FIRST Fully Online (ABA Accredited) Law Degree

Discussion in 'General Distance Learning Discussions' started by sideman, May 5, 2022.

  1. life_learner

    life_learner Member

    The NWCU JD grads are typically much older than ABA graduates and have significant experiences in business and other areas. For example, one of the professors was in law enforcement and then a loan officer for a long time. He practices in estate planning and looks like he just hired an ABA graduate as an associate.
    For someone without a lot of working experience, going ABA route probably makes sense.
    jonlevy likes this.
  2. jonlevy

    jonlevy Active Member

    Law schools, especially non ABA, are focused on passing the bar and not how to run a law practice. Law school grads know nothing about it unless as the poster above pointed out they already have allied experience. You can be admitted to courts and not have a clue as to procedure or what to do. Having an ABA degree at least gives a new lawyer a chance at job where they learn the ropes from experienced lawyers.
    Trek likes this.
  3. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    Variance, which doesn't get talked about, really matters here. Yes, some unaccredited or CalBar-accredited schools have low pass rates. But I suspect performance is more widely varied, which supports your point about individuals' prospects.

    This is the case with all open-enrollment institutions. They let more in and, thus, more fail to finish. (Graduate, pass the bar, etc.) But those open-admission schools also give opportunities to potentially successful students/graduates who might otherwise be shut out.

    As it relates to studying law, the outcomes (passing the Bar) may be more related to open admissions than to the quality of the education provided.

    If so, this begs the question: should some law schools be more stringent in their admissions? What are they selling? I have to think a significant majority of law students intend to become licensed attorneys. But the schools don't grant that--in the states that require the bar exam. They grant an opportunity to take the bar and become an attorney. So, does their responsibility end there? Or are they responsible (partially or fully) for graduates' performance on the bar exam?

    This is, by the way, a major beef of mine about TV ads for tech schools. They sell careers, but they don't actually deliver them. They actually sell an opportunity to enter a trade, and applicants have no way of knowing how robust that opportunity actually is, which is why you see so many rip-offs.

    Are these law schools with low pass rates on the Bar rip-offs? Or are they providing a (higher risk) opportunity?
  4. jonlevy

    jonlevy Active Member

    Not a rip off, they provide a chance to get a bar ticket. However the wash our rate and failure rate is high. It is high because in order to pass the California bar you need 3 things:

    1. A ticket
    2. The ability to write an essay in the preferred format
    3. You have memorized enough of the body of law to pass.

    Some people can't write those essays - they will fail
    Some people can't wrote memorize a bunch of contradictiory law and recall it at will.
    sideman, SweetSecret and nosborne48 like this.
  5. jonlevy

    jonlevy Active Member

  6. nosborne48

    nosborne48 Well-Known Member

    Very slight difference of opinion with Jonlevy. I don’t think it's possible to pass a bar essay with nothing but memorized legal rules. That's what most bar review courses seem to be selling and there IS a terrifying amount of memorization required but there is also a need to understand why the law develops as it does and how to apply that understanding to the fact patterns presented.

    Law is not completely irrational. At least, not most of the time. There are basic principles that should be understood rather than merely memorized.

    Then again I took the Bar in 1986 so what do I know?
    sideman and SweetSecret like this.
  7. Garp

    Garp Well-Known Member

    I believe your assessment is correct. And that is a difficulty with law school as it is more than memorization and the bar exam is more than regurgitating memorized multiple choice answers on the paper. From what I understand the bar exam requires complex thought involving assessing a scenario, pulling out the relevant information and not getting sidetracked by other information in the scenario, and then applying the correct aspects of the law that apply to it. It is also the ability to write like a lawyer.
  8. nosborne48

    nosborne48 Well-Known Member

    Thinking back four decades to my own time in law school...there were two, maybe three kinds of students. The first group just wanted to be lawyers becasue they bouight into the LA Law and Hill Street Blues TV depictions of the profession. This group had a very hard time in school in part because the actual nuts and bolts of law aren't anything like that. Law study, like law practice, is mostly huge amounts of often boring reading and lesser amounts of high stakes writing. Nothing the least bit sexy about it.

    The second group were in law school because they couldn't think of anything better to do with their English degrees or because Daddy was a lawyer. These people tended to withdraw after the first year exam results came out. We hardly missed them. It seems to me that those people are the ones that if they did finish had a hard time on the Bar exam though I can't prove it.

    The last group comprised motivated, bright students who were really interested in law for its own sake. This top third of the class actually enjoyed the entire intellectual experience. We (I put myself in that group) basically worked hard but suffered few disappointments come exam time or on the Bar. We passed our courses handily and what is more, we walked out of the Bar exam knowing we'd passed.

    I hesitate to say this because it sounds bad but to illustrate what I mean, I received a scaled MBE score of 177 on the Multi-State part of the bar exam. 177 out of 180 possible. Yet I was only just barely inside the top third of the graduating class, 33/108! There must have been at least a couple of my classmates who wrote perfect MBEs.

    Now lest anyone think I am blowing my own horn here, that third group can be subdivided between the "normally bright students", which in law school tend to be pretty sharp people, and the handful of genuine legal stars of which I was absolutely not one. This last group worked on the law review, clerked for federal judges, got hired by the Department of Justice or joined one of the major (by our standards) commercial law firms. The top two or three graduates every year went almost automatically into associate slots in the top two or three Albuquerque commercial firms at salaries the rest of us could only envy.
    sideman and SweetSecret like this.
  9. nosborne48

    nosborne48 Well-Known Member

    The point of the previous post is that I think that a potential "normally bright student" can study at UCLA or Glendale or Taft and still pass the California Bar Exam.
    SweetSecret likes this.
  10. jonlevy

    jonlevy Active Member

    Don't be afraid of the English LLB. The law is not that different at all. Case law is all online as are materials. And your fellow students will be 18 year olds! Lawyers are some of the most paranoid and closed minded creatures in the world in my experience.
  11. nosborne48

    nosborne48 Well-Known Member

    jonlevy, have you ever attempted an English law degree? I have without success. Adequate law libraries aren't available in the U.S. outside of major cities and no, everything you need is NOT on line. I would never recommend an intending U.S. law student taking anything but a U.S. J.D.

    Plus, the English degrees are not cheap nor are they sufficient to qualify to take the Bar in any U.S. jurisdiction. A Taft J.D. is reasonably priced and does.
    Dustin likes this.
  12. SteveFoerster

    SteveFoerster Resident Gadfly Staff Member

    My ex did the LLB through Nottingham Trent University like fifteen years ago, and she had access to enough materials to do well even then. At least at that time it was not expensive.

    The real problem was that it was a meat grinder: they clearly didn't give a hoot about what their graduation rate was, something like one in ten of them actually made it out with an LLB. She followed it up with an LLM in US Law from GW on campus, and became bar qualified in about half the US for about 1/3 what she would have paid to do a whole JD in the US.
    sideman and Jonathan Whatley like this.
  13. sanantone

    sanantone Well-Known Member

    Doesn't the UK require an experiential component? In other words, you can earn the degree, but you won't actually become a barrister or solicitor without the experiential component. When I looked at U.S. LLM programs for foreign graduates, they usually required that you have been licensed or eligible for licensure in your home country. I believe that's also a common requirement for state bars.
  14. SteveFoerster

    SteveFoerster Resident Gadfly Staff Member

    You do have to do an apprenticeship program after the LLB to qualify as a solicitor in England and Wales, but the LLB itself is considered "basic legal education" for US purposes.

    (At least as of the late '00s.)
    Dustin likes this.
  15. Dustin

    Dustin Well-Known Member

    And Canada until about the same time as well. Then they started moving towards awarding the JD because having a Bachelor of Laws arguing against a Juris Doctor was apparently uncouth.
  16. sanantone

    sanantone Well-Known Member

    According to the University of Texas law school, New York, California, and Texas are the most accessible bars for foreign-trained lawyers. In Texas, you don't need a U.S. LLM if your first professional law degree is from a common law country. The problem was that Texas did not accept online law degrees, so completing an online LLB wasn't an option. Now that Texas has two online law schools, I'd have to look into whether they now accept online foreign degrees.

    The UK has a graduate diploma for people who have non-law bachelor's degrees. I wonder if any state will accept that.
    Last edited: Aug 22, 2023
  17. SteveFoerster

    SteveFoerster Resident Gadfly Staff Member

    IIRC, some schools in England and Wales (which is a unit when it comes to legal education; Scotland works differently, not sure about Northern Ireland) also have a two year LLB program for those who've earned a Bachelor's degree in something else.
    sanantone and Jonathan Whatley like this.
  18. Jonathan Whatley

    Jonathan Whatley Well-Known Member

    Similarly there are master's and non-degree programs that are an LLB alternative for holders of other bachelor's. For example, Leeds Beckett University offers the PG Dip Legal Practice Course and LLM in Legal Practice (incorporating the Legal Practice Course) online or on campus.
  19. SteveFoerster

    SteveFoerster Resident Gadfly Staff Member

    And from there it's off to an internship and then practice as a solicitor?
  20. sanantone

    sanantone Well-Known Member

    England and Wales are phasing out the Graduate Diploma and LPC for the SQE, which you can take without a law degree or conversion course. Prep courses are available, though.

    New York doesn't accept the Graduate Diploma in Law and LPC as an equivalent to a first professional degree because it doesn't meet the duration requirement. People who took that route need to be admitted to practice and complete the LLM. My guess is that those who pass the SQE without a law degree will also have to go through the whole process to be admitted to practice in England and Wales and then complete a qualifying U.S. LLM.

    I did see that Scotland has an accelerated LLB.

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