Law School Discussion

new law school

new law school
« on: May 10, 2013, 06:44:38 AM »
I have a new law school that is opening this year close to where I live and I am wondering is there a waiver for students sitting the bar who attend, as the school is new and hasn't received accredidation yet.  My main concern is would it be worth the 3 years.  The school is a branch of an already accredited school but each branch has to apply seperately.  I just want to make sure I would be able to sit the bar after three years, especially since a scholarship is involved.   Any advice.


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Re: new law school
« Reply #1 on: May 10, 2013, 09:21:53 AM »
I don't think there's really enough information to help answer your question.

If you are talking about a new school in the University of California System or something, then it might be a great option.  If you are talking about a new school in the Thomas J. Cooley network, it might not be a great option.

I personally don't believe Law school adds much value, at least beyond the first year, independent of the degree.
If your goal is to be a licensed attorney, you should really start calling the state bar associations where you will likely apply.  If your goal is to use the law degree for a non-law purpose, I must respectfully dissuade you. 

That said, if it's basically free, the risk is low.

Re: new law school
« Reply #2 on: May 10, 2013, 09:27:17 AM »
I just want to make sure I would be able to sit the bar after three years, especially since a scholarship is involved.

Most states require a degree from an ABA approved law school in order to sit for the bar.

Check out the ABA website, you can read about the process and requirements involved with obtaining accreditation. Obtaining full approval is a long and expensive process, with many intermediate steps.

IIRC, a law school must operate for one academic year before they can apply for accreditation. The school can then apply for Provisional Accreditation, which means that the school is found to be in "substantial compliance" with ABA standards. The school must then maintain provisional accreditation for a while (three years?) before it can apply for full accreditation. The ABA looks at everything from financial resources to faculty qualifications to admissions processes. It's a very in depth process.

Here in California, the new UC-Irvine law school opened in 2009 with Erwin Chemerinsky (a huge name in Constitutional law) as dean, a $20 million gift from a local tycoon, and the full backing of the highly regarded UC system. Even so, they operated as unaccredited for the first year and then acheived provisional status. I believe they are still in the process of obtaining full approval. That's an example of the best case scenario.

Lincoln Memorial University in Tennessee, OTOH, opened a new law school and failed to obtain provisional approval recently. There is a good NY Times article on the topic which I'd encourage you to read. It explains how a school can fail to obtain accreditation. Look closely at the resources of the parent institution.

Thus, it is likely that in the best case scenario you would graduate from a provisionally accredited school. The ABA says that graduates of provisionally accredited schools should be accorded all the rights of graduates of fully approved schools. I have heard of some states giving applicants a hard time about provisional status, however.

Make sure to check with the state bar in the state in which you intend to practice, and get a clear answer as to their policy regarding provisionally accredited law schools. Also be sure to check out the ABA's rules, and ask the new school specific questions about their plans to acheive accreditation.   

Re: new law school
« Reply #3 on: May 12, 2013, 02:35:45 PM »
It's very risky going to a new law school.