Intro Beginning my long desired journey towards obtaining a JD & admission to practice, so I thought doing this journal would help keep me focused as well as document my process towards goal accomplishment. Goals: 1. Obtain a JD degree 2. Pass the State Bar 3. Admittance into Federal Court(s) Situation: I’m a 50+ year old male, a 20-yr retired military cop (Army/MP, USAF/SP-LE, & USAF/OSI Agent), and 12-yr civilian county cop in the Seattle area with plans to retire at 20-yrs. Currently working a great gig in the SO (Sheriff’s Office) – public safety officer (aircraft fire/cop/EMT) at KCIA (King County Int’l Airport) – AKA: Boeing Field Int’l (BFI) – with a good amount of time on my hand to study. I make great money – over $100K/yr, so plan to pay for law school while I go. Therefore, moving or full time traditional school is out of the question. Alternative – correspondence or DL law school. Analysis Traditional law schools require the LSAT plus significant GPA. I took the LSAT in 12-2004 and received a 142 (low). My overall GPA is just under 3.0 (2.97) – not good either. While I could find a traditional law school, I would most likely need to resign from my job and move – not even on the table. Therefore, I need some sort of correspondence or DL type law school, not requiring a LSAT or great GPA, that qualifies to sit for a state bar exam and qualifies for admittance into the Federal court system upon passing the bar. My home state of Washington has no non-traditional law schools. Washington does allow a person to be tutored by a licensed attorney over a prescribed four (4) year program to qualify for asking the state bar exam, but it would not provide a JD degree. This would lead to admittance into the Federal court system. However, the State requires the person to be employed as a law clerk with a law firm within the state. See APR Rule 6 of the Washington State Court Rules: Admission to Practice Rules (Washington State Courts - Court Rules). Alas, California. California has several non-traditional law schools, offered via correspondence or DL, with no residency requirements, nor requires LSAT or qualifying GPA. See Unaccredited Law Schools in California on The State Bar of California web site (Law Schools). The schools are recognized and authorized to award the JD degree and sit for the state bar exam. Once passing the bar exam and licensed by the State, a person would be qualified for admittance into the Federal court system as a practicing attorney. After five years as a practicing attorney, this would allow me to sit for the Washington State bar exam, if I choose, and obtain licensure to practice in the State court system. See APR Rule 18 (Washington State Courts - Court Rules). There are seven (7) registered unaccredited correspondence schools and seven (7) registered unaccredited distance learning schools. There are also 12 registered unaccredited fixed facility schools, but I did not consider them since a move would be required. I looked at the State’s general bar exam statistics; I’ll talk about their February 2011 stats, but they list them back to February 1997. See California Bar Exam Stats (Statistics). For first-time takers, overall, 54.8% passed; for CA ABA approved schools, first timers, 63.4% passed; for out-of-state ABA approved schools, first timers, 57.6% passed; and for CA unaccredited schools, first timers, 28.0% passed. Why the difference? I suspect MOTIVATION as a primary reason within two areas: 1) ABA school students have a higher financial interest in passing to get a good job to pay off student debt (motivation) and 2) three-plus years full time created a higher motivational factor to prep and pass. However, I consider 28% (unaccredited rate) not too bad. I looked at curriculum and essentially did not see much difference, so once again motivation, after four years of school, would be the most logical conclusion. Therefore, if motivation is key, I found several bar review programs available to help with motivation, such as Practical Step Press (Law School Exam and Bar Review Manuals from Practical Step Press - Practical Step Press) and bsmaphd (http://www.bsmsphd.com/). School Selection First, I looked at the general bar exam (GBX) pass rate for first-timers for the unaccredited correspondence (C) and distance learning (DL) schools. I combined the last six (6) exams for an overall percentage; the top five schools were: Oak Brook (C): 36%, Concord (DL): 26%, NWCU (C): 20%, Taft (C): 18%, and Abraham Lincoln (DL): 11%. Second, I looked at the First Year Law Student exam (FYLSX) pass rate for first timers. In California, persons who attend an unaccredited school must take and pass the FYLSX after the first year of classes to advance further in classes and qualify for the GBX. Looking at the five (5) schools mentioned above, their first-timer pass rate average for the last six (6) exams were: Oak Brook: 54%, Taft: 31%, NWCU: 30%, Concord: 25%, and Abraham Lincoln: 19%. Third, I looked at annual tuition for each of the five (5) schools above. Tuition (less to most) was: NWCU: $3650, Oak Brook: $4000, Abraham Lincoln: $7500, Taft: $7920, and Concord: $9984. Looking at the October 2010 FYLSX stats (Statistics), the first-timer pass for correspondence schools were 34.1% and DL schools were 23.8%. While Oak Brook was the best choice overall, the deciding factor for me was the curriculum. So, I chose NWCULaw. Application Completing the application can be done either online or by paper; I did it online. Once I was approved – about a week later – they sent me an email notification with an attachment for all the enrolling instructions and documents. Enrollment Plan to enroll to start in April 2012. Work had me scheduled to be in EMT-Basic training this January thru March which is classroom and practical intensive. So, to avoid any conflict, I’m putting off enroll till April. I’ll update as I go through the process and classes. See ya all soon.