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Law for All in Carlsbad, California

77 months ago

With the control of legal education today, many people have little chance at ever attending a traditional law school, so they can only hope to realize their quest through an alternative method of study, such as, distance learning.

I have attached a memorandum on the issue, which I hope can open the door to legal education for all who have a desire to study it.

In my memorandum, I talk about the handful of law schools in California that teach law through correspondence study and distance learning and why I think it is important.

It is my hope that universities will open to door to distance law study, despite the resistance to it by professional organizations and law schools.

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Law for All in Carlsbad, California

77 months ago

MEMORANDUM ON THE ROLE OF CALIFORNIA UNACCREDITED LAW SCHOOLS

FACTS

The American Bar Association is the main accreditation body for law schools in the United States. The law schools that fall under its regulation are subject to the rules and standards as set out by the ABA (“ABA Law Schools”). Unaccredited law schools in California fall under several main categories: correspondence, distance learning or fixed facility (“DL Law Schools”).

The California Committee of Bar Examiners (the “Committee”), oversees the admission process for the bar exam of both ABA Law Schools and DL Law Schools. All DL Law Schools must be registered with the Committee in order for its graduates to sit the California bar exam.

The ABA Code of Recommended Standards for Bar Examiners, II. Eligibility of Applicants, paragraph 6 states that: “Neither private study, correspondence study or law office training, nor age or experience should be substituted for law school education."

ISSUE
Can a student enrolled in a DL Law School effectively learn the law?

RULE
Pursuant to The Guidelines for Unaccredited Law School Rules, as adopted by the Committee, Rule 4.204 (H) states: A “registered law school” is an unaccredited California Law School that meets the requirements of these rules and that has been registered by the Committee. Further, that all DL Law Schools must meet the following “Standards” under Rule 4.240:

A) Lawful Operation
B) Integrity
C) Governance
D) Dean & Faculty
E) Educational Program
F) Scholastic Program
G) Admissions
H) Library
I) Physical Resources
J) Financial Resources
K) Record & Reports
L) Equal Opportunity & Non-Discrimination
M) Compliance with the Committee requirements

In addition, Rule 4.242 provides for an “Annual Compliance Report“, along with “Inspections“, under Rule 4.244. Moreover, each DL Law School must also meet state regulations and local business licensing requirements under law.

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Law for All in Carlsbad, California

77 months ago

There is a long standing custom and tradition in California with respect to the Committee recognizing non-traditional paths of law study and allowing general applicants of such study to sit the state bar exam, such as, unaccredited law school graduates that have completed four years of study; applicants who have received their education under the guidance of a licensed attorney or in a judge chambers, or combination of those methods. See: Title 4. Admissions and Educational Standards (California Committee of Bar Examiners).

That the inherent jurisdiction to practice law in the State of California falls under the California Supreme Court, and the Committee of Bar Examiners oversees the requirements for admission to practice law.

ANALYSIS
ABA proponents contend that the study of law can only be accomplished in a traditional law school setting and that the study of law through distance education (which extends to correspondence) is regarded as an inferior method of education, with little value and acceptance among members of the legal community.

To adopt this line of reasoning would mean that the distance learning courses offered by the ABA’s Center for Continuing Legal Education have absolutely no educational value and that the lawyers enrolled in those distance learning programs are receiving an inferior legal education. See: www.abanet.org/cle/

Continuing Legal Education (CLE), is a requirement for both lawyers and paralegals in the State of California. Most CLE courses are delivered via distance learning by not only the ABA, but also local bar associations, law schools, and other CLE online providers.

There is simply no evidence to support the position that the study of law cannot be effectively accomplished through distance learning. Moreover, a large number of accredited universities are utilizing online education as a successful teaching method.

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Law for All in Carlsbad, California

77 months ago

Distance education has a long and colorful history and one of the oldest correspondence law schools is Blackstone School of Law that goes as far back as the 1890’s. Originally based in Chicago, Illinois, the Blackstone Institute offered a bachelor of laws degree (LL.B), to all of its graduates, some of which went on to pass the California bar and practice law.

Modern American Law - A Systematic and Comprehensive Commentary on the Fundamental Principals of American Law, was the main series of text books used by Blackstone School of Law, which evolved over the years to reflect changes in the law. Eugene A. Gilmore, a professor of law and member of the American Bar Association, was appointed as the editor-and-chief of what became known as Modern American Law, which were written by prominent members of the legal field: judges, members of the bar, law school professors and jurists.

Blackstone School of Law later moved its operation to Dallas, Texas, and was sold in 2001 to Direct Learning Systems, Inc., which presently delivers a paralegal program solely through distance learning, and is DETC accredited. See: www.blackstone.edu/online-cou...-history.shtml

Since then, many correspondence law schools have delivered law studies through distance education. Some DL Law Schools - like Taft Law School and Concord Law School - are nationally accredited through the Distance Education and Training Council, which receives its authority and recognition under federal law, specifically, 34 C.F.R. 602 (relating to the U.S. Secretary’s Recognition of Accrediting Agencies).

With the advent of online lectures, interactive media, qualified instructors, and online legal research resources (LexisNexis and Westlaw), there is simply no reasonable basis for concluding that the study of law cannot be accomplished through distance education.

There are many good reasons for people to pursue a distance leaning law school program, some of these reasons are:

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Law for All in Carlsbad, California

77 months ago

(a) the lower cost of DL Law School programs, which is an important consideration for those with limited financial means.

(b) older students that work full time and have to support families, which would make it impossible for them to attend a traditional law school program.

(c) disabled veterans, who desire to take up studies, but are simply not in a position to attend a traditional law school.

(d) people who grew up in poverty and that did not have the opportunities to pursue higher education, but that have a desire to study law and improve their economic situation.

(e) people that have underlying health conditions which would make it difficult for them to attend a traditional law school.

(f) those that would just like to study law and use it in their chosen field, which may be unrelated to law.

At the very core of Modern American Law, which in many ways reflects the modern development of distance learning in America, it says:

“To know and assert one’s legal rights is a duty of moral self-preservation -- ignorance and neglect of those rights is moral suicide. The security of every individual as well as of society lies in a wise and equitable system of law, thoroughly understood by every one and impartially administered by the courts of unimpeachable integrity. To the system of law under which we live is every citizen’s paramount interest and duty, not merely that he may protect his own private interest and duty, but also that he may be able efficiently to preserve his government and take an intelligent part in its administration and improvement.”

I believe that the Committee’s position on DL Law Schools mirrors the higher principals of law by opening the door to legal education, while also observing established custom and protocol for those schools that fall outside the ABA’s custody and control.

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Law for All in Carlsbad, California

77 months ago

That the California bar exam in and of itself is sufficient in determining who is qualified to practice law, be it from an ABA Law School or DL Law School.

That the decision of pursuing a non-traditional path of law study must be left to the individual and that such individual assumes the risk of failure and likewise benefits to the extent of success, as it applies to such law study.

That how an individual chooses to spend their money on the study of law - or whether they will fail or succeed - is not the business of the ABA, nor schools under its control, but that the choice is solely with such individual.

That those general applicants from a DL Law School that have successfully passed the California bar exam, would have never had that opportunity, had they not enrolled in a distance learning law program. .

To place the regulation of law schools entirely in the hands of the ABA would be tantamount to a monopoly of the legal educational system and would infringe on the long standing Western custom and tradition of graduates of non-traditional law schools sitting the California bar exam.

CONCLUSION

At the heart of all education is the empowerment of the individual, which I believe is at the core of every distance learning law program. Ultimately, the decision to study law through a distance learning medium must lie with the individual, which is consistent with the principles of autonomy in a free society, absent arbitrary interference of local custom and tradition with respect to the study of law.

Thus, it is my position that a student enrolled in a DL Law School can effectively learn the law and go on to become a productive member of society, which echoes the very spirit and foundation of the American Dream.

Respectfully,
csresearch@yahoo.com

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law is NOT for all in CA, California

77 months ago

Anybody can get a degree online. No one in his right mind is going to hire an attorney who got his degree online. That's like getting a drivers license out of a cracker jack box.

Online degrees have a bad reputation, and many of those institutions are NOT taken seriously. It is even more unlikely that somebody would take seriously a person who earned a law degree online. How do you gain experience with distance learning when it comes to mock trials - practicing cross examination and voir dire skills?

My opinion is that the decision to get an online law degree is so totally foolish - It's plain dumb. Paralegal school is a bad decision also, but that decision is made by smart people usually out of naivety - believing what the schools tell you without thinking to interview experienced paralegals about the profession. It is not a smart person who would spend the money for an online law degree.

How much do these cost anyway?

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Law for All in Carlsbad, California

77 months ago

law is NOT for all in CA, California said: Online degrees have a bad reputation, and many of those institutions are NOT taken seriously.

That's interesting, because most major universities today offer online degree programs from Cornell, Columbia, UC-Berkeley, UCLA, UMass, George Washington U., Johns Hopkins U, Stanford, Duke, Boston U., Penn State, etc.

In addition, a number of medical schools, including Harvard Medical School (cmeonline.med.harvard.edu) offer continuing medical education online.

[quote]My opinion is that the decision to get an online law degree is so totally foolish - It's plain dumb

Not to those lawyers that passed the bar exam and are now practicing law.

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Law for All in Carlsbad, California

77 months ago

Displaced Legal Professional in Denver, Colorado said: One more thought:

Have you considered that not everyone is cut out to be a lawyer? Maybe that reason is why legal education, and attorney licensing, are so tightly controlled.

For those desiring to study law through distance learning and that have passed the bar exam, it would appear that they are cut out to be a lawyers. What it comes down to is the student - and not the delivery method of study.

[QUOTE]Accreditations assure at least a minimum standard of training. Licensing assures the public an individual meets at least a minimum competency standard. Licensing also assures the public of recourse against an individual, if necessary. For law, licensing and accreditation go hand in hand.

By all accounts DL Law Schools are meeting the minimum standard of training as required by the California Committee of Bar Examiners. Moreover, the bar exam results for "correspondence law schools" shows a success rate of 26:4% (2004), 30% (2005), 23% (2006), 25.1% (2007) (no statistic for 2008) and 20% (2009).

See: www.calbar.ca.gov/calbar/pdfs/admissions/Statistics/FEBRUARY2009STATS.pdf
www.calbar.ca.gov/calbar/pdfs/admissions/Statistics/FEBRUARY2008STATS.pdf
www.calbar.ca.gov/calbar/pdfs/admissions/Statistics/FEBRUARY2007STATS.pdf
www.calbar.ca.gov/calbar/pdfs/admissions/Statistics/FEBRUARY2006STATS.pdf
www.calbar.ca.gov/calbar/pdfs/admissions/Statistics/FEBRUARY2005STATS.pdf
www.calbar.ca.gov/calbar/pdfs/admissions/Statistics/FEBRUARY2004STATS.pdf

While correspondence law schools generally have a lower pass rate than ABA schools, it is still nonetheless an impressive showing on the part of DL Law Schools when you consider that none of those graduates would have had that opportunity to practice law had it not been for such DL Law Schools, which also happens to be approved by the Committee of Bar Examiners in California.

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Law for All in Carlsbad, California

77 months ago

Displaced Legal Professional in Denver, Colorado said: ...and a prejudice remains against online degrees. Online training is not widely accepted

Actually, it is widely accepted and one of the reasons the ABA Center for Continuing Legal Education utilizes online training. There are also hundreds of regionally and nationally accredited schools offering thousands of degree and certificate programs online.

This also extends to other nations like the United Kingdom, wherein the University of London has been offering a law degree entirely by correspondence for many years, which qualify its graduates to become lawyers in the UK, as well as using their credentials to sit the bar in other English speaking countries, such as, the United States.

For example: pursuant to Rule 4.30 of the Admissions and Educational Standards in California:

Persons who have studied law in a law school in a foreign state or country may qualify as general applicants provided that they

(A)
have a first degree in law, acceptable to the Committee, from a law school in the foreign state or country and have completed a year of legal education at an American Bar Association Approved Law School or a California accredited law school in areas of law prescribed by the Committee; or

(B)
have a legal education from a law school located in a foreign state or country without a first degree in law, acceptable to the Committee, and

(1)
have met the general education requirements;

(2)
have studied law as permitted by these rules in a law school, in a law office or judge’s chambers, or by any combination of these methods (up to one year of legal education credit may be awarded for foreign law study completed); and

(3)
have passed the First-Year Law Students' Examination in accordance with these rules and Committee policies.

Source: Title 4, Admissions and Educational Standards, Division 1, Admission to Practice Law in California

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Law for All in Carlsbad, California

77 months ago

Displaced Legal Professional in Denver, Colorado said: No, it comes down to the delivery method. Studies have shown that one learns more, better and faster with all senses. One does not use all senses when learning online.

If that was the case, then no major university would be offering any degree program online. Yet, thousands of degree and certificate programs are being offered through distance education, which undercuts your argument.

Furthermore, the interactive media being used in distance learning today not only employs the use of all senses, but is also being used in the medical profession for clinical training, not to mentions pilots that test on flight simulators, including other interactive media.

Your assumption about distance learning is simply not supported by the facts. To the contrary, distance learning is not only widely accepted, but is reshaping the way students from engineers to scientists are learning.

[QUOTE]Once again, not everyone should be a lawyer. That, again, is why accreditations and law licensing are at high levels. To protect the public against charlatans.

Nobody here is claiming that everyone should be lawyer, only that those who have succesfully passed the bar exam should be lawyers, irrespective of whether or not they graduated from a DL law school or ABA law school, which is in accordance with the California Committee of Bar Exaniners.

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Law for All in Carlsbad, California

77 months ago

Displaced Legal Professional in Denver, Colorado said: Once again, continuing education is NOT the same as initial training. Period. You are ignoring that point.

At first, your argument was hinged on law cannot be learned through distance education, but I see you are now saying that continuing legal education isn't the same as initial training. Regardless, distance learning is an effective learning method, which is clearly evidenced by the ABA's own online Center for Continuing Education, in that, many of the online courses it offers entail complex areas of the law, serving to illustrate that law can be learned online.

[QUOTE]Sorry, but your arguments are unpersuasive.

My argument is hinged on the California Committee of Bar Examiners determination that a DL Law School graduate has sufficient legal training to sit the bar exam. It doesn't get much more pursuasive than that.

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Law for All in Carlsbad, California

77 months ago

Displaced Legal Professional in Denver, Colorado said: A question for you, "Law For All." Exactly what is your interest in this discussion?

My memorandum clearly sets out my position: "Can a student enrolled in a DL Law School effectively learn the law?" That is the issue.

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Law for All in Carlsbad, California

77 months ago

Displaced Legal Professional in Denver, Colorado said: Continued....

You raised this issue regarding lawyer training, so let's stick with that.

The bottom line here is whether an online law degree will lead to employment. Once again, no prestigious or even less than prestigious firm will hire online law graduates to the exclusion of traditional law graduates. Notice that I am NOT lumping traditional but non-ABA schools in that category. I have raised the hireability issue during this discussion. You have not addressed that issue, nor have you addressed my point that continuing education is not the same as initial training.

Your argument is hinged on stigma and bias in that no prestigious law firm will hire a DL Law school graduate. For the graduate of a DL Law school, I hardly think they will be trying to land a job with a prestgious law firm. Realistically, they are likely to enter into solo practice or work as in-house council or in some other sector. Nonetheless, more doors are likely to open than to close for someone that is licensed to practice law. Anyone that can make pass the bar and go on to become a productive member of the legal profession has my blessing.

You contend that law can not be studied through distance education. Fine. I disagree and leave it at that.

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Law for All in Carlsbad, California

77 months ago

Displaced Legal Professional in Denver, Colorado said: Continued....

Once again, despite multiple requests to do so, you are not addressing the most important issue: employability/hireability of an online law graduate v. a traditional (and - for your benefit - not necessarily a traditional ABA school) graduate.

You are a proponent for the ABA traditional law school, yet, seem unable to refute the evidence that distance learning is a mainstream format. Further, that a number of graduates that studied law by way of distance learning are practicing law. You can believe what you want to believe, but that is reality. Insofar as employability is concerned, students who choose to study at a DL Law School assume the risk, but ultimately, it is up to them to decide where they should study law and what jobs they will find. Some will fare well. Others won't.

[QUOTE] >>And your interest in posting your memorandum? Your point in posting it on a paralegal forum on an employment discussion board? What do you hope to accomplish by posting your memo on this board?<<

Your insinuation that I have an interest here is cheap shot. I am not involved in distance education and I resent the accusation. Instead of resorting to personal attacks, try conducting some preliminary research on the subject matter.

Furthermore, the issue IS relevant to paralegals since there are excellent online paralegal programs being offered by accredited schools with no connection to ABA approved paralegal programs.

It's obvious that you were looking to short circuit this thread from the get-go. Knock yourself out. I'm done with you.

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Law for All in Carlsbad, California

77 months ago

Displaced Legal Professional in Denver, Colorado said: I never said law cannot be learned online.

Your position that there is a prejudice against online degrees and that online training is not widely accepted would seem to indicate that you believe law cannot be learned online. I suggest you re-read your various reasons against studying law through distance learning.

[QUOTE]>>Do you know what "continuing education" is? Do you understand and/or can you appreciate the difference between continuing education and initial training?
Continuing education presupposes one already received initial education in the subject. In this discussion, one who takes continuing education (CLE) has already been trained in law. Again, and for the last time, receiving initial training is critical and not to be taken lightly. Initial training is not the same as amplifying upon or receiving a refresher in concepts one already knows. I go back to my example, above, about the attorney who took CLE by listening to cassette tapes. He listened to the tapes in his car. Impressive.<<

The only one arguing this point on the differentiation of continuing legal education and initial training is you. It makes no difference, since both forms prove that education can take place online, and vice versa.

Furthermore, the fact that graduates of DL law schools have consistantly passed the bar exam, despite the smaller pass rates is conclusive evidence that law can be learned entirely through distance learning. I need not go any further than that.

Because someone doesn't happen to agree with you doesn't mean that they have an "interest" or agenda, only that they disagree!

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Law for All in Carlsbad, California

77 months ago

Displaced Legal Professional in Denver, Colorado said: So then why do the majority of students attend traditional classes. I would submit that distance learning is far from mainstream at this time. If distance learning was more mainstream, one wouldn't hear stories about the trouble distance grads have in gaining employment. How many in comparison to traditional grads?

I can assure you that throughout the United States distance learning is not only mainstream, but has resulted in many regionally accredited schools offering degrees entirely online. Even Ivory League schools have moved in that direction. There are now thousands of online degree programs and a simple google search will confirm that simple fact. I think you will also find that there are just as many unemployed people holding traditional degrees, as there are with non-traditional degress.

In addition, there are many reasons for not being able to land a job and I suspect much of it has to do with the field one has chosen or lack of experience in that particular field.

Quote>>>>As I wrote, above, it's a big risk, especially compared to traditional law education. All I did was ask a question, which you still haven't answered. I have rebutted your arguments. You have rebutted mine. It's called "discussion." Red herring, especially considering you opened this thread with your memo about distance learning LAW SCHOOLS. Awww. Actually, another user answered your posts before I did.<<<<<<Quote

I think you will find that in my memorandum that I clearly stated that it's a risk to study law through distance learning. But it's apparently a risk that some people are prepared to take in order to sit the bar exam, and for good reason, since not everyone is in a position to attend an ABA law school.

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Law for All in Carlsbad, California

77 months ago

Displaced Legal Professional in Denver, Colorado said: Also, for the final time, hireability is the bottom line for any training program. And, again, training quality notwithstanding, online law graduates have fewer opportunities available than traditional grads. I can't put it any simpler than that.

While hireability is an important consideration, there are a lot of lawyers out of work that graduated from ABA law schools. There are also marginal lawyers in solo practice that have a knack for generating business, while others with infinately more skill who couldn't operate a popcorn concession stand. Where we do agree, however, is that there are fewer opportunities for those graduates of a distance learning law program.

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Law for All in Carlsbad, California

77 months ago

Displaced Legal Professional in Denver, Colorado said: I just would add that my research found other states besides California and Mass have non-ABA law schools. Go to this link, below, for more info:

www.maxstudy.com/lawschoolsstate.htm

That's correct. There's one case, Ross E. Mitchell v. Board of Bar Examiners, where a DL law school graduate filed suit in order to sit the bar in Massachusetts. See: www.socialaw.com/slip.htm?cid=18620&sid=120

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hmmm in Chula Vista, California

57 months ago

law is NOT for all in CA, California said: Anybody can get a degree online. No one in his right mind is going to hire an attorney who got his degree online. That's like getting a drivers license out of a cracker jack box.

Online degrees have a bad reputation, and many of those institutions are NOT taken seriously. It is even more unlikely that somebody would take seriously a person who earned a law degree online. How do you gain experience with distance learning when it comes to mock trials - practicing cross examination and voir dire skills?

My opinion is that the decision to get an online law degree is so totally foolish - It's plain dumb. Paralegal school is a bad decision also, but that decision is made by smart people usually out of naivety - believing what the schools tell you without thinking to interview experienced paralegals about the profession. It is not a smart person who would spend the money for an online law degree.

How much do these cost anyway?

Tell the lawyers who now have a SOLO practice that they made the wrong decision of getting their law degree and passed the Baby Bar and the California Bar exams.

Reality check: The majority of those online law students want to be their OWN BOSS and open their OWN law firm. The other big component is they want to be the corporate lawyer at their CURRENT work place wherein they have been working for SEVERAL YEARS already.

On another note, those who are taking online law classes for their degree are WORKING ADULTS with SEVERAL YEARS of job experience. They are not young kids who still live with mommy and daddy.

By the way, if you practice a federal administrative law like immigration, social security benefits, etc., you can practice using your California Bar license in another state.

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