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Author Topic: Baby Bar  (Read 17903 times)

Maintain FL 350

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Re: Baby Bar
« Reply #40 on: December 16, 2012, 01:22:57 PM »
I have mixed emotions about unaccredited law schools. One the one hand, they may serve a purpose for the right person. On the other, that purpose is probably something other than putting a J.D. on one's resume in furtherance of applying for jobs as an attorney.

Hi Duncan. As usual, I think your analysis is spot on. Unaccredited schools can be the best choice for the right student. Much of the criticism of unaccredited schools is unfair and comes from younger ABA students who don't understand the benefits that may accrue to an older student who just wants to further their career, and couldn't care less about biglaw. Like I said, I've met attorneys (and even a judge) who graduated from unaccredited schools.

That said, in order for someone to determine whether or not an uaccredited program is right for them they've got to understand the potential limitations of such a degree. And it's here that I see some blissful ignorance (or denial) on the part of some unaccredited students.

I go back and forth on this issue of unaccredited law schools. Clearly they serve a purpose, but it's equally clear that some issues with FYLSE and bar pass rates exist. Are the low FYLSE pass rates due to a lack of academic rigor? Or is there a lack of meaningful feedback to the students? Or is the problem with admissions (letting in unqualified students)? Maybe it's a combination of these and other factors.

As I said, much of the criticism of unaccredited schools is unfair and is based on snobbery. Nonetheless, if unaccredited/online programs want to be taken seriously they've got to meet the rest of the legal profession half way. It's not enough to just say "Everyone else needs to change their attitude." They are going to have to significantly boost their FYLSE/bar exam pass rates. Until then, I don't think much will change.

You mentioned that your CBE degree is only a notch above an unaccredited degree, but I'd disagree. CBE schools are accredited, just not by the ABA. In California the bench and bar are well stocked with CBE grads, and many CBE law schools have good local reputations. I've worked at offices where CBE grads worked alongside UCLA grads, but where an unaccredited grad would probably not even get an interview, period. That may be unfair and short sighted, but it's true nonetheless.

The fact is, the CBE schools have already proven that non-ABA degrees can be accepted by the legal profession if they adhere to predictable, accepted standards. 

RLS90

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Re: Baby Bar
« Reply #41 on: December 16, 2012, 02:36:03 PM »
Here's the truth: You know what they call you when you pass the Bar? A lawyer!!! I know people who have graduated summa from ABA accredited schools that have passed the Bar exam in myriad jurisdictions only to fail the California Bar multiple times. If you pass the California Bar, you're likely to find a job somewhere and if not, there is always the option of opening your own practice.

Here's another truth: Unless you are graduating at the top of your class at one of the top 35-40 law schools in the country, you probably aren't going to get a job in BIG LAW. If you go to Cooley or St. Thomas, or any other 4th Tier School,  your job prospects are limited. The best move is to attempt to get a job at the City or District Attorney's office somewhere, or to work in the Public Defender's office, obtain a good amount of trial experience on the County or State's dime, and then lateral your way into a big law job. That's how to do it. When you've got the license to practice, anything is possible if you are good at what you do. Its not how you get to your destination that matters, its whether you get there or not. If you get to the party, then there are opportunities abound.

Duncanjp

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Re: Baby Bar
« Reply #42 on: December 18, 2012, 12:20:08 AM »
I have mixed emotions about unaccredited law schools. One the one hand, they may serve a purpose for the right person. On the other, that purpose is probably something other than putting a J.D. on one's resume in furtherance of applying for jobs as an attorney.

Hi Duncan (I used to post as Roald, but got bored and changed my nom de plume). As usual, I think your analysis is spot on. Unaccredited schools can be the best choice for the right student. Much of the criticism of unaccredited schools is unfair and comes from younger ABA students who don't understand the benefits that may accrue to an older student who just wants to further their career, and couldn't care less about biglaw. Like I said, I've met attorneys (and even a judge) who graduated from unaccredited schools.

That said, in order for someone to determine whether or not an uaccredited program is right for them they've got to understand the potential limitations of such a degree. And it's here that I see some blissful ignorance (or denial) on the part of some unaccredited students.

I go back and forth on this issue of unaccredited law schools. Clearly they serve a purpose, but it's equally clear that some issues with FYLSE and bar pass rates exist. Are the low FYLSE pass rates due to a lack of academic rigor? Or is there a lack of meaningful feedback to the students? Or is the problem with admissions (letting in unqualified students)? Maybe it's a combination of these and other factors.

As I said, much of the criticism of unaccredited schools is unfair and is based on snobbery. Nonetheless, if unaccredited/online programs want to be taken seriously they've got to meet the rest of the legal profession half way. It's not enough to just say "Everyone else needs to change their attitude." They are going to have to significantly boost their FYLSE/bar exam pass rates. Until then, I don't think much will change.

You mentioned that your CBE degree is only a notch above an unaccredited degree, but I'd disagree. CBE schools are accredited, just not by the ABA. In California the bench and bar are well stocked with CBE grads, and many CBE law schools have good local reputations. I've worked at offices where CBE grads worked alongside UCLA grads, but where an unaccredited grad would probably not even get an interview, period. That may be unfair and short sighted, but it's true nonetheless.

The fact is, the CBE schools have already proven that non-ABA degrees can be accepted by the legal profession if they adhere to predictable, accepted standards. 

LOL. I thought you sounded like Roald as I read your post. Hilarious.

I was being slightly facetious when I said a CBE degree is only a notch above an unaccredited school, but I'm a realist about it, too. It has its limitations. A number of my colleagues who are CBE-educated attorneys have also admitted to me that not having an ABA degree has definitely held them back in their careers. But from where I sit, there's nowhere to go but up.

You're correct that unaccredited schools need to figure out what they're doing wrong insofar as improving the number of their graduates who ever pass the bar. I can't see wasting my time and money - especially the latter - on a legal education if I didn't plan to pass the bar exam. There was an article that came out a few months ago about a proposal to require CBE schools to reach a minimum average pass rate of 50% over a five-year period or lose their state accreditation. I think that's a sound idea, personally. The education is just too expensive to get all the way through the program and then find yourself unable to get over the last hurdle.

I've noticed that my professors are starting to talk more and more about the bar and what it takes to pass it. My con law prof in particular likes to spend five or ten minutes at the beginning of each class to put things into perspective for us. He's a great guy, but a very sobering individual. About two weeks ago, he said to us, "You're all working adults, some with families, some with mortgages. It can be tough to take eight weeks off from work to immerse yourself in the law and do nothing but prepare for the bar. But you need to be thinking about how you're going to do that now, while you still have a year and a half to go. Consider your competition: all those students who graduate from ABA schools. Do you think they're going to be working 40 hours a week during those eight weeks leading up to the bar exam?" You could have heard a pin drop. He didn't even need to shake his head. So it's an ominous road ahead when you're a night student with a career. I can't even imagine what it must be like facing the bar while attending an unaccredited school.

That said, I still have 19-20 months before I sit the bar. I'm already in bar review classes, which will run twice a year until I take the bar. I'll be spending the next 20 months working on my approaches and my issue-spotting skills. And I've informed my boss that I'll need to take a leave of absence to prepare for the bar when the time comes. So I hope I've got a fighting chance. I'm sure trying to do what it takes. But this is a steep hill to climb.

Maintain FL 350

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Re: Baby Bar
« Reply #43 on: December 18, 2012, 02:33:20 AM »
It's tough, but it can be done. I prepped for the bar while getting three or four hours of sleep per night because my infant daughter was waking up constantly. During the day I'd be groggy and stressed out, and I still only got a fraction of the study time that my peers enjoyed because I had other familial obligations. It is much, much easier to prep for the bar if you're young and single. If you can take two months off work, that's great, and you should do it. I'd also advise writing practice essays and PTs from day one. I felt that my bar prep course was great at teaching black letter law, but didn't spend nearly enough time on how to efficiently write essays and PTs.

I hadn't heard of the CBE bar pass rate proposal, but it seems like a good idea. 50% over five years is hardly onerous, unlike the ABA's standard which requires a school to be within 15% of the state wide average. (Not such a big deal in North Dakota, but very unfair to small local schools in California who have to compete with Stanford and Berkeley on the toughest bar exam in the nation).

If you pass the California Bar, you're likely to find a job somewhere and if not, there is always the option of opening your own practice.

I more or less agree, with the caveat that opening your own office and finding paying clients fresh out of law school is no small task. It can be done, but it's tough.

The best move is to attempt to get a job at the City or District Attorney's office somewhere, or to work in the Public Defender's office, obtain a good amount of trial experience on the County or State's dime, and then lateral your way into a big law job. That's how to do it.

Unfortunately, that option is almost non-existant right now. I can't speak for the rest of the country, but in California (the only state an unaccredited graduate is likely to get licensed in) government hiring is nearly at a standstill, and has been for some time. The state is broke and the government law offices have had their budgets cut significantly. They routinely don't have the money to replace attrition, let alone create new positions. When they do get the opportunity to hire a few new attorneys, they are flooded with hundreds of resumes, many from experienced attorneys. The government market is very competitive right now, and an inexperienced graduate of an unaccredited school would face an enormous uphill battle.

Cher1300

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Re: Baby Bar
« Reply #44 on: December 20, 2012, 04:39:37 PM »
That is true about the California government jobs.  The District Attorney for Orange County CA spoke at our school and told us that for the last position they had available, there were about 1400 resumes mostly from ABA-approved schools.  I'm not saying it's impossible to get a job with an online degree or CBE degree, but the competition is immensely fierce right now for jobs so its just important to be realistic about how and when you'll get your first job.  Once you are hired, however, and have experience, where you went to school won't be nearly as important. 

Julie Fern

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Re: Baby Bar
« Reply #45 on: February 10, 2013, 08:49:53 PM »
I have mixed emotions about unaccredited law schools. One the one hand, they may serve a purpose for the right person. On the other, that purpose is probably something other than putting a J.D. on one's resume in furtherance of applying for jobs as an attorney.

Hi Duncan (I used to post as Roald, but got bored and changed my nom de plume). As usual, I think your analysis is spot on. Unaccredited schools can be the best choice for the right student. Much of the criticism of unaccredited schools is unfair and comes from younger ABA students who don't understand the benefits that may accrue to an older student who just wants to further their career, and couldn't care less about biglaw. Like I said, I've met attorneys (and even a judge) who graduated from unaccredited schools.

That said, in order for someone to determine whether or not an uaccredited program is right for them they've got to understand the potential limitations of such a degree. And it's here that I see some blissful ignorance (or denial) on the part of some unaccredited students.

I go back and forth on this issue of unaccredited law schools. Clearly they serve a purpose, but it's equally clear that some issues with FYLSE and bar pass rates exist. Are the low FYLSE pass rates due to a lack of academic rigor? Or is there a lack of meaningful feedback to the students? Or is the problem with admissions (letting in unqualified students)? Maybe it's a combination of these and other factors.

As I said, much of the criticism of unaccredited schools is unfair and is based on snobbery. Nonetheless, if unaccredited/online programs want to be taken seriously they've got to meet the rest of the legal profession half way. It's not enough to just say "Everyone else needs to change their attitude." They are going to have to significantly boost their FYLSE/bar exam pass rates. Until then, I don't think much will change.

You mentioned that your CBE degree is only a notch above an unaccredited degree, but I'd disagree. CBE schools are accredited, just not by the ABA. In California the bench and bar are well stocked with CBE grads, and many CBE law schools have good local reputations. I've worked at offices where CBE grads worked alongside UCLA grads, but where an unaccredited grad would probably not even get an interview, period. That may be unfair and short sighted, but it's true nonetheless.

The fact is, the CBE schools have already proven that non-ABA degrees can be accepted by the legal profession if they adhere to predictable, accepted standards. 

LOL. I thought you sounded like Roald as I read your post. Hilarious.

I was being slightly facetious when I said a CBE degree is only a notch above an unaccredited school, but I'm a realist about it, too. It has its limitations. A number of my colleagues who are CBE-educated attorneys have also admitted to me that not having an ABA degree has definitely held them back in their careers. But from where I sit, there's nowhere to go but up.

You're correct that unaccredited schools need to figure out what they're doing wrong insofar as improving the number of their graduates who ever pass the bar. I can't see wasting my time and money - especially the latter - on a legal education if I didn't plan to pass the bar exam. There was an article that came out a few months ago about a proposal to require CBE schools to reach a minimum average pass rate of 50% over a five-year period or lose their state accreditation. I think that's a sound idea, personally. The education is just too expensive to get all the way through the program and then find yourself unable to get over the last hurdle.

I've noticed that my professors are starting to talk more and more about the bar and what it takes to pass it. My con law prof in particular likes to spend five or ten minutes at the beginning of each class to put things into perspective for us. He's a great guy, but a very sobering individual. About two weeks ago, he said to us, "You're all working adults, some with families, some with mortgages. It can be tough to take eight weeks off from work to immerse yourself in the law and do nothing but prepare for the bar. But you need to be thinking about how you're going to do that now, while you still have a year and a half to go. Consider your competition: all those students who graduate from ABA schools. Do you think they're going to be working 40 hours a week during those eight weeks leading up to the bar exam?" You could have heard a pin drop. He didn't even need to shake his head. So it's an ominous road ahead when you're a night student with a career. I can't even imagine what it must be like facing the bar while attending an unaccredited school.

That said, I still have 19-20 months before I sit the bar. I'm already in bar review classes, which will run twice a year until I take the bar. I'll be spending the next 20 months working on my approaches and my issue-spotting skills. And I've informed my boss that I'll need to take a leave of absence to prepare for the bar when the time comes. So I hope I've got a fighting chance. I'm sure trying to do what it takes. But this is a steep hill to climb.

julie not understand how this site ever get along without you.