools keep meaningful records of how many grads are working in law nine months after graduating, although I could be wrong on that point. They definitely keep tabs on who passed the bar. But such records arenít mission critical the way they are with ABA schools, regardless. ABA schools are flooding the country with well-educated, but inexperienced, highly-indebted young people competing for a handful of jobs, many or most of which pay only moderate salaries under the best of circumstances. The employment stats for CBE graduates actually look pretty good, at least to the end that most of us already work in the legal field and we don't seem to have the same problem on average of having to scramble to find employment after graduating.

Furthermore, the affordability of CBE schools means that even those grads who have assumed some debt by the time they finish are not laden with the chains of Jacob Marley. What you probably want to hear is whether any significant percentage of CBE grads are working in BigLaw nine months after graduation. The answer is no. BigLaw is the province of top ABA schools. But it's a hell of a big country, and legal services are needed everywhere. Of all the legal services provided in this country, what percentage is handled by traditional, BigLaw firms? That's mostly rhetorical. I don't know the answer. But I would risk two bucks the percentage provided by small and medium law firms is significant, and those firms hire a lot of CBE grads. Such firms frequently have partners who went to CBE schools.

Passing the California bar definitely presents a greater challenge for CBE grads on average than ABA grads. This is not because they're dumb or less academically capable than the average ABA grad. Those who struggle academically get weeded out in the first year, and pretty mercilessly. Those CBE students who go the distance, however, tend to be exceptionally driven, focused people. Unfortunately, not everyone who completes a CBE program is able to abandon his or her job (and income) for two or three months to immerse themselves in preparing for the bar. ABA grads generally have the good fortune to have nothing going on their lives but law school and bar prep, which is by design. And good for them. My mission isn't to worry about how lucky ABA students are, but to focus on my own task. Having watched my classmates progress over the last three years, I'm confident that the average CBE student who makes it through the entire program could handle the typical ABA student's life and educational program with one hand. I mean, if you can pass law exams while working full time, you can certainly pass law exams when you donít. CBE schools do not dumb down their courses. Contracts is contracts. Con law is con law. Most of my profs went to ABA schools themselves. Some of the finest professors I have ever studied under have been my instructors at my humble CBE school. It isnít the quality of the education that truly distinguishes ABA schools from CBE, nor even bar passing rates: itís the station in life of the average student.

Maintain FL 350

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Re: Are CBA schools a joke?
« Reply #29 on: May 07, 2013, 01:28:18 PM »

Let me again ask "CA Law Dean" to present employment statistics for his/ her schools recent graduating classes 2010, 2011 & 2013 similar to what the ABA requires its members to present.
http://employmentsummary.abaquestionnaire.org/

Please also provide bar pass stats for your school and the bar pass stats for other CAB schools.

Thanks.

Monterrey's first time pass rate for July 2012 was 66%. That's better than several CA ABA schools, and significantly better than most out of state ABA schools. Check out Calbar's site for details.

I don't think CBE schools are required to report post-grad employment details like their ABA counterparts, so that info may not be readily available. You could have discovered this yourself in about 30 seconds.

"Are CBE schools a joke?" is the wrong question. It's subjective and vague, and can't really be answered. The question to ask is "Are CBE schools adequately fulfilling their intended function?" The answer to that question is that some are, and some are not. 

CBE schools are not attempting to compete with the ABA schools. As Duncanjp noted, the typical CBE student is a working adult and has no intention of seeking a Biglaw position. The CBE schools do, however, provide a large number of California's prosecutors, public defenders, small Main Street firms, and solo practitioners.

I think it's difficult for attorneys from outside of California to understand the system, because most states have no equivalent. Law students, both inside and outside of California, seem equally confused. I graduated from an ABA school, and the entire focus was on grades, law review, and absurd ranking schemes. Everyone was gunning for those coveted few Biglaw or Federal positions, and most of my classmates openly disdained the notion of working in small firms or at the public defender's office.

From what I can gather, that's simply not the focus at CBE schools. Most CBE students I've met are very realistic about their options, and understand the limitations of the degree. However, visit any public agency or small firm in CA and you're bound to meet successful CBE grads. My county counsel's office is something like 50% CBE grads, and they're doing just fine.

Also, like ABA schools, some CBEs have better reputations than others. Some of them are geographically isolated, and are therefore able to attract more qualified applicants who would otherwise attend an ABA school. Those particular CBE schools produce a large percentage of the local bar and bench, and have good local reputations.

For example, we had a CBE school here in Los Angeles (University of La Verne) that was called "The Judge's Law School" for decades because it produced so many judges in southern California. Within it's region, ULV had (and still has) a good reputation and went onto earn ABA approval. Western State in Orange County had a similar history, and produced a huge number of OC's prosecutors and judges before gaining ABA approval. In the Central Valley, a large number of the attorneys and judges are graduates of San Joaquin COL, and the Santa Barbara area is well stocked with Santa Barbara COL grads.

Other CBE schools, however, have low bar pass rates,mmay be in danger of losing state accreditation under California's newly adopted rules, and are in regions where they have to compete with multiple ABA schools. Clearly, that's going to make things difficult for many of those grads. The point is you've got to look at the schools individually, and take into account the students' goals.