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Empire College School of Law


I would like to have Empire College School of Law added to the growing list of schools mentioned. I'm curious to hear from anyone who has experience with this school, as its one that I have been considering.

I know one guy who attended he did fail the bar a few times, but eventually passed and has a decent job now. He had nothing bad to say about the school, but said he knew some doors were going to be closed and was aware of a high probability of difficulty of passing the bar. I think if you go in with realistic expectations to any school it can work, but you need to be aware a J.D. from Empire is not going to lead to a Supreme Court Clerkship. You will be a licensed attorney and can start your own firm or maybe work in a smaller private firm, but it will be hard to start your own practice or to get hired among the number of lawyers in California from ABA schools, but it can happen.

Hope that is helpful.

Maintain FL 350:
I don't have any personal experience with Empire, but I think the same caveats/potential benefits that apply to any CBE law school are applicable here, too. If you're not interested in biglaw, federal jobs, or leaving CA then Empire might be fine. I don't think there is quite the same pecking order for CBE schools that exists with ABA schools, I think they're all viewed about the same. That said, locality is probably even more important when choosing a CBE school. CBE reputations are probably very local, and your best chance to gain experience is likely going to be in the school's immediate vicinity.

Their first time bar pass rates for the last few administrations range from around 36%-50%. That's actually better than a lot of CBE schools, but for some of those exams the number of takers was extremely small (like 2-4), so I'm not sure if that really indicates anything.

It looks like a decent number of Empire grads have been hired by the local DA's office, which is good. It's possible that local govt jobs are less of an option now, however. I can't speak for Sonoma County, but I can tell you that here in Southern CA the govt offices have been hit with such heavy budget cuts that hiring is pretty much at a standstill. When a few positions do open, they get flooded with experienced applicants. If your plans include any kind of government work, you might want to keep that in mind.

I did attend a recent open house that Empire hosted and the campus is extremely nice. I think over half of the Sonoma County Bar is made up of graduate from there, and about 70% of the Deputy District Attorney's are all their graduates as well. Probably doesn't hurt that the county opened up an active courthouse inside the school. The one thing I noticed, was the amount of attorney's from Tier 1 schools in Sonoma/ Napa Counties; yet most of them are/have sent their kids to Empire instead of a big name school like one would expect.

During the open house, they stated the tuition rate for all four years was approximately $54K which is very reasonable considering the next lowest is Golden Gate  and University of San Francisco which are both about $150K and a 90 minute drive (each way).


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