Non-ABA Law School Dean takes questions

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Pope Francis
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Re: Non-ABA Law School Dean takes questions

Postby Pope Francis » Wed Apr 10, 2013 2:20 am

spleenworship wrote:I came in here expecting to set fire to this thread, but this is actually pretty cool. Thank you for sharing with us, Dean Winick.


This. Also, glad to find someone who loves ellipses as much as I do.

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

Postby MCL Law Dean » Wed Apr 10, 2013 4:23 am

TripTrip wrote:
MCL Law Dean wrote:our current five year cumulative bar pass rate is 66%.

Is that first-time pass, or overall pass rate for graduates?


It is a cumulative, five-year rolling pass rate as designated by the State Bar to be the reporting standard for all non-ABA accredited law schools. If you are not familiar with the CA bar exam, I know that may sound "lame", but the measure of "cumulative" vs. first-time is intended to measure and report how well the law school is adequately preparing students to pass the bar exam within a reasonable period following graduation, not whether our students (who are frequently unable to take off 2-3 months without pay) can immerse themselves in full-time bar review for the estimated 500 post-graduate hours between graduation and the first exam.

That said, taking into considering our broad admissions policy and intentionally low attrition rates, our school goal (independent from the regulatory minimum 40% cumulative pass rate) is to sustain a first-time pass rate of 50% and cumulative pass rate of 70%. We are close . . . and closing . . . on these standards (several recent classes have exceeded a 50% first-time rate) and our most recent cumulative pass rate has improved to 66%. However, it takes about three years to see the results of curriculum and academic support changes reflected in bar pass rates . . . so the process of improvement is slow . . . but determined.

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

Postby MCL Law Dean » Wed Apr 10, 2013 4:25 am

Pope Francis wrote:
spleenworship wrote:I came in here expecting to set fire to this thread, but this is actually pretty cool. Thank you for sharing with us, Dean Winick.


This. Also, glad to find someone who loves ellipses as much as I do.


I can't seem to help myself . . . a decades-long affliction.

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

Postby MCL Law Dean » Wed Apr 10, 2013 4:36 am

MCL Law Dean wrote:
sfhaze wrote:There's no UC Stanislaus, but a CSU Stanislaus.


I appreciate the free editing . . . we will fix that this morning.


BTW . . . corrected on the web site. Thanks.

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

Postby MCL Law Dean » Wed Apr 10, 2013 4:53 am

Yukos wrote:Making $50k as a lawyer in Santa Cruz would actually be a pretty sweet life (Salinas, maybe not so much).

Thanks so much for answering questions. I'm sure this is a topic almost none of us have any familiarity with.


Surfing is better in Santa Cruz . . . golfing is better in Carmel/Pebble Beach . . . camping and hiking is better in Big Sur . . . and Steinbeck is better in Salinas . . . one of our law school's previous marketing campaigns was ". . . attend law school in paradise!"

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RELIC
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Re: Non-ABA Law School Dean takes questions

Postby RELIC » Wed Apr 10, 2013 5:13 am

Thanks for answering questions here.

I honestly feel like your model of school is the future of the legal profession. Don't get me wrong, I go to a T14 and I love the instruction I am getting here but the high tuition and debt rates at ABA schools are unsustainable, unmanageable, and unconscionable. I have plenty of classmates that would love to take a 50k job in Salinas or Monterrey but they could never afford to do that with the level of debt they are taking on. The new IBR program (PAYE) might change some of that but I think affordable broad access to a legal education should be the real solution here.

Anyway, please come back and give us your employment numbers after you collect them. Thanks again.

NYstate
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Re: Non-ABA Law School Dean takes questions

Postby NYstate » Wed Apr 10, 2013 5:22 am

MCL Law Dean wrote:
Yukos wrote:Making $50k as a lawyer in Santa Cruz would actually be a pretty sweet life (Salinas, maybe not so much).

Thanks so much for answering questions. I'm sure this is a topic almost none of us have any familiarity with.


Surfing is better in Santa Cruz . . . golfing is better in Carmel/Pebble Beach . . . camping and hiking is better in Big Sur . . . and Steinbeck is better in Salinas . . . one of our law school's previous marketing campaigns was ". . . attend law school in paradise!"


I've seen google ads on this site for going to med school in paradise for an unaccredited medical school maybe that is what unaccredited schools have to offer.

Pretty much everyone here believes that the California market is super saturated with lawyers. I guess grads should start looking in your area for jobs?

Don't grads from your school have to pass a baby bar as well as the regular bar exam?

One more question, I think the only reason to go to law school is a professional degree. I don't know why someone would go to an unaccredited school which makes the chances of getting work that requires a JD and bar passage even more difficult to do. A student is still spending tens of housands of dollars and three years of time.

I have to tell you that I feel your kind of low level bottom feeder school where only a small percentage of grads will ever practice law is one of the problems of the legal profession. Only half of grads get jobs. I don't know if your unaccredited numbers are included in that total. But in my opinion you are hurting the legal profession by turning out more grads who are likely to never practice law. There are close to twice as many grads as there are jobs. This is a massive issue for the profession

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John_rizzy_rawls
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Re: Non-ABA Law School Dean takes questions

Postby John_rizzy_rawls » Wed Apr 10, 2013 5:38 am

This thread is so much more chill than I expected it to be.

Dat low-debt surfing life FTW.

Thanks for taking questions Dean.

NYstate
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Re: Non-ABA Law School Dean takes questions

Postby NYstate » Wed Apr 10, 2013 5:43 am

John_rizzy_rawls wrote:This thread is so much more chill than I expected it to be.

Dat low-debt surfing life FTW.

Thanks for taking questions Dean.

It is probably possible to have an ever lower debt surfing life by not going to this school in the first place.

I don't think the solution to oversupply in an over saturated market is to go to an unaccredited school. But maybe they have that great social scene that some 0Ls seek without any pretense you will get a job practicing law.

I am genuinely interested in knowing how many grads end up in these $50,000 jobs practicing law after graduation.

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John_rizzy_rawls
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Re: Non-ABA Law School Dean takes questions

Postby John_rizzy_rawls » Wed Apr 10, 2013 5:45 am

That's true. But this thread's vibe is nice to chill out my high strung NY breh.

NYstate
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Re: Non-ABA Law School Dean takes questions

Postby NYstate » Wed Apr 10, 2013 6:17 am

John_rizzy_rawls wrote:That's true. But this thread's vibe is nice to chill out my high strung NY breh.


Yeah. Sorry, I get annoyed by snake-oil salesmen ( please note that i include just about all law school deans in that description-- i think Dean Z from Michigan is right up there too.)just my opinion)This school accepts people who haven't even completed an undergrad degree. No offense to the Dean, but I think the main reason tuition is low is because their students can't get federal loans. I consider the unfettered access to loans to be a large factor in the rampant and unjustified tuition increases.

That said, I don't think this school is worth $60,000 for what it offers. It sounds like most students are evening students who are working and going to school. I'm presuming that is because they want to practice law.

But I'll leave you guys to contemplate surfing and golf. Not sure how much time evening students with full time day jobs have for the beach but it does sound appealing. :)


Edit: not trying to be disrespectful and end the discussion. This is my opinion of the school but I don't live in California and I don't surf. I hope the dean continues to answer the questions here.

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guano
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Re: Non-ABA Law School Dean takes questions

Postby guano » Wed Apr 10, 2013 7:08 am

I just wanted to thank Dean Winnick for coming here and giving his perspective and time. Whether or not people agree with his opinions, it's something I wish more deans would do.

As an aside, I know a number of professionals who pursue a legal education with no intention of being lawyers, and for whom cost and convenience are the primary factors, so I accept the answer that many graduates stay in their former jobs.

Yes, the dean is a salesperson, but, so is almost everyone else. Your doctor, your dentist, your bagel vendor, they're all salespeople. When the dean is honest about who is not the target market, I find it incredibly unfair to call him a snake oil salesman

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cahwc12
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Re: Non-ABA Law School Dean takes questions

Postby cahwc12 » Wed Apr 10, 2013 7:13 am

MCL Law Dean wrote:First, I fully agree that if we want to share the "transparency" band-wagon, we need to actually track and report employment data, and we started developing the process (questionnaire) for doing so last month. It really shouldn't take us too long to complete and we should have new information out before this cycle ends for our school (end of July). That said . . . you (and all recent ABA grads) have full right to call out the ABA law schools that have not just been hiding employment data, a few have been caught actually misrepresenting it . . . and I guess those deans just didn't notice a few dozen "research fellows" suddenly appearing at the law school on nine-month contracts that curiously parallel the USNWR employment statistics. Bad acting on the part of some law schools is harming all schools and you won't find me defending them.

On the applicant side - it would be equally naive to get as wrapped up in self-reported employment data - as it is to be led by the "marketing" nose by UNNWR school ranking data. On a local note, since that was your original point . . . in a small region like ours, I think that it is far more effective to connect a curious/concerned applicant to the president of the local bar association (which we do), because we partner with the bar on clinics, workshops, CLE programs AND job placement so that an applicant could get an independent opinion on the school's local reputation, employment opportunities, bar pass rates, etc. We can (and do) the same with the DA, Public Defender, County Counsel, and Superior Court. Actually doing the groundwork is much better than reading data charts. Not too surprisingly . . . it appears that the most recent court decisions are coming to the same conclusion.


The issue here is that all we have to go on is the self-reported data, and any school that lies runs the risk of dire consequences should they be found out, and they will soon enough. I don't doubt that many ABA law schools are fixing their data, but I also don't doubt that the desire for transparency has now become an expectation rather than a wish, and that expectation will cause these schools to eventually be had.

Again, this can only make you look better if what you say is really true. Your most recent class size is about 80 students? Surely you or someone could phone them all up in a day and at least get a ballpark estimate, or you could just send out a bulk email with a brief questionnaire. I can't imagine that you don't want to know the answers?

Because how would you feel if you were misleading prospective applicants into believing they had a great shot at a $50-60k/yr job with low debt, only to find out that the only people who stay in contact with you are the five or six people who achieve that outcome? And the risk for you is even larger because your school is unacreddited, and I'm going to take a stab and say that your salary probably isn't as ridiculous as ABA deans whose schools charge $50k+/yr and rising.

Danteshek
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Re: Non-ABA Law School Dean takes questions

Postby Danteshek » Wed Apr 10, 2013 8:44 am

Thanks for dropping in. It wouldn't pain me to see Southwestern, California Western, Santa Clara, and a few others turn into California accredited schools. Thomas Jefferson needs to be wiped off the face of the earth.

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TripTrip
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Re: Non-ABA Law School Dean takes questions

Postby TripTrip » Wed Apr 10, 2013 9:00 am

MCL Law Dean wrote:
TripTrip wrote:
MCL Law Dean wrote:our current five year cumulative bar pass rate is 66%.

Is that first-time pass, or overall pass rate for graduates?


It is a cumulative, five-year rolling pass rate as designated by the State Bar to be the reporting standard for all non-ABA accredited law schools. If you are not familiar with the CA bar exam, I know that may sound "lame", but the measure of "cumulative" vs. first-time is intended to measure and report how well the law school is adequately preparing students to pass the bar exam within a reasonable period following graduation, not whether our students (who are frequently unable to take off 2-3 months without pay) can immerse themselves in full-time bar review for the estimated 500 post-graduate hours between graduation and the first exam.

That said, taking into considering our broad admissions policy and intentionally low attrition rates, our school goal (independent from the regulatory minimum 40% cumulative pass rate) is to sustain a first-time pass rate of 50% and cumulative pass rate of 70%. We are close . . . and closing . . . on these standards (several recent classes have exceeded a 50% first-time rate) and our most recent cumulative pass rate has improved to 66%. However, it takes about three years to see the results of curriculum and academic support changes reflected in bar pass rates . . . so the process of improvement is slow . . . but determined.

No, reporting cumulative does make some sense. But here's why I ask: if 33% of the graduates in the past five years have not passed the BAR, I think we've made some progress on that presently non-existent employment data. No more than 66% of graduates could possibly by employed in a full-time legal job which requires BAR passage (BPR) if only 66% of them have passed the BAR. Now if the employment data were something like "60% of grads employed in legal jobs BPR" (unlikely to be that high, but let's pretend) that would actually be fairly reasonable because it would mean that almost everyone who passed the BAR got a job.
Last edited by TripTrip on Wed Apr 10, 2013 12:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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guano
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Re: Non-ABA Law School Dean takes questions

Postby guano » Wed Apr 10, 2013 9:28 am

^bit then we'd also need to ask how many don't want FT/RBP jobs
I hate playing devil 's advocate but I can see proportionally more such people attending a low cost school

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TripTrip
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Re: Non-ABA Law School Dean takes questions

Postby TripTrip » Wed Apr 10, 2013 9:49 am

guano wrote:^bit then we'd also need to ask how many don't want FT/RBP jobs
I hate playing devil 's advocate but I can see proportionally more such people attending a low cost school

Then just ask how many didn't take the BAR at all. FT/BPR isn't a new statistic, though most schools report that along with JD advantage/preferred. If you just include all full time jobs, there's nothing to differentiate people who realized they couldn't get a job and just went back to wherever they were employed before, now with more debt.

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cahwc12
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Re: Non-ABA Law School Dean takes questions

Postby cahwc12 » Wed Apr 10, 2013 10:00 am

TripTrip wrote:
guano wrote:^bit then we'd also need to ask how many don't want FT/RBP jobs
I hate playing devil 's advocate but I can see proportionally more such people attending a low cost school

Then just ask how many didn't take the BAR at all. FT/BPR isn't a new statistic, though most schools report that along with JD advantage/preferred. If you just include all full time jobs, there's nothing to differentiate people who realized they couldn't get a job and just went back to wherever they were employed before, now with more debt.


Have to agree here. If you want to get a law degree and not become a lawyer, you wouldn't prep for 3 months for a grueling test that serves you no purpose.

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guano
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Re: Non-ABA Law School Dean takes questions

Postby guano » Wed Apr 10, 2013 10:07 am

cahwc12 wrote:
TripTrip wrote:
guano wrote:^bit then we'd also need to ask how many don't want FT/RBP jobs
I hate playing devil 's advocate but I can see proportionally more such people attending a low cost school

Then just ask how many didn't take the BAR at all. FT/BPR isn't a new statistic, though most schools report that along with JD advantage/preferred. If you just include all full time jobs, there's nothing to differentiate people who realized they couldn't get a job and just went back to wherever they were employed before, now with more debt.


Have to agree here. If you want to get a law degree and not become a lawyer, you wouldn't prep for 3 months for a grueling test that serves you no purpose.

I mostly, but not entirely agree. I know several people who do law on the side, who wouldn't do full time legal work, but would pass the bar, as well as people who did it to get greater understanding related to their primary job/business. For the most part, they'd still take the bar, just to have the option (eg a financial planner who usually refers wills/trust out, but may do the simpler work himself)

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Re: Non-ABA Law School Dean takes questions

Postby toothbrush » Wed Apr 10, 2013 10:09 am

mrizza wrote:tag

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TripTrip
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Re: Non-ABA Law School Dean takes questions

Postby TripTrip » Wed Apr 10, 2013 10:32 am

guano wrote:I mostly, but not entirely agree. I know several people who do law on the side, who wouldn't do full time legal work, but would pass the bar, as well as people who did it to get greater understanding related to their primary job/business. For the most part, they'd still take the bar, just to have the option (eg a financial planner who usually refers wills/trust out, but may do the simpler work himself)

3 years of law school and $60,000+ so that you don't have to refer out the simple wills and trusts?

That would be like going to med school as a secretary at an ER to better understand your job and handle the simple cases at the front desk because you would never be a doctor or a nurse.

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guano
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Re: Non-ABA Law School Dean takes questions

Postby guano » Wed Apr 10, 2013 10:34 am

TripTrip wrote:
guano wrote:I mostly, but not entirely agree. I know several people who do law on the side, who wouldn't do full time legal work, but would pass the bar, as well as people who did it to get greater understanding related to their primary job/business. For the most part, they'd still take the bar, just to have the option (eg a financial planner who usually refers wills/trust out, but may do the simpler work himself)

3 years of law school and $60,000+ so that you don't have to refer out the simple wills and trusts?

That would be like going to med school as a secretary at an ER to better understand your job and handle the simple cases at the front desk because you would never be a doctor or a nurse.
and yet I know people who did that.

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TripTrip
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Re: Non-ABA Law School Dean takes questions

Postby TripTrip » Wed Apr 10, 2013 10:36 am

guano wrote:
TripTrip wrote:
guano wrote:I mostly, but not entirely agree. I know several people who do law on the side, who wouldn't do full time legal work, but would pass the bar, as well as people who did it to get greater understanding related to their primary job/business. For the most part, they'd still take the bar, just to have the option (eg a financial planner who usually refers wills/trust out, but may do the simpler work himself)

3 years of law school and $60,000+ so that you don't have to refer out the simple wills and trusts?

That would be like going to med school as a secretary at an ER to better understand your job and handle the simple cases at the front desk because you would never be a doctor or a nurse.
and yet I know people who did that.

Alright. But I'd still count them out of the FT/BPR group. :?

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sinfiery
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Re: Non-ABA Law School Dean takes questions

Postby sinfiery » Wed Apr 10, 2013 12:13 pm

I find it odd that you know exactly where and what your graduates are doing because of the nature of your school and yet you still don't track employment data.

From what I can gather, finding your graduates and having them respond is the most difficult barrier for compiling and publishing employment data. According to your statements, this simply isn't a problem for your school.


So why don't you publish employment data? As a prospective student, I can tell you that it absolutely is important and something I care about. I want this data, why isn't it available?

masked kavana
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Re: Non-ABA Law School Dean takes questions

Postby masked kavana » Wed Apr 10, 2013 12:34 pm

I went to an info session for a school like this. The school is moving towards becoming eligible for federal funding next year. Is yours?

At the session, the dean had two prior students speak about their experiences. One student was working at a private firm - probably making the 50-60k you speak about. He was ranked 3rd in his class. The other student was there to display the amazing credentials of the student body (she had an undergraduate and master's degree from Princeton). She graduated in 2009 and was not working as an attorney because of a "bad economy." She was fortunate to find work with the local government but was still having to pay down the private loans she took out to attend the school.

I know that many of the areas that schools like yours serve are understaffed because people are not paid enough to service their disproportionately high loans from ABA schools. But, the fact remains, that too many graduates are coming out of even these regionally accredited schools.




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