Sunday, July 24, 2005

The CBA accreditation

From the Princeton review

"The Bar Exam and Accreditation (Perfect Together?)
Most states won't let you take the bar exam if you haven't attended an ABA-accredited school. California is in a barely traceable minority of states, however, that allow students from non-ABA-accredited schools to take the bar exam. If they pass, they can practice law in California and a small number of other districts as specified in their reciprocity law. The trick is: the California Bar Exam is known as the toughest in the nation (it's called an "exclusionary bar" because it's meant not just to measure competence, but also to regulate the number of lawyers who can practice in the state), so no matter what sort of school you've attended, you will be judged by the same ruthless standards as your accredited-school or non-accredited school peers. Simply put, it is NOT easy to become a lawyer in California, no matter what sort of school you choose.

To Pursue ABA Accreditation or Not to Pursue ABA Accreditation…
There's no doubt about it: Going to an ABA-accredited school is the most prestigious route, and allows for greater geographic mobility. Some firms only accept graduates from ABA-accredited schools, and an ABA-approved education often guarantees a higher starting salary. Furthermore, some critics argue that schools not accredited by the ABA are oriented less towards instilling students with a thorough knowledge of the law, and more towards teaching them how to pass the bar exam, supplying part-time professors and Spartan facilities. Two years ago, approximately eighty percent of students who attended ABA-approved schools in California passed the bar exam, versus approximately thirty percent for students who attended CBA-approved schools, and about fifteen percent for those who went the non-accredited route.

Some people argue that within California, CBA-approved schools are treated with the same respect as ABA-schools. But outside of California, that open-mindedness disappears, and people tend to regard CBA-approved schools in the same way they view unaccredited schools, which is to say, with less respect. If you know that you want to practice law in California, and you feel that your GPA and LSAT score are not competitive enough to get you into an ABA-accredited school, attending a CBA-approved school becomes a logical choice. Or, in an age of growing legal specialization, if a CBA-approved school matches your interests especially well, it might be perfect for you. Just keep in mind that this choice could affect your options further down the road. "


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