The Straight Dope

Go Back   Straight Dope Message Board > Main > General Questions

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 07-16-2001, 08:08 PM
foolsguinea foolsguinea is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2000
Location: Tornado Alley
Posts: 10,276
I want a good, fast, legal way to get a law license. I want the "My Cousin Vinny" degree. Don't tell me what I should do to become a good lawyer, just the minimum legal requirement to take the bar exam and become an officer of the court.

Anyone?
Reply With Quote
Advertisements  
  #2  
Old 07-16-2001, 08:36 PM
Carina42 Carina42 is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jun 2000
What state are you in? Each state has different requirements. As far as I know none of them are fast & easy. You could call the Bar Association in your state & find out.

What do you want to do with said law license?
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 07-16-2001, 08:44 PM
Cartooniverse Cartooniverse is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Oct 1999
Location: Betwixt My Ears
Posts: 10,944
Oh, that's easy. Sleep with Sua Sponte
__________________
If you want to kiss the sky you'd better learn how to kneel.
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 07-16-2001, 09:19 PM
DSYoungEsq DSYoungEsq is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jul 1999
You can't. Attorneys aren't "licensed" to practice. They become admitted to the practice of law within a given jurisdiction. This may sound like a hyper-technical distinction, but it isn't (and even if it was, if you want to be an attorney, you'd best like that sort of distinction! ). A "license" is a permission to engage in an activity (without getting into a truly technical discussion of the meaning of the term). But an attorney is a lawyer who is part of the court system to which he/she is admitted, an officer of that system, in fact. The attorney's function in the system is to present the case of the client to the court for resolution. But make no mistake: the attorney is as much a part of the system as is the judge.

So, you can't go to the court and say, "Please let me practice law in California." You say, instead, "Please let me be admitted to the practice of law and represent clients in this jurisdiction, becoming one with you."

No state I know of makes this possible in fewer than three years of study, followed by some form of examination or investigation into your fitness to join with the one. Of course, now someone will note that some state like Idaho or North Dakota has done away with such stuff, to which I would say, "Good for them!"
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 07-16-2001, 10:17 PM
Speleophile Speleophile is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Dec 2000
Move to California

In California you do not have to have a law degree (or any degree at all) in order to take the California Bar Exam. You pass, you're a lawyer. This is the background behind an inside joke in Justice Scalia's dissent in PGA Tour, Inc. vs Martin, wherein he mentions that sometimes amateurs enter professional tryouts just to see how they stack up, and then segues into the Ca Bar Exam. I HIGHLY recommend reading his dissent to one and all. Mind you, I'm no fan of Scalia's in general, but he certainly got this one right, and agree or not, his dissent should become a classic. Witty, thought provoking, and just an unbelievably high quality of writing throughout.

PGA Tour, Inc. Vs Martin (Slip opinion)
__________________
"War is the remedy our enemies have chosen, and I say let us give them all they want." Gen. William T. Sherman
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 07-16-2001, 11:37 PM
Spavined Gelding Spavined Gelding is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Sep 1999
I can’t speak for every State in the Union, let alone the UK and Canada. In my State there is no provision for “reading the law,” a la Abraham Lincoln, taking the Bar Exam and then simply hanging out your shingle. That option was dropped here about twenty years ago or more. The present rule as promulgated by the State Supreme Court is that a candidate graduate from an accredited law school, be accepted for moral fitness and either take and pass the Bar exam, or be admitted to practice law in some other jurisdiction, practice for five years and apply to the State Supremes for direct admission. In at least one neighboring State (Wisconsin) a graduate of an in-state law school can be admitted to practice before that State’s courts without taking the examination. Some States have reciprocity, if you are admitted in one State you can be admitted in the other “on motion” without taking the second State’s bar exam. I think it may be South and North Dakota (or the State formerly known as North Dakota) and maybe Montana that have reciprocity. As a general proposition, most States require a formal legal education as a prerequisite to taking the bar exam or make it very hard to pass it without a law school education.

Law school is not necessarily a three-year grind (in the Dark Ages when your poster went through it was a seven semester grind); the time actually locked up in the library can be shortened. Some law schools allow incoming students to start in the summer, take summer classes and get out in two or two and one-half years. This is a real load. The physical and intellectual demands of law school are comparable to medical school. It takes nearly super-human endurance and dedication to shorten the program.

One other impediment to getting the thing done quickly is the time it takes to grade the Bar Exam. In States that use the “Interstate Exam” it takes at least six weeks to get results. In States with hoards of people taking the exam, e.g., Florida, New York, California, Colorado, it may take three or four months before you even know if you passed the damn thing. If you are after a job with the Federal Government and all you need to do is be admitted to practice in any State, you need to go find a State that grades its test quickly. Before the interstate exam, my State ran a two and one-half day written examination (three or five essays out of five or eight questions in each of five separate half day sessions) and got the results out on the evening of the third day. We had all sorts of guys who had a job with the FBI or the Armed Forces or some other Federal agency driving half way across the country to take our bar exam because they got a quick result and could go to work right away.
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 07-17-2001, 12:20 AM
Xgemina Xgemina is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jul 1999
Please forgive a minor hijack, but I often see people state that you don't have to have a degree to practice law in California. While you do not need a degree, you cannot simply walk up and take the exam, you are still required to fulfill other requirements.

Here is a link to the California Bar requirements:
http://www.calbar.org/admissions/doc/2admrule.htm#ii

Quote:
Rule 2, Section 1: To be eligible for certification by the Committee to the Supreme Court of California to practice law in California, all applicants must meet the following requirements:
...
(e) Complete the legal education requirements prescribed in Rule VII prior to taking the California Bar Examination;
...
Rule 7, Section 2. Legal Education.

Every general applicant has the burden of establishing that he or she has met the following legal education requirement:

(a) Graduated from a law school approved by the American Bar Association or accredited by the Committee; or

(b) Studied law diligently and in good faith for at least four years in any of the following manners:

(1) In a law school that is authorized by the State of California to confer professional degrees; is registered with the Committee; and which requires classroom attendance of its students for a minimum of 270 hours a year; or

(2) In a law office in this State and under the personal supervision of a member of The State Bar of California who is, and who has been continuously, an active member of The State Bar of California for at least the last past five years; or

(3) In the chambers and under the personal supervision of a judge of a court of record of this State; or

(4) By instruction in law from a correspondence law school requiring 864 hours of preparation and study per year and which is registered with the Committee; or

(5) By any combination of the methods referred to in this subsection (b).
(emphasis mine)

So, while you may not need a degree or law school, you must prove that you spent 4 years studying law (I guess that's faster than 6 1/2-7). Not quite as simple as some would make it seem. I do wonder when the last time this route was used.
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 07-17-2001, 09:05 AM
lucwarm lucwarm is offline
BANNED
 
Join Date: Sep 2000
Posts: 2,789
Quote:
Originally posted by foolsguinea
I want a good, fast, legal way to get a law license.
Of your three criteria -- good, fast, and legal -- which two are the most important?



Actually, I'm just kidding. As suggested by the other posters, there's no fast way (in the United States) to get a law license. As far as I know, 47 states require a law degree, which will take you about 3 years, maybe a little less.

The remaining three -- California, New York, and Vermont -- have various alternative requirements that still will take some time, perhaps even longer, than law school.

Perhaps if you share your goal, there may be another approach. What I mean is, certain activities and kinds of representation do not require a law license even though they are generally performed by lawyers.


(Standard disclaimer about legal advice)
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 07-17-2001, 12:50 PM
Sofa King Sofa King is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Sep 1999
I believe Virginia still has the deliciously arcane apprenticeship provision, which nicely matches the general state of Virginia law. Unfortunately, an apprenticeship takes longer than simply going to law school, and there is a definite "ring knocker" mentality among lawyers that might make the apprentice approach nearly useless. No kidding, the first thing that is discussed in my office about any lawyer's resume is the school to which that person matriculated.

Once you've been admitted to the bar in any state, however, it's a relatively simple matter to take a case in another state and be allowed to represent your client pro hac vice ("for this turn"), so long as you appear competent to the judge.
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 07-17-2001, 02:48 PM
FortMarcy FortMarcy is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jul 2001
Here's a list of requirements:
http://www.abanet.org/legaled/public.../cgchart3.html

The quickest way I can see is to find the school which will give you your law degree in the shortest time. Then take the 26 hours of ABA accredited classes required by the District of Columbia.

It appears prior to 1997 you could have done this in Kentucky without the 26 hours of classes. You could still try it that way if you can meet their "education equivalency" requirement.

I didn't see any state where the amount of time spent to qualify without a degree would be less than the time spent in school.
Reply With Quote
  #11  
Old 07-17-2001, 03:31 PM
amarinth amarinth is online now
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2000
Location: Emerald City, WA, USA
Posts: 8,375
Quote:
Originally posted by lucwarm
Quote:
Originally posted by foolsguinea
I want a good, fast, legal way to get a law license.
Actually, I'm just kidding. As suggested by the other posters, there's no fast way (in the United States) to get a law license. As far as I know, 47 states require a law degree, which will take you about 3 years, maybe a little less.
Make that 46 (or less). Washington also still allows you to clerk for 30 hours/week for 4 years instead of law school. But again, law school would be quicker.

(And "My Cousin Vinny" if I remember correctly, was 4+ years of night school followed by a bunch of years studying for the bar - not exactly a fast route to practicing.)
Reply With Quote
  #12  
Old 07-17-2001, 06:17 PM
astro astro is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jul 1999
Since we're talking about legal certifications... is it true that you do not have to be a lawyer to be a Supreme Court Justice of The United States.
Reply With Quote
  #13  
Old 07-17-2001, 07:57 PM
minty green minty green is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Dec 2000
It ain't in the Constitution, is it?
Reply With Quote
  #14  
Old 07-17-2001, 08:44 PM
foolsguinea foolsguinea is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2000
Location: Tornado Alley
Posts: 10,276
OK, so I guess what I'm getting at is this. Are there law schools which will admit someone without a bachelor's degree? Or is it strictly a grad-school kind of thing?
Reply With Quote
  #15  
Old 07-17-2001, 09:28 PM
FortMarcy FortMarcy is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jul 2001
How much college do you have? 60 semester credits or 90 quarter credits is good enough for California.

Don't have enough (or any) credits? Take CLEP tests as a substitute. The California Bar is A-OK with that.

Don't live in California? California is the only state that allows you to attend a correspondence law school. You don't have to be a resident and you'll still be allowed to take the bar exam upon graduation.

Here's the link to registered California correspondence law schools:
http://www.calbar.org/shared/2admsch.htm#l5

A couple of caveats:
1. You have to take a test after your first year so the California Bar can be reassured that you're up to snuff.
2. California law requires that the correspondence courses take 4 years. So even if you complete the courses quickly, you can't accelerate how long the whole process takes.

If you're really in a hurry you might try the Thomas Jefferson School of Law (http://www.jeffersonlaw.edu/). They also allow you to CLEP out of the undergrad requirements. Plus, they offer a one year JD program. Although they state this JD is not valid for those who wish to take the bar exam, you might be able to couple that with the 26 credit hours required by D.C. and pass the bar there.
Reply With Quote
  #16  
Old 07-18-2001, 01:08 AM
amarinth amarinth is online now
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2000
Location: Emerald City, WA, USA
Posts: 8,375
Quote:
Originally posted by foolsguinea
OK, so I guess what I'm getting at is this. Are there law schools which will admit someone without a bachelor's degree? Or is it strictly a grad-school kind of thing?
More or less, yes.

But if you're willing to think slightly outside the box, you might be able to go to England or Australia or NZ (where I believe law degrees are undergrad degrees) get the degree there, and work for a while, and the apply to take the bar exam (or even perhaps get admitted without the exam in some jurisdictions.)
Reply With Quote
  #17  
Old 07-18-2001, 09:31 AM
Zoff Zoff is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Quote:
Originally posted by Sofa King
I believe Virginia still has the deliciously arcane apprenticeship provision
This provision is kept around because this is the way that Thomas Jefferson learned law. He apprenticed under George Wythe, a signer of the Declaration of Independence.

VA figures if it's good enough for TJ, it's good enough for us.
Reply With Quote
  #18  
Old 07-18-2001, 12:30 PM
reloy reloy is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jul 2001
Maybe try this -

I know of a good number of lawyers who received their law degrees in foreign countries and then could take a U.S. bar exam after getting an LLM - which takes about one year (9 months - no summers). Generally, LLMs are supposed to be more advanced degrees than JDs, but some of my foreign legal collegues received their law degrees in countries where a law degree is the equivalent of an undergraduate degree. Many entered LLM programs right out of their home country's law school. LLM programs are generally thought to be hard, but I'm sure some programs are easier than others.

So - try this:

Find a country with an easy law degree - some place with nice beaches and low standards (in law practitioners). Actually get a law degree by studying surfing-law (or grease the right palms to get a law degree). Find the easiest LLM program you can find, take the bar - poof - your a lawyer one year after you finish in the foreign country.
Reply With Quote
  #19  
Old 07-18-2001, 10:21 PM
foolsguinea foolsguinea is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2000
Location: Tornado Alley
Posts: 10,276
Quote:
Originally posted by Xgemina
...California Bar requirements:
...

(b) Studied law diligently and in good faith for at least four years in any of the following manners:

(1) In a law school that is authorized by the State of California to confer professional degrees; is registered with the Committee; and which requires classroom attendance of its students for a minimum of 270 hours a year; or

(2) In a law office in this State and under the personal supervision of a member of The State Bar of California who is, and who has been continuously, an active member of The State Bar of California for at least the last past five years; or

(3) In the chambers and under the personal supervision of a judge of a court of record of this State; or

(4) By instruction in law from a correspondence law school requiring 864 hours of preparation and study per year and which is registered with the Committee; or

(5) By any combination of the methods referred to in this subsection (b).

(emphasis mine)

So, while you may not need a degree or law school, you must prove that you spent 4 years studying law (I guess that's faster than 6 1/2-7). Not quite as simple as some would make it seem. I do wonder when the last time this route was used.

[/QUOTE]OK, so I could work in a law office--what, as a paralegal?--& count that toward my "years of education"? So I could be paid to work for a lawyer--or at least not pay for law school, and get enough experience to be allowed to take the bar exam? Or am I completely misinterpreting this?
Reply With Quote
  #20  
Old 07-18-2001, 11:51 PM
FortMarcy FortMarcy is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jul 2001
What is required is listed at the link provided by Xgemina. Look at Rule VII, Section 3.

http://www.calbar.org/admissions/doc/2admrule.htm#vii
Reply With Quote
  #21  
Old 05-05-2013, 09:43 AM
jason20patrick@gmail.com jason20patrick@gmail.com is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: May 2013
I see that there hasn't been a post on here for quite some time however I do have a question for
anyone that could possible help me with this.

Say I only want to do legal aid work for the disenfranchise are
the prerequisites do the same principles apply.
Reply With Quote
  #22  
Old 05-05-2013, 10:59 AM
Exapno Mapcase Exapno Mapcase is online now
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: NY but not NYC
Posts: 22,834
In at least some states you can do legal aid work as a paralegal. However, that requires certification as a paralegal.

No matter what state you reside in, and what their qualifications are, a working knowledge of the English language will be required. You'll need to start there.
Reply With Quote
  #23  
Old 05-06-2013, 10:15 AM
robert_columbia robert_columbia is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Quote:
Originally Posted by FortMarcy View Post
How much college do you have? 60 semester credits or 90 quarter credits is good enough for California.

Don't have enough (or any) credits? Take CLEP tests as a substitute. The California Bar is A-OK with that.

Don't live in California? California is the only state that allows you to attend a correspondence law school. You don't have to be a resident and you'll still be allowed to take the bar exam upon graduation.

Here's the link to registered California correspondence law schools:
http://www.calbar.org/shared/2admsch.htm#l5

A couple of caveats:
1. You have to take a test after your first year so the California Bar can be reassured that you're up to snuff.
2. California law requires that the correspondence courses take 4 years. So even if you complete the courses quickly, you can't accelerate how long the whole process takes.

If you're really in a hurry you might try the Thomas Jefferson School of Law (http://www.jeffersonlaw.edu/). They also allow you to CLEP out of the undergrad requirements. Plus, they offer a one year JD program. Although they state this JD is not valid for those who wish to take the bar exam, you might be able to couple that with the 26 credit hours required by D.C. and pass the bar there.
Lots of interesting responses. It seems that the "old" route of studying on your own and showing up for the Bar exam is dead in most places. Some places don't technically require a full law degree but you have to show some sort of formalized study. E.g. Virginia allows apprenticeships but you have to be a bona-fide apprentice and can't substitute independent study in the library reading textbooks and watching video lectures.

Are there any law schools that allow you to test out of entire law school classes? E.g. is there a school where instead of taking the full set of classes, you can challenge the final exams for Contract Law 1, Real Estate Law 1 and 2, and Civil Rights 1 and get immediate credit and then take the rest of the stuff for real? That could be a way to accelerate. It seems that lots of undergraduate schools allow this but few postgraduate schools do. Excelsior (in NY) is famous for allowing undergrads to test out of more or less everything.
Reply With Quote
  #24  
Old 05-06-2013, 12:03 PM
Really Not All That Bright Really Not All That Bright is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: May 2003
Quote:
Originally Posted by robert_columbia View Post
Are there any law schools that allow you to test out of entire law school classes? E.g. is there a school where instead of taking the full set of classes, you can challenge the final exams for Contract Law 1, Real Estate Law 1 and 2, and Civil Rights 1 and get immediate credit and then take the rest of the stuff for real?
Only in CA (under the un-ABA-accredited law school program discussed above). Every other state bar recognizes only ABA-accredited law degrees as a prerequisite for sitting for the Bar exam, AFAIK. Maybe not North Dakota or wherever it is that you can still apprentice.

ABA certification requires 58,000 minutes of instruction, of which 45,000 must be in person at the campus, and the student may not enroll in more than 20% in any given semester.

The ABA does allow a JD program to be completed in 24 months, but I'm not aware of any school where that's actually possible.

Last edited by Really Not All That Bright; 05-06-2013 at 12:06 PM..
Reply With Quote
  #25  
Old 05-06-2013, 03:19 PM
Kevbo Kevbo is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: May 2005
One of my buddies parents have a lot of rental properties. There was some issue related to that (I completely forget what) that required them to retain a lawyer. Apparently no way to do it pro-se. This was not going to be cost effective. His mom did some research and found that our state (NM) offers reciprocity to out-of-state bar members, so she could do what she needed to do (but not represent criminal defendants IIRC) if she could be recognized in almost any jurisdiction. I think she found that Puerto Rico was going to be the easiest to pass, so she was working on that.


I think it was some issue with opacity in zoning or city council proceedings, where only a lawyer could request minutes of meetings or some such. I could well be wrong.
Reply With Quote
  #26  
Old 05-07-2013, 08:03 AM
Really Not All That Bright Really Not All That Bright is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: May 2003
Turns out I was wrong: there are six law schools offering 2-year JD programs. It's also mathematically possible to complete one in two years at Wisconsin, according to its prospectus.
Reply With Quote
  #27  
Old 08-13-2013, 02:29 PM
nbritton nbritton is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Aug 2013
Quote:
Originally Posted by Really Not All That Bright View Post
Only in CA (under the un-ABA-accredited law school program discussed above). Every other state bar recognizes only ABA-accredited law degrees as a prerequisite for sitting for the Bar exam, AFAIK. Maybe not North Dakota or wherever it is that you can still apprentice.

ABA certification requires 58,000 minutes of instruction, of which 45,000 must be in person at the campus, and the student may not enroll in more than 20% in any given semester.

The ABA does allow a JD program to be completed in 24 months, but I'm not aware of any school where that's actually possible.
58,000 minutes in only 121, 8 hour, days. Since the average work year is 240 days, why couldn't you get it done in a year, aside from the fact that no school is offering a 1 year program? Is it just too much knowledge to assimilate or something?

What's available for someone who needs to be a lawyer (i.e. mastery of the law), but not an attorney (i.e. officer of the court who can represent others)? I don't necessarily need to be an attorney, or even have a law degree to do what I want to do; what I need is a solid working knowledge of civil law. What's the fastest, and cheapest, way to go about is? What's available over the Internet?
Reply With Quote
  #28  
Old 08-13-2013, 02:40 PM
friedo friedo is online now
Charter Member
 
Join Date: May 2000
Location: Brooklyn
Posts: 20,169
Quote:
Originally Posted by nbritton View Post
58,000 minutes in only 121, 8 hour, days. Since the average work year is 240 days, why couldn't you get it done in a year, aside from the fact that no school is offering a 1 year program? Is it just too much knowledge to assimilate or something?
There's a lot of homework to do, for one thing.

Quote:
What's available for someone who needs to be a lawyer (i.e. mastery of the law), but not an attorney (i.e. officer of the court who can represent others)? I don't necessarily need to be an attorney, or even have a law degree to do what I want to do; what I need is a solid working knowledge of civil law. What's the fastest, and cheapest, way to go about is? What's available over the Internet?
A lot of state university systems have undergrad degrees in "legal studies" or something like that, which are a popular choice for people who want to become paralegals and such.
Reply With Quote
  #29  
Old 08-13-2013, 05:44 PM
Really Not All That Bright Really Not All That Bright is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: May 2003
Quote:
Originally Posted by nbritton View Post
58,000 minutes in only 121, 8 hour, days. Since the average work year is 240 days, why couldn't you get it done in a year, aside from the fact that no school is offering a 1 year program? Is it just too much knowledge to assimilate or something?

What's available for someone who needs to be a lawyer (i.e. mastery of the law), but not an attorney (i.e. officer of the court who can represent others)? I don't necessarily need to be an attorney, or even have a law degree to do what I want to do; what I need is a solid working knowledge of civil law. What's the fastest, and cheapest, way to go about is? What's available over the Internet?
You could do it in a year - assuming a school would allow it - but it would be virtually impossible from an intellectual standpoint. Law school is pretty damn difficult even if you're only taking 15 credits a semester and not working. The washout rate for my program (9 credits a semester for people who want to work full time) is over 60%.

One of the local law schools here just partnered with UCF to offer a 6-year B.A./J.D. combined program, for what it's worth.

What is it you want to do?

Last edited by Really Not All That Bright; 08-13-2013 at 05:47 PM..
Reply With Quote
  #30  
Old 08-13-2013, 06:24 PM
Zakalwe Zakalwe is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2000
Location: Tallahassee, FL
Posts: 3,835
So did foolsguinea ever get a law license? Inquiring minds want to know!
Reply With Quote
  #31  
Old 08-14-2013, 03:17 AM
deltasigma deltasigma is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2012
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kevbo View Post
His mom did some research and found that our state (NM) offers reciprocity to out-of-state bar members . . .
in case you like legal jargon, the term is pro hac vice – for this time or occasion.
Quote:
Originally Posted by nbritton View Post
What's available for someone who needs to be a lawyer (i.e. mastery of the law), but not an attorney (i.e. officer of the court who can represent others)? I don't necessarily need to be an attorney, or even have a law degree to do what I want to do; what I need is a solid working knowledge of civil law. What's the fastest, and cheapest, way to go about is? What's available over the Internet?
You could do what a lot of law students do and books like the ‘In a Nutshell’ series. For example Contracts (at B&N), Torts. There are also books that synopsize the casebooks like a Schaum’s outline. But you have a prof that expects you know what was discussed in class rather than black letter law, this won’t save you.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Really Not All That Bright View Post
Turns out I was wrong: there are six law schools offering 2-year JD programs. It's also mathematically possible to complete one in two years at Wisconsin, according to its prospectus.
I don’t know if they even talk about this anymore, but it’s still true even if cliché. The purpose of law school is not to teach you the law. That’s an ancillary benefit, well, hopefully – but it’s not the primary objective. Why not? Because the law changes for one thing. For another, if you ever need to write a brief to support a motion say, there will almost certainly be case law that both sides can use as support for their position. Generally it will favor one side, sometimes by a wide margin, but not always. And even when it does, are you just going to roll over and play dead? Let’s hope not.

So what happens when you know what the law already says, but need to know what it is likely to say given precedent? That will certainly come up if you’re asked to write an opinion memorandum. You’re client doesn’t want to hear I don’t know. You don’t of course and they understand that. But they’re paying you for your educated opinion. What will the ‘educated’ part consist of? What you memorized in your law classes? You’re way past that point now. So what then?

What you’ll rely on is having learned to think in a way that mirrors the same considerations applied in formulating precedent. IOW, law school teaches you think like a lawyer and for most people, that is no mean feat. Not because it’s always conceptually difficult, although it can be, but mainly because you are required to precise while swimming in imprecision. And the way this is generally done, or used to be anyway in US law schools was with the Socratic method. This seems to be the approach most people learn best from, or at least that’s the official line. It does require a professor who has mastered it or is at least pretty good at it though – which I’ve found to be fairly rare.
Reply With Quote
  #32  
Old 08-14-2013, 03:47 AM
Little Nemo Little Nemo is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Dec 1999
Location: Western New York
Posts: 55,082
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zakalwe View Post
So did foolsguinea ever get a law license? Inquiring minds want to know!
In twelve years? He's probably got seven or eight by now.
Reply With Quote
  #33  
Old 08-14-2013, 04:50 AM
AK84 AK84 is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
I wonder why the US jurisdictions did away with pupilage/apprenticeships totally. Most other jurisdictions have kept a requirement for them, even with the necessities for a law degree and remember the JD is a First Degree in law, a foundation degree.

As it is, you do not become a lawyer by reading law or passing exams. You become one by actually doing the stuff. Its one thing to write an advice on a divorce matter in law school. Its quite another to give that same advice to a real live person in front of you, who by the way has a totally sure shot case, but will run out of money long before.......
Reply With Quote
  #34  
Old 08-14-2013, 05:26 AM
A Man A Plan A Canal A Man A Plan A Canal is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Quote:
Originally Posted by Speleophile View Post
In California you do not have to have a law degree (or any degree at all) in order to take the California Bar Exam. You pass, you're a lawyer. This is the background behind an inside joke in Justice Scalia's dissent in PGA Tour, Inc. vs Martin, wherein he mentions that sometimes amateurs enter professional tryouts just to see how they stack up, and then segues into the Ca Bar Exam. I HIGHLY recommend reading his dissent to one and all. Mind you, I'm no fan of Scalia's in general, but he certainly got this one right, and agree or not, his dissent should become a classic. Witty, thought provoking, and just an unbelievably high quality of writing throughout.

PGA Tour, Inc. Vs Martin (Slip opinion)
I read the dissent, hilarious! But I wonder why they're using hyphens as dashes? It should be an em-dash, not a hyphen, and if the font they're using isn't capable of making a dash, then two hyphens in a row are used in the places where an em-dash is required. Using hyphens the way that Scalia does makes it seem like he means compound adjectives, which are nonsensical in the context.
Reply With Quote
  #35  
Old 08-14-2013, 12:28 PM
dracoi dracoi is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Quote:
Originally Posted by nbritton View Post
58,000 minutes in only 121, 8 hour, days. Since the average work year is 240 days, why couldn't you get it done in a year, aside from the fact that no school is offering a 1 year program? Is it just too much knowledge to assimilate or something?
When I was in college, the general rule was that you had three hours of homework or studying for every one hour in class. If we apply that to this equation, you have half a year in class, and a year and a half out of class, for two years total (defining years the way you do, as 240 8-hr work days). That happens to be the length of time for the accelerated courses that some other posters have cited, so it seems to be a pretty good explanation for why it can't be crammed into half a year.
Reply With Quote
  #36  
Old 08-14-2013, 10:59 PM
Elendil's Heir Elendil's Heir is offline
SDSAB
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: At the Diogenes Club
Posts: 45,258
Quote:
Originally Posted by DSYoungEsq View Post
...So, you can't go to the court and say, "Please let me practice law in California." You say, instead, "Please let me be admitted to the practice of law and represent clients in this jurisdiction, becoming one with you."....
Huh. Those are the exact words I used when I spoke to the judge, and she just looked at me funny and ordered me to leave her courtroom.

Quote:
Originally Posted by astro View Post
Since we're talking about legal certifications... is it true that you do not have to be a lawyer to be a Supreme Court Justice of The United States.
Correct. Two earlier threads that may be of interest:

http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/...d.php?t=686406
http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/...d.php?t=625357
Reply With Quote
  #37  
Old 08-15-2013, 01:05 AM
denquixote denquixote is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
I attended Western State University which is now Thomas Jefferson School of Law and believe that I completed the route you are contemplating as fast as possible. I started in January of 1992 and graduated in May 1994, took the Bar in July and got results and was admitted in California in November of 1994. I did not have a college degree but did have more than 60 credits.

I do not recommend following this method for even though I did work at both Public Defender offices in San Diego and another short internship I did not make the proper connections in order to obtain employment upon graduation (YMMD.) If all you want is the right to practice, in California you can achieve this in just under 3 years, including swearing in.
Reply With Quote
  #38  
Old 08-15-2013, 01:16 AM
denquixote denquixote is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Why aren't ten year old threads identified in some way so one does not waste one's time answering someone who may be dead?
Reply With Quote
  #39  
Old 08-15-2013, 09:58 AM
Hello Again Hello Again is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 1999
The date is in the upper left corner. It's up to you to check it, counselor.

That said it has happened to all of us and is indeed annoying. I did the very same just last week. The only solution, however, is "pay attention." Alas.

Last edited by Hello Again; 08-15-2013 at 09:59 AM..
Reply With Quote
  #40  
Old 08-15-2013, 10:02 AM
Really Not All That Bright Really Not All That Bright is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: May 2003
foolsguineau is still an active poster if it makes you feel any better.
Reply With Quote
  #41  
Old 08-15-2013, 10:47 PM
denquixote denquixote is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Not really but thanks. I do think it would not be hard to flag posts over a certain age, say 3 years for easy identification.
Reply With Quote
  #42  
Old 09-03-2013, 09:32 AM
robert_columbia robert_columbia is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Quote:
Originally Posted by dracoi View Post
When I was in college, the general rule was that you had three hours of homework or studying for every one hour in class. If we apply that to this equation, you have half a year in class, and a year and a half out of class, for two years total (defining years the way you do, as 240 8-hr work days). That happens to be the length of time for the accelerated courses that some other posters have cited, so it seems to be a pretty good explanation for why it can't be crammed into half a year.
However, I've never seen a school that had a policy saying that students who did not put in three hours of homework or studying for every class hour could be directly penalized by loss of credit, reduction in grade, or otherwise. The three hours studying per one hour lecture was explained to you as a best practice that you were strongly encouraged to adopt if you wanted to do well. If you, for some reason (e.g. prior knowledge/study, just that damn smart, have a whiz tutor, just wanna roll those dice and see if you can BS your way through by guessing...), didn't want to do that, you were gambling with your own success. Any "penalties" levied against you were indirect, caused by your lack of studying causing you to do poorly on assignments and/or exams. There were no timesheets where even though you got a 94 on the midterm exam, 91 on the term paper, and 92 on the final, you got bumped down to an 86 (B) because you turned in timesheets showing an unacceptably low number of hours spent in earning those A grades.

Last edited by robert_columbia; 09-03-2013 at 09:36 AM..
Reply With Quote
Reply

Bookmarks

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 01:27 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

Send questions for Cecil Adams to: cecil@chicagoreader.com

Send comments about this website to: webmaster@straightdope.com

Terms of Use / Privacy Policy

Advertise on the Straight Dope!
(Your direct line to thousands of the smartest, hippest people on the planet, plus a few total dipsticks.)

Publishers - interested in subscribing to the Straight Dope?
Write to: sdsubscriptions@chicagoreader.com.

Copyright © 2013 Sun-Times Media, LLC.