I’m Considering an Unaccredited Law School


QI live in Phoenix, and we only have two law schools: Arizona State and a provisionally accredited private school. I have already been accepted to the private school and been offered a scholarship. I expect an acceptance letter from Arizona State as well.

My question: Does it look bad to have graduated from a school with provisional accreditation?

Some background on the private school: It has been open three years, got its provisional accreditation last year, had a 95% bar passage rate, and, according to the school, has strong relationships with the local legal community. Assuming they become fully accredited after the three-year wait period, I would graduate after the school was granted full accreditation.

Would this improve my chances? Any help would be greatly appreciated!

A“Provisionally accredited” is like “conditionally employed.” It’s better than saying “unemployed loser” but it still doesn’t mean you have a goddamn job.

So, if your choice is Arizona State vs. Unaccredited Private School, go with ASU. It’s a no-brainer. Not to mention the Pac 10 football and basketball action you get to watch when you’re not studying.

Ex-Bitter is a former big firm lawyer who now doles out advice to anyone who asks. Got a question? Email it to advice@bitterlawyer.com. Or read more Advice from an Ex-Bitter.

31 Comments

  1. BL1Y

    March 3, 2009 at 5:53 am

    This is a joke, right?

  2. Bill Dugan

    March 3, 2009 at 6:00 am

    These days, you need all the help you can get.  Unless you want to stay local, go to ASU.  In addition to being accredited, the undergrad females there are almost as good looking as USC’s babes.  And as you won’t be studying all of the time, I would be spending my free time at the ASU undergraduate dorms, trying to impress, if not pick up, as many of the good-looking chicks as I ccould, wearing my law school beanie and carrying a torts book.  God knows many a babe will faint if they know they’re “dating” (translation – banging) a law student.

  3. Anonymous

    March 3, 2009 at 6:36 am

    Dugan is right.  And forget the athletics.  Dugan is right on with the women issue.  At ASU, the women can’t get away hiding underneath big mu-mus—the fat ones can be immediately spotted and dismissed as cows, and the other babes must maintain their bodies in order to be noticed and taken.  Im sure the law school men get plenty of action, as the freshmen chicks learn, once they’re sophomores, that they’ll need to latch on to someone who will bring home the mustard for them, not the jock itch.  So go for it, dude.  Head right for the sorority house, Delta Moo.

  4. Anonymous

    March 3, 2009 at 8:36 am

    i don’t know. I would think long and hard about turning down a scholarship. It would be nice to have no student loans to worry about.

  5. BL1Y

    March 3, 2009 at 8:52 am

    Even with a full ride, law school isn’t free.  You still have to factor in the opportunity cost of not working full time for 3 years.

  6. manda

    March 3, 2009 at 9:05 am

    Can you even be barred if it’s not fully accredited?  That’s the major question.  Are you planning to stay there forever, or at least for a few years after graduation?  Because if you want to move, no one will know or respect your school.

  7. BL2Y

    March 3, 2009 at 9:06 am

    What about for the rest of your life?  You want to have to tell people you went to Podunk Law School just to save a few bucks.  Granted Arizona State is not the Harvard of the West, or even the Harvard of Tempe, AZ, but at least people have heard of it.  I guess it depends on whether you want to practice locally.  If you do, fine.  If you don’t, then even Arizona State won’t save you outside the State of Arizona.

  8. Alpha Male

    March 3, 2009 at 9:12 am

    BL1Y is right, but what is this putz doing now?  If he’s not working, what difference does it make?  Unless he wants to sling hash at Arby’s for the rest of his life, law school aint a bad alternative.

  9. Doug

    March 3, 2009 at 9:21 am

    Manda,
    Not sure about your state. But a lot of states have options for someone to sit for the bar even if they went to a shady law school. Pass the test and you’re in. Of course, passing might be the hard part if you didn’t go to a good school.

  10. optionA

    March 3, 2009 at 9:21 am

    I had the exact same choice with the sister school of Pheonix. If your staying in the area choose Pheonix. People will know your school and you won’t have 100K to pay off. Downside, if you get an internship don’t expect to be paid. When you get out unless you locked a clerkship after your first year and that led to something great your second summer your not going to be given a second thought by any large firm. But, while their paying off loans you can pocket that money and change jobs once you have experience.
    Yes, as long as the school has provisional accreditation when you START it does not matter what happens, you get to sit for the bar.

  11. Anonymous

    March 3, 2009 at 9:22 am

    Dugan is a joke, BL1Y.

  12. Ceegunz

    March 3, 2009 at 10:00 am

    I think a better question is what do you want to do with your eventual degree?  Big law?  Then ASU is clearly the better choice.  But if you want to do small firm work, or public interest, or local government, go for the school with the scholarship.  Then you will be able to stomach the much lower pay.

  13. Craig

    March 3, 2009 at 10:37 am

    This question seems like the writer is begging someone to tell him/her that it is ok to take the scholarship at the “provisionally accredited” school. Going to ASU is the obvious choice. Even the writer knows that going to ASU is the right decision. Actually writing in to Bitter Lawyer for advice shows that the writer is searching everywhere for a contrarian viewpoint … and not even Bitter Lawyer told him/her it was ok to take the money to go to a kinda/almost law school. Just go to ASU and don’t over think it.

  14. Anon

    March 3, 2009 at 1:37 pm

    Craig is right again.

  15. Another bitter

    March 3, 2009 at 3:18 pm

    Question 1 – Have you checked with the State Bar or Supreme Court to see if the unaccredited school’s graduates are even ALLOWED to sit for the bar exam?
    If not, forgeddaboutit.

    If so – and you don’t want the big law job—talk to practicing lawyers doing the type of law you want to do and get their opinions of the new school.
    But, if at all possible, you should probably go w/ ASU unless you get really positive answers from working lawyers about the school.

  16. Brett

    March 3, 2009 at 4:23 pm

    Ditch the Phoenix University School of Law.  I’m going to assume that you’re an in-state applicant (who the hell else even knows about PU Law).  What is ASU’s instate tuition?  Up to a whopping $15K now? 
    Plus, ASU has that fantastic rec center where you can oogle those wonderful co-eds while taking a break between Torts and Contracts.

  17. Anonymous

    March 3, 2009 at 8:49 pm

    Hey, the douche is going to be a lawyer.  He need not ogle the coeds, he can go in like a kid in a candy store and pick out a few to try on for size.  Once he’s a member of the bar in good standing, these chicks will be dying to be his girlfriend.

  18. Anonymous

    March 4, 2009 at 4:36 am

    @8:49: That really depends on where you are.  Come to NYC.  No one gives a shit that you’re a lawyer.

  19. Anonymous

    March 4, 2009 at 6:15 am

    In my town, women willingly impale themselves on a lawyer’s stickshift, no matter how small. Why?  Because they’re meal tickets, man.

  20. Pacific Reporter

    March 4, 2009 at 6:43 am

    In general, go to the best ranked school possible. And don’t ever go to a tier-4 or unranked school.

  21. Anon

    March 4, 2009 at 9:46 am

    @4:36:  You’re exactly right.  No one cares about lawyers.  Don’t get why all these idiots think being a lawyer will get you chicks.  They must live in a trailer park or something.  NY, Chicago, LA, no one cares.  Not even a little.

  22. Anon

    March 4, 2009 at 10:20 am

    Always go to the best school!

  23. Alan Dorfman

    March 5, 2009 at 6:35 am

    Fellas, I’ve been misled.  I saw Michael Clayton and was told that I could be like that after I got my bar papers.  I’ve dropped almost $25K 1/2 way through first year and am beginning to see that the ladies aren’t wilting when I tell them I’m a 1L (at University of Maryland).  Should I stick it out and be out nearly $100K?  What else can I do?  I’m kind of caught between a rock and a hard place now.  Ideas?

  24. Scottsdale Resident

    March 7, 2009 at 7:58 am

    The women here don’t care about lawyers; not even the fantastic co-eds and sorostitutes at the local Porn Star Training Grounds (ASU).  Because no matter what; looks come first; so unless you’re one of the douche-frat types with the spikey hair; rock solid upper body, and skinny legs; the girls won’t be too impressed with the law school thing.
    However; actually having money will impress the women here.  So; if you want to have a good job and make some money (even if you’re with the County Attorney’s Office; they make a decent amount for gov’t work); GO TO ASU.  Better law school, currently accredited=more likelihood of getting a J-O-B.

  25. Anon

    March 8, 2009 at 12:02 pm

    Scottsdale Resident:  Word.

  26. BL1Y

    March 8, 2009 at 12:36 pm

    Scottsdale Resident is spot on.  Being a lawyer doesn’t impress anyone, and being a law student is even worse.  You have all the negative stereotypes of being a lawyer, with all the poverty of being a student.  Just remember, if you’re counting on the money bringing in girls, don’t live in NYC.  There are too many insanely rich people here, so even a quarter million a year isn’t going to turn many heads.  I think Atlanta, Birmingham, Memphis or New Orleans would be good bets, as they all have really good female-male ratios.  Avoid Florida and California.

  27. Mike

    March 8, 2009 at 4:22 pm

    Forget them both, go to the University of Arizona, although ASU is a much better choice than Phoenix College of Law.

  28. Alma Federer

    March 18, 2009 at 4:09 am

    I think it’s great you are doing well and hope this will continue. I never thought I would be saying this, but I agree with Mr. Dugan.  If you are doing well, keep going!  If you transfer, you won’t know what you are getting into.  Who knows, you could become EIC of the law review if you work hard.  If you like Los Angeles, you can stay and do well.  Think long and hard before switching schools.

  29. JeffS

    June 11, 2009 at 3:28 am

    Not to be a dick, buy ASU is ranked 55th by US News & World Report.  Not too shabby…

  30. m

    September 26, 2011 at 1:48 pm

    Most states treat provisional ABA accreditation the same as full ABA accreditation. But that is not the issue. Nor is the issue the quality of education you would receive. H*ll, companies such as Barbri, Piper, or Micromash etc… have helped the most dense people get past the toughest state bar exams. What is the issue? Jobs. If you goto ASU, then you have an established alumni base recruiting at ASU for OCI and 2L summers. ASU will stand out on your resume for the next 20+ years, whereas private school x will not.

    For all I know private school X is great. But, you have to get a job and get on with your life after you graduate. ASU has a better probability of helping you accomplish that over private school X.

  31. bootspur

    November 2, 2012 at 3:57 am

    Perhaps he should consider attending a school where the University president is a bit more concerned with getting his Law school accredited, AND potentially less time concerned that he’s found the worthless builder doesn’t give a flying flip about performing warranty work on this 3 year old university school building.?? Just a thought…

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