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ABA is not an option (unfortunately)

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Nor-Cal:
So I have been considering law school for several years. Unfortunately, the only part time ABA programs are a 90 minute drive for me (one way) four days per week, and I own a home so I'm stuck and I cannot relocate. I have a Cal Bar school within two miles of my house that offers a part time program. My delema streams from the fact that I live in California now, but I'd want to remain here forever. I know the Cal Bar law schools restrict the states where one can practice, but I've heard of Cal Bar students practicing law in Oregon, Washington, Nevada, Texas, and Florida.

If Cal Bar is my only, I'm trying to determine if I should go through with it or not? Law has always interested me, and I have over seven years in law enforcement.

john4040:

--- Quote from: Nor-Cal on June 10, 2012, 01:59:55 AM ---So I have been considering law school for several years. Unfortunately, the only part time ABA programs are a 90 minute drive for me (one way) four days per week, and I own a home so I'm stuck and I cannot relocate. I have a Cal Bar school within two miles of my house that offers a part time program. My delema streams from the fact that I live in California now, but I'd want to remain here forever. I know the Cal Bar law schools restrict the states where one can practice, but I've heard of Cal Bar students practicing law in Oregon, Washington, Nevada, Texas, and Florida.

If Cal Bar is my only, I'm trying to determine if I should go through with it or not? Law has always interested me, and I have over seven years in law enforcement.

--- End quote ---

(1) How is that a dilemma?
(2) What?
(3) Please save yourself the trouble and don't go.

passaroa25:
You have to decide which goal is bigger than the obstacle.  I was in a brick and mortar law school for one year and ran out of money.  I studied at Calif Southern for a year and could not afford to fly back to California to take the FYLSE a second time.  I finally decided to enroll in an online paralegal program and completed it with honors.  I am studying for the CLA exam because I will be an older applicant.  I decided to do what I can afford.  Having no money has always been an obstacle for me.  From my perspective, you are very fortunate to live in California.  Getting to an FYLSE exam site is no more than a short drive.  You would be able to good to any law school of your choice, if that is really what you want to do.  I have reached the most I can borrow in federal student loans.  You don't appear to have that problem either.

Having said all the above, go to any law school in California, either brick and mortar or online.  Pass the FYLSE and the California bar.  Practice in California for five years, and take the bar exams of those states that will allow it.  There are several.  The National Conference of Bar Examiners can tell you which states do.

legend:
Before I offer any advice realize that whatever you read on the internet from anonymous internet sources should be taken under heavy scruinty. For this reason
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kFBDn5PiL00 pretty funny, but it is true what you read on here or other sources is usually often completley wrong, misguided, or simply doesn't apply to you.

As to the actual question if you have no desire to leave California then going to a California bar school should be fine. I honestly don't know how they have set it up through California bar schools, but the best place to ask would be the California bar directly. If you want to practice in Nevada, Washington, or any of the other states you have listed ask those state bars about how they treat a California Bar school. Nobody posting on here or other sites could possibly know better than the State Bars themselves. It is their job to know the answers and explain it to people like yourself that have questions so call them. Whatever you read here about whether a Cal Bar school transfers to other states or not is going to be wrong.

As to whether you should attend the CBA school that is a highly personal decision. As far as I know the CBA schools, which I know nothing about are located in small towns and were desigend to serve people like yourself that live to far from a major city to attend. I would imagine in whatever town you are in that most lawyers attended whatever CBA school you are referring to. If your in a small town odds are ABA grads are not going out of there way to work there, but that is just speculation and nobody on this site or others know the answer.

If you really want to go to law school then you have to think about the cost, time, and why you really want to be a lawyer. It is an expensive, time consuming, and often frustating process that does not guaratnee you success once you have completed it. Attending a CBA school is likley to have restrictions I don't know what they are, but you should call the Cailfornia bar to find out.

In the end nobody can know whether attending this school or law school period is the right decision for you.  I would advise you to contact that attended the school or lawyers in your geographic region to see what their opinions are. Those people will have different things to say, but at least they know more than individuals like me   posting anonymously on the internet. Nobody that has posted myself including know nothing about you, your situation, your likes, your dislikes, your personal connections and so on. There are a myriad of factors that go into this decision and sites like this should be used to make you think, but do not take any of what is said to seriously.

Good luck whatever you decide.



Maintain FL 350:
It sounds like the local CBE school is your only realistic option unless you're prepared to move closer to an ABA campus. A three hour roundtrip four nights a week probably isn't doable, especially during your first year. If you can move closer to an ABA campus, you may want to consider that option. No matter where you decide to go, however, ask yourself what you want to do after law school. Do you want to continue with law enforcement and become a prosecutor, open your solo practice, join an established firm? Answering these questions should help you decide where to attend.

Personally, I think that CBE schools can be a good option for the right student, but it's important that you become fully informed as to what (if any) limitations attending a CBE school may have on your post-law school options. Perhaps you already know this, but big and mid-sized firms are unlikely to hire a CBE grad. Most of the CBE grads I've met work as solo practitioners, small firm lawyers, and local government attorneys (DA, public defender, etc). However, you will have to compete with ABA grads for those jobs, too.

It seems that some CBE schools enjoy a geographic advantage by being the only law schools in their area. Cal Northern and San Joaquin come to mind. (Western State used to have this advantage until Whittier, Chapman, and Irvine moved in next door). In those areas, enough of the local bar is made up of graduates of those schools that any non-ABA "stigma" is essentially removed. In the bigger markets it's much tougher, with heavy competition from well-known ABA schools.

I meet successful CBE grads on an almost daily basis, and I've spoken with dozens of them about their experiences. To a person, the success stories are individuals with lots of drive and ambition. They knew that they couldn't rest on their laurels, so they hustled like crazy, gained experience, and made good careers. This is what I mean when I say that CBE schools can be a good option for the right student. If you are a motivated self starter and already have solid connections that may lead to a job, a CBE degree might be just fine. If you're not already "plugged in", ABA is probably a better overall option.

Also consider the cost. CBE schools are cheaper than ABA, but still pretty expensive. Is that 50-60k going to pay off? Only you can answer that. See if you can sit in on a few classes at your local CBE and find out if you're really interested. Law school tends to be far more dull than most people imagine, and you may want to check it out before committing. As far as out of state practice goes, some states will allow you to take their bar exam after 5 years of practice in CA. Contact the individual state's bars to find out the details.

Good Luck!

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