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Mid-career professional thinking about attending a correspondence school

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I have read many of the threads in the distance education section and feel like my head is on straight about this, but I would be interested in feedback.  While I think that a recent college grad would in most instances be foolish to go the unaccreditted route, in my particular situation, I don't see a downside to getting a J.D. from one of the California correspondence schools.

My situation is this:  I am a year shy of 50, live in Texas, and have spent the last dozen years working in government relations for national companies in the workers' comp industry.  I don't really see myself practicing law, but am interested in getting the degree and passing the bar in California:  1) As a credential for my present line of work; and 2) As fulfillment of a personal intellectual challenge.  While I understand that the standards of these schools are not as rigorous as traditional institutions, passing the bar would be a nice achievement for both personal and professional reasons.

My choice is not related to academics -- I was a strong student with a high GPA and believe I would do well on the LSAT if I took it. However, a traditional part-time program is not an option for me because my job requires extensive travel.  In addition, given my particular purposes, the low cost of the correspondence option is a nice plus.  I won't be borrowing any money to do this.

I don't really see any downside other than the time investment.  Thoughts?

I am new to this forum and am looking forward to the interactions.  Thanks.

You would seem to be an idea candidate for distance learning with your background in law. Some people like to go to NASCAR races, some people like to study law, what you do with your time and money is your business. 

JonLevy -- thanks for the response.  Over the last couple of weeks, I have done a lot of reading on this board, and your posts in particular have been very helpful as I have sorted through this.

I'm in almost the same situation.  Same age, been interested in law for years, gainfully employed, but no where near a law school.  I am currently in the midst of some other time commitments, but I have been seriously considering the California distance thing myself.  There is a possibility I will begin this fall.

I've read as much as I can get my hands on, and there are many naysayers.  However, you and I sound like perfect candidates.  I have no interest in practicing law, but I've always wanted to go to law school and passing the bar would be the proof that I really made it.  The California correspondence option is very affordable and people do actually pass the bar, although the pass rates are very, very low.  If you are serious about being a student, I say go for it!

The only question in my mind is whether or not to go through NWCU (the longest by far with one of the best track records) Oak Brooke (some of the best FYLSX and Bar pass rates) or Taft (DETC accredited).  I know the Taft accreditation means nothing in the legal world, but it does means something in the education world--low interest loans, loan deferments, employer funding, etc.

Good luck and please keep us posted.

I would never recommend anyone who does not want to practice law at all to go through the distance learning route.  You will likely not make it past the First Year Law Student Exam. and definitely not pass the bar. You have to really want the bar license bad to go through all the pain and suffering distance learning requires. Instead I recommend an online Masters in Legal Studies from a regionally accredited school like Kaplan University.

Having and maintaining a law license makes you an attorney - so unless you passed the bar and immediately went inactive, there is no such thing as not practicing law.


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