Attending a Non-ABA Approved Versus an ABA-Approved Law School

Law School Expert Blog

ABA-approved law schools are accredited by the American Bar Association based on its standards of what makes a quality law school.

In many states, you must graduate from an ABA-approved law school in order to take the bar exam. However, some states allow you to attend non-ABA schools and still take the bar exam.

I interviewed a graduate of a non-ABA school about her experience, decisions, and her career in family law in my blog post “Attending a Non-ABA School.”

Benefits of attending a non-ABA school:
1. Flexible schedule;
2. Lower cost, maybe even half of what a degree from an ABA-approved law school will cost you;
3. Ties in local community;
4. Smaller class sizes; and
5. Classes taught by practicing attorneys.

Things to watch out for when choosing a non-ABA approved school:
1. Low bar passage rates;
2. The number of people who actually end up completing the degree;
3. Quality of instruction;
4. Availability of courses in areas of law you hope to explore; and
5. Snobbism in hiring: “The Pedigree Problem: Are Law School Ties Choking the Profession?

2 Responses

  1. Ann,
    I decided to go for a MA degree before applying to Law School. My UGPA was 2.7 but my MA degree has me at a 3.7 and graduating Magna Cum Laude. Does this make a difference when law schools are reviewing my application?

  2. Lanie,
    It helps you make a case that you can do better, as long as your masters degree was from a respected university and in an academically rigorous subject.

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