Some serious Help from the Learned please

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Some serious Help from the Learned please

Postby RayLeonard721 » Tue Sep 03, 2013 1:24 am

So I have some need for advice from the learned ones on this forum. I'm currenty going through Ashworth College. By the time I'm finished I will have have recieved B.A. Gen. Studies, B.Sci. Criminology, A. Sci. Paralegal Studies.

I'de love to go through a Law School a program for a J.D., The kicker is that I don't do well inside a classroom enviroment and due to time constraints, would never have the time to do so. Well Here comes the Online California Law Schools to my rescue. Due to price considerations, I was first looking at North Western California School of Law. But the draw back there is they are not DETC accridited. Any advice as to the cheapest possible school in California to accomplish my dream would be appriciated.


I understand that as of right now the only way to practice law with an Online J.D. would be in California. Which I find ludicris as I remember back in the 80's in Nebraska anyone could sit for the Bar exam and if you passed, you could practice. I would like to find a list of when each one of the States made it a requirment that you had to goto an ABA accredited Law School in order to sit for the Bar. Personally I see the whole issue as being a way for the ABA to become way to powerfull and have no true oversight as well as being Monopolistic. I know that I could petition certian States to practice in that State after 5 years of practice in California, but I have no intentions on moving to California.
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Re: Some serious Help from the Learned please

Postby SteveFoerster » Tue Sep 03, 2013 1:44 am

I think I missed something. Since you already know you wouldn't be able to sit the bar in your state with one, why would you bother do an online JD program?
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Re: Some serious Help from the Learned please

Postby RayLeonard721 » Tue Sep 03, 2013 1:59 am

SteveFoerster wrote:I think I missed something. Since you already know you wouldn't be able to sit the bar in your state with one, why would you bother do an online JD program?


well SteveFoerster you did miss something that was implied but not done so very well. It has always been a dream to say that "I'm a Lawyer"

Also in the State of Arizona, we do have current legislation in review to allow for Online J.D.'s to sit for the State Bar, but as of right now it will most likley die in commitee.

Also might I add, I saw that you went thru GW, I was thinking about going through them for my B.Sci. in Paralegal Studies
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Re: Some serious Help from the Learned please

Postby SteveFoerster » Tue Sep 03, 2013 1:02 pm

RayLeonard721 wrote:well SteveFoerster you did miss something that was implied but not done so very well. It has always been a dream to say that "I'm a Lawyer" Also in the State of Arizona, we do have current legislation in review to allow for Online J.D.'s to sit for the State Bar, but as of right now it will most likley die in commitee.

I am not a lawyer, and this is not legal advice, in fact it's not even a recommendation, but you could always get the degree and then sue the Arizona bar examiners. Insane, maybe, but there was a guy who did this in Massachusetts and won. And if you succeed you'd definitely get to say you're a lawyer, having beat them at their own game.

Also might I add, I saw that you went thru GW, I was thinking about going through them for my B.Sci. in Paralegal Studies

They have a very well regarded law school, and it's on the upswing. I think the program you're talking about is offered by a different part of the university, but you could ask whether there's any overlap in faculty, resources, etc.
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Re: Some serious Help from the Learned please

Postby nosborne48 » Tue Sep 03, 2013 4:48 pm

The only on-line/correspondence law school with which I have actual experience is Taft Law School. Taft is not the cheapest and I don't know what doing a four-year J.D. with them would be like BUT my LL.M. experience was very positive and the school does enjoy DETC accreditation.

Earning a CalBar qualifying J.D. is a major PITA in a whole lot of ways, btw. You have to pass the First Year Law Students' Exam after finishing your first year which means a trip to California and (probably) a Baby Bar prep course. Also, you must actually log 864 hours per year of study time which works out to about 2-1/2 hours/day seven days a week fifty weeks a year. But people DO complete these degrees. Taft offers two options for course delivery for the J.D.: Traditional correspondence and telecommunications. They cost the same and cover the same material but only the telecommunications version qualifies for federal student aid.

I should point out that a Taft CalBar qualifying degree is cheap only when compared with most resident law chools. Total tuition, books and fees will run about $35,000 which is a lot for a correspondence degree but a real bargain for a Bar qualifying J.D.

http://www.taftu.edu
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Re: Some serious Help from the Learned please

Postby RayLeonard721 » Tue Sep 03, 2013 6:55 pm

nosborne48 wrote:I should point out that a Taft CalBar qualifying degree is cheap only when compared with most resident law chools. Total tuition, books and fees will run about $35,000 which is a lot for a correspondence degree but a real bargain for a Bar qualifying J.D.

http://www.taftu.edu


The $35,000 I beleive is for the full 4 year program in which is still cheaper then the cheapest ABA approved school here, which would be Phoenix School of Law as the $35k would only cover 1L

nosborne48 wrote:Also, you must actually log 864 hours per year of study time which works out to about 2-1/2 hours/day seven days a week fifty weeks a year. But people DO complete these degrees.


Nothing in life is easy!! I actually enjoy learning to a the degree that as of right now out of the 16 hours that I'm awake I spend 10 hours studying. Yes I study while at work too!

The telecommunications classes is something that I need to look more into as that could be good. I'm not going to concern myself with any type of financial aide as I dont qualify due to being in the rears so much from a mistake 20 years ago.

As it stands right now, I've already ordered the complete 1L books that St.Francis requires just to read and give me a "boost" up.

Like I said, It is my personal goal, and at this point in my life I will not let anything stand in the way of it!!

I just wanted the views of others that have gone thru the Correspondence/online law schools in California
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Re: Some serious Help from the Learned please

Postby nosborne48 » Tue Sep 03, 2013 8:03 pm

Well, good for you and good luck! My LL.M. Tax course was entirely in the "correspondence" mode (meaning "teach yourself then write answers to these questions") but it worked very well for me.
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Re: Some serious Help from the Learned please

Postby Tark » Tue Sep 03, 2013 9:05 pm

It has always been a dream to say that "I'm a Lawyer"

An online law program can provide you with a JD degree.
But "holding a JD degree" is not the same thing as "being a lawyer".
You aren't a lawyer until you've passed the Bar exam, even if you have a law degree.

So there are JDs out there who aren't lawyers (because they never passed the Bar exam, or never took the Bar exam).
And there are lawyers out there who aren't JDs (because they qualified for the Bar by apprenticeship, which is still legal in California and a few other states, and never attended law school).

So if you get an online law degree, you could say "I'm a JD" or "I have a legal education" or "I was trained as a lawyer".
But you can't (legally) say "I'm a lawyer" with an online JD, unless you are also admitted to the practice of law -- which would mean taking and passing the Bar exam in California.
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Re: Some serious Help from the Learned please

Postby Tark » Tue Sep 03, 2013 9:26 pm

Also in the State of Arizona, we do have current legislation in review to allow for Online J.D.'s to sit for the State Bar, but as of right now it will most likley die in commitee.

Looks like HB2120. It is not clear if the bill would be constitutional, even if did pass. The State Bar of Arizona falls under the judicial branch of government; the legislative branch may lack the authority to dictate Bar rules to the judicial branch.

The measure crafted by Rep. John Allen, R-Scottsdale, would permit anyone who graduated from an online college of law to take the Bar examination. That is the test which becomes the gateway to the ability to hang out a shingle as an attorney.

HB 2120 essentially would override existing Supreme Court rules which require that individuals have graduated from a law school approved by the American Bar Association...

The big hurdle -- aside from getting the measure approved by his colleagues -- remains the Supreme Court itself.

Jennifer Liewer, spokeswoman for the justices, said the Arizona Constitution gives the high court the sole power to make rules of procedure for all the courts in the state. More to the point, those rules spell out the process for admitting attorneys to the practice of law...

Liewer said the Arizona justices believe it is "not appropriate'' for them to comment on pending legislation.

That could be prudent, as they will be the ones who have to rule on the constitutionality of Allen's proposal if it is adopted.
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Re: Some serious Help from the Learned please

Postby nosborne48 » Tue Sep 03, 2013 10:15 pm

Tark is correct but Arizona being Arizona there may be a political subtext.

Arizona has no UPL statute (unauthorized practice of law) The reason is, the State Supreme Court got cross-wise years ago with the notoriously conservative, anti-lawyer Legislature over some issue of regulation and said Legislature, in a fit of pique, repealed the State's UPL law.

So the Supreme Court has had to create and figure out how to fund a complete UPL and licensing regimen for attorneys, legal document preparers, and others and enforce this mess through the clumsy vehicle of contempt.

The Supreme Court might very well adopt a rule allowing correspondence grads to take the Bar if the Legislature passed such a statute in return for a new UPL statute and some appropriate funding.

As it is, a lawyer with a correspondence J.D. CAN take the AZ Bar exam if s/he has five years of law practice experience. http://www.azcourts.gov/Portals/26/admi ... ch2012.pdf

The adjustment would be significant but not beyond the realm of possibility.

Incidentally, the above described Right Wing Lawyer Hating State Legislature funds not one but two State law schools. It also funds TWO statewide public defender agencies, one for conflicts. Go figure. :roll:
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Re: Some serious Help from the Learned please

Postby RayLeonard721 » Wed Sep 04, 2013 2:11 am

Tark, being less then 5 hour drive to Cali, I would take both Baby and State bar. Besides, I've never yet seen the ocean so it it gives my another excuse to take a "working" vacation to California. So like I say, Someday, I will call myself a lawyer!! :P

As to the bill you mentioned; yes, I was refering to it. Funny thing about Arizona is that it has what's called a "Populist Constitution" making it by for easier to amend then most states (at last count, it's been amended :!: 127 :!: times since statehood in 1910). But it would be interesting to see if the bill ever moves forward. Just to see what happens.
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Re: Some serious Help from the Learned please

Postby John Bear » Fri Sep 06, 2013 3:35 pm

During the many years that I wrote about this stuff regularly in Bear's Guide, I used to hear from a lot of readers who called themselves "lawyer" and indeed worked at law firms, without having passed the bar in their state or, in many cases, in any state. They were restricted from client contact or court appearances, but were in the legion of bar failees (there are hundreds of thousands) or bar-never-takers, who toil in the back rooms at law firms, doing research and drafting briefs. At that time, at least, some states regulated the use of the word "lawyer" and many did not.
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Re: Some serious Help from the Learned please

Postby Tark » Fri Sep 06, 2013 6:35 pm

State regulations and enforcement vary. In practice, an unlicensed JD probably won't get into any trouble for casually claiming to be a lawyer, especially if they actually do work at a law firm.

There is a worst-case scenario though. Suppose you are an unlicensed JD, and some other person shares some sensitive, possibly incriminating, information with you. The other person shares this info because he understands you to be "a lawyer", and therefore assumes that the disclosure is protected by attorney-client privilege.

But if you are an unlicensed JD, you don't actually have that privilege. So you could be required to testify about the info in question, even if this has negative consequences for that other person. And then that other person could be argue that you are liable for those negative consequences, because you misrepresented yourself to him as an attorney.
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Re: Some serious Help from the Learned please

Postby gravamen » Sun Sep 08, 2013 1:38 pm

To RayLeonard721: By way of background, I graduated from Taft Law School in February 2012--having stretched a 4-year program into a 6-year program, passed the July 2012 California Bar Exam and was sworn in as a member of the California bar in February 2013. So, although I do not practice, I am a lawyer (or so says the card in my wallet from The State BAR of California).

During my extended stay at Taft, I participated in both the telecommunications (2L) and correspondence programs (1L, 3L, 4L). The modalities are in no way similar. The correspondence program is very much self-paced within the time constraints imposed on the program by the California Bar. Specifically, I was provided course syllabi, purchased and studied books and commercial outlines, took proctored exams and had only infrequent (i.e., at most once per year) and---for all intents and purposes---voluntary contact with a faculty member each year. The telecommunications program is much more "lock step" with weekly assignments, strict deadlines and mandatory weekly interactions with other students and faculty. The telecommunications route is much more like "going to class" than is the correspondence route. Someone who doesn't do well with classrooms and time constraints probably should reconsider enrolling in a telecommunications program.

I would not be so quick to dismiss Northwestern California simply because it is not DETC accredited. From the perspective of the distance law school student, DETC only buys one access to Federal student loan programs (absent some employer requirement for reimbursement). Specifically, you wrote, however, that
I'm not going to concern myself with any type of financial aide as I dont qualify due to being in the rears so much from a mistake 20 years ago.

I understand that accreditation almost always is strongly preferred; it's just not clear to me why it matters in this case. Moreover---and certainly not to shill for a school I've never attended---Northwestern California's program is long-established, California-Bar qualifying, inexpensive, and has reasonable FYLSE and General Bar pass rates. For what it's worth, my advice would be to seek to strike a "balance" between cost and success on the FYLSE and General Bar Exam when selecting among Bar-qualifying distance law schools.

Whatever you decide, best of luck!
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Re: Some serious Help from the Learned please

Postby SteveFoerster » Sun Sep 08, 2013 3:08 pm

Most people should stick with accredited schools but in this case I agree with Gravamen. If you're not interested in federal financial aid and only want to be eligible to sit the bar in California, then in your specific case accreditation would seem to serve no additional purpose.
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