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Author Topic: Monterey College of Law  (Read 5630 times)

CA Law Dean

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Monterey College of Law 2014 Cycle
« Reply #10 on: February 05, 2014, 05:16:10 PM »
IF you are a California applicant for the 2014-2015 cycle and: 1) are not selecting your law school based on UNNWR rankings; 2) are concerned about the real cost of law school; and 3) learn better in a smaller class environment (35 vs. 100 students) . . . you should seriously consider one of the accredited regional California law schools such as Monterey College of Law. These 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 . . .  consider one of the California accredited law schools in an area that you might like to live/practice and submit an application. 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.
Monterey College of Law
www.montereylaw.edu

CA Law Dean

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Re: Monterey College of Law
« Reply #11 on: February 20, 2014, 10:41:57 AM »
Why do some law school graduates never “practice” law? I can answer this question from my own professional experience. Throughout the course of my 35+ year career, my law degree has provided me the opportunity to enjoy a range of different, interesting, challenging . . .  and occasionally profitable . . . professional opportunities. Of course, none have been as rewarding as serving as dean of MCL!

I must admit that I didn’t attend law school with the intention of practicing law in a traditional law firm setting. My first interest was politics, but after internships in state and national congressional offices . . . let’s just say I grew out of that phase. Early in my career, I practiced law as an Asst. State Attorney General. I enjoyed the public policy aspects of the work and the collegiality of working in a legal team environment. However, with an interest in economics and marketing, and a booming economy at the time, I was drawn towards the broader challenges and opportunities in the private business sector. As a management consultant, venture capitalist, public company executive, and entrepreneur, I put my legal education to great use . . .  even though I wasn’t “practicing law.”

One of the most valuable aspects of a legal education is the versatility of the training and the opportunity to integrate it into so many different professions. As a management consultant, I developed a niche practice of law firm consulting, working with individual lawyers and large firms to develop professional marketing plans. This lead me into CLE training for lawyers and eventually back into the law school classroom as a law professor in the areas of law office management, legal ethics, and law-related technology.

To bring the story full circle, it turns out that a combination of law, business, and legal education experience is also a great combination for law school administration . . . and here I am!

So to answer the question, “why do some law school graduates never practice law” . . . I would say that it is because some of us got too busy using our legal education.
Monterey College of Law
www.montereylaw.edu

CA Law Dean

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Re: Monterey College of Law
« Reply #12 on: February 23, 2014, 05:28:28 PM »
For those who might be comparison shopping: 2013 Law School Tuition Costs

California ABA Law Schools
$157,794   University of Southern California, Gould School of Law
$152,406   Stanford University Law School
$148,692   University of California, Davis School of Law
$144,204   University of California, Berkeley, School of Law
$140,418   University of California Hastings College of the Law
$135,663   University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) School of Law
$134,940   Pepperdine University School of Law
$134,151   University of California, Irvine School of Law
$132,690   Loyola Law School, Loyola Marymount University
$131,580   University of San Diego School of Law
$131,550   Southwestern Law School
$131,100   California Western School of Law
$131,040   Santa Clara University School of Law
$130,608   Chapman University School of Law
$129,135   University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law
$127,092   University of San Francisco School of Law
$126,030   Golden Gate University School of Law
$126,000   Thomas Jefferson School of Law
$122,196   University of La Verne College of Law
$120,780   Whittier Law School
$118,800   Western State College of Law

California Accredited Law Schools
$77,400   San Joaquin College of Law
$74,250   Trinity Law School
$72,660   JFK Law School
$70,550   University of West LA
$68,000   San Francisco Law School
$66,650   Monterey College of Law
$59,724   Lincoln Law School - San Jose
$58,632   Glendale College of Law
$57,620   Empire College of Law
$56,760   Santa Barbara/Ventura Colleges of Law
$55,860   Humphreys College of Law
$40,420   Lincoln Law School - Sacramento
$40,236   Cal Northern Law School
$31,080   Southern California Institute of Law
Monterey College of Law
www.montereylaw.edu

CA Law Dean

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Re: Monterey College of Law
« Reply #13 on: March 02, 2014, 02:14:39 PM »
Recent reports from the Law School Admissions Council (LSAC) indicate that law school applications for Fall 2014 have decreased for more than 86% of the traditional ABA law schools across the country. These numbers are following a trend that was seen nationally for the two previous academic years. It is too early to know how MCL will fare this year, because our admission cycle starts, and ends, about two-months later than the traditional ABA law schools. (We will continue to take regular applications through the end of May and late applications through the end of July.) However, last year we experienced a 20% increase in admissions during a period when the national trend was a 20% decrease.

I have been asked why MCL seems to be avoiding the declines being experienced in other law schools. Of course, since each law school and community is different, there is no way to know the exact reason. However, there are a number of factors that I think reflect positively on MCL and are likely to be influencing new applicants.

First, MCL has been able to control our tuition increase and maintain a unique guaranteed tuition policy. At a tuition cost of less than $70,000 for the completed degree, MCL is less than one-half the cost of many of the large traditional ABA law schools in California. Furthermore, we believe that we are still the only law school in California that guarantees that a student’s tuition rate will not increase during their tenure at MCL.
Second, as an evening program, most of our students also work during the day, creating the opportunity for them to pay-as-they-go and minimize the need for large student loans. It is common for our students to start working in law firms while they are in law school, providing practical experience and an early jump on job opportunities.

Finally, MCL has a history of taking a more practical vs. philosophical approach to legal education. All of our faculty are practicing lawyers and judges who are expected to bring their practical experience into the classroom. In addition, MCL has expanded our student clinical workshops and externship programs to provide every student the opportunity to participate in practical skills training prior to graduation.

As a small, regional law school, I know that we don’t necessarily face the same market challenges that are found in the large urban areas. However, I would like to think that our ongoing success reflects in some large part the values that come from being a community-supported law school with strong roots in the local bench and bar.
Monterey College of Law
www.montereylaw.edu

bobol

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Re: Monterey College of Law
« Reply #14 on: March 06, 2014, 06:58:52 PM »
Hey CA,

Thank you for entering the discussion of the Monterey College of Law.

Please let me direct your attention to the report LINKED below which identifies, by institution,  the number of test takers that took the California Bar Exam in July 2013 and the number which passed the test to be able to practice law in the state of California.

The report indicates that for the July 2013 California Bar Exam 11 graduates from your Monterey College of Law took the California Bar exam for the first time and zero (none) passed. 

The report further indicates that 15 graduates of the Monterey College of Law classified as "Repeaters" took the same July California Bar Exam and just 2 Repeaters passed the exam (87% failed) to qualify to practice law in the State of California.  I wonder how many prior attempt the Repeaters from the Monterey College of Law have collectively failed the Bar exam.

I am at a loss to understand how you can justify Monterey College of Law's  embarrassingly low bar pass rates. 

From these results it appears that many students attend Monterey College of Law, pay tuition, dream of someday having the opportunity to practice law, work hard to graduate, do graduate from the Monterey College of Law but repeatedly fail the Bar exam despite the fact that your school awarded them degrees for an education that does not allow them to pass the Bar Association.   

By responding post please defend the zero for 11 pass results for first time takers and pitiful 2 for 15 pass rate for "Repeaters"

Thanks.

LINK:
http://admissions.calbar.ca.gov/Portals/4/documents/gbx/JULY2013STATS.012214_R.pdf

CA Law Dean

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Re: Monterey College of Law
« Reply #15 on: March 07, 2014, 08:06:36 PM »
bobol,

Glad to provide some additional information regarding our July 2013 bar exam results. Obviously there is nothing good about those results. There is no way to put a good face on a 0-11 cohort. Fortunately for us, despite how horrible that looks, the details provide additional information for consideration. Our graduating class of 2013 that makes up the majority of this cohort divided their first-time test sessions approximately as follows: Out of the graduating class of 20, 5 took the February 2013 exam, 10 took the July 2013 exam and 5 either just took the February 2014 exam or are waiting for the July 2014 exam. As a working adult population, our students schedule their bar prep and exam session based on a number of factors, available work vacation, seasonal work load, finances, family scheduling, etc. This pattern is quite different that the typical law school where virtually everyone graduates in May and takes the July bar exam.

 In February 2013, 4 out of 5 graduated early (December) and passed the exam. The one who did not, skipped July 2013 and sat for a second time February 2014.

In July 2013, the 10 candidates represent the middle and lower cohort of the class based on graduating GPA. Because we host the bar review program, we know that 8 of the 10 did not complete the bar review program (for a variety of reasons, including health, job, family crisis, and in far too many cases . . . poor judgement) prior to sitting for the July exam.  Unfortunately, we knew what that would mean long before the scores were released. In the case of the 2 who did the proper prep and did not pass, the scores were close and we fully expect them to pass on the second sitting. Of the 8 who didn't do adequate bar prep, at least half of them have owned up to the mistake and buckled down to get it right the second time and we would anticipate from past experience that this will be true and the results will reflect their effort. We will still need to see the results of the final 5 who either just took the February 2014 exam or will be taking the July 2014 exam. I anticipate that when the dust settles, the class of 2013 will end up with a 60-65% cumulative pass rate. This is below our expectations and below the results of the classes that preceded them. However, in a small school with small testing cohorts, this is difficult to avoid over a multi-year period.

So, the final observation is that we think (and fervently hope) that the class of 2013 was an anomaly and that our five-year cumulative pass rate of 66-68% better represents the results that our graduates achieve on the California Bar Exam. I didn't mention it before,  but I assume that you realize that the state-wide first-time pass rate in California is 55% and not the 75-80% that is experienced in all other jurisdictions.
Monterey College of Law
www.montereylaw.edu

Citylaw

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Re: Monterey College of Law
« Reply #16 on: March 09, 2014, 01:06:16 PM »
Excellent research by Bobol and response by CA Law Dean.

I think CA Law Dean makes an excellent point regarding stats, which I have seen in my own personal experience in law school and the bar exam. Granted 0 for 11 is not impressive, but the reality is life happens during the bar exam. I know people in my class didn't pass for reasons completely unrelated to my school. One student was diagnosed with cancer two weeks before the bar exam and the other's father died in a car crash three weeks before.

Both students ended up taking the exam, but understandably had other issues on their mind and were not successful on their first attempt. In some positive news both ended up passing the exam and the cancer is in remission both of those people are employed as lawyers now, but under the "stats" they were unsuccessful on the bar exam. What my law school could have done or what those students could have done differently in those situations is beyond me.

My understanding of Monterrey College of Law is that it is a part-time program and the majority of students are not the typical 25-26 year old recent graduate whose only responsibility is passing the bar exam. I imagine many of families, careers, etc that they must balance. This is why for the most part I am against part-time law school, because handling additional responsibilities while managing law school rarely works out, but it can for the right person.

One other factor is that whether you pass the bar exam or not has a lot to do with the individual. I knew some other students in my class that did not pass simply because they did not put in the effort or did not take the exam as seriously as it needed to be taken. A law school cannot control a law student's behavior if they want to go out and party every night neither Monterrey College of Law or Harvard Law can stop the student.

At the end of the day I understand 0 for 11 is not going to be on the Monterrey College of Law brochure ,but the graduates made a decision to attend law school. These 11 graduates choose to attend law school and if they did not understand the bar exam would be extremely difficult they did not do their research.  There are Monterrey Grads who have passed the bar it has happened and will happen again, but any law graduate whether from Harvard or Monterrey has to pass the bar exam and whether student does or not is a personal accomplishment, and has little to do with the school they attended.

I do think this was an interesting topic for discussion and I think it is great CA Law Dean is so open to discussing his school in this forum.

Maintain FL 350

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Re: Monterey College of Law
« Reply #17 on: March 10, 2014, 12:27:27 PM »
Let me first echo Citylaw's comment and thank Law Dean for posting here. It's a very helpful perspective to have.

A couple of points regarding MCL's bar pass rate:

Past Performance

0/11 is a poor performance, I don't think anyone disputes that. One bad performance, however, is not a trend. If you look at MCL's bar pass rates for the last five years it's much better. This cohort seems to be an outlier, and is not indicative of overall performance.

Now, if this continues then there is obviously a problem. But at this point there is no reason to suspect that it will continue. Past performance, in fact, suggests the opposite.

Sample Size

The size of the CBE law school cohorts is so small (often 10-20 students) that I'm not sure you can draw too many conclusions, either positive or negative. One individual student can affect the pass rate by 5-10%!

If a school has consistently low or high pass rates, that probably does mean something. But an individual cohort which performs below average (as is the case here) is not necessarily indicative of anything other than the specific issues faced by that specific cohort.

Which leads to my last  point...

Part Time Programs

I went to law school part time, and I can tell you from experience that it is a brutal process. Trying to prepare for the toughest bar exam in the nation while working, or taking care of a family, or both is very difficult. Schools like MCL are taking students who have much more going on than the average 22 year old law student and are trying to prepare them for the California bar.

If anything, I'm impressed by that fact that MCL routinely gets 50-60% of their students to pass on the first attempt! Remember, Tier 1 out of state schools often have a CA pass rate of only 20-30%.

I would say the same for lower tiered CA ABA schools, too. Personally, I'm more impressed with a 65-75% pass rate on the CA bar than an 80% pass rate on a much easier bar exam. Again, lower tier CA schools often beat the pants off much higher ranked out of state Tier 1 schools.

All of these factors, especially the difficulty of the CA bar, have to be taken into account when evaluating bar pass rates. 

CA Law Dean

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Re: Monterey College of Law
« Reply #18 on: April 15, 2014, 10:55:00 AM »
Just a short reminder that Monterey College of Law is still accepting applications for the Fall 2015 semester. If you are considering law school, which I assume you are if you are following this discussion board, there is still time to take the June LSAT and apply for fall admissions. MCL is one of the California accredited law schools that will conditionally admit you to Fall 2015 subject to getting the results of the June LSAT. Therefore, if you are considering a fall admission, you should go ahead and submit your application and not wait for the June LSAT results. We also have a very popular summer Jurisprudence course that starts  the first week of July, but you need to have been admitted or conditionally admitted to be eligible to take the course. Let me know if you have any questions about admissions criteria or process.
Monterey College of Law
www.montereylaw.edu

CA Law Dean

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Re: Monterey College of Law
« Reply #19 on: May 28, 2014, 02:20:26 AM »
Big sigh of relief. Monterey College of Law's 2014 graduates who took the February CA bar exam achieved an 86% pass rate (6/7). Our total first-time takers is 75% (6/9). Our cumulative five year pass rate remains over 60%, even with our "anomaly" of last July that was previously discussed.
Monterey College of Law
www.montereylaw.edu