How did I get here?
The only reason I even ended up learning about correspondence law school a year ago was because of an article about First Lady Michelle Obama aka The Only Obama that matters. Calm down it’s an inside joke among my attorney friends and now you are privy to it. CliffsNotes, I’m more interested in what Mrs. Obama says and does more so than any other political person. In my opinion, she is the physical manifestation of class, beauty, brain, and brawn. She’s been the victim of unfounded racial attacks, and as such, unfairly ridiculed for simply breathing while looking immaculate in off the rack dresses. She’s risen above it all with grace and I know that if I were in her position, I wouldn’t have. I’m petty as fuck.
There are quite a few articles out there that mention the “Famous People Who Failed the Bar.” Buzz Feed has an article if you absolutely need a reference. So many blogs discuss the topic, you’ll find one to your liking. Inside one, it mentions my least favorite person, former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villariagosa. Known by me for being quite the ladies man, he basically bedded reporters from KLTA to Telemundo, he has a Juris Doctorate from an unaccredited law school and is being ridiculed on-line for failing the hardest bar in the nation 4 times. He apparently stopped trying after the fourth fail, and received his Juris Doctorate from People’s College of Law. Talk shit all you want, just know the California Bar Exam costs aver 1200 dollars a pop and had a 43 percent passage rate for July 2016.
People’s College of Law
What is People’s College of Law? (http://www.peoplescollegeoflaw.edu/) If you are into Social Justice, Civil Rights or simply disenfranchised then this is an AWESOME option for law school. Also, if you know the game and have a bead on what you want to do post law school this is a huge dollar saver. Tuition for 4 years is about 16K. Now if you are a researcher of things like I am, there are some negative reviews of the schools. These reviews are not by students at all. These reviews are by a bunch of assholes. The problem is users on -line, shit on this school and pretty much any school not in the ABA’s Top 14 law schools. They use People’s College of Law as an insult, like the school is only for stupid people, people who don’t want good paying legal jobs after they graduate, or will only be able to open up a shit law firm, and finally “mongoloids.” I recently met an attorney that graduated from Southwestern Law School, which is ABA accredited, and he mentioned that the sharpest law student he met was his then girlfriend and she attended People’s College of Law. So please don’t be discouraged by what you find online.
My ego doesn’t give a fuck, nor does the Cal Bar
To me, it doesn’t matter what school you go to in California if you just want to a) just get a JD and b) sit for the California bar. The legal profession in general has a very high unemployment rate. Tack on 150K of school loans, with the first 1K a month payment due in 6 months after you graduate, and the 16K cash out of pocket from a school that is monitored by the California Bar and allows you to sit for the California bar exam upon passing of the First Year Law Students Exam combined with successfully completing 4 years of instruction is worth it in my eyes.
The search for more about PCL (People’s College of Law) lead me to the California Bar website where it lists all of the schools in California, but also mentions an amazing alternative that most states don’t offer. That is the Law Office Study Program (LOSP). For more about that check out Like Lincoln. In short, in California you can forgo law school all together and do a work-study at a law office. The catch is, it’s hard as fuck to find a lawyer willing to do this in the Los Angeles area, and it seems like a regular Monday morning in San Francisco do this. So if you’re gonna do it, I would suggest moving up north. They have tons of people in the bay area doing LOSP. For LA, I contacted an organization that was supposed to help guide you and they said they didn’t even do it, nor did they have any leads. Fret not though, there are people in LA who are doing it, just takes a lot of cold calling and networking.
School and Debt
I am student loan free and I do not want to go into debt again for law school. I also didn’t want to have to do hard shit just to get into a law school. No LSAT, no recommendation letters, no essays. I just simply want to learn the law and earn my JD. Later on, if I decide I want to practice, I want to be able to take the bar exam. Introducing correspondence law schools aka distance learning.
I have a really bad habit of being spontaneous. When I want something, I go for it, full speed ahead. I have waited approximately 1 year before I finally enrolled in law school so I feel like I am making an informed decision based on 12 months of trolling.
The reasons I waited to start law school were simple and human being like. I wanted to become more involved in the community. So I did some community based programs this year that allowed me to learn how to help in case of disaster and a medical emergency. I also wanted to make sure it was something I really wanted because even with lower tuition rates I had to dispose of liquid money for this endeavor.
I needed to see if it was even possible to teach myself the law. What you have to understand is that traditional on-campus law school is already a mind fuck with the Socratic method being the destroyer of souls, or so I’ve read on TLS. Plus with full-time law school being 3 years, you’re taking a shit ton of law classes in your first year. I ain’t got time for that. Distance learning is considered part-time and that is more my speed.
Bang for your buck
Correspondence Schools are cheaper and although the added hurdle of the Baby Bar and the extra year of school could be deterrents to others, I welcome it. I’m going into those knowing that all that really matters about 1L is passing the Baby Bar and for the money I’m saving in the long run I don’t mind this wall I have to scale. I look at it as a way to take a much smaller version of the real bar and if I pass then I’ll have confidence when it’s time to attack the California Bar. Also, I don’t mind that it will take me 4 years to finish my Juris Doctorate. I’d much rather spend one year learning Torts, Criminal Law, Contracts, and Legal Writing at a home-study pace than to study Torts, Criminal Law, Civil Procedure, Legal Writing, Property, Constitutional Law, etc based on your traditional school semester. I’ll take my 3 subjects and a writing class thank you. I still have grades that are decided upon by a Midterm, Final, and a Research Project. I’m sure I’ll be struggling like everyone else for a tenth of the cost.
My Visit to PCL Open House
I did end up visiting PCL, I patiently waited for months for their first open house. Knowing what they stood for I even took the time to fill out the application and write my essay, I just knew I was going to go there. But I’m one of those assholes that has a lot of questions and in order for me to feel comfortable and have an understanding of things my questions must be answered.
When I went to open house, those questions couldn’t be answered. My questions were about the curriculum after the first year and the electives actually being offered. I had found Sharon Kyle, JD online and I sent her a message on twitter asking her if she could answer some questions. She is one of the professors there. She never responded. I didn’t want to give up. I learned the hard way that Los Angeles will never give a fuck about you unless you have money, so I had to fight for answers to make my dream of attending this school come true.
Luckily, I did end up speaking to someone who presently goes there and he filled in all the blanks. If not for his generous time spent talking to me, I would be completely soured on the school but to date, it still holds a special place in my heart. I also fell in love with the library there. Immaculate. I still think the school is badass, and I wish I could go there, but cash is king especially with Trumpfuror in office and Los Angeles’ lack of rent control. It just that I found something cheaper that produces the same graduate distinction and bar privileges, plus I can stay home and study with crust in my eye every day, #goals. PCL is an On-Campus law school with evening only classes starting around 6 or 7pm. Other than a website, they do not part-take in the digital age at all. Midterms were being graded in blue books when I visited.
Correspondence Law School Is Law School
Correspondence Law School isn’t going to be any less difficult and stressful than a traditional school. My challenge to those at these “top tier” institutions is to take the Baby Bar. If you actually pass it, then brag. Brag like there is no tomorrow. I remember reading somewhere about a student who was in danger of being kicked out of an ABA school and he was required to take the Baby Bar to stay in. I think he failed. I tried to search for it again but I can’t find it so take this as a camp fire tale that I somehow committed to memory.
Baby Bar Stats
There have been articles about the low passage rates of the Baby Bar. Top Tier students with reservations about us shit law students should take solace that not everyone passes the Baby Bar, and that correspondence school isn’t a cake walk. To date, the passage rate has dropped from 20% to 18%. I don’t think anyone keeps track of first-timers versus repeats. Just know, the odds are not in your favor.
To me, the California Bar Exam is the equalizer among us all. There are folks who have come from these “shit law schools” and passed the California Bar Exam on the first try. While Joe Top 14 failed. Who’s fault is that? His coveted TTTT? Or his fucking ego? I saw a
pitiful confession of a graduate who went to an ABA approved school, graduated with a 2.5 gpa, with no job prospects, and enormous debt. The asshole in me quips that he’s probably also still a virgin. I’m sure he’s not, there’s an app for everything these days.
Where I ended up for year 1
I applied to Northwestern California University and was accepted December 5. Why? Because tuition only costs about 4 grand for the first year, and the application process only cost me 25 bucks. I didn’t need letters of recommendation, I didn’t have to interview, and I don’t have to go physically to campus. Secondly, I was able to find 1 active blog that gave me an idea of how NWCU operates and that blog is Ray Hayden’s ETE. You can even get a hold of Ray and ask questions, which I did several times.
The consensus is that typically online schools let everyone in. With no criminal record, no bankruptcy’s etc, I figured I should be admitted and well as meet the moral character requirements from the State. I did see a posting online from a woman saying her past is her past and she’s not going to be deterred and apparently got back into Temple’s Law School after being denied by NWCU. So, I guess there are standards.
After I was accepted, what really sealed the deal for me in knowing I made the right choice, for year 1 anyway, was when I found the online group for NWCU. You can ask questions, you can vent and cry, you can just surround yourself with folks who know the trials and tribulations of the overall law school experience. I’ve even been able to exchange e-mails with former students so I can ask questions about things I am still unclear on.
In the past, I’ve always read about how competitive law school is. How important it is to get good grades and nail your OCI’s (on campus interviews) so you can get that 100K a year corporate job so that in the end all of the blood sweat and tears were worth it, but I also started reading sob stories from students who are still jobless and literally fucked up the ass with debt or hated their corporate jobs and walked away from them. All that glitters isn’t gold. Personally, my corporate slave days are over. Fuck. That. Shit.
I Don’t Always Need My Hand Held, But When I Do…
When I joined NWCU’s online group, all I saw was supportive comments and candid/open discussions, combined with a realist approach that this journey is hard, it sucks, but there is a light at the end of the tunnel if you can just stick with it. As a cynic and a realist, I appreciate that.
An alumnus who doesn’t even know me from a turd on a shoe, shared his study materials for the Baby Bar with me simply because I asked him in a 6 month old post, where he offered to send something to a woman who still somehow hasn’t actually applied to attend the school. She even asked what NWCU had to offer versus Concord and people actually responded with polite responses, NWCU even has a few people who switched from Concord to NWCU because of the tuition savings. One guy said he went to Concord, passed the Baby Bar on the first try and realized that he passed because of himself and not Concord so he decided to go with the cheaper option of NWCU. Again, honest as fuck and I appreciate that.
Counting down from 0L
From the outside looking in correspondence school doesn’t just hand you a JD, (I fucking wish it did, I’d buy like 50 degrees in various subjects if it did, then I’d feel like I finally had something on my Ivy League cousin who went to Princeton on a full ride academically), you’ve got to work for it. I’d say, just as hard as a traditional law student does. So now, I wait for my tuition check to be cashed, my start date to be assigned, and the rest of my materials to arrive, while hearing the daily colorful commentary from our tweeter-in-chief.