Non-ABA Law School Dean takes questions

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MCL Law Dean
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Re: Non-ABA Law School Dean takes questions

Postby MCL Law Dean » Thu Feb 06, 2014 10:39 am

kappycaft1 wrote:Yeah, I agree with Kyle that it would be easier to look at % for the cumulative 4-year total instead of by-year. (I'd lump the data together, but also provide annual data for reference.)


kappycaft1, I have PM'd you with the data sets. Now that I have a better grasp of them (having done my LST homework), you are free to post and link from/to them. I will be adding/updating this employment data, updated bar pass statistics, and our 2013 LSAT/UGPS to the school's website in the next few weeks. Note: We are reorganizing the MCL website to have all of this together in one place so that it is easier to find for prospective students.

I do ask that the TLSers remember that MCL is not trying to compete with traditional ABA programs since we serve an entirely different and distinct market (tri-county Central California Coast). However, I am trying to illustrate that even though we are a very different type of law school, our results are at least credible when put in the context of the other California ABA law schools.

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Re: Non-ABA Law School Dean takes questions

Postby MCL Law Dean » Thu Feb 06, 2014 10:47 am

OK, after taking a Fall Semester break, I have rolled up my sleeves and put on my digital flak jacket to again field questions about accredited non-ABA law school options. As dean of Monterey College of Law I would be glad to discuss why a small number of prospective law students "out there" might fare better in a non-ABA educational environment. I encourage posters to also peruse the previous posts on this topic, because despite a few ugly troll attacks, there were some great questions/answers/commentary. I look forward to your questions.

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Re: Non-ABA Law School Dean takes questions

Postby MCL Law Dean » Thu Feb 06, 2014 5:19 pm

If you are applying to law school and have not read the ABA's REPORT AND RECOMMENDATIONS: TASK FORCE ON THE FUTURE OF LEGAL EDUCATION released January 23, 2014 . . . you should do so as part of your decision-making process on where to attend law school. The link to the report is here:

http://www.americanbar.org/content/dam/aba/administrative/professional_responsibility/report_and_recommendations_of_aba_task_force.authcheckdam.pdf

Rankings of law schools strongly influence the behavior of applicants, law schools, and employers. Some ranking systems (in particular U.S. News) purport to supply objective consumer information. However, little of the information used in ranking formulas relates to educational outcomes or conventional measures of programmatic quality or value. To that extent, rankings may provide misleading information to students as consumers.

Indeed, the choice of data on which to base rankings can adversely affect the interests of students as consumers. For example, U.S. News rankings are based in part (among other debatable criteria) on calculations of law school expenditures per student. This rewards increasing a school’s expenditures for the purpose of affecting ranking, without reference to impact on value delivered or educational outcomes. It promotes, rather than discourages, continued increase in the price of law school education.

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Re: Non-ABA Law School Dean takes questions

Postby redbull12 » Fri Feb 07, 2014 2:18 am

Are you familiar with lawschooltransparency? Thoughts?

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Re: Non-ABA Law School Dean takes questions

Postby BigZuck » Fri Feb 07, 2014 3:15 am

redbull12 wrote:Are you familiar with lawschooltransparency? Thoughts?


Dude. 3 posts above yours he said he's done his LST homework.

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Re: Non-ABA Law School Dean takes questions

Postby MCL Law Dean » Fri Feb 07, 2014 9:44 am

No problem, BZ. Glad to chime in on LST. Simply put, if a 2014 law school applicant hasn't taken advantage of the LST resources . . . it is a bad sign regarding their intellectual and analytical commitment to the study of law. Too strong? I don't think so.

Granted, you need to carefully read the definitions and methodology, because they are (necessarily) a bit complicated in order to provide a true apples-to-apples analysis. That said, remember that its' greatest value is as an objective INDEX for comparison purposes. It doesn't purport to predict an individual student's circumstances. However, it effectively highlights the issues beyond reputation and ranking . . . such as cost and jobs . . . that should be influencing law school selection.

P.S. Kyle (LST) convinced me to conduct our (Monterey College of Law) first alumni employment survey (after 43 years of operation). Without LST's influence, we would not be able to report an 88% (after 9 months) and 91% (current) employment rate for our 2009-2012 graduates.

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Re: Non-ABA Law School Dean takes questions

Postby jenesaislaw » Fri Feb 07, 2014 11:32 am

^Appreciate your kind words. And your dead-on analysis.

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Re: Non-ABA Law School Dean takes questions

Postby MCL Law Dean » Fri Feb 07, 2014 12:35 pm

The ABA Report also comes to the conclusion that:

Various federal programs make such loans available with little limitation on amount. This system has many deleterious features. One is that it contributes to the steadily increasing price of legal education. Another is that students whose credentials are the weakest tend to incur large debt in order to sustain the school budget and enable higher-credentialed students to attend at reduced (or even no) cost. Many of these less credentialed students also have lower potential return on their investment in a legal education. A further consequence is that, to support the current discounting structure, law schools have drastically reduced the amount of discounts, scholarships, or other support based on student financial need. Finally, the current system tends to impede the growth of diversity in legal education and in the profession. The current system of pricing and funding in legal education demands serious reengineering.


Remember, these are not findings from some off-the-wall special interest group. This is from the ABA itself . . . the regulating institution of 200+ law schools in the US. I believe that before the current crop of law school applicants graduate, we may see significant changes in the ABA accreditation rules and the US Dept. of Education lending criteria that will begin to address these issues.

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Re: Non-ABA Law School Dean takes questions

Postby MCL Law Dean » Mon Feb 10, 2014 1:32 pm

Answer from an off-line question: There are a number of key differences between the ABA approved law schools and California accredited law schools (CALS). It is important to realize that California is the only state that has state-accredited law schools, as well as ABA approved law schools. It is not a recent phenomena, San Francisco Law School, one of the CALS, is over 100 years old . . . older than any of the ABA law schools in California. Our law school, Monterey College of Law was founded in 1972 and is in our 43rd year of operation.

Key differences include:

Graduates of CALS must first take and pass the California bar exam prior to being eligible to take any other state bar exam. In contrast, graduates of ABA law schools are eligible to take any state's bar exam upon obtaining their J.D. This means that if you intend to live and practice in California, there is no difference regarding licensure, but if you intend to move at some point to another jurisdiction, you should first review the National Conference of Bar Examiner's guide to admissions (http://www.ncbex.org/assets/media_files/Comp-Guide/CompGuide.pdf). This guide will tell you what the rules are regarding reciprocity between states and whether a specific state will allow CALS graduates to sit for their bar exam.

CALS are smaller and much less expensive than ABA law schools. Most CALS have between 100 and 250 students and cost between one-third and one-half as much as the traditional ABA law schools.

CALS faculty members are primarily adjunct professors who are practicing lawyers and judges, not full-time law professors.

CALS offer evening law school courses to accommodate working students and also encourage employment in law-related jobs during law school.

CALS commonly serve specific regional markets such as Monterey, Santa Barbara, Ventura, Fresno, Santa Rosa, Concord, and Chico where there are no ABA law schools. The exceptions are the large urban markets such as San Francisco, Los Angeles, Sacramento, and San Jose where they provide an alternative to large traditional ABA law schools.

CALS graduates primarily (almost exclusively) go into non-BigLaw jobs. This is particularly true for schools located in non-urban communities where there is no such thing as BigLaw. Our programs are ideally suited for those interested in public sector lawyer jobs, such as DA, public defender, county and municipal attorneys, and small-firm practitioners. Although it may not be true in the big cities, these jobs continue to exist for new graduates in small communities such as our's. Since our graduates make up between 25-30% of the local bar, they are found in every flavor of civil and criminal private practice.

I have posted previously about bar pass rates and employment statistics, but if you have additional questions let me know.

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Re: Non-ABA Law School Dean takes questions

Postby 2014 » Mon Feb 10, 2014 5:34 pm

I just wanted to say that I came into this thread expecting a blood bath where everyone bashed on MCL and like schools for being the epitome of the problem with legal education and the glut of lawyers but I have been pleasantly surprised. I'm convinced that you serve a very small niche, but a niche indeed and that your price point and program make a lot of sense so long as students are going in with good information which it sounds like you are committed to providing.

I like your policy of passing through the cost of Barbri to students and forcing them to enroll. I think it's a useful piece of paternalism in this case since there is such disparity in passage rates for prep class takers and self studiers. That being said, have you considered offering a lower cost track such as Themis? I imagine the pass rates are comparable and it would save your students some more debt even if you made the Themis option something they had to proactively opt into with Barbri still being a default.

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Re: Non-ABA Law School Dean takes questions

Postby MCL Law Dean » Tue Feb 11, 2014 9:59 am

Thanks. In answer to your question, Themis, Kaplan, and Flemmings are all well thought of here in CA and we have, and continue to, look at them. The challenge has been that we have found success by dis-aggregating the bar review materials (with BarBri support) and utilizing them for academic support from the first-year on. This is possible since we have an institutional vs. individual student agreement with BarBri. It also provides our faculty, teaching fellows, and tutors access to supplemental resources to use for special exercises, quizzes, and "road-mapping" for students who wander off-track during law school.

The other programs appear to be fine for traditional post-graduate "cram" courses geared towards traditional non-working students. However, they don't have the full complement of tools and different educational approaches to meet our integrated academic support /pre-bar review/bar review model. BarBri isn't perfect and you are correct that it is a significant investment, but it continues to be the best option for our program at this time.

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Re: Non-ABA Law School Dean takes questions

Postby MCL Law Dean » Tue Feb 11, 2014 10:23 am

2014 wrote:I'm convinced that you serve a very small niche, but a niche indeed and that your price point and program make a lot of sense so long as students are going in with good information . . .


What I find interesting is the hue and cry that is raised elsewhere on TLS when I suggest that this niche market strategy could be applied to certain existing ABA law schools that are clearly failing as ABA-mandated T1 look-a-likes. The single-themed theory appears to be that closing law schools is the only answer. No surprise that I agree with the recent ABA task force report that supports changing the accreditation rules to encourage more flexibility in the design and delivery of legal education, particularly changes that would bring down the cost and increase skills-training.

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Re: Non-ABA Law School Dean takes questions

Postby jenesaislaw » Tue Feb 11, 2014 1:43 pm

MCL Law Dean wrote:
2014 wrote:I'm convinced that you serve a very small niche, but a niche indeed and that your price point and program make a lot of sense so long as students are going in with good information . . .


What I find interesting is the hue and cry that is raised elsewhere on TLS when I suggest that this niche market strategy could be applied to certain existing ABA law schools that are clearly failing as ABA-mandated T1 look-a-likes. The single-themed theory appears to be that closing law schools is the only answer. No surprise that I agree with the recent ABA task force report that supports changing the accreditation rules to encourage more flexibility in the design and delivery of legal education, particularly changes that would bring down the cost and increase skills-training.


Did you see Chemerinsky's op/ed in the NLJ today? His claim boils down to added flexibility in the ABA standards won't bring down the costs because he wouldn't do anything differently.

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Re: Non-ABA Law School Dean takes questions

Postby MCL Law Dean » Tue Feb 11, 2014 1:53 pm

jenesaislaw wrote:
MCL Law Dean wrote:
2014 wrote:I'm convinced that you serve a very small niche, but a niche indeed and that your price point and program make a lot of sense so long as students are going in with good information . . .


What I find interesting is the hue and cry that is raised elsewhere on TLS when I suggest that this niche market strategy could be applied to certain existing ABA law schools that are clearly failing as ABA-mandated T1 look-a-likes. The single-themed theory appears to be that closing law schools is the only answer. No surprise that I agree with the recent ABA task force report that supports changing the accreditation rules to encourage more flexibility in the design and delivery of legal education, particularly changes that would bring down the cost and increase skills-training.


Did you see Chemerinsky's op/ed in the NLJ today? His claim boils down to added flexibility in the ABA standards won't bring down the costs because he wouldn't do anything differently.


Apparently his "niche market" is a bit different than mine . . .

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Re: Non-ABA Law School Dean takes questions

Postby jenesaislaw » Tue Feb 11, 2014 2:45 pm

His niche is his fiefdom.

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Re: Non-ABA Law School Dean takes questions

Postby BigZuck » Tue Feb 11, 2014 3:11 pm

I'm still struggling to understand what niche market MCL is filling. Most attorneys I have met in Monterey County (young and old alike) went to places like Santa Clara, USF, and Hastings. Painting, say, Hastings grads as SF OR BUST and not willing to travel into the hinterlands of Monterey for a legal job sounds disingenuous at best. I'm sure there are DROVES of unemployed kids from the CA TTTs who would be more than happy to slum it in Monterey if it meant gainful employment.

Basically, you're making the Monterey Peninsula sound like its Copperopolis or something when in actuality it's one of the more desireable places to live in this country and Northern CA is teeming with JDs already.

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Re: Non-ABA Law School Dean takes questions

Postby shifty_eyed » Tue Feb 11, 2014 3:15 pm

BigZuck wrote:I'm still struggling to understand what niche market MCL is filling. Most attorneys I have met in Monterey County (young and old alike) went to places like Santa Clara, USF, and Hastings. Painting, say, Hastings grads as SF OR BUST and not willing to travel into the hinterlands of Monterey for a legal job sounds disingenuous at best. I'm sure there are DROVES of unemployed kids from the CA TTTs who would be more than happy to slum it in Monterey if it meant gainful employment.

Basically, you're making the Monterey Peninsula sound like its Copperopolis or something when in actuality it's one of the more desireable places to live in this country and Northern CA is teeming with JDs already.

Not familiar with CA geography, so I looked it up.

Image

I'd work there for 30k/yr and PAYE it up.

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Re: Non-ABA Law School Dean takes questions

Postby MCL Law Dean » Tue Feb 11, 2014 3:56 pm

shifty_eyed wrote:[Not familiar with CA geography, so I looked it up.

Image

I'd work there for 30k/yr and PAYE it up.


Hey! Someone must have flown a photo drone over my back yard! Seriously, it is outrageously beautiful here. Not just golf at Pebble Beach, but driving the coast highway down Highway 1, hiking around Big Sur, beaches in Santa Cruz, etc. That said, the cost of living is much higher than the typical small-town America, but certainly not more than any major metro area.

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Re: Non-ABA Law School Dean takes questions

Postby shifty_eyed » Tue Feb 11, 2014 4:35 pm

MCL Law Dean wrote:
Hey! Someone must have flown a photo drone over my back yard! Seriously, it is outrageously beautiful here. Not just golf at Pebble Beach, but driving the coast highway down Highway 1, hiking around Big Sur, beaches in Santa Cruz, etc. That said, the cost of living is much higher than the typical small-town America, but certainly not more than any major metro area.


You got my hopes up!

Image

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Re: Non-ABA Law School Dean takes questions

Postby MCL Law Dean » Tue Feb 11, 2014 5:22 pm

The problem with using Texas as a comparison (and as you must have figured out, that is where I am from), is that the housing costs are apples to kumquats. A $1 million home in Dallas or Houston would be in the nicest, elite neighborhoods. $1 million here on the Monterey Peninsula gets you work-force housing . . . not really . . . OK . . . kinda really. If my wife and I had not bought a home out of foreclosure during the housing bust, I would likely still be leasing. The other costs, food, etc. are relatively equal.

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Re: Non-ABA Law School Dean takes questions

Postby MCL Law Dean » Tue Feb 11, 2014 5:26 pm

BigZuck wrote:I'm still struggling to understand what niche market MCL is filling. Most attorneys I have met in Monterey County (young and old alike) went to places like Santa Clara, USF, and Hastings. Painting, say, Hastings grads as SF OR BUST and not willing to travel into the hinterlands of Monterey for a legal job sounds disingenuous at best. I'm sure there are DROVES of unemployed kids from the CA TTTs who would be more than happy to slum it in Monterey if it meant gainful employment.

Basically, you're making the Monterey Peninsula sound like its Copperopolis or something when in actuality it's one of the more desireable places to live in this country and Northern CA is teeming with JDs already.


BZ, I just finished a really pithy answer, but it disappeared when I hit "submit"??? I have to head to a meeting, but I'll get back to you later today.

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Re: Non-ABA Law School Dean takes questions

Postby BigZuck » Tue Feb 11, 2014 5:47 pm

MCL Law Dean wrote:
BigZuck wrote:I'm still struggling to understand what niche market MCL is filling. Most attorneys I have met in Monterey County (young and old alike) went to places like Santa Clara, USF, and Hastings. Painting, say, Hastings grads as SF OR BUST and not willing to travel into the hinterlands of Monterey for a legal job sounds disingenuous at best. I'm sure there are DROVES of unemployed kids from the CA TTTs who would be more than happy to slum it in Monterey if it meant gainful employment.

Basically, you're making the Monterey Peninsula sound like its Copperopolis or something when in actuality it's one of the more desireable places to live in this country and Northern CA is teeming with JDs already.


BZ, I just finished a really pithy answer, but it disappeared when I hit "submit"??? I have to head to a meeting, but I'll get back to you later today.


Looking forward to it. The pithier the better plz

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Re: Non-ABA Law School Dean takes questions

Postby shifty_eyed » Tue Feb 11, 2014 5:54 pm

MCL Law Dean wrote:The problem with using Texas as a comparison (and as you must have figured out, that is where I am from), is that the housing costs are apples to kumquats. A $1 million home in Dallas or Houston would be in the nicest, elite neighborhoods. $1 million here on the Monterey Peninsula gets you work-force housing . . . not really . . . OK . . . kinda really. If my wife and I had not bought a home out of foreclosure during the housing bust, I would likely still be leasing. The other costs, food, etc. are relatively equal.


I'm not trying to be contrarian just for the sake of it, but I think this is faulty logic. Housing costs are the biggest part of COL expenses, at least for most students and others with low income. It does sound like most of your students are locals who work full-time, so this is probably not an issue for your prospective students, but to say that Monterey is more affordable than most major cities is just wrong.

COL in Monterey apparently is closer (using salary.com calculator) to that of Los Angeles than that of Chicago or Philadelphia. IDK about you, but I don't consider those places "small-town America."

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Re: Non-ABA Law School Dean takes questions

Postby paully » Tue Feb 11, 2014 10:31 pm

I think it's fair to say that this school is mainly for people who don't have the grades or LSATs for law school. There's no niche, and there's no need for more law schools in CA. Sure it's affordable, but I'd rather pay $150k and actually have a shot at becoming a lawyer than pay $60k and have a 0 chance of getting a job as a lawyer. Let's be real here.

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Re: Non-ABA Law School Dean takes questions

Postby Pneumonia » Wed Feb 12, 2014 12:57 am

paully wrote:I think it's fair to say that this school is mainly for people who don't have the grades or LSATs for law school. There's no niche, and there's no need for more law schools in CA. Sure it's affordable, but I'd rather pay $150k and actually have a shot at becoming a lawyer than pay $60k and have a 0 chance of getting a job as a lawyer. Let's be real here.


No, it is not fair to say that. Not everyone is a KJD.




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