Updated: Dec 1, 2020
Why I Chose To Attend A California Correspondence Law School
Attending law school is a serious and life altering decision. And, it's a huge financial and time investment. More importantly, it's NOT for everybody.
In the video above, I described why I'm going to law school and briefly explained my choice to attend an online law school that isn't even accredited.
Some lawyers and other law students do not believe that this path is a valid educational pathway to receiving a law degree. Some think it's as easy as showing up to class, doing the assignments, and collecting a "bargain" degree. That couldn't be further from the truth.
Attending a brick and mortar law school is not for everybody. You have to know yourself to know your reasons for why you want to pursue a legal education. PLUS, you must know what kind of institution can best suit your financial, personal, and professional goals. Here are my personal reasons....
I Chose To Attend A California Correspondence Law School To Put My Family First
I have two small children. They are elementary age. Just as I chose to be an entrepreneur and create a business for myself that allowed me to create a lifestyle I wanted, my main goal was to always be available to my husband and children.
When I was planning to apply to a brick and mortar school over an hour away, the thought of driving two hours in California rush hour traffic each day PLUS staying at school for 11 hours a day filled me with panic. I could not be away from my small children that long because my soul needs to be with them as much as possible. It's a non-negotiable. I want to see them grow up and be present for them as much as possible before they decide in their teens that their friends are more interesting and fun to be around than I am.
Note: As I write this blog post, my daughter came into my office and, for 30 minutes, tricked me into eating a sour bubble gum and talked non-stop about flying unicorns, a little Kitty named Angela who is a beauty pageant contestant, popstar and civil rights activist. She also shared her Arizona iced tea with me. I would not have had this experience if I was sitting in a law school library.
I Chose To Attend A California Correspondence Law School Because I Am Confident In My Time Management Abilities
Some students need a professor to keep them on track. Some need to be at school to stay focused. And, that's perfectly OK!
I spent over 13 years running my own business, pursuing continuing education and training, and caring for my infant children by day while re-establishing my coaching practice in the United States by night after a move from France.
I know how to manage my time and stay goal oriented. I don't need a professor to tell me what to do, where to show up, and when. I got this!
I Chose To Attend A California Correspondence Law School Because I Believe That A Legal Education Should Be Financially Accessible
Some who pay $160,000 and more for their law degree may feel like those who pay as little as $15,000 for law school are trying to cheat the system or aren't getting an excellent legal education. Some believe that a legal education is an elitist club that only privileged Americans can afford and have access to.
I believe that Americans should know the legal system and its laws. I don't believe that an average American should have to pay over $130,000 to access a quality education.
I understand that schools like Stanford pay law professors who have worked in the White House advising the President over $200,000 a year in salary. I understand that they have extensive libraries filled with rare and unique books. I understand that alumni networks provide exclusive access to jobs. Access to these school features come at a price. I understand that a "brand name" gets access to high paying jobs in Blue Chip companies who believe more in the brand name of the degree than the character and imagination of their applicants. I taught at a brand named private business school in France, remember.
But this is the thing about me - I already own stocks these blue chip companies where their employees are working for me. I don't need to get a job (I made one for myself). And I can read just about any book I need in my local legal library for free. Using my legal education as a membership card to an elite career or lifestyle is an absurd premise... and it's a disappointing one, at that.
I have coached hundreds of clients who have worked at companies like Google, LMVH, IBM, Disney, Goldman Sachs portfolio companies, and more - some with Ivy League educations and some who barely passed high school. A degree of any kind doesn't promise anything (let alone fulfilment) in life - unless you truly believe that it does.
Average people regardless of financial background can and should have access to a legal education. Nobody should pursue a law degree because it'll promise big paychecks. Nobody should pursue a legal education because it'll give you a leg up in social circles. Everyone should have some kind of legal background - even if it's a basic one. Because we ALL have rights and privileges and responsibilities as citizens and we shouldn't have to pay someone $250 an hour and up to explain what those rights are (often after it's already too late).
I Chose To Attend A California Correspondence Law School Because We All Have To Pass The Bar Anyway - And That's The Ultimate Test of Legal Mastery
People can say what they want to say about correspondence law school. Everyone is entitled to their opinion. Hopefully, they're based on good reasons and sound logic.
At the end of the day, everyone who wants to be a practicing licensed lawyer has to pass the Baby Bar and the Bar Exam (brick and mortar schools only need to pass the bar exam). The Bar Examiners will weed out who isn't qualified to stand in front of a judge and plead their case for their client.
I Chose To Attend A California Correspondence Law School Because Many Employed Lawyers Aren't Even Licensed To Practice Law
Not to mention, in all my years of coaching lawyers (many of whom went to Ivy League schools), I can tell you that most of them never even took the Bar Exam in their state. They went directly to run companies, provide "general counsel" for corporations, or start their own consultancies. Don't believe me, ask many in house corporate counsels how many of them are licensed to practice law in their state... you won't find many.
The reason for this is because these people have backgrounds in other fields to support their legal education. That may be chemistry (for regulatory affairs), shipping and logistics (for international cargo), health care/nursing (hospital administration or insurances), and so forth. A legal education is a compliment to professionals who have a passion in a specific area of focus. Nobody needs a legal degree to be an entrepreneur or sell a lucrative business idea.
I Chose To Attend A California Correspondence Law School Because It's An Available Option
Finally, I chose to attend a California correspondence law school because the option was available to me. If it was not, let's say, in a state that only permitted brick and mortar ABA approved schools, then I would attend that kind. It's not because of California Correspondence law school that I am getting a legal education. It's because it's the most practical choice to balance my happy family life and my love of the law.
I did brick and mortar when I was in my teens and early twenties. It was a fabulous life experience for me. And I do recommend people attend a brick and mortar at some point in their lives to get that immersive social, educational, and professional experience. The study sessions in the library, the Greek life and drama, office hours with professors, sports games and recreational activities and clubs. It's ALL wonderful! Highly recommended. Five stars!
However, some people can't afford $130,000 or more for a legal education when they've already spent $40,000 or more for a bachelor's degree. One attorney I know just paid off her student loans 10 years after graduating from law school. That's just not how I imagine my life. And, I'm sure, not how many others imagine it, either.
Law School Isn't For Everyone, Neither Is Correspondence Law School
I applaud anyone who attends law school no matter what kind of institution they attend. It's a challenge no matter how you access your legal education. And, to be frank, correspondence law school isn't for everyone. It's not as hands-on, the professors want to help, but don't always, the program might not provide enough education, guidance, or perks that you might require. Doing the assignments and reading IS NOT enough to help you pass the Baby Bar or Bar Exam - no matter what they tell you. I don't recommend correspondence law school for everyone, either! You must know in your heart that it's the right path for you - and nobody knows your heart better than you.
Money, family, distance, life circumstances should not be barriers to a legal education. Everyone finds ways to make it work. Ruth Bader Ginsburg had a small child and a husband living with cancer while attending law school. Anything is possible! You have to follow your heart.
Thanks for taking the time to explore my reasons for attending a California Correspondence Law School. Hopefully, my reasons and logic provide assistance in helping you decide your law school journey before or during attending law school.
Please share your thoughts in the comments. Keep them respectful and kind. We're all humans here.