Concord Bar Results

Discussion in 'General Distance Learning Discussions' started by Randy Miller, Jun 30, 2004.

  1. uncle janko

    uncle janko member

    Hi MIT1955: Welcome aboard. What can you tell us about British-American, esp. in comparison to the other schools under discussion? Your firsthand knowledge is valuable.
  2. deej

    deej New Member

    Even more interesting that the ABA Journal said something even remotely positive about a DL law program.
  3. mit1955

    mit1955 New Member

    "marty" and "Uncle" ,

    Well that narrows it down quite a bit since there were only 3 of who passed from BAU and only one other student with a bruklin accent. Something about being the only guy who did the "other" review course. But you really drove a point home. We need help and feedback. And obviously Tyler works as well as Fleming! It's the feedback that counted.

    I think BAU focuses on giving people a chance, and I think that's great. But the problem is that they also do little that I can tell to discourage students from continuing, and it's a shame in a way. If the students were given proper feedback to know that they need to find another life that would be one thing. That's what, in my opinion the good schools do. Some examples from both sides:

    a student at BAU was so flustered that she literally copied the briefs out of the book, and still got an 85.

    I got the same exam (crim) for 3 subjects (crim law, con law, and crim pro), and when I complained about it, I was told that their database was improving, but they had to work on it.

    PS 3 of the 4 essays in Criminal law were criminal procedure.

    In criminal procedure, I got a crim and a civil pro essay (well, it was SORT of criminal procedure. After all a criminal was suing the state for serving bad food). When I complained about that, they gave me the same story as above. This time, I sent them the 3 crim pro essays they tried to pass for criminal law!

    So it's a great place to park yourself if you want to get an easy Juris Donut. But unfortunately this tough regimen has it's downside. No one has ever (to my knowledge, in the last 5 GBXs), passed the GBX on the first try! The only schools that have students that have passed on the first try on a regular basis are (in order of decreasing percentage): Oakbrook, Concord, Taft, Lincoln, and NWCU. Now I know that statistics don't mean a darn thing, right? But you know something? All of us in correspondence schools are on an equal playing field! We all passed the BB! So you figure it out for yourself.

    As for me, I hope to move on. My friend at Taft is all "battered and bruised" as it were. But you know something? He'll pass the GBX with his terrible GPA. And he'll probably get a job. So I think I'd rather have a Juris Doctor and walk into the GBX humbled than a Juris Donut and be told after puking on a page (because the essay was on the wrong subject so I could not possibly be prepared!) that "you did well"

  4. marty

    marty New Member

    you did well, keep up the good work

    I transferred from BAU to the West Coast School of Law, myself. Not because I really had the same complaints as Michael, but solely for economic reasons. Even though what he says does occur, my attitude is that no matter what school I attend, it is mostly up to me to learn the material anyway. Since most of my learning takes place in an independent manner, I decided that the most cost effective way for me to reach my goals was to pay less in tuition, therefore allowing me to purchase more books, tapes and other study aids and reading material. Including bar reviews. If you are not able to be totally independent in your ability to learn, I would not suggest the route I am taking.

    As far as the BB is concerned, the reason I found the subjects confusing was because of the relatively few subjects being tested. Now that I have gone on past the BB, I see that there is alot of overlapping material, and other courses help fill in the gaps. Although torts and criminal law are pretty straight forward, criminal and civil procedure procedure give you a deeper understanding of the law. However, even without the procedure classes, torts and criminal law are not undoable.

    My problem was with contracts, and the way it is presented. You are tested on contracts and the UCC, mostly Article 2. My own opinion would be that it would make more sense to learn common law contracts at the same time as property law, and then learn the UCC at a later date in a sales and leases course. It is very confusing trying to assimilate contracts while noting the differences between common law and sales contracts at the same time. Also, without the proper concepts of property, contracts is missing an important dimension. So, IMO, it would make more sense to me, that the BB would be after year two. This way, the test would be on all the first year courses taken at a traditional ABA school. This would test your ability to learn the law better than the current model. In fact, you can probably get through the BB as it is now, just through "brute force" if you were motivated enough and fairly intelligent.

    Which brings me to another point. If you are contemplating going to a correspondence law school, you better love to read. If you don't love to read, than you better like to read and be able to force yourself to do it even when you don't want to. There are days that I have to just plod my way through the material, hoping that tomorrow it will be "easier" to read. Also, even though you should be fairly intelligent, the most important quality would probably be tenacity. I am almost ashamed to admit it, but it took me almost six months to grasp what consideration was. Since I had no feedback, I had to just keep plugging away at it,trying to learn it though different books, the internet, etc.

    When I took the BB, I must have written at least 20 essays, and outlined the answers to way more than that. In addition, I must have answered and evaluated around 2,000 MBE questions. I also practically memorized my outlines almost word for word. In fact, my first two to three pages of my contracts questions were word for word rote memorization, except for the analyzation of the facts and the conclusion. Another thing that helped me with the BB, was that I took off for three months, and concentrated totally on the test. Most students continue on to their second year studies while trying to study for the BB. I decided not to do this, and started my second year after finding out that I had passed. In fact, I continued to study for the BB even after I took it, just in case I had failed.

    Since I plan on hanging my own shingle as soon as I am sworn in, I figure that I had better learn how to figure things out by myself now because once I'm out there, no one is going to hold my hand and lead me through the process.
  5. mit1955

    mit1955 New Member

    BAU - the positive side

    I don't want to paint a totally bleak picture of BAU. It does work for some. As I said, they don't pressure you at all. In fact, one of the students in my chat group has been there since 1999, has just taken the First Year exam for the second time, and heck who knows if he'll ever pass? But he's determined and the school won't stop him.

    It also provides voluntary interaction with it's own chat group (which is very lightly attended, usually it's just my group), a few forums, and the ability to do all of you exams online (though some of us have had problems with it crashing, the school can restore it to where you were and let you continue).

    Because of who I am and where I am in my law education, I think this form of benign neglect is a bad idea for me so I'm moving on. It is certainly better than the paper mills where each student is left to his/her own devices, and it has worked for some.

  6. marty

    marty New Member

    Michael has raised some good points here. With the variety of correspondence schools out there, you can find one that fits your model of learning. It's just a matter of trial and error, and research. There are good and bad points to most of them. Oakbrook is VERY good at what it does, but I've heard from some former students that if you don't "fit in," you won't be continuing on. Michael is very well educated (IMHO), so his idea of a good program would be different from mine, since I went to TNSoHK. So the main thing about correspndence schools is that IF you pass the bar, no matter where you went or how you learned the material, you were afforded an opportunity that some of us never would have been able to achieve if not for these type of schools.

    The New School of Hard Knocks ;)
  7. mit1955

    mit1955 New Member

    First Year of Correspondence Law

    As far as the BB is concerned, the reason I found the subjects confusing was because of the relatively few subjects being tested.


    Yes, unfortunately they have to start somewhere. Dr Agajanian put it well when he said that "Law is like learning a foreign language". As with a foreign language, you have to learn some of the basic vocabulary and concepts before you can figure it out.

    I see law like a web, every part of law is interconnected with another, but if they tried to teach it that way we'd be completely lost. So they break it up into about 14 manageable pieces.

    The first year we learn about how people interact with the law in business (contracts), how we should behave toward each other (torts), and how we behave toward society (criminal law).

    The second year we learned about the legal process to enforce
    these laws through con law and procedure. Property can be viewed as a folllowon to contracts as it helps to understand contracts before you take on property because of the relationship of the contract to the covenant and other property agreements.

    The third year fills in some of the gaps like evidence and introduces areas where everything overlaps like corporations, wills, and trusts.

    So I found it to be logical, although somewhat frustrating because like you I knew I was just getting a piece of the story.

  8. Richards

    Richards New Member

    mit1955 wrote:

    Where you wrote "ABA" did you mean "Cal-Bar?" I don't think the attrition rate is that high at ABA schools.
  9. mit1955

    mit1955 New Member

    Attrition rate in ABA schools

    Granted I don't have a lot of data points for this, but I do know that there is no such thing as pre-law so that when you get there if you don't adapt, you're out, and that the first year is grueling for many so that the drop out rate is fairly high.

    When I started undergrad engineering they told us at orientation to "look to the left, look to the right. One of you won't be here in 4 years". At McGeorge where my brother-in-law went it was "Look to the left, look to the right, both of you won't be here in 3 years" or something to that effect.

    The dropout rate in correspondence schools are much higher. BAU claims to have something over 100 students but I think there are only a handful of 2L, 3L and 4L students. The pass rates at all but the top 4 schools tends toward 10%. I have no hard facts here, but here are some things I've learned from other students.

    1. Money - they think that this is a cheap way to go. It is inexpensive but not cheap. Tuition is low, yes. But when you pile on the cost of books, tapes, workbooks law review, and the cost of taking the BB, you have to add $2500 to whatever your tuition is. There was a student at BAU who asked what book she should buy for $25 to get her through the BB. She didn't make it.

    2. Easy - They equate inexpensive with easy. At an ABA school you have other students who have been through it, you have professors who may not give you guidance, but at least will tell you when you are full of it. In the end, you are competing with the Yalies and Stanford guys and gals, it isn't easy. You are starting with a handicap and it is challenging to overcome it.

    3. Do it in my spare time - this is a laugh. One guy in our group (the same one who has been at it for 5 years) says this is a hobby. Stamps are a hobby! This is a vocation. The state hours are minimums, not maximums.

    4. I can't get into an ABA school because I'm not good enough, so I'll do it this way - There are lots of good reasons why you can't get into an ABA school that have nothing to do with ability. Lack of ability is not an option (see #3). Several students at BAU threw their hands up and moved on to an ABA school when they realized they needed the feedback, interaction, and curriculum that goes with it.

    One thing I did before I started BAU was to go through the application process and was accepted to an ABA school. I finally made the difficult choice based on the fact that I wanted to see my family, not live in the law library. But I know if I fail, I can always reapply when my oldest is out of high school in two years. But I won't fail...

  10. marty

    marty New Member

    But I won't fail...

    Failure is not an option.

    If you go into it with an "I'll see what happens" attitude, you won't make it and you are just throwing your money away. Unless of course you just want an unaccredited J.D.
  11. nosborne48

    nosborne48 Well-Known Member

    I too was surprised at the alleged drop out rate in ABA schools. Certainly WE had nothing even close to that attrition rate BUT University of New Mexico is a rather cheap law school so maybe we didn't feel the economic pressures?
  12. Richards

    Richards New Member

    I went to a private (read as "not cheap") ABA school, and I think our attrition rate was around 10% overall, a little higher amongst the part-time folks. But I only went to one school, so maybe other schools are different. I've certainly heard rumors of 30%+ attrition rates at some tier-4 schools, but they are just that -- rumors.
  13. nosborne48

    nosborne48 Well-Known Member


    You suggested that anyone seeking a correspondence law degree had better like to read. Well, as we say in rural Washington State, "Boy Howdy!"

    I would have said, before undertaking the LL.M., that a student in ANY sort of law program had better like to read since, in the first year anyway, the amount of reading exceeds the physically possible, but now I realize that the lack of classroom interaction means that the correspondence student must read and assimilate even MORE material and not merely memorize it, either, but be able to apply the material in a critical way.

    Anyway, your advice is solid.

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