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Monterey College of Law

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CA Law Dean:
IF you are a California applicant for the 2013-2014 cycle and are terminally wait listed or rejected . . . and Plan A isn't working out. Gut check time . . . What is your most important objective? If the answer is becoming a lawyer . . . and not just becoming a "________" law school graduate . . . then it is NOT too late to consider one of the 17 California accredited law schools (such as Monterey College of Law) for Fall 2013. These regional schools are accredited by the State Bar of California, not the ABA. Many of them have very respectable bar pass rates (competitive with the unranked ABA law schools), are a fraction of the cost of the traditional ABA schools, and offer part-time programs so that you can actually begin working in law related jobs to gain relevant experience before graduating. Most have strong ties to the local bench-bar that result in jobs after graduation Of course this is not the path if your goal is to work in a large urban center in a multinational law conglomerate. But if the idea of being a small firm lawyer, DA, Public Defender, Legal Services lawyer, or solo practitioner is what you are after . . .  select one of the California accredited law schools in an area that you might like to live/practice and get an application in . . . right away. Then go visit to see if it fits your goals. Ask hard questions about bar pass rates, costs, job placement, clinical,programs, etc. Most of the non-urban areas of California need lawyers (despite the articles in the national news) and many of them are great places to live and raise a family if you have not already decided to be a big city lawyer.

The biggest limitation is that upon graduation from one of the California accredited law schools you must take (and pass) the California bar exam first. You cannot go directly to another state and sit for their bar exam until you are licensed in California (and some states will require minimum years of practice as well). That is why the option is primarily for those who already know that they want to live and practice in California. Bottom line, if you really want to be a lawyer, make it happen.

If you have questions about any of the California accredited law schools feel free to contact me directly: mwinick@montereylaw.edu or go to the MCL website at www.montereylaw.edu.

CA Law Dean:
I wish more eligible Veterans and their families were aware how valuable the Post 9/11 GI benefits can be for Vets, spouses, and dependents. Just as an example, for applicants (particularly those interested in practicing in California), the Post 9/11 benefits can pay up to 100% of their tuition at one of the California accredited law schools. Appx. $19,000 per year if you qualify for the full benefit.

$19,000 may not go very far towards a $50K (per year) typical ABA law school degree, but most of the CBE (State Bar of California "Committee of Bar Examiner" accredited law schools - also known as CALS "California Accredited Law Schools") have annual tuition at, or below, this amount. These schools are approved for Post 9/11 benefits and many, such as Monterey College of Law (located near NPS and DLI), are also Yellow Ribbon schools that pick up the difference if your benefits don't cover the entire annual tuition.

. . . and this is for SPOUSES AND DEPENDENTS as well. Many Vets are being bombarded by unaccredited on-line degree offers, but an accredited CBE law school will be a much better legal education for most, if not all Vets and their families . . . and law schools such as Monterey  are located in Vet-friendly communities with VA resources, etc.

CA Law Dean:
On-line answer to an off-line question -  If you apply and are admitted to MCL this cycle (note: the application deadline is still open), but are still waiting for responses and to clear wait-lists (or financial offers) from other law schools . . . MCL will gladly hold open your seat offer until you have had the chance to hear from all of your other law school applications. We know that this decision is huge and we strongly believe you should have the benefit of all possible information about your choices before you commit anywhere. If we have accepted you, of course we hope that you will choose MCL, but our feelings are not hurt if we are your "safety" school.

However, what we have seen too many times in the past is that potential applicants who have all their eggs in one (wait-list) basket and get turned down at the last minute . . . don't rally from the disappointment in time to get additional back-up applications submitted in time . . . and miss the current admission cycle completely. If this could be you, and you have determined that MCL is a possibility for you, we strongly encourage you to get an application (and hopefully an acceptance) in place while you wait for the other decisions . . . nothing beats the feeling of that first "acceptance" . . . even if it isn't where you finally attend.

CA Law Dean:
I just received an important clarification from a veteran on another Board. Note that public law schools (there are 5 in California) all provide 100% tuition for qualified veterans under the Post 9/11 GI bill. The cost difference only comes into play with the private California law schools (16 ABA and 18 California accredited) that are limited to the $19,200 cap on annual tuition. It is in this context in California that a veteran, spouse, or dependent might find a California accredited law school a better financial option than taking out loans for the difference between $19,200 and $50K per year at an ABA private law school. Of course significant scholarships at private ABA schools might also make up the difference as well. Just suggesting there might be a broader range of options when the California accredited law schools are considered.

CA Law Dean:
Reply to off-line question: Monterey College of Law will take the June LSAT and in certain special circumstances will admit conditionally subject to the October LSAT (since the deadline for registration for the June LSAT has passed). Contact the school for details.

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