Law Students > Pursuing an LLM

Getting ABA after the bar.

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Yuki Sprite:

I graduated from a non-ABA California law school, passed the bar exam, got sworn in, etc.

My question now is, how do I get ABA accreditation???

I don't want to repeat 3 years of law school, so I'm wondering if I can get an LLM from an ABA school that will give me all the rights and privileges afforded to ABA JDs. Would the LLM need to be in a specific major? I read somewhere that most states just require that the applicant have 26 ABA-Accredited credits in bar exam subjects. Could I complete an LLM designed for foreign lawyers? Or, would it be possible for me to get an LLM that is specialized (i.e. tax or business law).

I'm not planning on practicing law. So, this is more of a career move than a professional (law practice) move. I'm planning on starting work by the end of this year, so something I could do part time would be preferable (like Professional (summer school), online (I've sort-of had enough of online), or evenings) I would also prefer the best brand name I could get.

Any input on this issue would be greatly appreciated.

Btw, sorry for any typos, I'm writing this at 3:50 in the morning.

Why do you need the ABA accreditation if you don't want to practice law?  It's not quite clear what you want to do.  If you want an LLM, does that mean you want to teach law?  Is the school you went to state accredited?

Yuki Sprite:
State accredited...? Not sure. I'm licensed to practice CA law and I can go through the motions to become licensed to practice federal law as well.

But, I think my school's website says that it is not accredited by CA. I'm not clear on those technicalities.

The reason I'm wondering about getting ABA is, in part, because I think that having a fully accredited degree would look better on a resume (duh), and also just because I'm curious. On a bit of a side note, I'm studying for the CPA exam, and if I where to be able to get an LLM in tax and get ABA accreditation at the same time... couldn't hurt.

Maintain FL 350:
Well, there are a few things to consider.

First, the ABA does not accredit LL.M programs, only J.D. programs. A particular law school may have ABA approval and may also grant LL.Ms, but the LL.M program itself will not be ABA accredited. Even if you got an LL.M from Harvard, for example, that would not qualify you to sit for most state's bar exams. Most states require that you have an ABA-accredited J.D. Foreign lawyers can sometimes get an LL.M and practice in the U.S., but it really depends on where they went to law school (some foreign degrees are recognized by some states, others aren't), and what state they want to practice in. In short, your J.D. really determines whether your legal education is ABA approved.

You need to find out what accreditation your law school has. If it's non-ABA and non-CBE (CA state), then it's probably unaccredited. Sometimes these school advertise themselves as being "Registered with the California State Bar" or something like that. This is important because many LL.M programs will require that your J.D. be from an ABA accredited school. Some, however, don't. You'll need to check out each individual school.

Here is the main issue: you said that you don't want to practice law. If that is the case, spending tens of thousands of dollars on an LL.M is pointless. Please understand that I'm not trying to be rude or overly critical, it's just a fact. For the vast majority of legal jobs (other than tax and maybe natural resources law) an LL.M is usually uneccessary. For non-legal jobs an LL.M is completely uneccessary. For non-legal jobs an LL.M, even from a big name school, is probably not going to help. 

Yuki Sprite:

So my school is registered as an unaccredited law school.

Purely out of curiosity, as a CA attorney from an unaccredited law school, what would be the absolute fastest way to get a JD that is accredited by the ABA? Is an ABA-accredited school allowed to accept any transfer credits from an unaccredited school?

(kind-of sounds nice to go to law school and not have to worry about taking the bar exam at the end :)


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