Law School Discussion

Nine Years of Discussion
;

Author Topic: The World laughs at US Law School System  (Read 1715 times)

Duncanjp

  • Sr. Citizen
  • ****
  • Posts: 123
    • View Profile
    • Email
Re: The World laughs at US Law School System
« Reply #10 on: May 05, 2013, 01:12:15 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.

Several factors influence bar pass rates for CBE schools versus the pass rates for ABA. Lower academic requirements for admission may be a factor, but I'm convinced that it is not the predominant reason - or even a terribly significant one - for the lower pass rates by CBE grads. The students who graduate from CBE programs have all shown that they can perform competent legal analysis and they can pass the same law school exams that you'd find at any ABA school. The real difference lies in the attention to bar prep that CBE students on average are able to give. ABA students are predominantly unemployed or part-time workers at most. They tend to enjoy the luxury of having substantial amounts of time to study the law and to prepare for the bar. Conversely, most CBE students have full-time jobs, and a large percentage cannot take a two-month leave of absence from work to concentrate on the bar. This is the critical difference. The quality of the education itself is no different after they've weeded out the first-year students. Put ABA students in the same shoes as CBE students, or vice versa, and I have no doubt that the pass rates would virtually mirror one another.

Executive

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 3
    • View Profile
Re: The World laughs at US Law School System
« Reply #11 on: June 06, 2013, 03:24:05 AM »

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.

Most paralegals today have degrees. They study the same subjects those of us who attended law school studied. They also advocate claims before state and federal administrative agencies, as permitted under Cal. Bus. & Prof. Code   6450(a).  We will likely see paralegals practicing in limited areas, which is simply not lucrative to most law firms. Ideally, they should be utilized to assist low income people who have no access to justice.  As long as they have the education, I have no problem with it. My focus is people with no legal training rendering legal advice.   

       

CA Law Dean

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 85
  • Yes . . . law school is intentionally challenging.
    • View Profile
    • Email
Re: The World laughs at US Law School System
« Reply #12 on: June 07, 2013, 09:04:13 PM »

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.

Several factors influence bar pass rates for CBE schools versus the pass rates for ABA. Lower academic requirements for admission may be a factor, but I'm convinced that it is not the predominant reason - or even a terribly significant one - for the lower pass rates by CBE grads. The students who graduate from CBE programs have all shown that they can perform competent legal analysis and they can pass the same law school exams that you'd find at any ABA school. The real difference lies in the attention to bar prep that CBE students on average are able to give. ABA students are predominantly unemployed or part-time workers at most. They tend to enjoy the luxury of having substantial amounts of time to study the law and to prepare for the bar. Conversely, most CBE students have full-time jobs, and a large percentage cannot take a two-month leave of absence from work to concentrate on the bar. This is the critical difference. The quality of the education itself is no different after they've weeded out the first-year students. Put ABA students in the same shoes as CBE students, or vice versa, and I have no doubt that the pass rates would virtually mirror one another.

I think all of Duncan's points about bar preparation are right on point. For example, when I arrived at MCL in 2005, about 30% of the graduates took a full-blown bar review course. The others "borrowed" prior course books, took less-expensive on-line courses, self-studied, etc. The result was a cumulative pass rate of about 38% on the California Bar Exam. We now have the BarBri course fee included as part of the regular law school tuition and have 100% participation. We also have a review course that starts in early February and is 3-4 nights a week all the way to the July bar exam. This allows working students to continue working during the day, but still complete the entire review course in time for the July bar exam. We also add several full-day Saturday practice exams that are graded by our legal writing faculty who have been through the calibration (bar grading) training program. Our cumulative bar pass rates for the California bar exam are now 66-68% and are among the top scores out of the 18 CBE law schools. HOWEVER, all of this presumes that the law student was diligent throughout law school, prepared, and performed well on all of their bar tested subjects. There is NO short cut to learning the law. I hate to say that there are no surprises, but we find that hard work and performance in law school, NOT LSAT or UGPA are the predictors for success. I think Duncan is absolutely right that a good student can be successful at any law school
Monterey College of Law
www.montereylaw.edu