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ABA is not an option (unfortunately)

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

There is always one no matter where you go.

I appreciate the advise folks. I'll contact the various bar associations in the other states I'd consider moving to. I was cruising around the Cal Bar website which allowed me to see what type of law practiced, their location, and what law school they attended. When I looked up the Cal Bar school near my house, that is when I realized many of their graduates practice law in other states which I thought wasn't an option being that they're not ABA. End result, I'm looking at criminal prosecution and I would hopefully work for the district attorney's office. I work close with many assistant D.A.'s and I have always respected the hard work they do and the challenges inherent with working for the D.A.

My biggest fear is not so much the hard work and time commitment, as the restrictions associated with attending a Cal Bar school and the overall cost of attending. I'd hate to dedicate all that time and money just to realize that I'm tied to California for life.

Maintain FL 350:
A friend of mine graduated from a CBE school and was permitted to take the NY bar straight out of law school. I'm not sure what criteria she had to meet, but it can be done. Some states, however, specifically require a degree fom an ABA school. From what I've seen, most of the states that will allow a non-ABA grad to sit for their bar still require five years of practice in CA first.

One last point to consider: the vast majority of law schools, including ABA schools, are essentially local institutions. The reputation, internship opportunities, and alumni networks are strongest within the immediate geographical region. It's important to understand that if you get a CBE degree and move out of state, there is a good chance that very few people will have heard of your school. They may be skeptical about a non-ABA school, and you may have a tougher than usual time finding a job.

Personally, I think that the CBE schools are solid, adequate institutions. Outside of CA, however, I'm not sure that the degree will be viewed the same. Something to think about.

I think you run a real risk.  There ARE ways to get admitted to the bar in various states without an ABA accredited law degree.  However, I really wouldn't devote the money and time involved on the off-chance that I might qualify under one of those ways.

Why not do your 20 as a cop, get your pension, then go attend an ABA school in the state where you would eventually like to practice?

I go to an ABA in California, but know many practicing lawyers who went to a CBE school.  Most of them are solo practitioners, but no less successful than other solo practitioners from ABA schools.  I looked into CBE first because it was so much cheaper and you don't have to sit for the baby bar.  However, I want to take the bar in Massachusetts right away, so I decided to go ABA.   

Generally speaking, if you are young with no work experience/contacts and lots of undergrad debt, then CBE should never be an option.  On the other hand, CBE can be better option for older students that have a full-time job, or have a job waiting for them when they graduate or for those planning to be solo practicioners.  The other benefit is the cost.   

Since you plan on staying in California, and the ABA school is too far, CBE might be a better option for you.  Most states will allow you to sit for their bar after three-five years of practice.  Just be advised, as the other posters have said, that you will be competing with ABA grads for jobs and the bar pass rates for CBE schools are pretty low.  However, I believe the rate is better than the online schools.   There's always Barbri, etc. to help you with the bar exam if necessary.    Take your time and weigh your options.  Good luck with whatever you decide.


--- Quote from: legend on June 10, 2012, 02:40:48 PM ---...
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.

--- End quote ---

Took "legend's" advise, since I hadn't done that either.  This is what I sent to the Washington State Bar ...

From: []
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 <> on behalf of admissions <>
Sent: Monday, June 11, 2012 11:44 AM
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 | 

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.


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