Concord Law School Reviews
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Distance learning isn't for everyone. It takes real discipline to keep on track when it's only you - no professors staring at you, no physical classes to attend. But if you're like me - a "nontraditional" student (50, married, own business) then "traditional" law school may not be for you. I certainly couldn't put my business on hold for 3 years. Or, maybe you're REALLY like me and live more than 4 hours from a law school that offers a "part-time" program (not that I consider 4 nights a week, every week, really part-time). Hey, maybe you're TOTALLY like me and are self-motivated, work well in pajamas, and are willing to crawl under a rock for 4 years. Yes, this degree takes 4 years rather than 3. It's a long slog. And it's tough work. Don't be fooled by the whole on-line thing. There are quizzes, essays, and very very real tests. You must take and pass the First Year Law Students Exam (FLYSX) after 1L or you can't go on. That test - which is called the baby bar but is no baby - is a 6 hour horror show but great prep for the bar. Each semester I have between 4-5 classes. Each module (lesson?) gets 9-10 days. There is a TON of reading. I haven't watched TV in 3.5 years. Seriously, law school and working is my life. But I know when I graduate in 6 months and take the bar, I will be ready. There are lots of folks in my classes who won't make it, because they aren't putting in what is needed. But if you are intrinsically motivated, this is a great opportunity. And no, I will not have debt when I graduate. More money for champagne! (One last thing: more and more states are allowing CLS grads to sit for bar exams in other states.)
I attended Concord. I graduated and passed the California bar exam on the first try. I practice federal administrative law, and admitted to numerous federal districts. Not once has anyone or any judge questioned my law degree, not even in federal courts in Texas and Oklahoma. I am a full-time practicing attorney in Texas. The reality is, youve just got to get past the bar exam. One federal judge told me, who cares where you went to law school, its what you do as an attorney that matters. If you want it bad enough, going to Concord or anywhere else will give you the tools to make it. For me, Concord was an excellent choice as I had a family to support and I had to keep a full-time job during law school.
I read all of these reviews when I was applying to Concord and thought "it will be different for me'" it wasn't. Please read these reviews and do not attend. You can do the work, but you will be 100% on your own and the professor I had was condescending at best if you tried to ask questions. Your grade will be largely based on your final exam which consists of 3 essays (those are not difficult to pass) and 300 multiple choice questions, that you have never seen before. After you receive your final grades you will never be allowed to see the correct answers and no one will provide the answers to you so you'll never know where you stand until it's too late. I was dropped from the JD program for missing .02%, tried to appeal because the exams are loaded with typos and misspellings which make questions hard to understand under time restrictions, but they would not allow my appeal, and the professors would not answer my questions. Concord tries to force you into their EJD program but that is a worthless degree from an unaccredited school so please do not waste your time or money. I am now attending Pepperdine's on-line Master of Legal Studies program, a much better and professional program that will actually advance my career. There are other options for Law School, please investigate all of them and don't let the Purdue purchase fool you Concord will still operate the same with no aid to the students.
Students please Beware!, Concord Law School is not recognized law school. If you apply for jobs at law-firms and the government, no employer knows about this school, it is a total waste of time and money. I attended for a couple of months until attorneys and friends in the real world convinced me to see the truth. I am attending a respected brick and mortal law school that is ABA approved. the truth in the matter is that most un heard of and ghost online schools are rip offs, so that is why they treat people the way that they do. Like Strayer, Kaplan, Capella, and all the others, no employer, not even the public heard of or respect Concord Law School. Save your money and get a real education.
If you are considering going to law school remove this school from your list of options. I say this because, there is no opportunity for dialog or interaction with any instructor. If you send an instructor an email with a question, most times they go completly unanswered, or a response is at least a week later. No constructive feedback on assignments, just ridicule about what you did wrong, no mention of how to clarify a concept to help you actually understand the material, the sample answers are never available, and again no chance to discuss how you can improve your individual responses. The biggest issue I have with the school is that students are on their own 100%, it might as well be a correspondence course. They do have prerecorded lectures that are good but no chance to ask questions or interact. A large percentage of student grades are earned from the analysis section in IRAC formatted responses to essay questions. This school does not engage students to learn analysis, instead students are given a template and are asked to assess their own work and magically figure it out themselves.
I am sharing my experience and OPINION. I WAS a first year law student that started April 1st, 2016. Oh the irony of that date. I am posting this to inform others of my disappointment with Concord as I learn about more and more of my fellow classmates being dismissed due to a C- grade, it seems this is the majority of my class (so far maybe 3-4 that actually moved on to take the FYLSE). I am not afraid to go public with my disappointment with Concord, this is outrageous that they would do this to a class and their students that they are supposed to be getting to the exam. Upon speaking with other schools, my grades would have been well above passing along with my classmates. What a way to protect your FYLSE pass rate, by eliminating those of us that you think wont pass that exam, that is what it looks like from here. That is unfair to it's core. Telling us that a C- is failing with the State Bar, when other schools say differently, a mere 2.0 gets them to the exam, even with lower grades, and they have notice to improve, not just dismissal and thank you for your 10k. Shame on Concord. I am just glad I learned this before proceeding any further. The instruction is not appropriate either, they have one instructor for all subjects that dosent even practice in CA and does not answer any of your questions. You are ON YOUR OWN.
I wrote a review of Concord dated 6/24/13 right after I took the FYLSE. Three years later I wanted to circle back and write one more after graduating and taking the California Bar Exam. In short, my opinion hasn't changed. Concord is a GREAT option for you if you go in with reasonable expectations and have a clear reason for attending a non-ABA law school. Is your dream to practice law on the east coast? You probably shouldn't attend Concord or any other distance learning law school. Personally I wanted a JD to advance my career in a field where a legal degree is valued but law is not practiced. I think Concord is fantastic for that sort of thing. The vast majority of people should not go to a traditional law school and pay six figures for that privilege to end up not practicing law. It makes little financial sense. But if you want the education for other reasons, as many people do, Concord is affordable and offers a great education for those that are willing to put in the work. I see some of the negative reviews on this site discuss the cost of taking the FYLSE or Concord's lack of accreditation. Those are two issues that any prospective student should have known and understood before signing up. Others have mentioned that their professors don't seem to have enough real experience practicing law. I suggest those people ask their traditional law school friends about their experiences, because that particular complaint is not unique to Concord, at all. Others still have mentioned low pass rates on the FYLSE and the Bar. Personally I think that has more to do with the student. Concord could probably do a bit better job in it's admissions criteria. In addition, keep in mind that most people learning law at a school like Concord are a bit older, have a family, have a job. The bar exam is a monster, you need to make it your religion for 2-3 months. That's much easier for someone just starting out in life with no work responsibilities than for someone with a job and children at home. Notwithstanding that....the total Feb 2016 passage rate was 35.7%. Concord's average first time taker pass rate is around 34.5%. It's not that far off. Besides, ask any friend you have that went to a traditional law school and they will tell you, your school will not prepare you to pass the bar. That's what your bar prep program is for...that and a lot of studying. Concord is not perfect, but few schools are. I liked some professors more than others. I bet my friends that went to brick and mortar schools feel the same. You know what else my traditional law school friends have that I do not? Six figures of debt. Understand that law schools today pump out more graduates than legal jobs available, and those legal jobs are shrinking due to technology (a computer can do today what it took several first year associates to do 10 years ago). Point being, it's not the best idea to go to a traditional law school unless you have some real confidence that you're going to make that money back and not be saddled with debt. If you're thinking of using that degree to NOT practice law....that's an even riskier proposition. So here's what I know. I wanted the education. I did not want to practice. Concord supplied that education at a fraction of the cost. I graduated a few months ago and I have zero debt today. Last week I, like many others in traditional law schools, took the bar exam (if you're curious I took it as a matter of pride more than anything else). I don't know if I passed or not, but I sure didn't feel handicapped by the school I attended. Know why you want the education. If it's to advance a career in a non-practicing field, or to practice law specifically in California....if you're self motivated and are willing to put in years of work.....Concord is a strong choice. Little disclaimer. I do not work for or have any affiliation with Concord. They did not ask or recruit me to go to school there. I did my homework and went to them....and I'm glad I did.
I previously wrote a great review for this school; however, I am starting my final year and sadly things have deteriorated somewhat. I hope the school can effectively manage their budget shortfall while maintaining high quality teaching. Several of my teachers were terminated mid-year this year, and front office support seems sparse. I still maintain that if you live in CA and are an older student with a strong undergraduate degree from a real school you will learn what you need to learn at Concord (with some help from supplemental programs which are easy to find)
Concord Law is a great school, if you are great with time management and don't cut corners. Please do not get discouraged by the Trolls on this page, because they don't have the slightest clue. They have never taken a class and don't have any idea what Concord is about! This is an outstanding thriving school with a solid curriculum! Hope this helps someone.
There are some excellent reasons for knowing the law outside of the most usual reason – namely getting a good job with a law firm. For example, someone hacks into your computer and stores questionable material on your hard drive. Now you are facing charges and a lengthy prison sentence. Worse yet, none of the local attorneys know enough about cybercrime to help you with your case (common occurrence). You better know the law! Don’t expect the police or federal officers to explain it to you because they are only out to convict you. Or, as a second example, you want to start a consulting firm to better leverage your expertise. Again, you better know the law. That is, unless you want to pay expensive attorney fees over a simple matter or, even worse, adopt an organizational model that is not optimal to your line of business. Or, you are the victim or workplace bullying. What are your rights? You better know the law. Or you are accused of workplace harassment. Again, if you value your job, you better know the law. Or, you are a doctor and you’re the victim of a frivolous lawsuit that threatens your practice and your professional reputation. Again, you better know the law. Depending on the lawyers that you hire to protect you is risky business. For one thing, you may not be able to find a lawyer who possesses the expertise to handle your case. This is a particular problem with legal cases involving the Internet. Another common issue is that your attorney is simply too busy to properly handle your case or, worse yet, they relegate your case to the youngest and least experienced attorney in their firm. In these cases, you need to know the law so that you can assist your neophyte attorney. In my personal experience, these young attorneys appreciate any help that you can provide, as long as you treat them courteously. Remember that no one has as high a stake in the outcome of your case as you. Look, we no longer live in our “Dad’s” America. Crime is sky high and good jobs are scarce. Yet we still have to live in this society. The best way of surviving is through education because knowledge is power. Therefore, people need to look at the best educational opportunities available and invest wisely. Some of the skills that you acquire may lead directly to a job, while other skills may simply help you to survive. Concord represents one of the best educational investments I ever made. (It does, however, fall into the category of helping me survive because I do not work as a professional attorney.) Originally, I thought that I would take the EJD degree and learn about the law. I started, however, in the JD program on a lark and graduated in 2007. I never intended to become a lawyer, but I did pass the FYLSE on my first attempt in 2004 in the most difficult way imaginable – I received an extremely high score on the difficult contracts multiple choice portion of the exam -- the area of the FYLSE that is most dreaded by the test-takers. (I believe that many professional lawyers would be unable to duplicate my performance!) Granted, I’m a scientist and my writing skills are not always the best. But Concord’s preparation for the examination was excellent in all ways. The professors were helpful and would answer questions within one day. I was one of the better students in my class, as it turned out, and I seldom needed help with material. Still Concord was no walk in the park. I had to work hard to finish the course of study. The work aside, my entire experience at Concord was top-notch in that I got what I wanted from the program. Look, I know that detractors on this site take issue with Concord’s 33% pass rate on the FYLSE, but you have to understand that the test is a competition. The California Bar regulates the number of test-takers who can pass the test on any given setting. For example, if too many people do well on the multiple choice part of the test, the California Bar will actually scale the test to fail out people who have numerical scores good enough to pass. In contrast, if too many people score badly and not enough people pass, the California Bar will sometimes curve the scores higher. The bottom line is that the California Bar knows how many people they will allow to pass the examination on any one sitting and they will take measures to make sure that only that number of people pass. So Concord has no way to enhance the pass rates except through discouraging students from taking the test. Concord simply will not do that because it goes against their philosophy of giving everyone a chance. Hopefully, that better explains the FYLSE. I never took the California Bar – that was never my goal – but I cannot tell people how many times I have used my legal background to solve problems at work and in my life. People need to know the law. I cannot express that enough. Also, I am eligible to take the California Bar if I choose to do so sometime in my life. While I am an IT programmer by profession, I use my legal background at work on a daily basis because the area in which I specialize is so highly dependent on an understanding of the law. Regarding the Concord first time pass rate, it is based solely on the California Bar, one of the nation’s toughest. If you look at the scores of ABA test-takers from other states, you’ll see that Concord fares reasonably well. Also, the overall Concord pass rate is around 50% when you include people who take the bar multiple times. Obviously, Concord does not compete well against Stanford Law and it shouldn’t because they are not the same thing (or anywhere near the same price). The youngsters at Stanford (as well as UCLA, USC, Harvard, Michigan, and the rest of the elites) represent some of the nation’s best young legal minds. Almost none of them will be available to “regular folks” because on graduation they will go to top corporate firms. One way that corporate America controls the law if by keeping the best legal minds in a position where they are dedicated to the menial tasks of a company. That is why we need Concord!