Study Law Online

Discussion in 'General Distance Learning Discussions' started by Kizmet, Mar 27, 2018.

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  1. Kizmet

    Kizmet Moderator Staff Member

  2. nosborne48

    nosborne48 Well-Known Member

    A generally well-trained paralegal can do a lot but I generally recommend that anyone who wants to do law but isn't a lawyer should consider learning the law "of" something, tax or Social Security or real estate title or veterans' benefits. An enrolled agent, for example, has unlimited tax practice rights before the Internal revenue Service and is quite likely as competent as most lawyers would be in that area of the law. Well, more competent than 90% of licensed attorneys. The same thing is true in many other fields.
     
  3. Neuhaus

    Neuhaus Well-Known Member

    Considering the proliferation of people with law degrees working in non-licensed fields, effectively using the JD as an MBA, I can see there being some value to the Executive JD just as a means of setting oneself apart from the flood of MBA candidates. It's getting to the point where certain positions, such as in purchasing, traditionally held by non-lawyers wouldn't shock me if they were overtaken by people with JDs. For someone desperate to get out of the legal profession, or unable to launch into it, that background in contract law is super helpful and not only is bar admission not required but it tends to be viewed as a hindrance in roles like that.
     
    SteveFoerster likes this.
  4. Kizmet

    Kizmet Moderator Staff Member

  5. SteveFoerster

    SteveFoerster Resident Gadfly

  6. Kizmet

    Kizmet Moderator Staff Member

  7. nosborne48

    nosborne48 Well-Known Member

    California is about the only state that's big enough to make a state bar accreditation system work. But a 100% on line J.D. with Calbar accreditation seems a bit dicey to me. Here's why. The biggest differences to the student between a Calbar accredited program and an unaccredited but registered program of the same sort are that 1) the Calbar program is eligible for regional accreditation which will allow students to borrow far too much money for any J.D. let alone a non-ABA approved one; and 2) a regular student at a Calbar accredited program is exempt from taking the First Year Law Student Exam (Baby Bar). The value of the Baby Bar is that is an early indicator of whether continued law study is likely to result in admission to the bar. Calbar resident schools don't have very good bar exam pass rates as it is and D/L J.D. students at the current registered schools fare even worse. The student can end up borrowing and paying tens of thousands of tuition dollars for the full program without a reasonable chance of ever becoming a licensed attorney.

    Buyer beware!

    I'd be much less concerned if the first year of a four year program had to be taken in residence. But that can be done now; a student can complete the first year at an ABA approved or Calbar accredited resident school and be exempted that way from passing the Baby Bar then complete the remaining four years by correspondence or D/L from an unaccredited, wildly cheaper school.
     
  8. nosborne48

    nosborne48 Well-Known Member

    Remaining three years, I should have said.:oops:
     
  9. sideman

    sideman Active Member

    The three unaccredited distance law schools named in the report are: Abraham Lincoln University, Concord, and Northwestern California University of Law. The first two now are charging $10,100 and $12,456 respectively for the first year not including all the other expenses that go with attending law school (i.e. case law books, outlines, etc.). NWCU charges $2850 per year with materials fees ranging from $825-$1325.

    Of course Concord's claim to fame is that it's Regionally Accredited. This is immaterial since the only accreditation that is accepted nationwide for law school is ABA accreditation. Their pursuit and attainment of CalBar accreditation would help them competitively in the California market? I'd say that remains to be seen.

    ALU's claim to fame seems to be that it's outlasted some of the others that have fallen by the wayside since Bear's Guide (15th Edition) (i.e. British American School of Law, Newport University, Oak Brook College of Law and Saratoga University).

    NWCU is the least expensive of the three and they want to remain competitive by adding CalBar accreditation, be more appealing to the national market and potentially raise their tuition.

    Seems to me like you have a better chance of "borrowing and paying tens of thousands of tuition dollars for the full program..." regarding Concord and ALU vs. NWCU. But NWCU may prove me wrong if they get CalBar accredited and really jack up their tuition.

    Regardless, these three will have to show at least 40% will pass the California bar and we can't monitor that until they finish their first graduating class under the state accreditation. And if you're worried about losing the Baby Bar as a way to eliminate the ones that have no potential of ever becoming an attorney, and to save their pocketbooks in the process; are you implying that the CalBar has no dog in the hunt and won't monitor the remaining students to make sure they are sufficiently prepared?
     
  10. nosborne48

    nosborne48 Well-Known Member

    Well, that 40% minimum pass rate will come as a shock to some of the schools out there so I suppose Calbar is interested in the results. But as you say, we won't know until at least some students have suffered the full extent of the financial disaster. As to regional accreditation, I've seen just one clear example of what happens next; San Francisco Law School got bought by Alliant International University and thereby gained regional accreditation. The law school's tuition went up 50% immediately. Was the education any better or was it mostly a matter of student loans suddenly being available? SFSL was founded in 1909 and became Calbar accredited in 1937. Why all of a sudden did it need regional accreditation unless to become a "profit center" for Alliant?

    Oh, well. I admit that I am upset by the ridiculous amounts of tuition modern law students pay and the debt they accrue to make those payments. Society needs lawyers who can afford to work for institutions and people who can't pay $500/hour.
     
    sideman likes this.
  11. jonlevy

    jonlevy Member

    The unaccredited California distance learning law degree is a bargain. The caveat is that not everyone is going to get a law license. I got one that way from Taft Law School more than 20 years ago. But you had better have a good rote memory for jargon, statutes, and cases because without being able to memorize massive amounts of data, you will never pass the First Year Bar Exam or the California Bar.
     
  12. nosborne48

    nosborne48 Well-Known Member

    jonlevy,

    Did you, then? That's a real accomplishment. I took my tax LL.M. from Taft and liked the experience very much but it took me just under three years to earn 24 credit hours. I can't imagine how much harder doing the J.D. must have been.
     
  13. sideman

    sideman Active Member

    This is very true. The term "Baby Bar" is an oxymoron. It is essentially a one-day bar exam.
     
  14. jonlevy

    jonlevy Member

    Passed the bar in February 1992 just when bar study materials on PCs were becoming available. Prior to that it was all on paper or audio.
     
    copper likes this.
  15. copper

    copper Active Member

    Is there any stigma to being an Attorney-at-law in California from these "non-traditional" routes? Obviously, passing the California Bar is no easy feat!
     
  16. nosborne48

    nosborne48 Well-Known Member

    I don't have a California license but in general, unless you're looking at a federal appointment or you hope to work for a Big Law firm, where you got your J.D. really, deeply, utterly DOESN'T MATTER. A law license is a law license (at least in that state). In fact, you'd have an advantage as a D/L grad because you would be able to accept the sort of salary State government pays new lawyers. The lack of significant student loan debt makes you free to do whatever you want to do as a lawyer.
     
  17. Vonnegut

    Vonnegut Active Member

    While there's certainly an argument that the market is flooded with Juris Doctorates, I'm not sure how I would see an Executive JD as setting them apart as an entry level professional. I would think actual experience in the field at that point, would be far more valuable. For the ones, and there are many, who are not able to land a good corporate or government lawyer position, I'm just not sure that an Executive JD would give them a better shot or be a worthwhile investment. We certainly see JDs using them effectively as MBAs though, my current IT Director has a JD and I even once had a welder who worked for me with a JD.
     
  18. Neuhaus

    Neuhaus Well-Known Member

    Absolutely nowhere in my post did I suggest that a JD would set apart an entry level professional for an entry level position. The only thing I said was that a JD, even one that isn't bar qualifying, can function as an MBA but while maybe making a bit more of a splash with employers who see MBA after MBA. A point that you seem to go on to agree with by the end there. So I'm not sure I understand your quibble.
     
  19. nosborne48

    nosborne48 Well-Known Member

    I'm not sure that any J.D. should be seen as a substitute for a proper business related Masters. There are Masters degrees, both among the MBA specialties and free standing, that would be more valuable than a J.D. in the business world such as the M. Acc., the M.S. Tax, and the various finance, marketing, IT, and HR related credentials. A J.D. is really useful only for law. There is a considerable debate in the law student community about whether there even is such a thing as a "J.D. Advantage" job. Law schools like the category because it (marginally) improves their employment after graduation statistic but to many unemployed and underemployed grads, the idea looks like a fig leaf.

    My own thinking is that anyone looking for a higher level position in business has to ask what he "brings to the table". Specialized knowledge is salable in general but given the nature of law as a regulated profession, to act as a legal adviser, whether inside or outside the organization, requires Bar membership. So-called "in-house counsel" can usually get permission to work in a state where they aren't admitted but the requirements always include being admitted and in good standing in some other state.

    On the other hand, a Taft official once explained to me that the virtue of the executive J.D. was the result of its defect. Since the graduate could not take the bar anywhere, he did not qualify for a new profession and therefore all tuition and fees were (at the time) tax deductible. Not so the Bar qualifying degree. With the recent changes in the tax code, that deduction is no longer available anyway.
     
  20. sideman

    sideman Active Member

    And, if I may add, the executive JD employed in a corporate capacity, is less likely to jump ship at the first "better than I have now" legal position that a licensed attorney would probably leave for.
     

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