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Author Topic: ABA versus Non-ABA; marathon LSAT-taker  (Read 7690 times)

Nor-Cal

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Re: ABA versus Non-ABA; marathon LSAT-taker
« Reply #10 on: August 07, 2012, 02:35:05 AM »
All in all, from what I've learned from active attorney's in my area, is that where you went to school is far less important than if you're good at what you do. A crappy attorney is a crappy attorney no matter where you went to school, and vice versus.  Non ABA schools are a very good option considering you can practice law almost anywhere so long as you pass the bar in California and practice for a few years before applying to take the bar in another state.

The ABA is nice but is very over rated. I think people are going to see a shift as the cost v. benefit of attending an ABA school is not what it once was when you compare dollars and cents.
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jack24

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Re: ABA versus Non-ABA; marathon LSAT-taker
« Reply #11 on: August 07, 2012, 10:48:28 AM »
All in all, from what I've learned from active attorney's in my area, is that where you went to school is far less important than if you're good at what you do.

That's true, but there are thousands of attorneys who went to good schools who are good at what they do.  We live in a world of tiebreakers because we have two attorneys for every attorney job.

Non ABA schools are a very good option considering you can practice law almost anywhere so long as you pass the bar in California and practice for a few years before applying to take the bar in another state.

Almost anywhere?  Care to list the states that do this?  (I don't mean to be snarky, but it's not close to almost anywhere)

The ABA is nice but is very over rated. I think people are going to see a shift as the cost v. benefit of attending an ABA school is not what it once was when you compare dollars and cents.

Yes, the ABA is overrated, but non aba schools need a few different things.  They need to get state bars on board, they need higher quality students, and they need employers to get on board.   Really, once employers get on board, students and state bars will follow suit.


Nor-Cal

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Re: ABA versus Non-ABA; marathon LSAT-taker
« Reply #12 on: August 08, 2012, 02:07:38 AM »
@Jack24: Almost anywhere?  Care to list the states that do this?  (I don't mean to be snarky, but it's not close to almost anywhere)

If you would have asked me this question a few months ago, I could have told exactly what states I was referring too. Some of the states I remember were Nevada, Oregon, Washington, Texas, Florida, Montana, and maybe 6-10 others. I had a complete list around the house but I cannot locate it. The California State Bar website offers a list of CBE graduates and states they currently practice in. Cross reference that with the bar requirements in each state and you can come up with a list of states that give exceptions for CBE graduates with some time under their belt. (Usually 3-5 years of experience as a licensed attorney in CA)

I completely understand your stance, I was actually shocked to find CBE graduates practicing in as many states as I did. But it just goes to show how things are changing and exceptions can be made.
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SoCalLawGuy

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Re: ABA versus Non-ABA; marathon LSAT-taker
« Reply #13 on: September 21, 2012, 03:40:19 AM »
Have you decided yet? In my opinion, it's better to attend an ABA school but either way, if you have a good plan and you're determined enough, I think you'll be OK.

brandadalaw

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Re: ABA versus Non-ABA; marathon LSAT-taker
« Reply #14 on: November 07, 2012, 06:06:06 AM »
New to the forum

Forgive me if I am repeating an answered topic but could anyone expand on the Pro's and Con's of attending a Non-ABA approved school? I am in a similar situation as the poster and would like some advise.

I reside in California and this is what i know so far:

- Non-ABA approved Schools limit you to practicing Law in your state (not a concern I love CA)
- Bar Passing percentage is much lower

Anything else useful I can use in my decision? (links to other threads discussing this topic are welcome) Also I have a 2.6 GPA and have been scoring in the low 140s on the LSAT can any California residents point me out to a school ( ABA or Non-ABA approved) for which I stand a chance of getting admission?

All responses are highly appreciated (even the snarky one, I have tough skin!)

livinglegend

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Re: ABA versus Non-ABA; marathon LSAT-taker
« Reply #15 on: November 07, 2012, 05:01:01 PM »
I think CBA schools can be great for the right individual and many states are allowing non-ABA grads to take bar exams outside of California.

The legal education you receive will probably be the same whether at an ABA or non-ABA school you will most likely take all the bar related courses Torts, Civil Procedure, Property, Contracts, Criminal Procedure, Criminal Law, etc and you will read Supreme Court cases that are the same exact ones the people at Harvard are reading.

The only real problem with a non-ABA school is that in big markets there is no shortage of ABA grads looking for work and if you hear unaccredited v. accredited school a lot of people will simply go with accredited just basic human nature. However, if your in a small market like Fresno or Chico then all you really need is a law license.

There are plenty of successful attorneys in Chico that went to Cal Northern a non-ABA school in the city where no ABA school exists.

Same with San Joaquin College of Law there is no ABA school within 3 hours of there and many attorneys in the area went to San Joaquin College of Law.

PROS & CONS OF NON-ABA SCHOOLS

The major pros of a non-aba school are that they are much, much, cheaper and if your a person that knows they want to live in a certain location for the rest of your life then it probably won't be an issue. You will receive essentially the same education as you would at an ABA school.

One  concern I would have based on your post is the 140 LSAT that is indicative that you may not be a great test taker and the bar exam is about 1,000,000 times harder than the LSAT and the 140 may be an indication the bar will be a struggle which is why I imagine the CBA bar results are so much lower than other schools.

Other major con is that many states won't let you take the bar exam without going to court on the issue and if you want to move around that will be a restriction. There are also some doors that will simply be closed certain government positions, big firms,  simply will not allow non-ABA grads to work there. Right or wrong that is the way it is. So if that is your goal you will be disappointed, but if you want to start your own firm or work in a rural area then a CBA school will probably do just fine.

Hope that is helpful.




bobol

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Re: ABA versus Non-ABA; marathon LSAT-taker
« Reply #16 on: November 07, 2012, 07:34:05 PM »
Don't go to a non ABA accredited school unless you have exhausted all other options.

You should consider recent ABA accredited University of Massachusetts School of Law which had a median LSAT of 144 for the class that started in August 2012.  The class profile is set forth in the below link:
http://www.umassd.edu/media/umassdartmouth/schooloflaw/admissions/law_profile_2011.pdf

Before you attend a Non ABA- California only accredited school you should first consider a law school that is committed to gaining ABA accreditation.  Law schools seeking ABA accreditation are frequently new law schools started by established colleges, universities or law schools which has the necessary financial resources to achieve ABA accreditation. 

The following law schools are seeking ABA accreditation:

** Belmont College is a respected 4 year College in Tennessee started a new law school and is working towards accrediation but to my knowledge it has not had the ABA site team review yet.
http://www.belmont.edu/law/index.html

** Concordia University is an established college with an enrollment of 3,100+/- studets in Portland Oregon.  Concordia statrted a new law school in Boise Idaho and welcomed its first law school class this falll (2012) . I am not sure why a school in Oregon chose to start a new law school in Idaho but it did.
http://www.concordialaw.com/

**  John Marshall Law School (Atlanta) was accredited by the ABA in 2005. John Marshall Law School decided to expand enrollment and this fall opened a new campus in Savannah Georgia as "The Savannah law School".
http://www.savannahlawschool.org/

** The Indiana Tech Law School will open in Fort Wayne in the fall 2013.  Indiana Tech is a private college founded in 1931.  It is a respected undergrad school with an undergrad enrollment of 5000+/- students. 
http://www.indianatech.edu/Academics/Law/Pages/default.aspx

** The Thomas M. Cooley School of Law with four (4) existing law school campuses in (i) Lansing Michigan, (ii) Grand Rapids Michigan, (iii) Auburn Hills Michigan, and (iv) Ann Arbor Michigan expanded enrollment by opening a fifth (5th) law school location in Tampa Florida this year.
http://www.cooley.edu/tampabay/

Let me repeat- -  only attend a non ABA accredited law school after you have exhausted all efforts and been rejected by the above established schools which are working towards accreditation.

Good luck & don't get discouraged.



Maintain FL 350

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Re: ABA versus Non-ABA; marathon LSAT-taker
« Reply #17 on: November 08, 2012, 02:35:48 AM »
CBA schools can be a good option for the right student, as livinglegend said. The key is to ascertain whether you are that type of student.

One of the most important questions to ask is "What do I want to do after law school?" If you can answer that, it will help you figure out if a CBA school is a good option. Most CBA grads end up in small firms, as solo practitioners, and in local government offices (DA, Public Defender, etc.) Big firms, many mid-sized firms, many big corporations, and many federal jobs are likely not going to hire a non-ABA grad. If you're interested in one of those jobs you need to go to an ABA school and do very well.

Also, as livinglegend pointed out, there is geographic variation. Firms in bigger cities like LA and San Francisco are going to be more competitive, and a CBA degree may put you at a disadvantage in those places. OTOH, I've met many CBA grads who are successful attorneys with thriving practices, and some who earn considerably more than the average biglaw partner.

I think the key is to be realistic and informed, and to understand the potential limitations of a non-ABA degree. You're not going to be able to rely on your pedigree to get a job or an internship, so you're going to have to really hustle. If you know what to expect, and your goals are congruent with a CBA degree, you can do just fine. Do the research, and talk to CBA grads.

Let me repeat- -  only attend a non ABA accredited law school after you have exhausted all efforts and been rejected by the above established schools which are working towards accreditation.

Although I agree that it generally makes sense to attend an ABA school, I don't think that any ABA school is always better than any CBA school. The OP stated that he wants to stay in CA. I seriously doubt if an unknown, out of state, provisionally accredited or T4 ABA school carries more weight in LA or SF than the local CBAs.

Honestly, I'd never even heard of most of the schools you mentioned (except Cooley) before reading this post. I'll bet very few others in CA have either. It's nothing against those schools, I'm sure they're all good institutions. I'm just not sure how beneficial a degree from an unknown ABA school is compared to a known local CBA. Most employers would probably draw very little distinction between the two.

Getting hired at small firms and government offices is often based much more on experience than pedigree. That's why a student should probably go to law school in the region in which they intend to practice. It's much easier to get internships, clerkships, and to network. A local CBA school will likely have at least some alumni network and, depending on the school, might have a good local reputation. That's probably more than you'd get from an out of state T4, which makes me question the cost vs. benefit.


brandadalaw

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Re: ABA versus Non-ABA; marathon LSAT-taker
« Reply #18 on: November 08, 2012, 05:15:51 AM »
Thank you all for responding, you were very helpful.

@livinglegend I'm in Los Angeles which is definitely a competitive market, I'm well aware it will be a challenge standing out with a degree from a CBA school which is why I am still very skeptical of it all. It is cost effective as you mentioned, education wise I would not be missing out yet the odds would still be against me employment wise there are tons of unemployed attorney's who have gone to far better schools than the ones I am even considering, local and out of state so I'm not oblivious to the difficulty. Regarding my low LSAT scores I completely agree with you, Iíll be the first to admit I do not do well on standardized tests but as far as I know the Bar exam is in essay format and tests your knowledge in material you were exposed to in Law School is that correct? the LSAT rather focuses on trying to almost rewire your way of thinking testing your critical and analytical skills something you do not learn much in school and can only prepare for with lots of practice. In an ideal world Iíd be able to practice all day long to the point Iíd be able to give lectures on the LSAT, but realistically I work two jobs, canít afford a prep course and can only study a few hours a week on a borrowed book from my local library.  I have no problem understanding LSAT concepts it's the time factor that I struggle with so honestly I'm not too concerned with the Bar right now, I can grasp concepts very well I'm sure with three years worth of learning and exposure plus a good six months of studying I should be fine. This may be naive of me so if you or anyone reading this disagrees and would like to make a point for that you are more than welcome to enlighten me.

@bobol thank you for the links, information and advice. I have never heard of any of those schools besides Cooley but I do agree with you, I should certainly try and go for an ABA approved school before deciding on a CBA. My main concern is that all the schools you listed are out of California which is where I would like to practice law for at least the start of my career as my family and connections are all here. Part of why Iím considering a CBA to stay local, most of the ABA approved schools here are extremely competitive and I donít stand a chance. UMass looks tempting though I will definitely look into it and keep an open mind to going out of state. I just know most young attorneyís rely on internships, networking and alumniís when trying to land their first job so I wouldnít like to leave California.

@Roald
Quote
One of the most important questions to ask is "What do I want to do after law school?" If you can answer that, it will help you figure out if a CBA school is a good option.
[/quote]  Great question, Iím still not fully certain as Iím sure a lot of people applying for Law School feel. Currently Iím trying to fully understand what it is to be an attorney and separate the fictional image most people have from the real one. I have been volunteering at law firms and courthouses just to see the day to day life of an attorney. I really have no interest in working for a big corporation or firm I think you are kind of born into those jobs; you have to have gone to the right schools and, met the right people and made the grades early on. I want to do something local, independent with a business side to it. I find it far more rewarding working for myself so I guess solo practitioner is more along the lines of what Iím interested in. I have been working in the healthcare industry for some time now and have MDís and RNís in my family as well as professional acquaintances so I am also thinking of conjoining that with my law degree. It all isnít 100% clear at this time which Iím a bit ashamed to admit but I definitely have the drive and hustle it takes to work independent. I have come across many unemployed young attorneys my age and older at my volunteer positions, we do the same work and interact and I can see why they are unemployed. Their mannerism, confidence level, knowledge of the world and drive all shows after a five minute conversation. I have overcome a lot in my life, mixed in with people from all backgrounds and can definitely compete with some of these kids and get the jobs their degree alone canít get them, even from a bad school I just need to figure out the best plan for me and at the moment Itís all fuzzy due to the fact that I know very few successful attorneyís independent attorneyís I can speak to and seek advice from.

bobol

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Re: ABA versus Non-ABA; marathon LSAT-taker
« Reply #19 on: November 08, 2012, 07:49:40 AM »

Honestly, I'd never even heard of most of the schools you mentioned (except Cooley) before reading this post....

If you have never heard of the University of Massachusetts then that fact does not reflect favorably upon your credibility since UMass is the Massachusetts'
public university.

____________________

Roald .... 'fess up; what is your connection to ABA unaccredited law schools?  are you a student, grad or employee?