Law Students > Distance Education Law Schools

ABA is not an option (unfortunately)

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GlenRPierre:
I think you did the right thing by doing all the research before taking a leap.  I, too, have been contemplating the same question.   These were good starting resources for my investigation: 

https://www.stfrancislaw.com/pdf/bar-exam-eligibility-by-state.pdf

http://www.ble.state.tx.us/Rules/NewRules/rulexiii.htm

john4040:

--- Quote from: GlenRPierre on June 12, 2012, 12:49:26 AM ---I think you did the right thing by doing all the research before taking a leap.  I, too, have been contemplating the same question.   These were good starting resources for my investigation: 

https://www.stfrancislaw.com/pdf/bar-exam-eligibility-by-state.pdf

http://www.ble.state.tx.us/Rules/NewRules/rulexiii.htm

--- End quote ---

The PFD from St. Francis Law is dead wrong with respect to admission in Texas (and, probably, others) insomuch as it states that prior admission in any jurisdiction + 3 years of practice in another jurisdiction = eligibility for Texas admission.  I'll show you why. . .

Since St. Francis Law is a non-ABA school, you'll have to go through Texas Rule XIII(a)(2).  That Rule provides:


--- Quote from: Texas Rule XIII(a)(2) ---
(a) An attorney holding a valid, active law license issued by another state shall meet the requirements imposed on any other Applicant under these Rules, except that. . .

(2) An attorney holding a valid, active law license issued by another state is eligible for an exemption from the law study requirement for admission to take the Texas Bar Examination, if the attorney:

(A) has been actively and substantially engaged in the lawful practice of law in any state or elsewhere as his/her principal business or occupation for at least three of the last five years immediately preceding the filing of the most recent application or re-application; and

(B)
(1) holds a J.D. degree, not based on study by correspondence, from an unapproved law school that is accredited in the jurisdiction where it exists. . .

--- End quote ---

As you can see above, the Rule specifically prohibits admission on motion in instances where the JD was obtained based on correspondence study.  St. Francis' JD is based on study by "corresponence" as defined by Texas law:


--- Quote from: http://www.ncbex.org/assets/media_files/Comp-Guide/CompGuide.pdf ---"Texas has no provision for admitting an applicant whose law degree was obtained through correspondence study (which includes “distance learning” or “external programs”)."

--- End quote ---

Thus, its grads would NEVER be eligible (unless the rules were changed) for admission to the Texas bar.

Now, you may be asking yourself "Do I have a cognizible claim against St. Francis for my reliance upon their false / materially inaccurate information?"  Answer:  Probably not.  Look in footnote 1 of their bullsh1t brochure:

"This information is provided for convenience only and St. Francis assumes no responsibility for the accuracy of the information set forth in this chart."

Oh, how convenient!

I once worked with a paralegal that took courses at Concord Law School (yet another online scam of a school).  She just about had a heart attack when I told her she wasn't eligible to practice in Texas.  She called the Texas BLE and, sure enough, not eligible.

Opie58:
Alas, contact the various state bars you wish to consider to see if you would be eligible to sit for the bar prior to starting your law school experience – online or b&m; it wouldn’t hurt to know before you go.

Opie58:

--- Quote from: Opie58 on June 11, 2012, 07:37:16 PM ---Took "legend's" advise, since I hadn't done that either.  This is what I sent to the Washington State Bar ...

From: rainsk58@xxxxxxxx.xxx [mailto:rainsk58@xxxxxxx.xxx]
Sent: Sunday, June 10, 2012 9:27 PM
To: Questions
Subject: WSBA Contact Submission

I am considering attending one of the California online law school to obtain my JD and take the California bar exam. Assuming I pass the CA bar, I plan to obtain the permissions to practice in several federal courts, such as US Supreme Court, US Tax Court, US Court of Appeals – 9th Circuit, US District Court, US Military Court of Criminal Appeals, US Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces, and US Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims. I live in King County, and would like to open a law office to practice those areas of law, once I meet all the criteria above.
1. As a California licensed attorney, what is the State’s position for practicing Federal law only? My understanding is I cannot practice State law, but would be allowed to practice Federal law only.
2. If question 1 above is true, would the State consider that “active practice of law” per APR Rule 3(b) to qualify sitting for the Washington bar exam?
3. If question 1 above is not true, are there any waivers available to apply for to practive Federal law only?
4. If question 2 above is not true are there any waivers available to apply for permission to take the bar exam?

Response ...

From: Gus Quiniones <gusq@wsba.org> on behalf of admissions <admissions@wsba.org>
Sent: Monday, June 11, 2012 11:44 AM
To: rainsk58@xxxxxxx.xxx
Cc: admissions
Subject: FW: WSBA Contact Submission

1) You may practice federal law in Washington without being a member of the WSBA
2) Practicing federal law, as an active attorney in good standing, may count towards the “active practice” requirement under APR 3(b).

Please contact our Ethics Department at 206‐727‐8284 to obtain more information about the active practice of law in Washington.

Gus Quiniones | Bar Exam Administrator
Washington State Bar Association |1325 4th Avenue, Suite 600 ‐ Seattle, WA 98101 |  206.727.8229 | F 206.727.8313 |  gusq@wsba.org

Bar Exam Deadlines and Schedules
APR 3: Qualifications to sit for the Washington State Bar Exam
APR 18: Reciprocity Admission on Motion

May need to practice Federal law first for awhile, but it can be done in Washington ... which is my plan.

Good luck with you new adventure.

BTW, I'm a 20-year retired military vet with 14 years with the SO; not sure I'll do 20 - depends how my online law school adventure goes.

--- End quote ---


As a follow-up, I sent the followed question to Julie Shankland with the Practice of Law Board and Disciplinary Board and Jeanne Clavere with the Professional Conduct Committee ...

From: Kirk Rains [mailto:rainsk58@@@@@.@@@]
Sent: Monday, June 11, 2012 10:22 PM
To: Jeanne Marie Clavere
Subject: FW: WSBA Contact Submission

I hope you may be able to help me with the questions below. If not, could you forward this
to the appropriate person or office, please? Thanks you.

Response from Ms. Clavere …

From: Jeanne Marie Clavere
To: Kirk Rains
Cc: Gus Quiniones; Jean McElroy; Julie Shankland
Subject: RE: WSBA Contact Submission
Date: Tuesday, June 12, 2012 3:38:43 PM

Greetings Mr. Rains: I do not have additional resource information to supplement Mr. Quiniones’
response to your inquiry.

Regards,

Jeanne Marie Clavere
Professional Responsibility Counsel
Office of General Counsel
Washington State Bar Association
Phone: 206-727-8298
Fax: 206-727-8314
mailto:jeannec@wsba.org

Still waiting to hear from Ms. Shankland.

Nor-Cal:
If I had my choice I would attend an ABA school, but being a working adult and a home owner, relocating for school is not an option. In a perfect world, I would like to attend an CalBar school about 2 miles away from my house, graduate, and eventually move to Washington state and get hired as an ADA.

But again, that's in a perfect world . . .

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