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Author Topic: The World laughs at US Law School System  (Read 1925 times)

jonlevy

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The World laughs at US Law School System
« on: February 04, 2013, 09:09:06 AM »
Just like our stupid inches and gallons; the ABA stranglehold on the legal education system in the US is ridculed as just plain dumb:

http://www.economist.com/news/business/21571213-could-law-schools-be-ready-change-their-ways-two-year-itch

The only ones getting rich are overpaid law professors who can't hold a job except maybe as POTUS.

Cher1300

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Re: The World laughs at US Law School System
« Reply #1 on: April 05, 2013, 02:39:39 PM »
I have to agree.  With my debt increasing at an ABA, I am seriously considering transferring to a CBE.  Once of the attorneys I'll be interning with had his son attend a CBE in the evenings because he read an article indicating only 48% of law school graduates have permanent work at this time but huge amounts of debt.  This, in addition to the fact that Obama cut subsidized loans for graduate students completely this year.  Because of this, I have may have to take on personal loans next Fall.  CBE schools are something most law students - at least those in California - should consider if they really want to be an attorney.

CA Law Dean

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Re: The World laughs at US Law School System
« Reply #2 on: April 05, 2013, 04:05:35 PM »
As a dean of a CBE law school (Monterey College of Law), I can confirm that what makes California accredited law school programs different is that we are scaled in size and cost to more closely meet the needs of the local community. Our law degree costs about $65K . . . not $150K. As a part-time evening program, our students are encouraged to start working in law-related jobs during law school, not only reducing the need for student loans, but in most cases providing the opportunity to get actual experience in different practice areas (and law firms) to identify a preferred area of practice after graduation. In some ways, our format is much closer to the medical school practicum model than the typical ABA program. I think that you will also find that the bar pass rates for good students at CBE schools is competitive with the unranked ABA law schools.
Monterey College of Law
www.montereylaw.edu

jonlevy

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Re: The World laughs at US Law School System
« Reply #3 on: April 05, 2013, 08:15:16 PM »
As a dean of a CBE law school (Monterey College of Law), I can confirm that what makes California accredited law school programs different is that we are scaled in size and cost to more closely meet the needs of the local community. Our law degree costs about $65K . . . not $150K. As a part-time evening program, our students are encouraged to start working in law-related jobs during law school, not only reducing the need for student loans, but in most cases providing the opportunity to get actual experience in different practice areas (and law firms) to identify a preferred area of practice after graduation. In some ways, our format is much closer to the medical school practicum model than the typical ABA program. I think that you will also find that the bar pass rates for good students at CBE schools is competitive with the unranked ABA law schools.

How do you feel about one of the options of the English system - Bachelors in Law coupled with a 2 year training contract?

Is US law so much more complex than England that it requires 7 years of school?  As someone dually licensed in England and the USA, I would say English law is far more complex as it take into consideration about 500 more years of precedent and the EU legal system as well.

CA Law Dean

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Re: The World laughs at US Law School System
« Reply #4 on: April 05, 2013, 09:48:05 PM »
What's a few hundred years between common law friends (mates) . . . of course overlooking a few spats along the way, OK and a Declaration of Independence. If you read Brian Tamanaha's book "Failing Law Schools", he talks about the early 1800's debate in US legal education about whether the "trade" model or "philosophy" model of legal education would prevail. We know how that worked out and the Socratic method and three-year law degree has spent the next 200 years as the holy grail of legal education. Of course the McCrate Report, the Carnegie Foundation and many others (over the most recent two decades) have clearly articulated why a more clinical, practical . . . and dare we say "non-elitist" model of legal education would be more effective. I am pleased to say that in a (very) small way, that is what we are doing at Monterey College of Law since we operate apart from the ABA approval process. We require more that 200 hours of practical skills training, 150 hours of pro-bono workshop experience, and all of our students (starting in 2012) are required to be certified as mediators through our own Mandell Gisnet Center for Conflict Management. Of the 86 units we require for graduation, 59 are proscribed by the state bar . . . 9 are legal writing, research, and analysis . . . 6 are required clinical and moot court . . . and the remaining are electives, internships, and optional clinical workshops.

So, long answer to a short question . . . I don't see much likelihood of the undergraduate/two year contract, but I am supportive of the two-year limited license option that is currently being considered in Washington state (and theoretically in California . . . but I won't hold my breath). I also think there are many options to bring at least the equivalent of a year of practicum and clinical training into the "traditional" US law degree curriculum.
Monterey College of Law
www.montereylaw.edu

jonlevy

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Re: The World laughs at US Law School System
« Reply #5 on: April 05, 2013, 11:23:30 PM »
That's extremely interesting; the mediator certification in particular will be very helpful to your students and any exposure to real clients is another plus.

I am not so enthisiastic about the so called 2 year limited license which in essence licenses paralegals though it might be a revenue booster for law schools.  I used to instruct in a regionally accredited MA in Legal Studies program and I shudder to think of the damage my former students might inflict if permitted to practice even in a limited fashion.

CA Law Dean

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Re: The World laughs at US Law School System
« Reply #6 on: April 06, 2013, 02:51:59 PM »
I don't know where your Masters program was located. If it was part of a general humanities department, I can understand your concern. Our Master of Legal Studies (36 unit) degree requires the same admission standards as the JD, except that the LSAT is not required. The students take the same law school classes and exams, are graded the same as JD students, and in fact, the law faculty only knows they are MLS students if the student chooses to inform them. In a rural county such as ours, a two-year limited license could be very valuable for low-fee, form-based legal assistance in areas such as family law, immigration law, and employment law. One of the local concerns for our Hispanic community are the unscrupulous Notary Publics that prey on individuals who think that they have the same qualifications as "Notarios" from their home country. They charge $1000s for very poor services. Skilled, trained, and licensed limited scope legal professionals could eliminate much of this abuse. Of course, this might be unique to rural, agricultural communities like we have here in California.
Monterey College of Law
www.montereylaw.edu

jonlevy

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Re: The World laughs at US Law School System
« Reply #7 on: April 06, 2013, 07:32:12 PM »
The problem is the impotent state bar and DAs who do not prosecute so called independent paralegals, non bonded immigration consultants, and sovereign citizens who practice law without a license.  Unleashing a bunch of people who don't have the academic ability to obtain a JD on the public is a poor idea but a great one for law schools who can charge for the degree.

I never under stood why a paralegal would need a Masters degree.  Thery need skills not degrees.  The ones I instructed were too lazy to learn how to use Lexis or WestLaw.

Hispanics can afford attorneys just like everyone else and do not need a special class of legal practitioners to serve them just becuase Mexico has notarios.


Cher1300

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Re: The World laughs at US Law School System
« Reply #8 on: April 25, 2013, 04:05:02 PM »
As a dean of a CBE law school (Monterey College of Law), I can confirm that what makes California accredited law school programs different is that we are scaled in size and cost to more closely meet the needs of the local community. Our law degree costs about $65K . . . not $150K. As a part-time evening program, our students are encouraged to start working in law-related jobs during law school, not only reducing the need for student loans, but in most cases providing the opportunity to get actual experience in different practice areas (and law firms) to identify a preferred area of practice after graduation. In some ways, our format is much closer to the medical school practicum model than the typical ABA program. I think that you will also find that the bar pass rates for good students at CBE schools is competitive with the unranked ABA law schools.

Actually, my biggest concern are the bar pass rates for CBE schools.  After doing some research, it appears Monterey does a bit better than those in the Los Angeles area.  Do you think that bar pass sucess rates are largely due to the individual or the school they attend?  Or do you think the CBE schools do not fair quite as well because students are not required to have a bachelor's degree or have higher LSAT scores as ABA schools?  Would like to get your opinion on that.

Maintain FL 350

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Re: The World laughs at US Law School System
« Reply #9 on: May 03, 2013, 07:01:13 PM »
The world does not laugh at the US law school system, they flock to it in droves.

The US has more foreign law students than any other nation on Earth by far. Ask any lawyer in Hong Kong, Berlin, or Johannesburg to name the ten best law schools and the world and I'll bet they'll answer "Harvard, Yale, Columbia...", etc. The international competition to get into top US LL.M programs is intense.

US law schools definitely have problems with cost, lack of practical training, etc. But by and large, US graduate level education is considered to be very high quality internationally.