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Author Topic: Non-ABA approved Test Takers  (Read 868 times)

cobes1996

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Non-ABA approved Test Takers
« on: November 11, 2013, 02:08:12 PM »
Gang,
I am not an expert at this topic, but I just looked up the bar exam pass rate statistics on www.NCBEX.org

http://www.ncbex.org/publications/statistics/

There are several states who allowed/offered those from Non-ABA approved schools to sit for the bar.  Of course, CA had the most, but Massachusetts had over 500 and Tennessee had over 200 take the exam in 2012.  Does this mean that states are starting to become more lenient? 

Feedback would be great. Thanks.

Citylaw

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Re: Non-ABA approved Test Takers
« Reply #1 on: November 11, 2013, 08:31:45 PM »
There were several state supreme court cases that allowed non-aba grads to take state bar exams, but it many states still do not allow non-aba grads. Here is an article of one such case in Massachusetts http://www.abajournal.com/news/article/grad_of_non-aba-accredited_law_school_can_take_massachusetts_bar .

I believe Tennessee has also allowed non-aba grads to take the exam. I imagine if you petitioned any state after you graduated your argument under the Privileges & Immunities clause would be strong, but having to go through a Supreme Court case to get your law license would be a hassle.


Maintain FL 350

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Re: Non-ABA approved Test Takers
« Reply #2 on: November 12, 2013, 02:44:11 AM »
Of course, CA had the most, but Massachusetts had over 500 and Tennessee had over 200 take the exam in 2012.  Does this mean that states are starting to become more lenient? 

No, I don't think so, and here is why:

California is not the only state that allows state-accredited law schools to operate within it's borders. Massachusetts, Tennessee, and Alabama also have non-ABA state accredited schools, and have been allowing their graduates to sit for the bar for decades. Therefore, this does not represent a new openness on the part of these states, but rather reflects what has been going for a long time.

Massachusetts did recently admit a Concord grad after he passed the bar and filed suit to gain admission, and perhaps that will open the door for others in that state. Most state bars remain openly hostile to non-ABA graduates, especially those graduating from unaccredited correspondence/online programs.   

As far as the P&I argument, it will be played out over the next few years as online grads challenge state bars for admission. I don't think it will work in most cases, however, since state bars are likely to be viewed as acting within their permissible scope to set educational standards for admission. Historically, state bars have a lot of latitude in controlling admission, and the argument may fall on unsympathetic ears.

Lastly, the discussion surrounding ABA/non-ABA often focuses on the exclusivity and snobbiness of the ABA and the various state bars. While I think there are legitimate criticisms to be made in that arena, at some point the non-ABA schools are going to have to meet the bar associations halfway if they want to be taken seriously. It's not enough to just demand respect, they've got to earn it, and that means turning out students who can pass the bar. It's not just elitism that makes people suspicious of schools that have 10% bar pass rates.

Online schools are going to have to start requiring college degrees, the LSAT, and other basic admissions criteria along with serious academic support and attrition of underperformers. Until then, I don't think much will change. 


cobes1996

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Re: Non-ABA approved Test Takers
« Reply #3 on: November 12, 2013, 01:20:51 PM »
What schools in Tennessee are you referring to?   I thought they all were in CA?

Maintain FL 350

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Re: Non-ABA approved Test Takers
« Reply #4 on: November 12, 2013, 03:59:18 PM »
What schools in Tennessee are you referring to?   I thought they all were in CA?

Nashville School of Law and Lincoln Memorial University School of Law are both non-ABA, but are accredited by the state bar of TN. Their graduates can sit for the TN bar, and maybe a few other states (although I don't know for sure).

Boston has the non-ABA Massachusetts School of Law, and used to have Southern New England School of Law, too, but they were absorbed by UMASS-Dartmouth and are an ABA school now. Finally, Alabama has Birmingham School of Law. I think that all of these schools qualify the graduate to sit for their state's bar, and maybe a few others. Check to be sure.

Most non-ABA schools are in CA, as you stated. CA is unique in that we allow ABA, CBE (state accredited), unaccredited fixed facility, and unaccredited distance learning schools. However, the vast majority of CA bar takers still follow the traditional ABA route. 

Citylaw

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Re: Non-ABA approved Test Takers
« Reply #5 on: November 12, 2013, 09:27:57 PM »
Solid Post Maintain agreed I think some of the CBA schools do a legitimate job I know Cal Northern in Chico has a number of graduates that pass the bar. Lincoln Law and JFK also do a decent job as CBA schools of getting people into the practice of law, but there are a number of online unapproved schools taking advantage of naive students and if they don't require a bachelor's degree, minimal LSAT score etc it gets to the point of individuals not having the capacity to understand what they are getting into. All ABA schools require college degrees, letters of rec, personal statements etc and the individuals choosing to attend ABA schools are competent enough to understand what they are getting into.

However, I know some schools do not require the LSAT or a College Degree etc and these are essentially money grabs.

Many of the schools you mentioned such as UMass Darthmouth etc will eventually get accredited or at the very least impose some type of restriction on admission.

I personally believe if you are a college graduate and actually sit for the LSAT and get a score, obtain two letters of recommendation and are able to write a coherent personal statement that you are competent enough to decide whether law school is a good choice and any school ABA or Internet Based should be enough to get you a bar exam ticket in any state and if you pass good for you, but I am just some guy on the internet.

bobol

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Re: Non-ABA approved Test Takers
« Reply #6 on: November 12, 2013, 10:54:15 PM »


UMass Darthmouth etc will eventually get accredited.....

Hey Citylaw...... UMass Dartmouth is provisionally accrediated by the American Bar Association.

cobes1996

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Re: Non-ABA approved Test Takers
« Reply #7 on: November 13, 2013, 08:54:12 AM »
So if I am hearing everybody correctly, those that are being approved to sit for the bar  from non-aba schools, attended brick and mortar schools and not on-line schools.  Do you think TN, MA and maybe AL will allow those who attended an online school to sit for their state bar exams?

Maintain FL 350

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Re: Non-ABA approved Test Takers
« Reply #8 on: November 13, 2013, 06:14:03 PM »
So if I am hearing everybody correctly, those that are being approved to sit for the bar  from non-aba schools, attended brick and mortar schools and not on-line schools.  Do you think TN, MA and maybe AL will allow those who attended an online school to sit for their state bar exams?

Contact the state bar of any jurisdiction you're interested in, and get the answer straight from them. Don't take anyone else's word for it (including mine!). Each state will have it's own rules, and the state bar is the only resource you should trust.

Most state bars will not admit a non-ABA grad, period.

Some states (I don't know the exact number) will admit a state bar-accredited grad if they have been admitted to their own state and have practiced for a certain number of years. These are the brick and mortar schools you mentioned.

Online schools are a different story. Online schools are not accredited by either the ABA or any state bars. So far only CA and maybe one or two other jurisdictions will allow an online grad to sit for the bar. I think the distinction is not so much brick and mortar vs. online, as it is accredited vs. non-accredited.

Again, if you're contemplating any non-ABA school be sure to get your answers directly from the state bar. You don't want to spend tens of thousands on tuition only to find out you can't sit for the bar.


Citylaw

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Re: Non-ABA approved Test Takers
« Reply #9 on: November 14, 2013, 12:40:24 AM »
Agree 100% you don't want to spend 3 years of your life and thousands on tuition only to be denied a bar admission ticket and saying some internet poster told you it was ok. Take everything here with a grain of salt and contact your state bar.