Distance School to Seek ABA Accreditation

Discussion in 'General Distance Learning Discussions' started by Randy Miller, Jul 8, 2006.

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  1. Randy Miller

    Randy Miller New Member

    Big news!! :)

    In researching a new law school I discovered some interesting information.

    The following paragraph was taken from the catalog of something called National Law School which was recently approved by the state bar of California as a correspondence school.

    What can I do with my degree?
    Upon successful completion of our program, student's will immediately become eligible to take the California Bar Examination.After successful registration and acceptance in the California State Bar, students can take the Wisconsin Bar Examination. Students wanting to sit for the DC bar, would complete our program and 26 semester hours in specific classes to qualify.After practicing in California for 3 years, you could take the Texas and Maine bar After 4 years, New Mexico. After 5 years, New York, Arizona, and Colorado would allow you to take their bar exam. Finally after 10 years, Nevada would allow you to take their bar exam. Your degree and being a member of the California State Bar will allow you to be corporate counsel for any company in any state. You can file a motion in any state court to represent someone or an entity on a case by case basis. You will be able to practice law in federal courts, which are located in all states. The US Supreme Court would entertain your argument.

    FOLLOWING ARE E-MAILS BETWEEN THE PRESIDENT OF NATIONAL AND MYSELF (MINE ARE IN CAPTIAL LETTERS):

    SENT TO DOUG MARCUS, PRESIDENT OF NATIONAL LAW SCHOOL:
    MONDAY, JULY 03, 2006 2:06 PM
    SUBJECT: PRACTICE IN OTHER STATES
    A COUPLE OF MONTHS AGO I CONTACTED THE BARS OF NEVADA AND TEXAS AND WAS TOLD THAT GRADUATES OF CORRESPONDENCE SCHOOLS WOULD NEVER BE ABLE TO PRACTICE IN THOSE STATES. THEY SAID NEVER, REGARDLESS OF AN ABA LLM OR ANY AMOUNT OF EXPERIENCE.
    ARE YOU SURE OF THE INFORMATION ON YOUR WEBSITE. IF YOU CAN TELL ME WHO IN THE TEXAS BAR TOLD YOU THIS INFORMATION THIS WOULD BE BIG NEWS.
    RANDY

    From Doug Marcus – National Law School
    To Randy Miller
    Monday, 3, July 2006
    That is true Randy, correspondence law schools is mentioned in the regulations. National Law School maintains it is a Non-ABA-Approved Law School, as listed with the Law School Admssion Council. Correspondence in the literal term is the exchange via letters or using the post in some way to communicate. The ABA allows for 12 credit hours to be earned via online courses. Would this mean any students who went to an ABA law school and took even one "online course" would be considered to have gone to a "correspondence" law school. The way they have written it, National Law School maintains you could qualify to take the Texas Bar Exam. At some point the justces will decide this matter, but legally you would have a very strong chance to take the exam.See this link
    http://www.ble.state.tx.us/Rules/rulebook.pdf
    Take a look at the very end of Page 13, Rule XIII, Attorneys From Other Jurisdictions. I urge you to look up the ABA minimum requirements, I have looked them over many times, they do allow for some online courses.
    Lastly, National Law School does plan to put together a combined in class and online course, and seek approval from the ABA.

    If you would like to speak further, please let us know.
    Doug Marcus
    National Law School

    FROM: "RANDY MILLER"
    TO: "DOUG MARCUS"
    SENT: MONDAY, JULY 03, 2006 4:08 PM
    SUBJECT: RE: PRACTICE IN OTHER STATES
    THE DEAN AT CONCORD, WHO FORMERLY HEADED THE ABA ACCREDITATION SECTION, HAS BEEN TRYING TO GET CONCORD GRADUATES QUALIFIED IN TEXAS AND OTHER STATES FOR YEARS? YOU BELIEVE THAT YOU CAN SUCCEED WHERE HE FAILED?
    IN TEXAS, AS IT WAS EXPLAINED TO ME, GRADUATION WITH A JD FROM AN ABA SCHOOL QUALIFIES FOR THE BAR EXAMINATION. THEY DON'T LOOK TO WHAT COURSES WERE TAKEN TO EARN THE DEGREE.
    WHAT IS YOUR UNDERSTANDING OF THE NEVADA RULES?
    THANK YOU.
    RANDY


    Doug Marcus wrote:
    I feel it is going to come down to a court battle in Texas. The way I see it, ABA law schools are permitted to have students take 12 credit hours(12/90 normally) using totally online courses.
    Again, I urge you to read the ABA minimum standards. ABA actually allows all sorts of creative ways to earn law school credit and count time towards the minumum preparation and seating time required.
    National Law School does not consider itself a correspondence law school asdefined by Texas statute. If a student were to start our program now, they would enter California 4 years from now, practice there for 3 years, then apply to take the Texas Bar Exam. You would need to find students who had been allowed to take the Texas Bar Exam, and had taken some sort of "correspondence" course at an ABA approved law school. In Calfornia, Correspondence schools originally meant a sole professor more or less would send you tests via the mail and give you reading assignments and briefly monitor what u do. It was more or less self study.
    That is not the case with National Law School. and the State Bar of Texas should not consider National Law School nor Concord a correspondence law school. It is just going to take a student to actually apply, perhaps be denied, and let the courts fight it out. As I said, I think u have a good chance to do it. The way they have worded their statue is vague and unclear and ultimately unconstitutional.
    I'll get back to you on the Nevada situation. Concord is trying to do near anything right now to differentiate itself from the crowd so to speak. If that is accreditation in California, so students do not have to take the first year exam and could complete the program in 3 years. It will take another 5 years for Concord to make any real progress in this area, I feel our internal strategy is better.
    Stay in touch,
    Doug Marcus National Law School
    >>
    In later e-mails Mr. Marcus refused to say if the was an attorney or law school graduate or even if Doug Marcus was his real name (since nothing showed up in a Google search)

    I did notice that they recently changed the website so maybe I accomplished something.
     
  2. Dave Wagner

    Dave Wagner Active Member

    Randy,

    What is the website address for National Law School? I couldn't find it in Google.

    Dave
     
  3. nosborne48

    nosborne48 Well-Known Member

    I'd pay no attention to any of this. Here's why:

    EVEN IF the ABA decided to approve a combination of D/L and resident study allowing a realistic amount of D/L instead of a few token hours, they will NEVER agree that any credit could be given for D/L study in the first third of the program. The ABA (rightly, I think) considers that first year too important in the formation of the future lawyer and legal scholar.

    SECOND, there is absolutely no reason whatsoever to think that any court would ever force the Texas Board of Law Examiners to accept a D/L law degree. Period.

    ALL of the case law, and there has been a LOT of case law, gives virtually absolute deference to the Supreme Court of any given jurisdiction to set whatever educational requirements it thinks best. There has, to my knowledge, NEVER been a contrary case in ANY jurisdiction.

    Before anyone mentions the ABA anti-trust suit, please keep in mind that the ABA is a private organization sued becasue it was using its market control for improper puposes under anti trust law. The ABA is not a Bar examining authority.
     
  4. Dude

    Dude New Member

    Re: Re: Distance School to Seek ABA Accreditation

    http://www.nationallawschool.net/
     
  5. Dude

    Dude New Member

    I have to agree with Nosborne on this one. I think he's absolutely correct on the matter.

    Futhermore, while I believe National Law School to be a legitimate operation, I am quite skeptical about its goal of obtaining ABA accreditation. Even for a startup school with a tremendous amount of money this is an extremely difficult task. I hope to be proved wrong here, but I can't imagine a school, which has been auctioning tuition off on ebay for literally a few thousand dollars for the entire program, has the financial resources to succeed in this endeavor (at least anytime in the immediate future).
     
  6. Dude

    Dude New Member

    After second thought, maybe I don't agree COMPLETELY if Nosborne is implying that first year studies can never be replicated well enough for DL (I believe that the technology exists to do this so that the education received by a DL law student is virtually identical to that of an in residence student). The first year probably is the most important for a law student, I just believe that the ABA is wrong to not give more consideration to accept DL as an alternate pathway for education. This is probably irrelavent for the time being, however, as it is unlikely the ABA will change its position in the near future.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 9, 2006
  7. nosborne48

    nosborne48 Well-Known Member

    A fair comment. I base my opinion on the dismal failure of the majority, even the VAST majority, of D/L students even to get to the point of attempting to take a Bar exam coupled with my own subjective experience of the first year and its relationship to the remaining two years, and added to the ABA's own stance forbidding D/L completely in the first year.

    What people here tend to forget (and I include myself in this) is that the purpose of law school is not just to prepare the student to pass a bar exam. It is to train the student to practice law.

    Doubtless there are students out there who can complete a D/L program and do well in Court or with clients without being exposed to the "formative first year" but they would be few indeed if my experience is any guide.

    Actually practicing law is as much about interacting with others in a legally understandable way as it is about mastering bodies of substantive law or research and writing. The infamous first year with its "Paper Chase" approach is universal in ABA schools exactly because it trains the student to communicate effectively in a legal environment.

    It works, too. However painful (and it CAN be painful) It DOES work.
     
  8. JDLLM2

    JDLLM2 member

    "Lastly, National Law School does plan to put together a combined in class and online course, and seek approval from the ABA."

    First, crazy statement, because in California the traditional route
    has been for a law school to be State-Bar Accredited and then
    Regionally Accredited and then ABA Accredited.

    The ABA will NOT accredit a law school that is not regionally accredited and I just dont see how National can get WASC accredited when he isnt even on the route to DETC accreditation.

    Second, WASC has accredited State Bar Law schools but never
    a "distance" learning law schools.

    Third, they had a vote in Texas (info is in archive chat here)
    and the legislators in Texas said no to changing the rules about
    correspondence law school degree for bar admission.

    I agree with everything Nosborne said, and I think a, Court Challenge in Texas after going to National Law School is waste of time.

    Fourth, for sake of debate, correspondence as a term is not limited in definition to writing back and forth in snail mail, it means face to face in a residential setting.

    This guy reminds me of Michael Narkin and Saratoga always trying to convince students of some new novel approach if you go to their law school.

    Saratoga told that to people regarding the FLYSX and the LL.M and all kinds of things that the State Bar of California and elsewhere would not honor for Saratoga schools.

    Please refer to David Boyd's comments about the Cal Bar Committee and its intention to clamp down on law schools with or without the Dunn Bill. Changes are coming and National Law School might not even survive.
     
  9. airtorn

    airtorn Moderator Staff Member

    Is there anything that prevents Concord or Taft from pursuing RA through WASC?
     
  10. Dude

    Dude New Member

    I don't have any evidence to prove this, but as mentioned several times before, I believe that the lack of entrance standards (requiring only 60 credits and open enrollment policies on this), probably has more to do with the dismal statistics of DL students then the actual education received. MOST of these DL schools do not use all technologies available to simulate an in residence education either.

    You're in a better position than me to evaluate this. It makes sense, but I feel the same arguments can be made for virtually any DL experience. Maybe one of these days I'll "bite the bullet," leave Alaska for a few years, and enroll in an ABA JD program, to find out for myself.
     
  11. airtorn

    airtorn Moderator Staff Member

    Disregard - I have answered my own question.
     
  12. Dude

    Dude New Member

    DETC accreditation for a law school means very little, as it has zero effect on a student's ability to practice law. This is, why I suspect, more schools have not made an effort to pursue this route.

    Just because WASC has never accredited any DL law schools doesn't mean that they will not choose to take this action in the proper circumstances. Do we know if any DL law schools have attempted this?

    My gut feeling on the matter is that this is a legitimate operation that probably INTENDS everything said here. This will be an EXTREMELY difficult task, and I will be pleasantly surprised if it ever happens.
     
  13. JDLLM2

    JDLLM2 member

    WACS does not accredit law schools that are not State Bar accredited.

    Process in California

    1) State Bar Accreditation

    2) WASC Accreditation

    3) ABA Accreditation, if school seeking such.

    DETC has no affect on practicing law but FOR THE MOMENT
    it helps those non-bar students that can say they have an accredited J.D. or law degree.

    Once the State Bar eliminates the non-bar J.D. degree AND THEY WILL, DETC accreditation will be meaningless unless of course
    the State Bar requires that in lieu of State Bar Accreditation which may never happen for correspondence law schools.

    The guy at National Law School is off his rocker, because as a correspondence law schools he WILL NOT GET Regionally accredited nor will he EVER get ABA accreditation.

    He just doesnt have the correct information, but then Saratoga didnt have the correct information either.

    Hence the State Bar's plan to crack down on this idiotic schools and their idiotic claims.
     
  14. Casey

    Casey New Member

    Yes, they will. I am almost certain that the ABA will accredit freestanding law schools that do not possess regional or national institutional accreditation. I think Florida Coastal (www.fcsl.edu), Ave Maria (www.avemarialaw.edu), and California Western (www.cwsl.edu) are three such examples.

    And, here is what the U.S. Department of Education has to say:
    See www.ed.gov/admins/finaid/accred/accreditation_pg8.html#law

    American Bar Association, Council of the Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar - 1952/2001/F2005

    Scope of recognition: the accreditation throughout the United States of programs in legal education that lead to the first professional degree in law, as well as freestanding law schools offering such programs.

    Title IV Note: Only freestanding law schools may use accreditation by this agency to establish eligibility to participate in Title IV programs.
     
  15. Dude

    Dude New Member

    It is true that DETC accreditation may help ease the stigma of a DL law school. While it is probably a bit misleading, when a person asks, "You're a graduate of (Concord or Taft)? I've never heard of that school. Is it accredited?" The JD holder can correctly answer, "Yes."

    I seriously doubt that this is much of an issue, however, except possibly the case of a brand new attorney with no work experience. I know that in the many times I've solicited the services of a professional (ie. physician, dentist, lawyer, etc.), I've never felt the need to inquire about the person's educational background as long as that person holds a state occupational license.

    Again, I must dispute the tone in which you make your comments. While you may feel that all of these schools and their claims are "idiotic" (this may or may not be true), your arguments would be much improved if you were able to communicate in a less abrasive manner.
     
  16. Dude

    Dude New Member

    I assumed that this was the case, but hesitated to post without first researching the matter. I couldn't imagine RA being a firm requirement to obtaining ABA accreditation.

    On a related matter, I don't believe that obtaining DETC accreditation is necessarily a natural path toward RA and would be shocked to see the state bar require DETC accreditation as a requirement for correspondence law schools. While establishing some standards for education, DETC accreditation really has nothing to do with the quality of legal education.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 10, 2006
  17. JDLLM2

    JDLLM2 member

    No mostly likely the State Bar of California will not require the few remaining correspondence law schools to get DETC accreditation but it could be a way for the schools to claim accreditation by getting DETC, since, the State Bar will not give them any approval
    or accreditation status.

    The guy at National Law School is off his rocker.

    NO correspondence student is going to getting admitted
    to the Texas Bar. They rules dont allow it and if they
    want they can challenge to the Texas Supreme Court
    where the petition for admission willl be denied and
    further humilate National Law School.

    I say without any reservation whatsoever, I went to Lincoln Law School in San Jose, they have been around since 1926 and didnt receive State Bar Accreditation until early 1990's what makes this
    guy think he can get ABA approval, based on what? no students that have graduated and passed the bar? on what?

    Ha, ha, I say National Law Schools doesnt even survive the new
    State Bar rules regarding unaccredited and correspondence schools.

    Even Concord for all its high status "faculty" and early claims has
    settled down into an overpriced tuition correspondence law school with so, so bar pass rates.

    Students would be far better off with Taft or Northwestern Calif.

    National sounds just like all the stuff Saratoga University said, unproved, theories with some flying in the face of current rules and current law but put out there to try to suck some student
    into his dreamweb and soon the student believes he found a
    way to start out of this 1 room office law school into graduating
    from an ABA law school, just cuz the guy at the law school said so.

    Currently the BPPVE will give a license to ANYONE with the start up funds to open up a correspondence law in Calif.

    Folks, the Committee of Bar Examiners is about to change that BIGTIME.

    National dont sign a long-term lease that is al I am gonna say, lol
     
  18. nosborne48

    nosborne48 Well-Known Member

    Obtaining ABA approval is a big, expensive project. There are a few R/A CalBar accredited law schools that have decent reputations and even offer three year, full time day programs but choose not to make the investment.

    I'm thinking particularly of New College, which is a well established small university in the Bay Area, San Joaquin College of Law, a free standing but well regarded school, and Humphries University, another R/A small university offering a CalBar accredited J.D. There are others, as well.

    A few CalBar schools have achieved provisional ABA approval in the last few years. These include Western State, Thomas Jefferson, and LaVerne. In each case, the school had to upgrade its library from circa 50,000 volumes to something like 250,000 volumes, a hugely expensive undertaking, and hire significant additional full-time faculty.

    There is an order of magnitude diference in assets and expense between a good CalBar program and a bare minimum ABA approved program. The idea that a new D/L law school intends to pursue ABA approval is frankly ludicrous.

    Incidently, I have often wondered in my own mind whether TJ and Western State were wise to make the investment. Each has had to greatly increase its tuition charges but neither seems to be attracting particularly well qualified students. Both schools have dismal first time Bar passage rates unlike LaVerne, whose pre ABA performance was often nothing less than steller. As CalBar schools, TJ and Western State filled an important niche, providing a decent, affordable legal education to nontraditional law students. Now, however, they are competing head on with places like Pepperdine and U.S.D. By going ABA, they lost their greatest competitive advantage, cost. And the San Diego area no longer has a CalBar alternative.
     
  19. JDLLM2

    JDLLM2 member

    Nosborne says: "The idea that a new D/L law school intends to pursue ABA approval is frankly ludicrous." I TOTALLY AGREE!

    In my opinion such statements to potential students by National goes beyond mere puffing and is more towards deception.

    If the Dean at National had half a brain he would realize why National will never get ABA approval.

    Look at the ex-officials from the ABA named on the Concord website as working as staff at Concord. Has Concord ever
    hinted? implied? puffed? rumored? that they might, could or will seek ABA approval? NO

    National Law School is making deceptive statments to a bunch of potential law schools students who themselves often dont know
    the bar admission process or accreditation rules before themselves signing up for one of these fly-by-night law schools.

    National is no different then the B.S. put forth on the Saratoga University wesbite AND SOON THE STATE BAR IS GOING TO CHANGE THE RULES AND THESE MISLEADING STATEMENTS WILL
    BE CAUSE FOR LOSS OF STATE BAR REGISTERATION FOR THOSE
    LAW SCHOOLS THAT ENGAGE IN THIS.

    BPPVE TOLERATED IT, THE STATE BAR WILL NOT!

    I can only hope National goes down like the other law schools
    that dont deserve to prey on unsuspecting law students.
     
  20. Dude

    Dude New Member

    Ludicrious, probably yes. The idea that this school has an HONEST (but mistaken) belief that it will succeed in this endeavor is not impossible though.

    For the record, the more I look at it, the less convinced I am that even if the state bar takes control of all law schools, MAJOR changes in operations are not guaranteed. The main reason I say this: I look at the bar passage rates for the schools that they already "accredit." I believe that these numbers are low enough to make one question how concerned the state bar actually is with the quality of education at law schools in California.

    The BPPVE already has minimum standards in place (whether they are adequate or not is a matter of debate). If the state bar takes control they very well (or maybe not) make serious changes to how these schools operate. We'll just have to wait and see.

    I believe the entire situation comes down to two different schools of thought. Is the purpose for possible increased regulations to protect the public from attorneys who are not being properly trained and causing harm as a result (something I feel is a legitimate concern)? Or are possible increased regulations to protect potential law students from using poor judgement in choosing a school ("I can only hope National goes down like the other law schools that dont deserve to prey on unsuspecting law students.")? I am not swayed by the second theory.

    It all comes down to what we believe the role of the state should be. Should buyers be free to make poor choices (when buying anything from used cars, to homes, to groceries, to electronics, to education, etc.), or should the state always jump in to protect buyers from themselves?
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 10, 2006

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