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Avoid Golden Gate University School of Law

Posted: Fri Jul 13, 2007 12:58 pm
by windsofchange
Golden Gate University School of Law is probably the worst law school there is today. The morale of the staff is very low translating to poor relations and services to the student body. The school policies toward grading and disqualifications are unjust. GGU admits students knowing that they are going to fail at least 1/3 of them in the first year and more in the latter years. At this time, GGU is on probation with the American Bar Association. GGU only wants to graduate students who they think will pass the bar. The catch though is that they also want to generate revenue which means admitting a huge body of students to pay their expensive tuition of $1,030 per unit plus the fees. So, GGU place the onus of its bar passage rate on the students instead of its inability to design programs that will help prepare the students prepare for the bar exam. There is no doubt that the bar exam in California is probably the most difficult exams in the country. Majority of law schools have instituted classes that train students starting their first year to prepare for exams, especially the bar exam -- GGU does not do this, however. Instead, it imposes an exam curve that is designed to fail 1/3 of the class. So that while it may start off with 250 students for first year by the time this particular class graduates, there would only be 60 to take the bar exam and maybe 45 will pass. GGU does not see itself as the source of the faiure. It sees and treats students as the source of their failure. This result in financial disasters, broken dreams and broken ambitions for a vast amount of students.

There was a time when GGU Law School was a good one -- not at this time, however. It is best that students looking for a good law school steer clear of GGU Law School until it finds its way.

Golden Gate University School of law

Posted: Fri Jul 13, 2007 1:09 pm
by Voyager
I hear the ABA is about to tighten its standards for accreditation. Basically, if your school has been below the state bar passage average for 4 out of the past 5 years, you lose accredidation.

GG fits that profile...


1 year only 30% (!!!!) of their grads passed the bar.

Golden Gate University School of law

Posted: Fri Jul 13, 2007 2:21 pm
by Mitchmcdeere
Golden Gate University School of Law is currently on ABA probation, but have not lost their accreditation.

Golden Gate University School of law

Posted: Fri Jul 13, 2007 3:07 pm
by Voyager
Right, but if you read the link, Golden Gate University Law School is in very serious danger of losing it.

Golden Gate University Law School

Posted: Sun Jul 15, 2007 5:20 am
by NewHere
I don't understand how that rule can work. If I understand it correctly, it works like this:

1. The bar passage rate for the state is calculated every year.
2. The school is either above or below the state passage rate
3. If the school is below the state rate for three years out of any five consecutive years, it is in danger of losing its accreditation.

Hypothetical 1: all schools are equally good. Bar passage rates fluctuate a bit, so every school has an equal chance of being above the average as it has of being below the average. It will be below the average in (on average) 2.5 out of every five years. If 2.5 out of 5 is the average, and assuming that schools have equal numbers of students taking the bar, half of the schools will be below average for 3 or more out of 5 consecutive years, and risk losing its accreditation, the other half will be below average for 2 or fewer years out of 5. In any range of five years, half the schools will lose their accreditation.

Hypothetical 2: a small number of schools are significantly worse than the rest. These schools will have significantly worse bar passage rates than the others, below average in most years. They will lose their accreditation. The next year, only the schools left over after this elimination round will send their students to take the bar. Presumably, this raises the state passage rate, because the weakest test takers have been eliminated. As the average is raised, new schools score below the average, and risk elimination from the pool. As this scenario continues, fewer and fewer schools are left over, and the situation becomes more and more similar to hypothetical 1: few schools that have very similar passage rates, and every five years 50% of them is out.

No matter how you look at it, if this scheme is used consistently, by the very fact that an average means that half of the population scores lower, all schools but one will be eliminated if we wait long enough.

Am I missing something?

Posted: Sun Jul 15, 2007 11:44 am
by Master Tofu
You're not missing anything; it's the blog entry that was missing something.

From the ABA website:
While portions of the bar examination are uniform among nearly all states, other portions are state specific. States have their own grading practices, and set their own passing scores. Rakes said the proposed interpretation attempts to provide clear guidance but not impose a rigid national measure on what is essentially a state process.

For established schools undergoing periodic review, the proposed interpretation offers two alternatives to satisfy the standard.

Under the first option, a school would have to show that in three or more of the most recent five years, in the jurisdiction in which the largest proportion of the school’s graduates take the bar exam for the first time, they pass the exam above, at or no more than 10 points below the first-time bar passage rates for graduates of ABA-approved law schools taking the bar examination in that jurisdiction during the relevant year. For schools from which more than 20 percent of graduates take their first bar examination in a jurisdiction other than the primary one, the schools also would be required to demonstrate that at least 70 percent of those students passed their bar examination over the two most recent bar exams.

Schools unable to satisfy the first alternative still could comply by demonstrating that 80 percent of all their graduates who take a bar examination anywhere in the country pass a bar examination within three sittings of the exam within three years of graduation.

For provisionally approved schools, the interpretation would look at passing rates for first time takers in the primary jurisdiction in only two of the three most recent bar examinations, and the two most recent testings of first time takers in jurisdictions other than the primary jurisdiction. The second alternative also would be available to provisionally approved schools. ... easeid=146

Golden Gate University Law School

Posted: Sun Jul 15, 2007 4:48 pm
by NewHere
Thank you, Tofu. That clears it up!

(And good to see you're back!)

Posted: Sun Jul 15, 2007 10:31 pm
by Master Tofu
Good to see you too! 8)

Federal Guaranteed Student Loans - Low Income Students

Posted: Tue Jul 17, 2007 5:01 pm
by windsofchange
The Department of Education should investigate Golden Gate University School of Law in terms of how many of the students who are getting disqualified are low income students who rely on federally guaranteed loans. If GGU's policy or standard is to fail the bottom 1/3 of the students during exams then it would suffice that this practice is a misuse of federal funds. The government spends billions of dollars to help economicallydisadvantaged students. If the government spends these funds without benefit to the students, then the monies should be directed to other programs of higher education.

It is not true that there is a glut of lawyers in California. There are certain fields where there are too many lawyers, but not in areas that require help for low income people. The law is vast and complicated. In most courts one will find that economically disadvantaged people do not get sufficient legal representation. As a matter of fact, a vast majority of economically disadvantaged people get in trouble with the low for lack of understanding and education.

The Department of Education and the Office of Civil Rights should seriously look into how Golden Gate University School of Laws is using federal funds to educate its students. Are low income students with federally guaranteed loans just being used as place holders for GGU's weeding out process to get to the kernel or the small percentage it will graduate who can pass the bar instead of providing them good legal education?

Golden Gate University School of law

Posted: Fri Jul 20, 2007 2:30 pm
by KateLLBN
So because of this strict curve you say Golden Gate Univerisity Law School places on its do someone get to the top of their class and manage to transfer? My friend just transferred to UC Davis for law school from Golden Gate. She was in the top 5% of her class...but I am not understanding how she got there if the curve is so strict.

I am asking because I am thinking of transferring as well. I am not attending GGU but I am attending a T3 school in Southern California that is also known to have impossible curves.

Posted: Fri Jul 20, 2007 3:20 pm
by hoyablue
She was in the top 5% of her class...but I am not understanding how she got there if the curve is so strict.
Umm, well the nature of a curve is that SOMEONE has to be at the top.

Some useless anecdotal evidence - I know a GGU grad. Nice, person - totally illiterate.

Posted: Sat Jul 21, 2007 12:11 am
by McGeorge06
Seriously, it's about damn time they shut down toilet schools like GGU. These people are perpetuating a fraud on their poor students, who incur six digits of non-dischargeable debt for the dubious honor of receiving a worthless GGU degree. Talk to average GGU grads 6 months after graduation, and you will see broken lives. There are no jobs for these people. I've worked in a small firm where people actually laughed at their resumes. A young associate would tell another young associate or a paralegal: "Look, another tool from GGU sent his resume in." Then, they would laugh about every bullet point of the resume.

It is unfair to these kids who borrow a ton of money just to realize they will never work as a lawyer unless they open up their own practice. And there aren't that many people who want to hire a twenty-something solo to represent them.

Posted: Sat Jul 21, 2007 1:00 am
by Andrea05
Ok I think the above post might be going a little far. I think we all know GGU is a T4 and far cry from being a top school! However, not everyone who goes there is a tool destined to have resume after resume rejected.

I wanted to read about this school because my college roommate actually just graduated from there. Her experience does not match this information (especially the above post) AT ALL, so I thought I should say something.
First off, yes there a tons of idiots that go there...she always complained about them. They say idiotic things, don't get a job, ect... But there are also very intelligent and ambitious people that go there. My roommate is one of them. Not only did she (and her group of friends) pass the California Bar the first time around but she also got a job at a top San Francisco firm. She was top 10% of her class, law review and did a lot of clinic work. Maybe she is the exception to the rule (along with her friends/study group)...she did work her ass off, but my point is that not everyone who goes to this school is a total retard destined to fail. Calling it a worthless degree is not only an offensive statement but erroneous as well.

Again, yes it is expensive, yes the curve is hell and probably intentionally difficult to fail you (or keep you from transferring) but if you are hard working, you can and will excel. This school may be far from perfect but it is not as bad as what people are making it out to be. Work hard, and it will pay off, I can't stress that enough.

Posted: Sat Jul 21, 2007 10:37 pm
by McGeorge06
Andrea, your roommate's experience is fairly representative of the top 10% of any toilet law school - that is, with good grades, law review, interviewing skills, and sometimes connections, GGU grads can find good jobs. For most non-elite law schools, the equation is "top 10% or bust". Have you ever considered the fate of the other 90%? Perhaps another 10% can find jobs at smaller firms; another 10% either have solid connections or go work for family members. What about the rest of the class?

You say that "not everyone who goes there is a tool destined to have resume after resume rejected". I agree with that assertion - yes, not everyone. But what about the majority? You know, not everyone is in the top 10%. What about someone in the middle of the class with $130k in loans and zero job prospects? Do you realize that these loans are effectively undischargeable?

I maintain that lower-tier law schools are essentially a fraud upon the majority of their students. The top students have a chance at success, and the ones in the middle are screwed. I won't even mention the ones at the bottom, as they will never work as lawyers. On top of this, top students are offered scholarships to keep them from transferring, and other students suffer corresponding tuition increases. This perpetuates a system where students who have yet to realize the extent of their financial nightmare subsidize those actually have a realistic chance of paying their loans back after graduation.

Ask your roommate about the people who graduated in the middle of her class. How are they doing after graduation?

Once Upon A Time -- A Law School For Working Students

Posted: Mon Jul 23, 2007 7:39 pm
by windsofchange
Once upon a time, Golden Gate University School of Law built its reputation on being a Law School for working students. Not anymore. Now they are sifting through a large mass of students to find the best test takers to pass the bar. GGU caters to the top 5-10% of the class and spend all their resources on these students.

Will these top 5-10% pass the bar? Maybe? Will they get hired in the market place? Maybe, maybe not? Will they make good lawyers? Maybe, maybe not?

What happened to the 90% who were failed or were strung along by GGU? What happened to the students who paid tens of thousands if not hundreds of thousands of $ on tuition fees and service charges?

Does GGU care? Probably not, as long as GGU can claim that it increased its bar passage rate?

Inequity and Favoritism - the top of the curve?

Posted: Mon Jul 23, 2007 9:46 pm
by windsofchange
Some special students or cliques of students are getting the professors' manual prior to the exam while some students have to struggle to learn. Are these students at the top of the curve? You bet!

Posted: Tue Jul 24, 2007 1:00 am
by McGeorge06
I don't know about cliques of students getting preferential treatment. I am not a tinfoil hatter. I do know one thing: the toilet law school racket cannot go on for much longer. The ABA can do the honorable thing and revoke certification from the true toilets, or it can face defaults and suicides a few years down the road. This is like the housing bubble: they made it so easy that any idiot can qualify for $150,000 of debt to get a worthless degree. Now that the subprime housing market has collapsed, everyone is pointing fingers. I think the time has come for us to point fingers as well.

Did you know the average dean makes over a quarter million dollars? Did you know that the average tenured professor makes $150k+? This is blood money they take from young families, impoverishing the kids of their "law school" grads.

Department of Justice should do its job.

Posted: Wed Jul 25, 2007 12:41 pm
by windsofchange
The Department of Justice should investigate complaints of students regarding violations.

Posted: Wed Jul 25, 2007 2:22 pm
by hoyablue
Right. Because the DoJ is doing such a fine job these days of the duties we've already assigned it. Good idea.

Posted: Mon Jul 30, 2007 7:30 pm
by bahari
McGeorge06 et al,

As a native Sacramentan, I can say that it wasn't so many years ago that McGeorge was a toilet law school. I've met GGU students and grads, and most are not naive about what they are getting into. You just have to not screw around, and utilize your resources. Also I would like to point out that the low bar-passing rate is for first time takers, if you include the repeat takers it has been above 80% several times within the past few years.

Posted: Tue Jul 31, 2007 1:11 am
by McGeorge06
Bahari, for the record, I am not casting any aspersions on GGU grads, or GGU's quality of instruction. I know that many competent and intelligent people graduate from GGU every year. The sole issue at hand is job placement, and the average GGU grad is, for the lack of a better word, screwed when it comes down to getting a job offer.

You raise a defense that is often asserted by those who support low-tier schools - that if you work hard, network, and graduate at the top of your class, you can place fairly well. I am not contesting that. My concern is for the 90% of GGU (and other low-ranked schools) students who do not end up in the top 10%. Their employment prospects are severely limited. There is simply no reason for the ABA to continue to extend accreditation to a school that routinely impoverishes a majority of its graduates. Instead of a ticket to a career, GGU provides, to a majority of its students, a ticket to sheer misery. It is not alone in this, as dozens of law schools around the country fuel the glut of young lawyers that results in unbearable hardship for the average low-tier grad, given the monthly loan payments he/she has to make.

I am not trying to single out GGU. In fact, by all reports, it has a good faculty. GGU's job placement is abysmal, however, and I wonder how you would feel in the shoes of a young grad facing $800 monthly payments on a consolidated 30-year repayment schedule and with no hope of getting a job that pays above $45k a year, if he/she is fortunate enough to land any job at all.

School for Working Older Students

Posted: Tue Jul 31, 2007 2:13 pm
by windsofchange
It used to be that GGU built a niche with older professional working students who wanted to change or enhance their careers. So, employment was not an issue. The problem surfaced when GGU tried to expand into the younger student market. GGU simply cannot compete with the high tiered schools. For instance in one graduating class, only the valedictorian got a job as a law clerk with the court, whereas the top tiered schools have several of their graduates who became employed right away.

There are good professors. There are also professors who lack proficiency in some of the courses they teach or who do not really care whether their students learn or not.

The serious problem with GGU today is their inability to design a program that will enhance students' learning and training for the bar. GGU put the burden on the students by imposing a horrendous curve designed to fail the students and weed them out. A student who works hard and spends a ton of money to attend a university of higher learning expects a partnership and a working relationship with the university rather than being a statistic.

There is also the problem of staff qualification and competence. Because of the turnover in key positions some staff are placed in critical positions for which they are not qualified. There seems to be a lot of complaints regarding how GGU treats their disabled students, complaints which management do not seem to want to address. It seems that disabled students are being told to just drop out of law school or are being subjected to unreasonable academic requirements so that they will fail.

I don't know how this accreditation issue will get resolved. As a business in educating students, GGU has to redefine itself. Sooner or later aspiring law students will have to look at the statistics of GGU's success by tracking the number of students who get accepted, the attrition rate (either by failing them and/or students transferring to other schools or drop out), the number of students who graduated, passed the bar and actually get a job as a lawyer.

Some lower tier schools are starting to break into the market of "working older students" which was the market niche of GGU for a long time. GGU may find itself without a chair in the game of musical chairs in its quest to expand into the glutted jobless "young lawyers" market.

Posted: Tue Jul 31, 2007 9:28 pm
by McGeorge06
I agree with the above poster about the glut of unemployed young attorneys. Lower-tier law schools impoverish their grads by charging increasingly high tuitions and spinning the employment numbers. In reality, the State of California needs fewer than half of the vast number of its ABA-approved schools. Fortunately, the ABA has directed some attention to this problem, and is addressing the issue of oversupply of young lawyers in the profession. I hope that the ABA finds that employment statistics published by law schools merit stricter scrutiny than what they now receive.

The fate of GGU is well-deserved; unfortunately, many of the grads it has managed to churn out in the last several years will never be able to recover. Burdened by huge and undischargeable debt, and left with little to no career prospects other than opening up a solo practice, these people are correct to question the system that has landed them where they are. Their immediate futures are very bleak.

Employment Picture

Posted: Wed Aug 01, 2007 8:13 pm
by windsofchange
After a year of looking for a job, my friend, a graduate of GGU received a job offer to work in a medium sized law firm. Salary $37,000 per year. Work hours - 10:00 am to 10:00 pm or 12:00 am (12-14 hours of work per day). Some associates work until 1:00 am for the same salary. She tried to negotiate her salary to $50,000 per year. In the end she declined the offer. So, she is back out in the job market.

Her monthly student loan payment is $950.00. Some students have loan paymentsof $1,200 per month and no job.

My friend was in the Dean's list at GGU the whole time she was there.

Something should be done with law schools like GGU. They are indeed perpetuating a scam of poor students.

My friends is smarter than me...

Posted: Tue Aug 14, 2007 1:25 pm
by windsofchange
My friend saw my last posting. She has always told me I did not know how to tell time. She was annoyed that I did not tell her story correctly.

Okay, so here is the correction. She finally got a job offer after job hunting for a year and a half. The job offered to her was in the East Bay, not in a very good neighborhood. She was offered a salary of $37,000 per year to work from 10:00 am (morning) till 10:00 pm (in the evening). She spoke to some of the associates in the law firm. The associates are so over worked that they end up working until 12:00 am (midnight). Some also work until 1:00 am (the next morning). That's a total work hours of 14 to 16 hours a day. She tried to negotiate the salary at $50,000, but no dice. Even if she had gotten the job at $50,000 per year, she would have been making $10 per hour. I told her I pay my housekeeper $15 per hour. (That did not go very well).

Also, she had already deferred her student loan payment twice due to hardship. Her monthly student loan payment due is $950 per month. She still does not have a job. She still does not have any prospect. She is one of many many young lawyers looking for a job.

Anyway, one of the posters is right. There is a big scam going on. If the average dean is making a quarter of a $million ($250,000), there is something terribly wrong with the system. These deans are making all their monies on the backs of the jobless young lawyers and students who are to be jobless after they graduate.

The ABA should de-certify GGU.