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Author Topic: Distance Law Schools... how does it work?  (Read 1889 times)

FalconJimmy

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Distance Law Schools... how does it work?
« on: July 13, 2012, 02:46:32 PM »
Okay, I am sincerely curious about this and curious what you folks have to say.

On distance law schools, let's say you wanted to practice in California.  (Not sure if you could practice in any other state, but let's just say california.)

How does the process work?  You take the baby-bar like the california accredited school folks do?  Then, you're eligible to sit for the bar?

Maintain FL 350

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Re: Distance Law Schools... how does it work?
« Reply #1 on: July 13, 2012, 03:10:00 PM »
I think the student is required to take the FYLSE after the first year (or after the first 1 1/2 years, since they're part-tme). If they pass they can continue on to the second year. The CA bar requires the online/unaccredited school to certify that the student has completed something like 864 hours of instruction, divided into specific categories: a certain number of hours in torts, contracts, etc. This is the same requirement for applicants who study with an attorney or in judges' chambers.

After that, the requirements are the same as any other applicant: pass the MPRE, positive C&F determination, pass the bar.

BTW, the FYLSE is not typically required for students at CA accredited law schools unless they fail classes. Some (maybe all?) CA ABA schools require the FYLSE for re-admission if a student has been academically disqualified. If you look on the Calbar website you'll see a number of students from ABA schools taking the exam, but I don't know if that's required by the Calbar or if certain individual schools make it a requirement for re-admission.

Anyone who has more specific info, please feel free to correct me!

jonlevy

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Re: Distance Law Schools... how does it work?
« Reply #2 on: July 13, 2012, 09:01:03 PM »
After year one take the FYBE, if you pass, continue for three more years and take the California bar.  Four years total plus a bar review.  You are looking at around a 20% historic pass rate on the FYBE, so the odds are 5-1 to one against right out of the box and then a lot of students drop through attrition.

Cher1300

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Re: Distance Law Schools... how does it work?
« Reply #3 on: July 15, 2012, 02:34:30 PM »
I think the student is required to take the FYLSE after the first year (or after the first 1 1/2 years, since they're part-tme). If they pass they can continue on to the second year. The CA bar requires the online/unaccredited school to certify that the student has completed something like 864 hours of instruction, divided into specific categories: a certain number of hours in torts, contracts, etc. This is the same requirement for applicants who study with an attorney or in judges' chambers.

After that, the requirements are the same as any other applicant: pass the MPRE, positive C&F determination, pass the bar.

BTW, the FYLSE is not typically required for students at CA accredited law schools unless they fail classes. Some (maybe all?) CA ABA schools require the FYLSE for re-admission if a student has been academically disqualified. If you look on the Calbar website you'll see a number of students from ABA schools taking the exam, but I don't know if that's required by the Calbar or if certain individual schools make it a requirement for re-admission.

Anyone who has more specific info, please feel free to correct me!

That is correct.  You only have to take the FYLSE if you are attending a non-accredited law school after your first year in order to continue on to 2L.  For Cal accredited and ABA accredited schools, the baby bar is not required.  Some ABA schools, including my own, may require you to take the baby bar if you do not have a cum gpa of 2.0 after your first year and are seeking readmission or requesting readmission on a probationary status.  I'm not sure how many ABA schools allow this, but the same is true for some state accredited schools also.   

What is similar for non-accredited and Cal Bar approved is that you cannot take the bar in any other state until you have practiced law in California for about 3-5 years depending on the state and their requirements.  In my opinion, if you only plan on practicing in California, state approved may be one of the best ways to go because it is about half the price of ABA, FYLSE is not required, and it still has state accreditation.  The bar pass rates aren't great and I wouldn't recommend it if you have big law plans, but if you just plan on hanging a shingle or working as a public defender, etc. I see no reason why one shouldn't.   

FalconJimmy

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Re: Distance Law Schools... how does it work?
« Reply #4 on: July 15, 2012, 09:14:48 PM »
So, is there any advantage to state-accredited v. unaccredited distance learning schools?  Seems like they both have to go through the same stuff.

jonlevy

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Re: Distance Law Schools... how does it work?
« Reply #5 on: July 16, 2012, 11:34:57 AM »
I am under the impression the online schools are not state accredited, they are registered with the state.  The state accredited law schools are not online.

Maintain FL 350

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Re: Distance Law Schools... how does it work?
« Reply #6 on: July 16, 2012, 12:01:30 PM »
I am under the impression the online schools are not state accredited, they are registered with the state.  The state accredited law schools are not online.

That's exactly right, the California state bar (like the ABA) will not accredit distance learning J.D. programs whether online or correspondance. The online schools have no specific programmatic accreditation, but in the case of Concord I think it has some kind of other distance learning-based accreditation. For the practice of law, however, only two kinds of accreditation matter: ABA or state bar. Unaccredited CA schools are "registered" with the state bar, but that's it.

Graduates from CA state accredited (CBE) law schools can, as Cher1300 pointed out, take the bar in other states depending on the state's specific regulations. Sometimes they require 3-5 years practice, sometimes not, it varies. Many states, however, will not admit an online of otherwise unaccredited grad, period. It's one pretty big advantage the CBE schools have over online (along with no FYLSE requirement). 

FalconJimmy

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Re: Distance Law Schools... how does it work?
« Reply #7 on: July 16, 2012, 02:21:27 PM »
I am under the impression the online schools are not state accredited, they are registered with the state.  The state accredited law schools are not online.

That's exactly right, the California state bar (like the ABA) will not accredit distance learning J.D. programs whether online or correspondance. The online schools have no specific programmatic accreditation, but in the case of Concord I think it has some kind of other distance learning-based accreditation. For the practice of law, however, only two kinds of accreditation matter: ABA or state bar. Unaccredited CA schools are "registered" with the state bar, but that's it.

Graduates from CA state accredited (CBE) law schools can, as Cher1300 pointed out, take the bar in other states depending on the state's specific regulations. Sometimes they require 3-5 years practice, sometimes not, it varies. Many states, however, will not admit an online of otherwise unaccredited grad, period. It's one pretty big advantage the CBE schools have over online (along with no FYLSE requirement).

Ah, so that's one huge difference:  if you go to a calbar school, you may be able to practice outside of california under the right circumstances.  However, the distance-learning folks can't.  got it.

GovLaw

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Re: Distance Law Schools... how does it work?
« Reply #8 on: July 16, 2012, 02:58:40 PM »
It is a huge difference, but not entirely correct.   There are a few states which will allow distance learning graduates to take the state bar, though they may have practice requirements before allowing them to do so.  This has been discussed ad nauseam on here - do a search.

jonlevy

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Re: Distance Law Schools... how does it work?
« Reply #9 on: July 16, 2012, 10:02:01 PM »
It is a huge difference, but not entirely correct.   There are a few states which will allow distance learning graduates to take the state bar, though they may have practice requirements before allowing them to do so.  This has been discussed ad nauseam on here - do a search.

5 years practice and motion in to the DC bar but no one seems to understand that here.  Iowa has a similar motion in with a few twists.  Even if it is theoretically possible to take a bar in a few other states, they will make it difficult for you to qualify. Online grads are not welcome except in California and DC.