Non-ABA Law School Dean takes questions

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bchirco
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Re: Non-ABA Law School Dean takes questions

Postby bchirco » Wed Apr 10, 2013 2:00 pm

I wanted to thank you for taking the time to do this.

I will be honest and say that I have mixed feelings about your school. On the one hand, you do seem to serve a niche market in an area that does not have a law school. On the other hand, you cannot provide real employment statistics which is virtually one of the most important aspects ANY student should consider before attending law school.

I don't believe that your school is a bottom feeder as NY suggested. Those spots are reserved for the $250k T4 schools. If TJSL only charged $50k (which imo would still be overpriced) I wouldn't necessarily have an issue with it. Large price tags for a low shot of success is the definition of a bottom feeder in my book. It is true that most legal markets are heavily saturated, but it appears this area isn't as impacted as the rest of California, so I can see your school potentially being a good deal. However, there is no way to know for sure until you publish employment data. Even if you released it and you only had 50% rates, like earlier mentions, this would still be better than some T1 prospects.

When do you plan on releasing this information?

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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 5:45 pm

sinfiery wrote: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?


First I need to point out that the employment issue has just not been a big deal in our community. Applicants know the law school, know our alumni, and have a sense of the local community. Bar pass rate has always been a key issue, but not employment. However, I realize that if schools like ours want to participate in a broader dialogue, we need to get on board and get our employment data collected and published. We have a good e-mail list of almost all of our recent alumni, so contact isn't the issue . . . we just need to make sure we are asking the right questions . . . and like all other tasks, put it high enough on our to-do list to actually get it done.

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Pneumonia
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Re: Non-ABA Law School Dean takes questions

Postby Pneumonia » Wed Apr 10, 2013 7:07 pm

Just wanted to reiterate the previous posters and express my gratitude to you for this thread. I was just reading about accreditation the other day and wondered how the non-ABA schools get by and why students choose them in the first place. The information you've given makes a lot of sense.

I agree that your model of affordable education and hyper-regional placement will become more and more important in the future. People obviously can't feasibly shoot for a rural market right out of school with 150k in debt. That, coupled with the fact that a there are new editorials seemingly every week that decry the lack of access poor and lower middle class citizens (both rural and urban) have to legal representation, to me at least makes a strong case for the existence of schools like yours. Although I'm not convinced there isn't room for improvement, your school certainly seems a superior choice when placed next to Thomas Jefferson and other T3/T4's.

Thanks again for the thread.

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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 11:21 pm

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.


You are welcome . . . by the way, you may be using a cool avatar of Clint . . . but he actually still lives here in Carmel and I may be the only one on this Board who can say they did the Hokey Pokey with him . . . no, really . . . his youngest daughter was in school with my daughter and we shared the "moment" at a father-daughter elementary school dance about 7-8 years ago. He may be a great actor/director, but trust me, his Hokey Pokey did not make anyone's day.

(I apologize for the digression, but I couldn't help myself.)

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TripTrip
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Re: Non-ABA Law School Dean takes questions

Postby TripTrip » Thu Apr 11, 2013 1:08 am

MCL Law Dean 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.


You are welcome . . . by the way, you may be using a cool avatar of Clint . . . but he actually still lives here in Carmel and I may be the only one on this Board who can say they did the Hokey Pokey with him . . . no, really . . . his youngest daughter was in school with my daughter and we shared the "moment" at a father-daughter elementary school dance about 7-8 years ago. He may be a great actor/director, but trust me, his Hokey Pokey did not make anyone's day.

(I apologize for the digression, but I couldn't help myself.)

Trying to lure us to your school with the potential of meeting stars I see... :D

But really, thanks for taking the time to do this, even though we grilled you on the employment stuff. It's refreshing to see another perspective, especially from someone who would traditionally be trash talked on here. I wish all deans would do this.

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sinfiery
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Re: Non-ABA Law School Dean takes questions

Postby sinfiery » Thu Apr 11, 2013 1:29 am

TripTrip wrote:But really, thanks for taking the time to do this, even though we grilled you on the employment stuff. It's refreshing to see another perspective, especially from someone who would traditionally be trash talked on here. I wish all deans would do this.

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

Postby MCL Law Dean » Thu Apr 11, 2013 1:53 am

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.

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

I don't know why someone would go to an unaccredited school . . .

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.


Surfing, Golf, Steinbeck, Paradise . . . no sense of humor in NY? Those who were actually reading the posts followed that this discussion is about accredited, not unaccredited law schools. Baby Bar is only required for the unaccredited law schools. "F" on argumentation and IRAC. (FYI. More humor.)

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

Postby MCL Law Dean » Thu Apr 11, 2013 2:01 am

TripTrip wrote:
MCL Law Dean 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.


You are welcome . . . by the way, you may be using a cool avatar of Clint . . . but he actually still lives here in Carmel and I may be the only one on this Board who can say they did the Hokey Pokey with him . . . no, really . . . his youngest daughter was in school with my daughter and we shared the "moment" at a father-daughter elementary school dance about 7-8 years ago. He may be a great actor/director, but trust me, his Hokey Pokey did not make anyone's day.

(I apologize for the digression, but I couldn't help myself.)

Trying to lure us to your school with the potential of meeting stars I see... :D

But really, thanks for taking the time to do this, even though we grilled you on the employment stuff. It's refreshing to see another perspective, especially from someone who would traditionally be trash talked on here. I wish all deans would do this.


When it is all said and done . . . we all share the same profession. Thanks for the dialogue . . . and your avatar is cooler . . . do you really know Clooney? Just kidding.

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

Postby MCL Law Dean » Thu Apr 11, 2013 12:22 pm

Pneumonia wrote: . . . coupled with the fact that a there are new editorials seemingly every week that decry the lack of access poor and lower middle class citizens (both rural and urban) have to legal representation, to me at least makes a strong case for the existence of schools like yours.


In this case the press has it right . . . as the public budget crisis hits court systems, the cuts are disproportionately from the civil side . . . self-help centers are being overwhelmed at the same time that service staff and hours are being cut. Pro pers jam up an already overburdened civil docket and . . . more times than not . . . leave without relief or resolution because they came unprepared. Now they have to be rescheduled, using up yet another time slot on a future docket. Repeat, repeat, repeat. It is a downwardly spiraling process that the courts do not have the tools or budget to address. However, this is where law schools and law students have a great opportunity to step in with a win-win solution. Our school works collaboratively with our Superior Court on two fronts.

Court directed mediation: We train, coordinate, and staff (with trained students and volunteer local attorneys) a successful court-directed mediation program that moves small-claims, pro per, and limited civil cases (voluntarily . . . but with a heavy nudge from the bench) into our mediation programs. Simple cases are actually mediated in the hallway at the courthouse with supervised student mediators (all trained through at least a 30 hour ADR certificate program). More complex or contentious cases are scheduled for sessions that are held at the law school. With an almost 80% settlement rate, the courts love it, the parties report positive experiences, and our law students get real experience and love it.

Community clinical workshops: I know that law school legal clinics are not a new idea, but as the services of our local self-help center at the Court have been cut back, we have coordinated with the Court to open replacement workshops and clinics at the law school. It allows us to leverage law students who want more clinical experience (and will pay tuition units) to cover topics and times (late afternoon-evenings) that are being cut back at the Court.

Rural Legal Services: Our most recent idea in development is to partner with the County free-library network to provide "face-to-face" advisory clinic appointments . . . using iPads checked out at the library desk. Supervised law students would use FaceTime to provide self-help advisory services throughout our remote rural communities. Many have no real access to legal advice and would need to miss a day of work and drive more than an hour or two to get to services at the Courthouse.

I would be interested in other program ideas that are being offered at your schools.

timbs4339
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Re: Non-ABA Law School Dean takes questions

Postby timbs4339 » Sat Apr 13, 2013 6:07 pm

Thanks for making this thread, it's very informative. The "micro-school" model where each school serves a regional area, are extremely cheap, and work very closely with the needs of the surrounding area and the local bar association would make a huge amount of sense given the nature of the legal profession (both in the bar exam requirement, the economics of hiring new associates who want to stay in the area, the informal, non-institutional nature of most legal hiring outside large firms, etc etc). It might do a world of good to move away from university affiliated law schools except for a few national schools and have most schools exist as extensions of the regional bar associations. Each region of a state could support a small law school, organized as a non-profit, staffed by retired and practicing members of the bar, and tuned in to the needs of local government and private employers.

Law schools are cash cows however, and a lot of deans and tenured professors are made very rich by the federal loan spigot. So I don't see this changing any time soon.

Of course there has to be a signaling problem with an unaccredited school that goes beyond just bar passage rate. Students might believe that they will not have a shot at certain types of jobs or employers with a MCL degree on their resume. How do you address this, if at all?

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Re: Non-ABA Law School Dean takes questions

Postby BlueDiamond » Sat Apr 13, 2013 6:48 pm

MCL Law Dean wrote:
sinfiery wrote: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?


First I need to point out that the employment issue has just not been a big deal in our community. Applicants know the law school, know our alumni, and have a sense of the local community. Bar pass rate has always been a key issue, but not employment. However, I realize that if schools like ours want to participate in a broader dialogue, we need to get on board and get our employment data collected and published. We have a good e-mail list of almost all of our recent alumni, so contact isn't the issue . . . we just need to make sure we are asking the right questions . . . and like all other tasks, put it high enough on our to-do list to actually get it done.


Sorry, but this is total bull. You have a 66% cumulative bar passage rate. Employment is an issue for at least a third of your graduates and likely more than half. You cannot say that bar pass rate is an issue, but employment is not. You do not collect employment data so there is no way for you to know - so please stop doing what you chastised about 20 posts ago - MISREPRESENTING.

It would also be nice to get rid of the surfing, sun, etc. bull. These are the things that only you get to enjoy as you suck money out of the debt-ridden graduates your school is producing.

You are not a fix. You are part of the problem. The answer is not to supplement the current ABA system with lower cost schools so we can have more law students. The answer is to get rid of poorly performing ABA and CBE accredited schools. Yours included.

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Dr. Dre
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Re: Non-ABA Law School Dean takes questions

Postby Dr. Dre » Sat Apr 13, 2013 10:08 pm

Dean, I appreciate you doing this. Just want to say that your school sounds like a good deal so far. Much better than UCI law school.

sfhaze
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Re: Non-ABA Law School Dean takes questions

Postby sfhaze » Sat Apr 13, 2013 11:54 pm

BlueDiamond wrote:Sorry, but this is total bull. You have a 66% cumulative bar passage rate. Employment is an issue for at least a third of your graduates and likely more than half. You cannot say that bar pass rate is an issue, but employment is not. You do not collect employment data so there is no way for you to know - so please stop doing what you chastised about 20 posts ago - MISREPRESENTING.

It would also be nice to get rid of the surfing, sun, etc. bull. These are the things that only you get to enjoy as you suck money out of the debt-ridden graduates your school is producing.

You are not a fix. You are part of the problem. The answer is not to supplement the current ABA system with lower cost schools so we can have more law students. The answer is to get rid of poorly performing ABA and CBE accredited schools. Yours included.

Well put. For one, the CA central coast is by no means universally regarded as "paradise" by those familiar w/ the area, especially to live in full-time. Sure, it's perfectly nice and certainly beautiful in some parts, but very suburban and rural in others. Yet it's not so far out there to be totally out of consideration for desperate grads from CA's many ABA-accredited schools, so I find the claim dubious that this school has some meaningful inside access to what I strongly suspect is the area's very limited legal job market over ABA grads. And I seriously doubt too many MCL students/grads enjoy playing at Pebble Beach or living in Carmel much either, these being some the most exclusive and expensive places in the country. That'd be like UCLA/USC trying to attract applicants by invoking Bel Air/Beverly Hills/Holmby Hills, Columbia/NYU the Hamptons/Greenwich. Lol.

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Dr. Dre
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Re: Non-ABA Law School Dean takes questions

Postby Dr. Dre » Sat Apr 13, 2013 11:58 pm

I'd rather live in a ghetto for 3-5 years during school and then live in a nice town/city for my career

than to:

live in "paradise" for 3-5 years during school and then have to live in the ghetto/ not so nice of a town for my career

BigZuck
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Re: Non-ABA Law School Dean takes questions

Postby BigZuck » Sun Apr 14, 2013 12:43 am

MCL Law Dean wrote:Without going into huge detail, California accredited law schools such as MCL were founded to serve regions where no ABA law school is available. Most have between 120-200 students.They generally serve regional areas such as Monterey, Santa Barbara, Ventura, Fresno, East Bay, etc. Most are evening part-time programs that allow students to work while they are in law school. In our case, after 40 years, our graduates are local judges, DAs, Public Defenders, and private practitioners in every practice area. About 1/3 of the local bar association are MCL graduates . . . which is one of the reasons that it isn't difficult to get a local job after graduation. It has been estimated that it would take about $30 million in infrastructure, library, faculty, and administrative staffing to qualify for ABA accreditation . . . we wouldn't do it even if the money was available . . . we focus on teaching and training, not building monuments and museums.


I find some of this hard to believe. I don't know every attorney in Monterey county so maybe 1/3 of them are MCL grads as you say. However I do know about 30 of them and of those 30 only 1 is an MCL grad. I would say at least 70 percent of them are Hastings grads with a few other Northern CA schools (Santa Clara, McGeorge, even a Stanford and a Boalt grad) and some out of state schools like Illinois sprinkled in. At least of the lawyers I know MCL isn't very well respected and most lawyers come from highly established Northern CA schools with good reputations. I don't think that Monterey County is so remote (it's an hour south of San Jose and about two hours south of San Francisco for those who don't know) that a non-ABA school is needed to fill the lawyer jobs in that area. I'm sure there are a ton of unemployed Hastings/SC/USF grads that would be more than happy to slum it in Salinas if it meant working as a lawyer.

Also you say it's paradise but also say that this school helps provide lawyers for poorer and more rural communities. So which is it? MCL trained lawyers help immigrant workers in Soledad and Gonzalez and then surf over to their tee time at Spyglass?

I could see this school maybe having a very small niche place but you're making it sound like a lot of your grads are living well and fulfilling the needs of a community that has a number of open legal jobs and I am very, very suspicious of that.

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Re: Non-ABA Law School Dean takes questions

Postby 20141023 » Sun Apr 14, 2013 3:19 am

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Dr. Dre
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Re: Non-ABA Law School Dean takes questions

Postby Dr. Dre » Sun Apr 14, 2013 3:23 am

kappycaft1, your love of making graphs, excels, charts... impresses me 8)

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TripTrip
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Re: Non-ABA Law School Dean takes questions

Postby TripTrip » Sun Apr 14, 2013 3:28 am

Wait... how many graduates are there if only 17 took the state bar for the first time in 2012?

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Re: Non-ABA Law School Dean takes questions

Postby 20141023 » Sun Apr 14, 2013 3:29 am

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TripTrip
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Re: Non-ABA Law School Dean takes questions

Postby TripTrip » Sun Apr 14, 2013 3:40 am

kappycaft1 wrote:
TripTrip wrote:Wait... how many graduates are there if only 17 took the state bar for the first time in 2012?

I don't know... and this is why I am confused right now. :lol:

Dean Winick will deliver. He's been a cool OP so far.

However, as a point of comparison, Whittier Law School had 142 first time takers in July 2012 and 99 pass, giving them a 70% pass rate.

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RELIC
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Re: Non-ABA Law School Dean takes questions

Postby RELIC » Sun Apr 14, 2013 3:42 am

kappycaft1 wrote:
MCL Law Dean wrote:I was a proponent of the new State Bar accreditation rules because they set a reasonable minimum standard for cumulative bar pass rates over a five year period. Although the minimum pass rate is 40%, our current five year cumulative bar pass rate is 66%. We began voluntarily reporting our bar pass rates more than five years ago and initiated new policies that included the cost of the BarBri review program as part of the regular tuition. This change raised the student participation rate for formal bar review courses from about 35% to 100%. The result has been consistent improvement that is on track to meet and sustain our goal of a 70% cumulative pass rate.

Graduating Classes of: Candidates /Passed / Pass Rates
2004 to 2008 / 90 47 / 52%
2005 to 2009 / 92 53 / 58%
2006 to 2010 / 90 57 / 63%
2007 to 2011 / 85 56 / 66%

I just got done making the following table based on the data here, and had a few questions about it:
[image]

From what you've told us here, it sounds like most of your graduates look for positions within Cali, which I assume means that they will mostly be sitting for the California Bar. What, then accounts for the differences between what The State Bar of California's website shows as your passage rates, and what you are reporting? Unless a large percentage of your students are taking bar exams elsewhere or something else is going on that I just do not understand, the number do not appear to add up. (It is also 3:00am and I am a little too tired to try to figure this out right now, so give me some slack if I'm missing something obvious with the whole cumulative passage rates thing. :wink: )

Also, with the exception of July 2007, it looks like you always have more repeat bar takers than first-time bar takers, and their passage rate isn't too hot (it's never gotten above 50%). This, with a lack of employment data, is why many of us on TLS would be afraid to dedicate several years of our life and several tens of thousands of dollars towards a school from which we couldn't even get a JD.


Yeah you are missing how to tabulate the rates he is providing.

From the CA Bar Guidelines:
Under the new guidelines, law schools’ bar passage rates will be tabulated yearly as a percentage based on the number of students who have graduated within the past five years and have taken and passed one of 10 administrations of the bar exam. That figure will then be divided by the number of graduates during that five-year period who have taken any of those exams.


So someone can take the bar in CA and fail multiple times as long as they eventually pass they are counted as a passage. So the dean's figures are the number of people that graduated from his school in the years listed and actually took the CA bar (at least once) is the first number (denominator) and the number that eventually passed the test as the numerator. His numbers are totally plausible given the state bar's method of calculation.

I am sure you will see it in the morning.

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TripTrip
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Re: Non-ABA Law School Dean takes questions

Postby TripTrip » Sun Apr 14, 2013 3:52 am

RELIC wrote:Yeah you are missing how to tabulate the rates he is providing.

From the CA Bar Guidelines:
Under the new guidelines, law schools’ bar passage rates will be tabulated yearly as a percentage based on the number of students who have graduated within the past five years and have taken and passed one of 10 administrations of the bar exam. That figure will then be divided by the number of graduates during that five-year period who have taken any of those exams.


So someone can take the bar in CA and fail multiple times as long as they eventually pass they are counted as a passage. So the dean's figures are the number of people that graduated from his school in the years listed and actually took the CA bar (at least once) is the first number (denominator) and the number that eventually passed the test as the numerator. His numbers are totally plausible given the state bar's method of calculation.

I am sure you will see it in the morning.

That part makes some sense, but why are there so few graduates taking the bar? I know the class size is small, but were there really only 17 graduates in 2012? If there were more, I think we can safely assume they aren't working a legal job.

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RELIC
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Re: Non-ABA Law School Dean takes questions

Postby RELIC » Sun Apr 14, 2013 3:54 am

TripTrip wrote:
RELIC wrote:Yeah you are missing how to tabulate the rates he is providing.

From the CA Bar Guidelines:
Under the new guidelines, law schools’ bar passage rates will be tabulated yearly as a percentage based on the number of students who have graduated within the past five years and have taken and passed one of 10 administrations of the bar exam. That figure will then be divided by the number of graduates during that five-year period who have taken any of those exams.


So someone can take the bar in CA and fail multiple times as long as they eventually pass they are counted as a passage. So the dean's figures are the number of people that graduated from his school in the years listed and actually took the CA bar (at least once) is the first number (denominator) and the number that eventually passed the test as the numerator. His numbers are totally plausible given the state bar's method of calculation.

I am sure you will see it in the morning.

That part makes some sense, but why are there so few graduates taking the bar? I know the class size is small, but were there really only 17 graduates in 2012? If there were more, I think we can safely assume they aren't working a legal job.


That is a good question. I think he already sort of answered it here:

MCL Law Dean wrote:Average salary is tough to measure since a number of our graduates remain employed in their previous profession (realtors, financial planners, non-profit professionals). However the starting salary for young lawyers in our area is about $50-$60K. Of course this salary range wouldn't work if a graduate was trying to service $150K+ in student loan debt.


Also, the school is pretty small with most people taking more than 3 years to graduate I would be surprised if the graduating class was any bigger than 50 most years. Combine that with the above and I think this mystery is semi-solved.

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Re: Non-ABA Law School Dean takes questions

Postby 20141023 » Sun Apr 14, 2013 3:57 am

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Re: Non-ABA Law School Dean takes questions

Postby VegasLaw702 » Sun Apr 14, 2013 4:10 am

Let's not forget that graduates of this school can only practice law in California for the first few years, so this eliminates the possibility of those graduates taking the bar in another state. CBE accreditation is not sufficient to sit for the bar in 49 other states, and those looking to practice in other states must practice for a minimum of 5 years (I think?) in California before they are eligible to practice elsewhere. And even then, only a few states have reciprocity with California anyway.




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