Law School Options – Make it Happen!

100_0548There is lots of concern this year about paying $150K in tuition and not being able to get the type of job that will allow graduates to pay off their student loan debt. For applicants in California (and anyone else who intends to live and practice in California at least 3-5 years after law school graduation), there may be a reasonable alternative.

Consider a California-Accredited Law School

Consider one of the 17 California accredited law schools (such as Monterey College of Law). The State Bar of California, not the ABA, accredits these regional schools. Many of them have very respectable bar pass rates (competitive with the unranked ABA law schools), are a fraction of the cost of the traditional ABA schools, and offer part-time programs so that you can actually begin working in law related jobs to gain relevant experience before graduating.

Strong Ties to the Local Bench and Bar = Jobs!

Most have strong ties to the local bench-bar that result in jobs after graduation. Of course this is not the path if your goal is to work in a large urban center in a multinational law conglomerate. But if the idea of being a small firm lawyer, DA, Public Defender, Legal Services lawyer, or solo practitioner is what you are after . . . select one of the California accredited law schools in an area that you might like to live/practice and get an application in . . . right away. Then go visit to see if it fits your goals. Ask hard questions about bar pass rates, costs, job placement, clinical, programs, etc. Most of the non-urban areas of California need lawyers (despite the articles in the national news) and many of them are great places to live and raise a family if you have not already decided to be a big city lawyer.

Practicing Law in California

The biggest limitation is that upon graduation from one of the California accredited law schools you must take (and pass) the California bar exam first. You cannot go directly to another state and sit for their bar exam until you are licensed in California (and some states will require minimum years of practice as well). That is why the option is primarily for those who already know that they want to live and practice in California.

Bottom line, if you really want to be a lawyer, make it happen . . . and a California-accredited law school may be just the place for you.

Questions? Call (831) 582-4000