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Duncanjp:
Thank you for the comments, Dean.

I'm a non-traditional student finishing my third year at a CBE school (Lincoln in Sacramento). The quality of the education equals or surpasses anything I received from East Carolina University or UC Davis in undergrad. I can't speak for all CBE schools, but I don't honestly know how even the highest ranked ABA school could improve on the presentation of the material that my school delivers. My professors are sitting judges, local prosecutors and defense attorneys, all of whom know their subjects well and clearly enjoy teaching. It's a great bang for my buck. I know that the degree won't have the prestige of Stanford or Berkeley, but the quality of the education is fantastic nonetheless. Inasmuch as I'm firmly entrenched in a career underwriting position for a national insurance company, I can't imagine abandoning my position after I pass the bar to become an associate attorney in some unfamiliar field of practice. It would be a step backwards and would probably cut my salary in half. No thanks. My attorney-mentor at work advised me at the outset that the goal is simply to get the license. Perhaps if I were 20 years younger without the experience and contacts, I would have set my sights on a loftier program. I can't kid anybody: I would love an ABA degree. But raiding my retirement savings just to get one at this point in the game is a difficult sell. I have a great chance of seeing an ROI from my investment at Lincoln. Just becoming an attorney will vault me out of the realm of lay underwriters, many of whom have been working in the field for twice as long as I have. But the satisfaction and prestige of an ABA degree isn't enough to justify paying three times as much in tuition to get it. And the odds of receiving any meaningful ROI from an ABA degree seem a greater risk than a less prestigious degree for a third the cost.

I've been an advocate for CBE schools on this forum for a couple of years. They aren't for everybody, but they're a good choice for the right candidates. I'm one of them.

lawyurd:
I wish I had the option to go to a CBE school.  I recently moved from California to Florida and law school options are not as plentiful here.  The closest school is apparently not very good and the good ones don't really cater to nontraditional old guys like me.  I have a federal government job and I believe that a JD would give me an advantage since we deal with contracts all the time.   Not sure if I can justify $150k or more in school debt.  This is why I am torn between a low rated, high tuition ABA school or a more reasonably priced online law school.   

Rocketdog2017:

--- Quote from: lawyurd on April 06, 2013, 09:11:59 PM ---I have a federal government job and I believe that a JD would give me an advantage since we deal with contracts all the time.   Not sure if I can justify $150k or more in school debt.  This is why I am torn between a low rated, high tuition ABA school or a more reasonably priced online law school.

--- End quote ---

Read your post: I think if debt is your main focus, and you don't want to make the practice of law your primary profession, the choice in school would be more clear: choose the lower cost IF that lower cost school will offer you a decent quality legal education. (sorry for the run-on sentence)...LOL

In another light: why buy a formula one race car to commute to work everyday? (unless you live in Germany)

Duncanjp:

--- Quote from: Rocketdog2017 on April 07, 2013, 11:28:35 AM ---In another light: why buy a formula one race car to commute to work everyday?
--- End quote ---

Good analogy.

That said, three of my company's attorneys who went to CBE schools have all candidly confessed in one form or another that their non-ABA J.D.s in fact limited their careers. I know that I will never run my company's legal department. But I wouldn't expect to, even under the best of circumstances. The people who head the various legal departments all went to T-14 law schools. My expectations are realistic: to become in-house counsel and keep the company of career attorneys who went to great schools. I'll do whatever they tell me to do. Works for me. In fact, it's going to rule. And none of the people I work with on a daily basis have any concept of the elitism of the law school hierarchy. To them, an attorney is an attorney.

livinglegend:
I attended an ABA school, but agree with Duncan's point for the most part an attorney is an attorney. There are some places that have elitism and anyone attending a CBA school should be realistic in their expectations as they are unlikely to clerk for the Supreme Court right out of law school, but there are plenty of people in need of legal representation and most clients simply want an attorney to resolve their problem with a law license from any school you can accomplish a goal for your client.

I don't think anyone even CA Law Dean would encourage someone who wants to work for Cravath or O'Melveny & Meyers to attend Monterrey College of Law as those doors will be closed, but someone that wants to do Family Law, Criminal Defense, even small civil Litigation in the Bay Area particularly Monterrey itself it is likely a good option for the right person.

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