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Author Topic: Are CBA schools a joke?  (Read 9569 times)

Duncanjp

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Re: Are CBA schools a joke?
« Reply #30 on: May 07, 2013, 09:00:26 PM »
I applaud the movement to require CBE schools to meet minimum bar pass rates or risk losing their accreditation. There is something wrong with accredited schools that base their fees (and advertising) on being accredited if they do not produce graduates who have a fighting chance at passing the bar. That would go for any ABA school as well. If all you want is to learn the law for its own sake and you have no interest in sitting the bar, then an unaccredited institution is the place to be - with fees relative to that purpose. But accreditation needs to encompass certain minimum standards, and for law schools, the most important measure of their effectiveness is the bar pass rate.

That said, many factors influence pass rates: position in life, academic capacity of the student, quality of the education, availability of resources, quality of bar prep, etc. I'm glad that CA at least offers those who didn't get a 3.9 at Stanford a shot at becoming a lawyer, if they have the other intangibles in place. 

Cher1300

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Re: Are CBA schools a joke?
« Reply #31 on: May 10, 2013, 04:44:56 PM »
I have been seriously considering transferring to a CBA because of the astronimical tuition rates of the ABA I attend.  Although I attend a tier 4, my biggest concern had been the bar pass rates and the fact that CBA's do not require much for admissions.  As mentioned above, however, it really depends upon the student and their goals.

I spoke to a professor at Southwestern this past weekend who believes the ABA's tuition bubble will likely burst over the next couple of years.  He's probably in his 70's, practiced law for years and became a professor later on in life.  He said he would never attend law school today unless he was on a full scholarship.  The cost is just not worth the effort for someone like me who is over 40 and has no desire to work for big law.  Partial scholarships hardly make a dent.  If he is correct and the bubble does burst, I'll be interested to see if more younger students apply to CBA's and if a bar pass requirement comes into play.   Of course, Stanford will always be a priority for the really bright younger students, but I wouldn't be surprised if we started seeing younger students from T3s and 4s going to those schools on scholarships.  200K in loans is a lot even when you have 40+ years to pay it off.

livinglegend

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Re: Are CBA schools a joke?
« Reply #32 on: May 15, 2013, 01:53:06 AM »
I don't know if there is really an ABA bubble it is more of a California law school tuition bubble many ABA law schools outside of California have very reasonable tuition rates I.E. Florida International Law School, CUNY, South Dakota, North Dakota, all are $10,000 or less per year in tuition.

However, California law schools can charge as much as they do because people keep enrolling and many students nationwide want to live in California so the tuition keeps getting hiked up. With that knowledge perhaps to graduate with an ABA degree you might want to consider a law school with cheaper tuition rates outside of California. I don't know if that is a possibility, but I think having an ABA degree is better than a CBA one all things considered.

Right or wrong there will be doors closed to you without an ABA degree it doesn't mean you can't succeed, but many firms, agencies, etc will only consider ABA grads at a minimum. On top of that if you go into private practice or start your own firm potential clients will look you up and if they see you went to an unaccredited school they probably won't choose you. I personally know the educational difference is minimal, but when selecting an attorney people like hear the word accredited. On top of that if your a Solo you will be competing for clients and other attorneys from ABA schools to help themselves may say oh she went to an unaccredited school. Kind of shady and certainly many lawyers do not do that, but it is a competitive business and something to consider.

By analogy if you were choosing  a doctor to perform you surgery and you heard one of them went to an unaccredited Medical School you would be more hesitant to choose them over other doctors that went to an accredited law school. Does that mean you can't succeed from a CBA school?  Absolutely not the Mayor of L.A  graduated from a law school that was not even CBA accredited and he is bossing around Harvard Grads.

In the end since your halfway down the ABA path I think your better off staying there, but I am just some guy anonymously posting on the internet. Also on the flip-side when you pass the bar whether from a CBA school or ABA school you are a lawyer in California with the same rights, responsibilities, etc that a California Lawyer from Harvard has.

bobol

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Re: Are CBA schools a joke?
« Reply #33 on: May 19, 2013, 11:52:00 PM »
It is not surprising that none of the above defenders of CBA law schools can provide employment statistics.

Hopefully anyone considering a CBA school will understand that if these schools had employment statistics to confirm their worth then they would release those statistics.

Duncanjp

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Re: Are CBA schools a joke?
« Reply #34 on: May 21, 2013, 03:17:28 AM »
It is not surprising that none of the above defenders of CBA law schools can provide employment statistics.

Hopefully anyone considering a CBA school will understand that if these schools had employment statistics to confirm their worth then they would release those statistics.

Your mission to discredit CBE schools denies reality, despite what you may think. CBE schools don't send a flood of inexperienced graduates out into the real world to compete for jobs the way ABA schools do. The stats you want to see are not a selling point for CBE schools because the majority of CBE grads already have careers well underway and they are paying their tuition as they go. Employment in my class is nearly 100%.  I only know of three people who don't have jobs in law or government in my class of 52, and one of them is retired. Meanwhile, debt is very low. I won't owe a penny to anyone when I graduate, and the same goes for most of my friends. But look at the sad legions of ABA grads today: employment is low, debt is high. Very high. It's a shame, but I can understand the desperation to maintain the elitist status quo of the legal profession.

Anybody considering a CBE school who is young and inexperienced should think twice before settling on less than an ABA education. They'll be competing in an elitist marketplace at a disadvantage. On the other hand, people who are older, who dream that an ABA education is going to make them more employable than a CBE school, need to consider whether they have a realistic chance of recouping the cost.

bobol

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Re: Are CBA schools a joke?
« Reply #35 on: May 21, 2013, 11:58:01 PM »
Duncanjp,

You are wrong in your belief that I am on a "mission to discredit CBA schools" (your phrase) but merely pointing out that most, if not all CBA schools fail and refuse to reveal employment statistics and first time bar pass rates. 

It is charming that posters like "Duncanip" would have us believe that their CBA education qualifies them to be practicing attorneys but their antidotal stories, while interesting are not supported by facts.  The hard cold reality is that many CBA never pass the California Bar exam and fewer enjoy profitable legal careers.   

Duncanip, please explain why if the CBA law schools are as successful as you  would have us believe then why CBA do schools refuse to disclose statistics for legal employment after graduation for their grads.  (Paralegal jobs for the CBA grads don't count.)

livinglegend

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Re: Are CBA schools a joke?
« Reply #36 on: May 22, 2013, 01:08:10 AM »
I don't think my prior posts ever sought to credit or discredit CBA schools. I can tell you there are many CBA grads doing in the legal profession below are a few examples.

1) Head D.A. of Fresno CBA grad.
http://www.co.fresno.ca.us/Departments.aspx?id=156
attended San Joaquin College of Law
http://members.calbar.ca.gov/fal/Member/Detail/179758 


2) The Mayor of Los Angeles
Antonio Villaigosa
http://mayor.lacity.org/index.htm
Attended People's College of Law and never passed the bar, but is doing well.

3) San Francisco Head District Attorney
George Gascon
http://www.sfdistrictattorney.org/
Attended Western State prior to it becoming ABA approved and I think currently it is only provisionally accredited
 http://members.calbar.ca.gov/fal/Member/Detail/182345 (Here is his bar information)

Do most CBA grads experience this success? No. Does attening an ABA school give you an advantage of a CBA school? Yes. Does going to Stanford give you an edge over a Tier 4 school? Yes.

Does the school you attend determine your legal career? no.

Are employment statistics important? Not really.

First the statistics reported by ABA schools are highly flawed and manipulated for multiple reasons.

1) Most people simply do not fill out the surveys. Realistically you graduate from law school in May then you study your ass off for the bar from May until the end of July and then in California you wait for bar results for months. Many people go on vacations, start working, etc and do not want to fill out any paperwork from their law school that is not mandatory.

I personally passed the bar started and got a job right the day after results were released. I was nervous about starting a new job and then was busting my ass the thought of filling out an employment survey never even crossed my mind so I guess technically I was unemployed grad according to my law school and these "stats"

2) Many people in law school particularly CBA schools have no real desire to be lawyers. I knew plenty of night students at my ABA school that simply wanted a law degree to help them in their non-legal jobs, wanted an academic challenge, god knows what and not everyone in law school has the same exact goal.

3) You are also correct that many people attending CBA schools do not pass the bar, but the bar is a standardized test and people from Harvard fail the same as people from CBA schools it is much more up to the individual than the school.

The overall point of my post is that people can succeed in the legal profession from CBA schools. Furthermore, being an attorney I can tell you what school you went to means almost nothing once your in the mix of the legal profession and your work ethic, ability to relate with people, handle pressure, etc will make or break you not the name on your diploma.

With that there are obviously drawbacks to CBA schools and some doors will be closed, but Cravath is just as likely to hire a Monterey College of Law Grad as they are a Santa Clara, USF, or Golden Gate grad which are all ABA schools.

Are CBA schools elite institutions? No. Do people succeed from CBA schools? Yes. Will it be an uphill battle especially starting out from a CBA school? Yes.

Anyone considering a CBA school should use their common sense and if they know what they are getting into it can be a good decision, but manage your expectations if you plan on attending a CBA school.

Duncanjp

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Re: Are CBA schools a joke?
« Reply #37 on: May 22, 2013, 03:45:42 AM »
It is charming that posters like "Duncanip" would have us believe that their CBA education qualifies them to be practicing attorneys but their antidotal stories, while interesting are not supported by facts.  The hard cold reality is that many CBA never pass the California Bar exam and fewer enjoy profitable legal careers.

Uh, for future reference, the word is anecdotal, not "antidotal" there, "bobol." Your observations on CBE grads are fair commentary, although my anecdotes are based upon personal knowledge. There is a cold, hard reality that many CBE grads never pass the CA bar exam. But you ignore the fact that many of them do and go on to have good careers in law, albeit, not on the Supreme Court. There is also the cold, hard reality that thousands of ABA grads have absolutely astronomical debt and cannot find jobs anywhere. Some have even filed lawsuits against their ABA schools. Some of those who do manage to find meaningful work, especially in BigLaw, burn out after a brief couple of years, or decide they don't like working as an attorney after spending a fortune to become one. It just seems myopic to me to dismiss one path with a cavalier wave of the hand in favor of the other, taking no account of the individual and his or her station in life. Not every college grad can go to Harvard. But does that destroy the value of getting a college degree from whatever institution is available to the student? No. The education is its own reward. What you do with it afterwards is up to you.

Maintain FL 350

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Re: Are CBA schools a joke?
« Reply #38 on: May 22, 2013, 02:56:55 PM »
It is charming that posters like "Duncanip" would have us believe that their CBA education qualifies them to be practicing attorneys but their antidotal stories, while interesting are not supported by facts.

Their CBE education and bar passage does, in fact, qualify them to be attorneys.

Again, I think you're missing the point. The CBE and ABA schools are filling different market niches and serving different demographics. It doesn't make sense to compare apples to oranges. CBE grads won't be competing for Biglaw or federal jobs, and many ABA grads aren't interested in small insurance subrogation firms or going solo.

Obviously, the bar pass rates are usually lower and a CBE grad is going to have to hustle more than an ABA grad to get a job. But you have to remember, as Duncan pointed out, that most CBE students are not 25 year-olds who lack experience and are relying on their academic pedigree to land a position. Many possess other experience and connections, and just need to pass the bar.

Lastly, I'm not convinced that any ABA grad is necessarily in a better position to get hired than any CBE grad. I worked at an office where a huge premium was placed on the ability to hit the ground running. A clueless, inexperienced ABA grad would not have automatically beat out an experienced, personable CBE grad. This is especially true of grads from lower-tier ABA schools.

I'm not saying that the opportunities are always equivalent, they're obviously not. I would simply urge you to take the CBE student's goals into account when evaluating the utility of the program.     

 

CA Law Dean

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Re: Are CBA schools a joke?
« Reply #39 on: May 27, 2013, 06:33:36 PM »
Wow. So sorry to get back to this party late. I completely missed that this thread was staying active or I would have chimed back in earlier. Particularly since it is one of my favorite topics. Just to confirm, I am correctly identified as Dean Mitchel Winick of Monterey College of Law. I think the comments about CBE schools are right on point. Most of the CBE law schools serve  a unique market that does not really overlap with the traditional ABA law schools. The real trouble with Bobol's one-dimensional assessment is not that CBE school's fail to provide employment data. (By the way, I actually believe that CBEs should start collecting and reporting employment data, and MCL has initiated the process to do so this summer).

 The issue is that to reflect the mission of our schools and our graduates, we need to report somewhat different data to reflect whether we are fairly meeting our obligations to our graduates. I actually just had this conversation with the ED of Law School Transparency to solicit his advice on what data should be collected and reported for CBE schools. As he and I discussed, the "9 month after graduation" statistic doesn't work well for a school like MCL.  It is important to remember that as an evening law school program, all of our students are already working during law school and throughout the bar prep period. In many cases they have professional jobs that they have no intention of leaving (i.e. realtors, financial planners, accountants) regardless of whether they pass the bar exam after earning their JD.

However, I do think that it would be valuable to collect and report on what our graduates do with their degrees and whether they pass the bar and get a law-related job if that was their primary objective. However, as interesting as the data should be . . . it is important to realize that we are talking about very small groups (20 to 25 graduates per year). Dividing the results into meaningful statistics will be challenging with such small numbers. That is one of e reasons that CBE schools have never been required to collect and report employment data as part of our accreditation standards. Unlike ABA law schools that have a singular mission of law-related employment, CBE law schools have a much broader educational role in our specific communities.
Monterey College of Law
www.montereylaw.edu