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Author Topic: Getting ABA after the bar.  (Read 3939 times)

FalconJimmy

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Re: Getting ABA after the bar.
« Reply #10 on: June 26, 2012, 09:56:19 AM »
Is an ABA-accredited school allowed to accept any transfer credits from an unaccredited school?

Yes.  Contrary to what some other posters have said, ABA schools CAN accept non-ABA credits.  They can even accept credits from non-law schools.  (For instance, Joint JD/MBA programs accept credits from business schools.)

Very, very, very few schools do, though.  To the best of my knowledge, there are only 2 or 3 and they're all in California.  Not to be demeaning, but generally speaking, look for the worst ABA accredited schools in California to begin your search. 

Outside of those very few schools, no other ABA accredited schools accept non-ABA law school credits, to the best of my knowledge.

Maintain FL 350

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Re: Getting ABA after the bar.
« Reply #11 on: June 26, 2012, 10:53:41 AM »
Is an ABA-accredited school allowed to accept any transfer credits from an unaccredited school?

Yes.  Contrary to what some other posters have said, ABA schools CAN accept non-ABA credits.  They can even accept credits from non-law schools.  (For instance, Joint JD/MBA programs accept credits from business schools.)

Very, very, very few schools do, though.  To the best of my knowledge, there are only 2 or 3 and they're all in California.  Not to be demeaning, but generally speaking, look for the worst ABA accredited schools in California to begin your search. 

Outside of those very few schools, no other ABA accredited schools accept non-ABA law school credits, to the best of my knowledge.

That's interesting, I didn't know that. I had looked into transferring when I was in law school, and I remember that the various law schools' policies always stated  that credits from an ABA school would be accepted, period. But, if any ABA school would accept credits from a unaccredited law school it would be in California!

What do you think about the OP's status as a member of the bar? I think that might be a much bigger hurdle to overcome. Sorry, OP, I'm not trying to be rude. I'm actually kinda interested by the question: can you get accepted to an ABA JD program if you're already a lawyer?

Cher1300

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Re: Getting ABA after the bar.
« Reply #12 on: June 26, 2012, 12:37:13 PM »
Is an ABA-accredited school allowed to accept any transfer credits from an unaccredited school?

Yes.  Contrary to what some other posters have said, ABA schools CAN accept non-ABA credits.  They can even accept credits from non-law schools.  (For instance, Joint JD/MBA programs accept credits from business schools.)

Very, very, very few schools do, though.  To the best of my knowledge, there are only 2 or 3 and they're all in California.  Not to be demeaning, but generally speaking, look for the worst ABA accredited schools in California to begin your search. 

Outside of those very few schools, no other ABA accredited schools accept non-ABA law school credits, to the best of my knowledge.

From the research I have done, which has only been in Southern California, none of the ABA schools accept transfer credits from unaccredited schools.   The lower-tiered schools like Western State, La Verne, and Thomas Jefferson will accept transfer from state accredited schools, but not unacredited.  So if any school does, it's probably outside the LA area.   I'll keep searching, but if you know one or two off the bat let me know because I am curious about that.

Maintain FL 350

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Re: Getting ABA after the bar.
« Reply #13 on: June 26, 2012, 03:10:58 PM »
Golden Gate, Western State, TJSL, and La Verne will accept only CBE/ABA units. Further, the general tone of their admissions info seems to indicate that CBE units may be accepted. La Verne's website further states that if accepted, CBE units will be limited to 29, while an ABA student can transfer 44. If none of those schools are willing to accept unaccredited units, who is?

Yuki Sprite

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Re: Getting ABA after the bar.
« Reply #14 on: June 26, 2012, 07:05:33 PM »
I Emailed Berkeley, and they said that my status as an attorney precludes admittance to the J.D. program. They stated that it was their school's policy and inferred that it was not related to an accrediting agency's regulations. Not that it matters to me, because I have no interest in expending the effort and finances to get a second J.D. (that would probably be from a low-tier school anyway).

In addition, since you're already a member of the bar, it's possible that you're more or less prohibited from attending law school again. You'd have such a huge advantage over your non-lawyer classmates that schools might be very skeptical about admitting you. I imagine that neither the ABA nor the individual law schools themselves want to encourage people to obtain bar admission first, then seek admission to law school. You may even want to check with the CA bar, they may have some restrictions on acquiring a second J.D.

However, I do think that the system is unfair, or at least clumsy, in that it does not provide a reasonable way for someone like me to prove competency, since most state's bar exams, by themselves, are apparently inadequate indicators of competency. The unfairness is obvious when you consider that if I were barred from acquiring a second J.D. from an ABA school because of prior education and certification, that regulation would certainly be unconstitutional discrimination (even if you classify this as a non-suspect/ non-fundamental right, my willingness to meet the standard through a second J.D. would preclude the regulation from having a "rational basis"). And, if I were allowed to acquire a second J.D., As Roald said, it would be unfair to the other students because I would easily outperform them academically (which is ridiculously ironic).

Oh well, I'll definitely maintain my license, but since I don't want to practice law as a profession, this isn't really my fight. I may still end up getting an LL.M. in tax after finishing the CPA exam, but only because the professionals I've spoken with said that it would be a great career move if I ever got into consulting.

Thanks for the input everyone.  ;D

Maintain FL 350

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Re: Getting ABA after the bar.
« Reply #15 on: June 26, 2012, 07:43:40 PM »
However, I do think that the system is unfair, or at least clumsy, in that it does not provide a reasonable way for someone like me to prove competency, since most state's bar exams, by themselves, are apparently inadequate indicators of competency.
[/quote]

I would say that your ability to pass the toughest bar exam in the country is the best indication of your competency. If you can pass the CA bar exam you're doing better than the vast majority of wannabe lawyers. You'll always have to deal with some people who are clueless as to what you've accomplished, but that's life. I've always found it to be absurd that someone could pass the CA bar but be denied admission to Wyoming. Seriously?

Is it unconstitutional to prevent people from seeking a second J.D.? I dunno, but I would think not. Lots of law schools are private and can discriminate as much as they want as long as it's not based on suspect classification. As far as public schools like Berkeley, perhaps the rational basis is thatt hey don't want to create the legal version of community  colleges: institutions with open admissions which are used as a stepping stone to higher education.

I'm curious, what was your experience in law school like? I imagine that you still used the same books and followed the same general format as most ABA/CBE students?

 

Yuki Sprite

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Re: Getting ABA after the bar.
« Reply #16 on: June 26, 2012, 10:00:33 PM »
The unconstitutionality comes from a state regulation that prohibits someone, who is capable, from acquiring ABA accreditation, and by extension the right to take the bar exam and practice law. Additionally, it could be argued that a school that accepts government funds and arbitrarily classifies and rejects students based on their prior, advanced, education is discriminating. However, if being barred from admittance were a requirement set forth by the ABA for accredited schools to follow, then that rule would be unconstitutionally discriminatory because the rule creates an arbitrary class and the ABA is performing a public function.

I attended a correspondence law school. So, we were required to log a minimum of 864 (if I remember correctly) hours of study each year. The program was, as required by law, four years long. We generally had assignments due biweekly, and a conference once a year which was for orientation, appellate advocacy, and trial advocacy (no required attendance for year two which came before appellate ad). Proctored final exams culminated each six-month set of courses. An exam typically included 25-50 Multiple choice and 2-3 essays (closed book and lasting typically 3 hours) (1 final for each class - normally 3 classes per semester) and accounted for the majority of a student's grade. An exception was the UCC final which had a combination of multiple choice and true or false questions, a series of short answers, and 8 or so essays. That exam was open book to the extent that we could reference that 5 inch book of rules, regulations, and statutes. Of course, each course's assignments and final exam varied to some extent.

In regards to the resources used. The required textbooks were generally the applicable horn-book (i.e. Prosser and Keeton), Gilberts outlines, Case books, and recorded audio lectures by the adjunct professor. Of course, everyone used additional materials like: Law-in-a-flash, Barbri, Fleming, Sum and Substance, and practice exam materials (like Finz and PMBR).

Compared to a regular attendance school, there was virtually no social interaction between classmates except for occasional phone conference calls and the annual conference (which required attendance). My school typically has students from across the country and world. Between my class and the classes immediately ahead and behind, there were students from five different countries and 3-4 continents. The time zones make live phone calls difficult to schedule. A lot of lonely nights studying all by myself :( On the up side, the cost of tuition + books + air fair and lodging for conferences + air fair, lodging, and the cost of the exams for the FYLSE and the Bar exam = less than one years tuition at a regular school (less than 50-60 K). So, lacking in social interaction (and accreditation) but a high quality legal education. I think that my class, the people I kept in touch with anyway, had a high majority pass-rate on the CA Bar. Higher, I think, than norm (about 46%).

FalconJimmy

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Re: Getting ABA after the bar.
« Reply #17 on: June 28, 2012, 09:52:56 AM »

From the research I have done, which has only been in Southern California, none of the ABA schools accept transfer credits from unaccredited schools.   The lower-tiered schools like Western State, La Verne, and Thomas Jefferson will accept transfer from state accredited schools, but not unacredited.  So if any school does, it's probably outside the LA area.   I'll keep searching, but if you know one or two off the bat let me know because I am curious about that.

Ah, thanks for catching that.  When the OP said a non-ABA accredited California Law School, I was thinking a state-accredited school.  However, you are right to point out that a state accredited school has accreditation.  To the best of my knowledge, you are correct.  I don't think any school accepts credits from a school that is entirely unaccredited.

FalconJimmy

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Re: Getting ABA after the bar.
« Reply #18 on: June 28, 2012, 10:01:56 AM »
To the OP:  there are very, very few instances where I believe it is in a person's best interests to get a non-ABA accredited degree.

One instance would be for a person who intends to practice only in California, and will practice in an area of the law that is highly entrepreneurial, such as hanging out a shingle and opening a PI, criminal or family law practice.

The other instance is for people who simply want the credential, but don't intend to practice.  If I am understanding you correctly, this is your situation.

In business, there are very, very few businesses that are conscious of where degrees come from and those places really only care about schools that are in the top 10 or 20 or thereabouts.  For the rest of us mere mortals, there's precious little difference between going to the 40th ranked business school in the country and the 100th. 

Once you've been in the work world for 2 years or more, your education becomes largely irrelevant in 99% of most people's careers.  In business, it's not where you came from, it's what you've done and what you can do that's important.  Although MBAs are common these days, they're usually just a check-off, so getting an "executive MBA" from the local non-AACSB accredited liberal arts college is all most people will ever need.

If you intend to work in business, I'd say to let this go.  From here on out, you can legitimately say that you have a law degree.  Since you don't ever intend to practice, anything beyond saying that and listing a J.D. on your resume is irrelevant. 

I had a similar situation when I graduated from b-school years ago.  I went to the #43 ranked business school at the time, and was a little stunned at how little it meant.  However, as I looked over my LSAT and gpa, I realized I might have qualified to go to something in the top 30 or thereabouts.  However, once you have an MBA, the better schools are not about to let you get another.

I understand your desire.  However, I would advise that you don't spend any more of your precious years and precious dollars trying to further perfect a credential you already have.  If anything, getting a second J.D. would make you look either insane, or like a professional student, or perhaps like somebody with severe mental problems to a prospective employer.

Best of luck.  You have your law degree.  You passed the bar.  Don't keep re-living this episode of your life.  You did fine.

Yuki Sprite

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Re: Getting ABA after the bar.
« Reply #19 on: June 29, 2012, 02:25:52 AM »
FalconJimmy,

Hey, thanks man, that's nice of you to say. Don't worry, I won't be going out of my way for the ABA. Also, it has been my experience that most people I talk to who aren't in the legal profession are like:

People: "Where did you go to school?"
Me: "XYZ school of law in CA."
People: "Wow, very nice."

Of course, they don't recognize or care about the name.

What you said about the importance of your school after two years of work experience is what I have heard from other people also. "You go to college to get your first job."