Law School Discussion

Concord Law School Solo Immigration Practice?

Concord Law School Solo Immigration Practice?
« on: October 27, 2010, 08:22:41 PM »
Hello everyone,

This is my first post and I would love to get some feedback about an idea that I've had bouncing in my head for quite some time. I've been working full-time as a paralegal with two immigration attorneys in a small, sunny Central California town. At 33 it would be very difficult to return to school as a full time student due to family responsibilities. Quitting my job and going to law school full time is definitely out of the question, so I have been looking into online schools.

My plan is to attend Concord Law School and establishing my own solo practice in a predominantly immigrant city in central California. My current bosses make more than a decent living so I know that there's definitely a huge demand for immigration legal services. Our clients are mainly working class Latino immigrants filing family petitions and I have never heard anybody ask my bosses where they went to school. The point is that I am not interested in working in a big law firm or practicing outside California (I have lived here 2/3 of my life).

My main concern is the bar passage rates for Concord and online law schools in general. I am planning to cut back my work hours during the first year to allow myself to absorb and process the material. I must admit though that I am frightened of failing the bar exam and I don't know what I would do if I failed. On the other hand, if I make it, I would be able to practice and do what my current bosses do for a third of the price (They both went to UC Davis).

So what do you guys think? Is it doable or I'm I dreaming? I would appreciate any feedback.

Thank you.


Re: Concord Law School Solo Immigration Practice?
« Reply #1 on: October 28, 2010, 02:07:40 PM »
I don't know anything about that particular field of litigation, but I can tell you that law school has almost nothing to do with the bar and the degree of bar-relatedness of the school is pretty much inversely correlated with school rank oddly enough.  That is, doing Concord almost certainly won't make you, personally, any less likely to pass than if you went to Harvard or Stanford.  Bar pass rates by school are primarily a proxy for how smart/motivated that schools students are.  To some extent, some schools, particularly lower-ranked regional schools will focus more on preparing students for the bar and maybe their students have an advantage in that respect, but the "better" schools don't really teach to the bar.

If you fail the bar, study more and re-take it :) 

Overall passing the bar isn't that hard.  Its annoying though.  You've just gotta study for a couple of months, memorize a bunch of crap, then write that crap down for a day or three and promptly forget it all that night:)

(btw I just passed the bar).

Re: Concord Law School Solo Immigration Practice?
« Reply #2 on: October 28, 2010, 07:46:10 PM »
Bikepilot is exactly correct.  Law school doesn't prepare you for the bar exam - studying for the bar exam prepares you for the bar exam.  Study hard in law school to learn things and get grades, and then study hard during bar prep to pass the exam.  Both are important, but they are almost entirely unrelated.

Re: Concord Law School Solo Immigration Practice?
« Reply #3 on: October 28, 2010, 09:06:45 PM »
With the abovementioned thoughts in mind, you might want to look into the less expensive online law schools because it is you yourself who must match the elements of each law with the facts of a case in order to reach the correct conclusion. 

As far as immigration is concerned, most illegal aliens will not ask you what school you went to.  Your reputation is based on how effective and efficient you are without trying to cheat people out of their money.  I think that if "the word on the street" is that you "are a good lawyer and that you don't charge much", there just might be a line at your office door every morning.

Re: Concord Law School Solo Immigration Practice?
« Reply #4 on: October 28, 2010, 09:54:52 PM »
Thank you guys for your input. Yes, I am definitely motivated to work hard to achieve my goal. Unfortunately, I simply can't afford to not be working so this route (online) is definitely a blessing. I tend to learn better on my own and really never did well with study groups. For my undergrad I majored in Political Science and Latin American studies after many years out of high school. As I read almost everything I could get my hands on about poli sci and Latin American culture, society and politics before I went into college, the two years I did at UC were a walk in the park. While I understand that the study of law is completely different on so MANY levels, I feel that if I immerse myself completely in my studies I can do well with a distance learning format.

Affordability is definitely key and Concord's tuition is kind of steep. I will do more research on the other online schools to see whether I stick with Concord or not. California Southern University is affordable but I haven't heard anything about this school. Anyone know anything about it?

PS. Any recommendations on books to read before enrolling in law school?

Re: Concord Law School Solo Immigration Practice?
« Reply #5 on: October 29, 2010, 12:47:16 AM »
I recommend Thane Messinger's Law School: Getting In, Getting Good, Getting The Gold.

Re: Concord Law School Solo Immigration Practice?
« Reply #6 on: October 29, 2010, 11:58:07 PM »
Read as many (hundreds) court opinions on immigration law as you can.  Read as many court opinions regarding any area of the law as you can.


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Re: Concord Law School Solo Immigration Practice?
« Reply #7 on: October 30, 2010, 01:19:22 PM »
Reading your description I am not sure if you live in or around Fresno and there is a CBA law school there San Joaquin College of Law. It is a CBA school and if you get a moderately decent score on your LSAT  they may offer you a full scholarship. Even if you do not get scholarship money most CBA schools are are lot more reasonably priced than the ABA schools. 

The online path is also an option and I would not disagree with what anyone said above. I just was not sure if you were aware of some of the CBA schools.  I did not know about the CBA schools until after my first year of law school and they are not a bad option considering their relatively low cost. You can get the traditional brick and mortar school if you wanted that way so I thought I would offer the suggestion.

Re: Concord Law School Solo Immigration Practice?
« Reply #8 on: October 30, 2010, 02:38:26 PM »
Thanks again for all of your feedback. I live closer to the Salinas Valley than Fresno and the nearest CBA school to my location is Monterey College of Law (MCL) which about 45 minutes away. According to the Cal Bar statistics MCL has a bar passage rate of about 35 percent which is lower than Concord's, which according to my own figures its at about 40 percent. Concord claims on its website (under school metrics) that its overall passage rate its 51 percent. At this point, after doing more research and reading people's responses to other posts, I think I will stick with Concord.

I really need to focus now on my approach to financing this venture. I will contact Concord to check on the options they offer. Anyone have experience financing an online law education? Please share if you do!

PS. Thanks for the reading recommendations. BikePilot congratulations on passing the bar! Where did you go to school if you mind me asking and was it on you first try?

Happy and safe Halloween to you all!

Re: Concord Law School Solo Immigration Practice?
« Reply #9 on: October 30, 2010, 03:26:11 PM »
With Concord's reputation, you might be able to get a loan from Sallie Mae.  Concord might also be able to debit your check card every month. 

If you want to form a study group via email, let me know.  All law schools discuss the same cases.