Is This the Best Route for My Education?

Attorney Michael Ehline
Attorney Michael Ehline

The field of law can be a difficult one to master. It can seem that only those that go through law school will ultimately be able to argue a case in front of an judge one day. However, due to the foresight of California law, the Law Office Study Program may allow you the opportunity to prove yourself and further your career.

You can enter into the program even if you are not a college graduate. However, you may have some college experience but one that is not specific to law. Some applicants attended law school but due to difficult circumstances or timing had to leave. Regardless of the reason, if you are a determined, tenacious individual with a passion for helping others you too can set yourself up to take the state bar.

Of course, getting yourself there is not easy. You can read more about the process of becoming an attorney through this process here. Ultimately, there are several questions that you must answer before you embark on such a path. You must be willing to take at least four years of your life ready to study. You must find a sponsor for the program. You must prepare for the First-Year Law Students’ Examination or baby bar exam. You must study for the California bar exam, which statistics show is one of the most difficult in the country. There is a high chance that you will not even pass it the first try!

The question comes down to yourself. Are you a committed individual that would like to work with a lawyer or judge that is willing to show you the ropes and prepare you for a field where you can fight those that are criminals or negligent and defend those that cannot defend themselves? Do you want to avoid expensive law school that could run you into six-figure debt? Do you want a chance to practice law in the state of California? If you answered yes, check out our contact page here.

Methods of Getting Sponsored

If you are interested in entering into the Law Office Study Program, there are many factors to consider. If you think that you are ready for a rigorous course of work and to eventually take the bar exam, you need to make sure that you have the right support system behind you. This early stage of planning can make or break your chance to become a practicing attorney.

Since you will not be attending law school, you will be following from example. Much of your knowledge will come directly from the text of the law and case study, but much of the remainder will be actually studying under and with someone actually doing the job. In the state of California, you have the option of studying under an attorney or a judge. An attorney needs to have been practicing for five years to be eligible to become a sponsor.

You’re no longer just studying theory and hypothetical situations like you would be doing in law school. Here you can see much of what happens every day in a law office or in a courtroom itself. You can see how the law is actually practiced and challenged right before your eyes.

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When you are looking for someone to sponsor you, you must prove yourself a worthwhile applicant. This person will be issuing a report to the state bar several times a year checking on your progress and is linking their good name with yours. You need to prove that you are a good candidate that will be worth four years of understudy and that you will be a competent and moral attorney once the process is over.

If you have proven yourself to a judge or currently practicing attorney, you will be able to determine if they are a good fit for you. You will be studying in their chambers or office for years. Make sure that their field of law is one that you will be practicing and worth the effort. Make sure that there are no personality clashes or moral lapses.

Such a person could be your partner one day. Or you could be arguing a case in front of them. Cultivate a relationship that will make you both better professionals when the program is done.

Short History of the Cal Law Study Program

Jurist_JusticeThe California Law Office Study Program is one that has given many people that did not have the opportunity or situation to attend a formal law school a chance to serve their fellow citizens. The program, administered by the California Bar Association, is a way to make sure that qualified individuals have another way to gain experience to take the bar examination. This is the path followed by respected Los Angeles injury attorney Michael Ehline and could be the option for motivated, intelligent individuals determining their career path.

With California Bar Association-approved law schools running in the near $40,000 plus annual tuition rate, practical experience in a law firm or judge’s quarters can be advantageous. California is one of six states that allow for such a practice. The path, governed by California state law, is one that allows students with hands-on experience to take the bar exam and enter into their employ ready. If you have a sponsor willing to work with you and offer semi-annual reports to the state bar you are in business.

This program has roots in similar practices dating back to before the Republic. Early attorneys, such as Andrew Jackson and Abraham Lincoln were self-taught, studying the law with little formal training. This allowed for the most dedicated to rise up through the ranks and become effective fighters in the courtroom. In the case of Lincoln, the rest is history.

The current law allows for dozens of qualified candidates to get through the doors each year. Determined through the most recent set of California guidelines passed in 2007, you too can follow the footsteps of those that wish to make something of their life and not be restricted.

California Bar Examination Statistics

Attorney Michael Ehline
Attorney Michael Ehline

The California Bar Examination is one of the steps to becoming an attorney in the state, and perhaps the most important. It is sometimes considered the most challenging exam in the country and has a high failure rate. Those that pass are often some of the best lawyers. The exam process is arduous but makes sure that only the most tenacious get through.

There are several ways that a student can become qualified to take the bar exam. They can be an attorney from another state, receive a J.D. from an accredited school, or go through the Law Office Study Program. No matter how you do it, there is a tremendous amount of studying and work that goes into the process.

When you take the bar exam, you are now taking a multi-stage test proctored over eighteen hours and three days. During the course of this test, you will answer questions about various parts of the law, including 13 subject areas. The exam taxes the student and is fiercely guarded.

According to February 2013 statistics, it is a sobering experience. Just 41% of all exam takers passed the test. Just over 52% of those trying for the first time passed the exam, but those that took it several times were in worse shape. Only 36% of those that took it multiple times passed the exam.

Some rates in the recent past have been higher, but some have been significantly lower. An attorney that passed the California bar exam certainly earned their qualifications.

Becoming an Attorney in California

Attorney Michael Ehline
Attorney Michael Ehline

If you have decided to join the ranks of attorneys in the state of California, there are several options out there for you to become admitted to the bar. While many follow the strict path of attending law school, it is not your only option. In fact, with proper wherewithal you can make it work through a road that works with your schedule and lifestyle.

Many attorneys become admitted to the bar after they have completed generally three years of law school and receive a Juris Doctor degree (J.D.). After this a qualified candidate will have to pass the bar examination. While a JD may be advantageous, it is not your only option. Attorneys from other states are able to take the bar exam if they are already members of another state’s bar. Candidates must also pass the Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination to ensure their moral character. The State of California allows other ways for qualified individuals to serve their communities by becoming an attorney.

Law Office Study Program

Others are able to do so by gaining hands-on experience in a Law Office Study Program. California law states that anyone wishing to become an attorney should have four years experience in the legal field and pass the bar exam. If you have no legal background you may enter into the program. Some students are accepted that do not have formal college training. In this case a candidate can take the College Level Examination Program.

A candidate in the Law Office Study Program must study under a judge or attorney for four years to be eligible to take the First-Year Law Students’ Examination, sometimes referred to as the “Baby Bar.” If a student passes the First Year Law Students’ Examination within three tries, they are now set to take the California Bar Exam. The California bar is no easy matter and often separates the wheat from the chaff and makes sure that only the best candidates make it to practice law in the state.