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Author Topic: ABA is not an option (unfortunately)  (Read 5585 times)

Nor-Cal

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ABA is not an option (unfortunately)
« 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.
A.A., B.S., and soon to be 1L.
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john4040

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Re: ABA is not an option (unfortunately)
« Reply #1 on: June 10, 2012, 03:28:22 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.

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

passaroa25

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Re: ABA is not an option (unfortunately)
« Reply #2 on: June 10, 2012, 04:05:04 PM »
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.
Angie

legend

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Re: ABA is not an option (unfortunately)
« Reply #3 on: June 10, 2012, 04:40:48 PM »
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

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Re: ABA is not an option (unfortunately)
« Reply #4 on: June 10, 2012, 07:25:43 PM »
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!

Nor-Cal

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Re: ABA is not an option (unfortunately)
« Reply #5 on: June 11, 2012, 01:35:14 AM »


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

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.
A.A., B.S., and soon to be 1L.
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Maintain FL 350

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Re: ABA is not an option (unfortunately)
« Reply #6 on: June 11, 2012, 02:30:21 AM »
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.

FalconJimmy

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Re: ABA is not an option (unfortunately)
« Reply #7 on: June 11, 2012, 11:15:41 AM »
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?

Cher1300

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Re: ABA is not an option (unfortunately)
« Reply #8 on: June 11, 2012, 01:01:29 PM »
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.

Opie58

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Re: ABA is not an option (unfortunately)
« Reply #9 on: June 11, 2012, 07:37:16 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.
...

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.