By - ReaderToLawyer
How would this affect your ability to work? Would lawyers who "went thru the normal pipeline" look down on you?
Like a GED compared to a HS diploma?
I am in no way saying that a GED is somehow less than a HS Diploma. I actually think I'd respect someone with a GED a little bit more. But, some others may not view it the same.
Prior to taking the bar exam, I was a paralegal for 14 years. I already knew then many attorneys by the time I passed. Thankfully, I have not experienced anyone looking down on me. If anything, when attorneys find out I did the law reader route, they express great interest. Learning the law on your own is very challenging. I took the same bar exam and was responsible for the same material for the bar exam as law students.
A couple of attorneys have asked to talk to me because they know someone who wants to be a law reader. I am always happy to sit and talk with attorneys about the program or students who are in a law reader program.
Attorney here. Id definitely not look down; Id be quite impressed honestly. If Kim K passes the bar, I’ll be impressed with her too. No shade.
I mean yeah. Passing the Bar is impressive
Especially in California. 3 fucking days. No thank you.
It's now 2 days thank god.
Shiiit. I haven't been out of school that long. When did they change that?
The Texas bar was spread across three days. After 3 years of law school and a summer of bar prep, I found the bar exam to be really easy. And after all the studying I did, those 4 hour long test sessions were easy to sit through.
All multiple choice?
Two days were multiple choice, one day was essay. Essays were on 8 topics and we got 4 in the morning and 4 in the afternoon. Two 4 hour sessions. I routinely finished my sessions in around 2 hours, but I knew people that didn’t finish.
I dont think I can take an 8 hr test. Will fry my brain.
While in law school, between going to class, studying, and my internship at a law firm, I was routinely doing 14-16 hour days. While doing bar exam prep, it was usually 12 hours a day, 6 days a week. After that, the bar exam was nice and short. I’ve been practicing about 15 years now and usually work 10-12 hours a day. Good thing I enjoy my work. No two days are ever the same.
I know nothing of the bar. Is it a memorization based exam, or more problem solving?
I can only speak to the Ontario Bar exam. Here you're given a huge stack of paper (about 1600 pages), which you then take away and study on your own, and most importantly have them bound into smaller books and create some sort of index for. In the exams (you sit two four hour exams) you have about one minute per question to find the answer to the multiple choice question in your notes.
It's honestly not a very effective exam for actually teaching you anything. It was an ordeal to get through, but I don't feel like I really learned anything. I had previously been qualified as a lawyer in the UK before I moved to Canada, and the qualifying exams there were all essay based, which I find better for actually learning. The multiple choice bar exams only really teach you to look things up quickly, I couldn't tell you a single fact I learned for the 8 hours of bar exams I sat.
As someone who passed the Bar in New York, I don't think the Bar Exam is that hard. Law school itself was much harder. When I was studying for the Bar, I had already graduated and I already had a job lined up, so all I had to do for 10 weeks was study, which there are prep courses for that tell you everything you need to know, you just follow along. Law school was longer, had more material, had harder material, more tests, tests were not pass/fail, had things like moot court and journals and clubs to engage with, interviews for internships and jobs, networking events, etc. And that's AFTER the difficult task of doing well in undergrad, prepping for the LSAT, and applying to law schools. After 4 years of undergrad and 3 years of law school, listening to lectures for 6 hours a day and taking one pass/fail test of "minimum competency" was a breeze.
I put off breaking up with an ex for a bit because she was about to take the bar exam and I didn't wanna put that emotional stress on her. It wasn't an unhealthy relationship either, I just didn't see a future together.
Edit: she passed and we're still friends
I hope fortune comes your way. From that act alone I can tell you're known to be a great companion.
Well hold on now, they never specifically said that they *didn't* murder their ex. It would be logical that's why they didn't see a future together.
You sound like someone who passed the bar
>I put off breaking up with an ex for a bit because she was about to take the bar exam and I didn't wanna put that emotional stress on her.
So nice of you..now you don't have to worry about lawyer when you get in trouble 😉
Neither would I but big nyc firms likely would unless you were in some specific practice areas- maybe ip if you already had some advanced degree.
It's not just NYC. Boston, Chicago, LA, Palo Alto, D.C., etc. However, I'm sure there are more than a few Amlaw 100 firms which might pride themselves on finding a diamond in the rough. That said, without a law school transcript, I can't imagine how they could compare you to other candidates...
Something tells me those huge firms also would descriminate all JD degrees except those from an ivy league (or equal) institution.
But as always it comes down to experience.
If OP proves themselves in practice that will probably value more than a lack of a JD.
I wonder what it's like to take the bar exam without any formal law school education. Must be strange as f.
I don't consider myself particularly intelligent. I passed the bar which I thought was reasonably challenging. Meaning, if you can't pass it, you really have no business being a lawyer. But if you do pass it, maybe you will or maybe you won't be a good lawyer.
I'm sure that's a skewed view considering I have been surrounded by primarily lawyers and legal types since I went to law school. I just can't imagine what it's like to finish law school and not pass the bar... Or even fail it multiple times....
For real, ten years of practice now and starting in a new field, law school can't hold a candle to actual experience. I was in law school while my wife did med school. Two years in they were getting practical experience in clinics and hospitals, seeing patients and learning "on the job" (hence, don't go to a teaching hospital in July...new students/interns). Three years in and done, I had no idea what a lawyer "actually does". Fortunately I had some life experience before law school - the "traditional" students (undergrad straight to law school) were so sure they'd arrived at Opportunity's doorstep and she was eager to let them in. Then they learned about judges, who I am sure are taught to look at law school curriculums and then do the opposite. 14 years as a para, you've got 14 years more experience on every new lawyer AND a handful on a lot of "experienced" lawyers as well. Congrats.
I'm in the same boat, I finished law school and started working while my fiancee did medical school, she had way more work experience before leaving school than I did, and I did several internships.
I see what you're saying.
One way I can personally picture what you are saying is similar to trusting a registered nurse with 30 years of experience over a Junior Doctor.
That is a good analogy! It would be like if a registered nurse decided to study medicine to become a doctor. Instead of going to med school, she studies from the same or similar books and lectures at a hospital. Then after three or four years of study, she takes and passes the medical board exam.
It used to be that apprenticeship programs were more common for people to be able to do things like this.
Yes! I got some flack in another group because I used Kim Kardashian as an example instead of Abraham Lincoln or Clarence Darrow. My thought process was that back then, it was common and in modern times, it is not. I should have clarified though that Kim Kardashian is the most famous modern day law reader! Certainly Abraham Lincoln is more famous, haha
She has worked with The Innocence Project, or at least on behalf of freeing one inmate wrongly convicted, and while I have zero interest in her celebrity, if she applies her legal skill, and perhaps celebrity status, to this cause, I’m all for it.
Aside from her having a very rare pregnancy complication that I had, too, I literally never paid attention to her. Then I heard she took this thing called the "baby bar" that I had never heard of and looked it up. Good on her. And apparently she got rid of Kanye, too? Onward and upward.
I feel the same. She doesn't have to do any of this, but she wants to better herself and help other people in the process.
It is difficult to imagine a reality tv celebrity being a real person, but that is interesting that she is trying to do some potential good somehow.
I mean...her father was an attorney, it's not that much of a stretch to think that she is intelligent and curious about the law, and perhaps bored with fame.
it makes me wonder if that family would have been different if Robert was still alive. Kris is certainly intelligent but has clearly always been a starfucker.
Robert might have been successful, but he wasn’t “famous” when Kris married him tho, was he?
Although for the sake of accuracy, Robert died in 2003, 12 years after the end of his marriage to Kris. Just in case anybody got the impression from your post that they were married when he died.
The length of time between Robert dying and Kim appearing as a guest on The Simple Life really wasn’t that long.
I had a theory that she was acting dumb for her show... also to match with other co-stars.
in some show netflix there's one time she and paris hilton was doing a cooking thing. and she was trying her best to cover her frustation towards Paris's complete zero knowledge on the kitchen.
He's taught about in schools, not just American ones. I would say on a historical level he's certainly more famous than any Kardashian.
The better analogy might be nurses with 30yrs experience and an associates degree vs new nurses with their bachelor's. I don't know what is like in the rest of the country, but I know some hospitals are requiring their most tenured nurses to get their 4yr degree now because it wasn't a requirement when they started their careers.
Ive actually talked to nurses who have gone on to medical school afterwards and they have told me nursing education/experience is not a substitute for medical school/residency
In my own experience I found this to be the case as well. The experienced nurses, who were great nurses-would quesiton my decisions when I was new. I ended up being right everytime and learned that theres a difference between listening to your team and letting them make you second guess yourself. The training makes a huge difference and it very different training than nursing.
doctors and nurses are very different jobs, and appropriately have very different training. nurses are very smart, but the act of physically caring for a patient at the bedside is very different from the act of evaluating, diagnosing and managing problems.
Yeah that's why I'm not a fan when someone claims they are a nurse then start giving crazy medical advice way outside of their scope.
That's a really poor comparison, which I've to say is made by nurses who are not doctors but who feel they know better due to experience. All junior doctors lean on some of that experience when they start, but if you took a senior nurse, and give them a patient and told them to come up with management plans, they'd be hard pressed to come up with evidence based ones.
It's like saying because you've played solitaire for 40 years, you should automatically be good at poker because they are card games.
There's a role for advanced skills nursing practitioners, but you will notice they are often restricted to certain areas of expertise.
I can do some minor repairs around the house, but I don't fancy myself an electrician, plumber, welder etc because I went to the "school of hard knocks."
My cousin recently graduated from Law school. I'm super proud of him beyond belief. I know it's a hard exam. Congrats :)
I'm a teacher that went through an alternative certification program after getting a PhD in my field. I'm probably more enthusiastic about the job than all my colleagues who went to college at the same time as me to be teachers. However, I have not experienced \[at least where I work\] anyone claiming I'm not a "real" teacher. I'm here while so many others have quit.
Some hoity toity school systems have, in the past, refused to hire people such as myself - but have since changed their tune with increasing staff shortages.
Lawyer who went through the pipeline: OP gets some massive shit and side eye, but probably only rarely to his face. The law is *obsessed* with rankings and hierarchies, and people who are outside of those are unfortunately seen as being beneath it, rather than above it.
And yes: it’s very much seen as a GED. Or maybe an associate’s to a bachelor’s. It’s not a good look.
I’ve never understood it. If Abraham Lincoln didn’t go to law school, why should OP have to go? There’s no magic to law school, and of the 206 law schools in the US, only the top 80-120 are worth a damn. There’s a TON of incredibly predatory schools out there that charge people who have no business whatsoever going to law school $50k per *semester,* that the empirical evidence says they’re highly unlikely to ever pay back.
If OP passes the bar, and has a job, who cares where they learned how to do it.
> If Abraham Lincoln didn’t go to law school, why should OP have to go?
Because rich and powerful people LOVE to gatekeep so others cannot become rich and powerful. it's shitty.
Except law school ISN’T the gate being kept. That’s the [T14](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Law_school_rankings_in_the_United_States?wprov=sfti1) and Yale, Stanford, and Harvard in particular. No one who is worth a damn from that rich and powerful mindset would EVER go to a school ranked lower than about 40.
VA has 12 law schools, ranked from #8 nationwide (UVA) to #147 (code for unranked). OP presumably could have gotten into one. Who cares if he/she just read the law, instead of giving Appalachian or Regent or Liberty $200k? It’s not like Regent Law grads are running the state or anything.
To be fair, there was a LOT less law in Lincoln’s day.
Law school is bad at teaching you how to practice law in a specific area, but great at teaching you the basics of a lot of areas, enough to spot the issues, and how to think analytically. There’s really no substitute for that.
Going through this path can severely limit career flexibility/options. OP has generally painted an "optimistic" picture here but it's not that pretty of a picture in most other cases. If you want to practice in a small town in family law and you're already plugged into the legal community this might work out for you like it has for OP, but if not most lawyers won't recommend doing this.
In bigger markets you simply won't be marketable because there are plenty of people with JDs. Unless you already have a plug into a job think about why employers would hire you over the new grad with a JD? You can basically count on it not happening. Most jobs will already disqualify you for not having a JD. For example most federal attorney position will say you need a JD.
> If you want to practice in a small town in family law and you're already plugged into the legal community this might work out for you like it has for OP, but if not most lawyers won't recommend doing this.
That's kind of who these type of programs are made for. One of the requirements is literally being plugged into the legal community. A supervising attorney isn't putting their reputation on the line for someone who just doesn't want to deal with law school.
If you're eligible to do this then you're already thick with the legal community or at least thick enough with one attorney to make sure you have a ready-made employer and mentor.
I mean, they literally discussed the cons and their limitations in their post, but ok...
Just throwing it out there, HS is basically mandatory, and anyone not getting a HS diploma has something going on that greatly interfered. A GED is something someone chose to better themselves.
I find GED far more admirable.
For the record, I dropped out of high school in my junior year (16) and am now a 2L (second year of law school) at 28.
Not that you in particular were saying that those who drop out only to subsequently earn their GED should be viewed as anything less but given the stereotype(s) that accompany such a decision are abound, it’s worth noting that more often than not the outliers are those who did nothing more rather than those who turned their life around.
OP, what is the law reader program? How did you get it and what did it cost?
I’m reading some of your comments and I’m amazed. 100 kudos for you, OP! You seem smart as hell!
Thank you for the kind words! The law reader program is an alternate way to study the law in four states. Instead of attending law school, the student studies the law inside of a law office under the supervision of an attorney. The student is responsible learning the same law as law students and ultimately is tested with the same bar exam as law students.
You can learn more about the Virginia law reader program here: [https://barexam.virginia.gov/reader/reader.html](https://barexam.virginia.gov/reader/reader.html)
Between all the application fees, exam fees, bar prep course, study materials, hotel fees to take the exams, etc - my total out of pocket cost was about $8,000.
Dayum, that's low. Would it be hard for a normal person to get into a program like this? Can't imagine law firms are jumping at the chance to sponsor a student like this.
I think it’s for paralegals and people who already have extensive experience. The bar is very hard in most places
Just curious, did you have to pay for the supervision of the attorney who supported you? How did you convince them to take you on if not?
I did not. I was fortunate enough to have a family member serve as my supervising attorney. I know other law readers who worked as a paralegal for their supervising attorney first and found their supervising attorney by working. One supervising attorney even asked his paralegal to do it so she could work as an attorney in his firm when she passed, which she did.
Thanks for your response, OP! Glad you don’t have heavy student loans!
My brother went to law school, graduated, and then spent about $8000 to take the test 6 times, the last time with a tutor. It really fucked with him and he’s been terribly depressed ever since and has stated multiple times what a complete joke he is for ever thinking he could actually be a lawyer.
He’s now thinking of giving up law and going back to school for ASL interpretation for court.
My question is, what advice, tips, tricks, hacks to help him study/pass? And, if you have any insight into it, ways that you’ve coped with failure in your life.
I am going to send you a private message about this.
Oh cool. Thank you so much
Without the 14 years of exposure do you think you could have done it?
It is very difficult to say. I don't think I could have successfully completed the law reader program and passed the bar with no prior legal experience. This isn't to say others can't, but I don't think that I could have. I learned how to 'think like a lawyer' while working as a paralegal. I learned how to make legal arguments as a paralegal. These are things you don't learn studying the black letter law. I often relied on my experience when I was analyzing an issue.
I went to law school and couldnt argue my way out of a wet paper bag, I was so young I didnt really understand any of it. Now I am thinking of doing the bar in the UK(I qualified in NZ), but it looks like a lot of work.
It is a lot of work. I would recommend reading a lot of model essay answers. Maybe that can help you start to form arguments, especially arguments you'll need to make for the bar exam. Reviewing model answers helped me the most for the essay portion of the exam.
I’m guessing you did a lot of outside studying. How will this affect you in court? Can other lawyers or even judges discredit you because you didn’t got to law school?
I did a LOT of outside studying! My life for three solid years was studying. I studied between 30 and 40 hours each week. If anything, reading the law has helped me in court because I knew the local rules and local court procedures. That is something often not taught in law school.
Since I have a law license, I cannot officially be discredited by a court or lawyer for not going to law school. People can of course spread rumors and say mean things. Thankfully, this has not been an issue for me. The legal community in my area has been supportive of law readers. Off the top of my head, I am the third in my area to become an attorney through the law reader route. There may even be more.
Just here to say that this is awesome! I am an attorney, and law school is just the biggest scam ever. You absolutely don't need law school to practice law. You've got so much paralegal experience that you probably were more experienced than most attorneys even without taking the bar! I know that I could not survive at my job without my paralegal.
Thank you for those kind words!
Oh wow nice and that is impressive
Just my opinion but if you passed the bar exam on the first try there’s nothing to discredit. In fact I’d say it’s awesome. Being able to practice law without crippling debt to start out with is fantastic. Good on ya!
Could you become a judge in Virginia?
Yes! There have been judges in Virginia who started as law readers. At least one successful judge story is here:
Came here to ask the same question lol.
Where's Harvey? We have questions for him.
I don't know who any of these people are, lol
Referring to tv show Suits.
Check out Sheila Sasz!!!
She got LittUp!
You just got Litt Up
You should probably watch the first episode of suits, i bet it comes to mind for a lot of people when you describe not going to law school.
There goes the plot of Suits, Mike could just have taken the bar in the beginning.
Mike did actually take the bar prior to the start of the show. He tells Harvey in his interview that he did it to win a bet, and proves it by quoting from the bar handbook.
The issue in the show is that he didn't go to law school, and in New York you can't be an attorney without going to law school. The premise is dumb because Mike could have moved to one of the four states that allow it and been fine, or Harvey could have just hired him as a super-paralegal whilst he speedrunned lawschool.
The premise is dumb because he couldn’t take the bar without committing more fraud since in most states you can’t just “take the bar exam.”
He also couldn’t go to law school because he needed to go to Harvard to work at Pearson Specter as a lawyer, and Harvard was a no-go because he banged his undergraduate dean’s daughter who he was also tangentially involved in a cheating scandal with, and the dean wrote a letter to Harvard telling them not to admit Mike, but would have that letter ready for any law school mike went to.
Further, if all you needed to do was memorize the law to practice it, then take a book and you’ll be a great lawyer. Mike’s ability to memorize shit doesn’t mean anything, and wouldn’t have impressed any partner.
I was looking for a reference to Suits. Although I'd say OP reminds me a bit more of Rachel than Mike.
Frank Abagnale lol
How hard was it to find an attorney willing to supervise your studying? I read through the Virginia memorandum and it seems quite difficult.
He said he had a family member who was a lawyer that was willing to do it.
What branch of law do you now work in?
I practice primarily family law, but have represented clients in minor civil matters.
Bird law mostly
He got his degree from Columbia.
And now he needs one from America!
Literally lol’d, thank you.
That was undergrad. The implication was that he somehow did that but actually went to law school.
Do you believe there is any merit whatsoever to these state requirements like being in a "reading program" or being required to go through a law school? Why is sitting for and passing the bar by itself not enough if you think there is merit in those programs?
I think that all states should offer a law reading option. I respect though that there are people who disagree with me. There are valid reasons for both positions. The Virginia bar examiners prepared a memorandum that addresses some issues with the law reader program that may explain some reasons why most states have opted not to have a law reader program.
How did you stay motivated? It definitely seems different doing self study versus in school where you are paying for the education and have deadlines and papers to write.
I created a study schedule and goals. I am very goal oriented. While I didn't have official deadlines, I did have self-imposed deadlines. The bonus of being a law reader is that if I was having trouble in an area, I could spend longer on it. If I picked up something very quickly, I could move on. It allowed me to learn at my pace, which helped in retaining information.
What helped were the study aids that I purchased. (Quimbee, Barbri, BarMax MBE question bank). There were always tests that I could take and I took them regularly. If I didn't score well on a test, I studied more and kept testing until my scores were high. I didn't move onto the next subject until I had a firm grasp of a topic.
Are you well versed in bird law?
No, but I do know family law!
Not sure about family law, but I have it on excellent authority that bird law in this country is not governed by reason.
I submit to this proceeding that birds are in fact not real. Therefore, to practice bird law is to practice flim-flam! YOU CANT HANDLE THE TRUTH!
YOU'RE OUT OF ORDER! THIS WHO COURT IS OUT OF ORDER!
I can go toe to toe with anyone on bird law
And I'll take that advice under cooperation. Now, let's say you and I go toe-to-toe on bird law and see who comes out the victor?
- Where did you go to law school again?
- I could ask the same of you!
- Well, umm… filibuster…
It seems like a sort of cool, old-timey bootstrap story - like I picture a young Atticus Finch studying law books in his bedroom or something. 😂
I’m sure that’s not really what it’s like, though. Does everyone who follows this path have a lot of experience in a relevant job?
I actually know someone who had my job (California Workers’ Comp Adjuster) who is in the process of doing the same thing with a firm. There’s a specific senior attorney who is “sponsoring” her. I assume her goal is to eventually practice as a Workers’ Comp defense attorney at the firm where she’s studying.
But I always wondered if a random person, like someone fresh out of college with a pre-law degree, could do it (I assume Kim K is a unique situation 😂). I know Law School can mean lots of debt, so it seems like it could be smart if they can swing it.
You are not that far off in what you envisioned! It was a lot of sitting and reading. I don't think that everyone who follows this path as a lot of legal experience, which I believe is a reason why law readers overall have a low pass rate on the bar. The experience is so invaluable in helping teach the law reader how to think like a lawyer, which is necessary to write the essays on the bar exam.
I know someone who went into the LOSP program in California without any experience! Her supervising attorney had put an ad on Craigslist looking for a couple of law readers. Unfortunately, after her first year, she failed the baby bar. Her supervising attorney also had a medical emergency that caused him to go into early retirement. Losing a supervising attorney is one of the risks of being a law reader. It is very hard finding another supervising attorney.
Practically speaking though, I do think it would be very hard for someone with no experience to successfully pass the bar. I think that is part of what Kim Kardashian struggled with.
>It seems like a sort of cool, old-timey bootstrap story -
Fun Fact: This is basically how Abraham Lincoln became a lawyer. He borrowed legal treatises from a colleague in the Illinois legislature, took an oral exam, and was admitted to practice law in 1836.
Often times, we as members of society place a great amount of weight on someones capacity in a certain field by what university they graduate from (Princeton, Yale, Harvard, Oxford etc). Is this an opinion or point of view shared within your field? As in: Are you, or does it appear you are, looked at as a less capable attorney by virtue of how you attained your cert?
I practice in a small area that is somewhat rural. The law school that attorneys have attended here never come up in conversation. I am positive that is important in big law, but it is something that I have not personally come across and experienced. At this time, I practice primarily family law.
I have not felt at any point that others view me as less capable because of the study route that I choose. I also knew many attorneys prior to being admitted into the bar. I was a paralegal for 14 years in the same legal community. Having that experience and already being a part of the legal community in a paralegal role was very helpful.
To answer your question then, it really depends on the field and the location. The law school attended is going to be very important or certain positions and firms. For me, who just wants to have a small family law practice, it is not something that has affected me.
Unfortunately, Law and other similar professional programs are one of those that really do look into the Ivys or Top 20 Law Schools. When it comes to working with one of the big firms, the name really matters.
For sure there are going to be some firms that would not hire me. It works though because I would not want to work at those firms anyway. I prefer a more relaxed work environment. Different attorneys want different things from their positions. I would rather make less and enjoy my life more. Because I don't have the debt that comes with law school, I don't have to worry about taking high paying, but high stressed positions. I'm able to just take the cases that I want to take.
I did a little experiment, I looked at top engineers school at google, think staff engineers at google, cream of the crop, a lot of ivy leaguers but surprising a lot of small liberal arts types schools as well, I did the same thing for a top law firm in nyc and looked at partners and senior partners, not one had a law degree from a non top school. I than god that atleast software engineering has objective ways to test people’s ability and dosent rely on “school” as a strong indicator of aptitude
I don't understand wanting to work in one of the "big firms" though. Having worked in one, it's way overrated, you get lost there, just a cog in a wheel and they treat their Associates as if they're disposable.
I mean…the money.
I mean, you got the experience which is good.
Tell that to your 25-30 yo student who wants that big starting salary because of the massive student loans, and they'll tell you otherwise.
Sure it’s a grind , a ton of hours etc but the compensation is high.
A 5th year associate is making $305k base + 90-120k bonus, and last 2 years they have been paying special bonuses of like $60k
1st year associate of 205k base + 20k bonus is pretty decent too for the first law job.
Depends a lot on your practice area and what clients you want to work with. For some practice areas, you’re only going to get the interesting cases at a big firms. You’re also likely to stand out more and feel more integrated in smaller practice groups and/or offices in big firms.
You get sucked in by the excitement of fast paced big ticket deals or litigation which might be in the news, you stay for the money, you leave just before burn out or partnership (typically).
Also, The associates are literally disposable, each intake there’s another 100 people starting as trainees (I did the UK equivalent of big law at a magic circle firm). I disagree that they should be treated that way but when I objected to something there were always those people around me or behind who would take the bad behaviour for the long term goal.
Not worth it for me but several of those people are now partners
Because everyone thinks they'll make partner? They'll work you to death by then you'll be set if you make it.
What was the first case that you got?
The first case I accepted was actually for a friend who was in a dispute with her neighbor. I was able to help her resolve it. My first retained case was a custody matter.
Did you win?
Both clients were happy! I'm really careful to not share much detail about actual cases online.
I wish you a very successful career!
Can you only practise in your state or the US. Or could you move abroad and be a lawyer too?
I can only practice in Virginia right now. Each state has their own requirements as to who can qualify to be admitted into their state bar. The majority of states require a Juris Doctorate. There may be one or two that I could eventually be admitted into through reciprocity, but the options are extremely limited as a law reader. That is one of the biggest cons of choosing the law reader route. There are some ways to practice in another state on a limited capacity, like through an immigration court or tax court, but I don't practice that type of federal law.
can you pro hac for a VA client as a law reader?
I have never looked into the pro hac rules for attorneys without a JD. I think it would be state dependent. I can represent any client in Virginia though.
what ab reciprocity? is the lack of a JD implicated?
Most states require a JD for reciprocity. There may be a couple jurisdictions that do not. I don't think that DC or Vermont do, but I would have to double check.
Do you think its possible to IP and copyright law as a reader? How do you find a lawyer or firm to take you on? What are realistic job prospects?
I have lawyers in my family and was able to find a family member to volunteer as my supervising attorney. I find that most law readers have a supervising attorney who they are related to or have worked for as a paralegal. A couple though are able to find an attorney by cold calling.
I would recommend that a person who wants to go into IP and copyright law as a reader to first look for work as a paralegal in those fields. The experience is invaluable and you will also learn what it is really like to work in a law office, to make sure it is the path that you want to take. After passing the bar, your supervising attorney may be able to help you find a position to work in.
From what I have seen, most law readers end up in the same field as their supervising attorney. It makes sense since that is what they learned and know. Job prospects for law readers are usually pretty good because the supervising attorney will often offer a position upon passing the bar. I know a handful of attorneys who were law readers and all of them found positions they were happy with.
Is not the Virginia law reader rules that you still need a bachelors degree? So you still need college, you just don’t need it in law?
That is correct. I have a 4 year bachelor of science degree.
Are you Mike Ross?
I've a similar story, but in electrical engineering. While I feel good about the path I've taken, I recognize my life and path to my current position would likely have been much easier had I gone the traditional route. Do you feel the same?
Congrats on your career! Looking back, I feel that the law reader route was the right choice for me. I have a different learning style than most. I think then, even if I had gone to law school, I would have had to still study extra at night to retain what I had learned. Also, those years I worked as a paralegal were good years to me. By doing the route I did, I had the benefit of both experience and studying. It worked out well for me.
This is not a path that I would recommend to most because it is extremely challenging. It was the right path for me because it felt like the next natural step in my life and career.
I'm curious about the route you've taken in EE if you could explain a bit more. Thanks!
I'm not the guy you asked, but in my field (industrial controls) it's no unheard of at all for non EEs to do the job of an EE. I'm a university graduate of a science field and got my foot in the engineering door in my industry as an electrician at a company with an engineering department. I've also worked with people who were company wide subject matter experts in things like motor control panels despite being mechanical engineers by education. And just to be clear - I have even worked at the senior engineer level at a FAANG and that same company is still my largest customer. I've quite literally worked with the top 3% of engineers in my field without having an engineering degree myself, so there's no reason why someone else couldn't function as a run of the mill engineer without an engineering degree either.
There's a reason for this - the work that we do basically only requires a working knowledge of Ohm's Law, the ability to use Excel, and some basic programming skills. You won't ever need to know the first thing about what Maxwell had to say unless you're trying to pass the PE exam or are doing product development or something like that. Asking for an EE degree to do what we do is basically due to degree inflation and HR and managers not being able to assess candidate skills out of a wet paper bag.
Totally agree as a EE dropout working as a senior engineer at one of the FAANGs. I've worked with people that run the full range from having gotten a GED while working, MIT BSEE graduates, to PhDs and you'd be hard pressed to distinguish amongst them from their work product.
I however found that my path was much easier than going the traditional route... but much of that was due to being in the right place (a tech startup) at the right time (pre-dot com crash) where I snuck into a top company though an acquisition.
Lol damn, it hurts how accurate your assessment of what being an EE is like. And I am an EE, for better or worse
You didn't take the path of least resistance?
OK, fine. You get an upvote for that.
I’m not OP but I can relate to the question as a self taught programmer that’s made it into their seniority.
I think a lot of us that make it in this way have a different style of learning that isn’t conducive to learning what we need to in a structured environment. I for sure know that with a few months of studying algorithms to pass interviews I’m I could cut it in Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix, or Google; which would be considered the most prestigious places to work in the field. What the traditional path would get me is opening in those companies sooner, but not necessarily the knowledge requirements I need for accomplishing tasks at those jobs sooner.
The problem with autodidacts are usually they have an uphill battle of proving competency. The second problem that I personally find is holes in my knowledge base. It’s not like they’re big holes, but just things that can be easily patched in a formal setting where I would have people to bouncing things off of.
Many people are dumb at a younger age. Getting experience in a field, then going for it, *should* be a viable route for many, imho
What’s your knowledge on bird law??
I had to finally look up that this is a reference to "Its Always Sunny in Philadelphia," lol. I never saw the show.
What made you decide to take the leap from paralegal to attorney? What weren't you getting out of your career that you are achieving or hope to achieve now?
There were a couple of things. After working 10 years in a law office, I decided to become a freelance paralegal. As a freelancer, I was responsible for drafting everything from scratch for them. They usually did not provide me forms. I also worked with the attorneys on strategy. After working so many cases, I started to get confidence that I could do an entire case myself.
I also had to put in a lot of hours a freelancer because paralegals make so much less than attorneys. I hoped if I became an attorney, it would mean more money and better job security, which it has.
There were also times when I disagreed with how an attorney handled a case. I wanted the chance to be able to handle cases on my own. Last, it was very frustrating to know the answer to clients' questions, but not be able to answer them because it was considered legal advice.
I like being able to handle my own cases and to give advice to others. After so many years of not being able to give legal advice, my brain still defaults to that. I have to constantly remind myself that it is okay to give people that advice now.
Overall, I enjoy being an attorney more than a paralegal. I like being able to argue in court. I like handling the cases. I like giving out advice. I like the job security.
Kim Kardashian studies law…?
She is part of the Law Office Study Program in California! California's rules require that a student pass the baby bar before starting their second year. They also require 4 years of study instead of 3 years. I read a few weeks ago that Kim Kardashian passed the baby bar on her third attempt.
Yup, has been for a while now. Father's footsteps and all, I guess
I shat all over her when she first started, but I guess she recently passed some kind of milestone test so she can't be doing horribly
The baby bar is a challenging exam! I have tutored a couple of students preparing for it. That she was able to pass the baby bar means she has a fair chance of passing the actual bar. Still, the actual bar is much harder than the baby bar because it covers more topics. Preparing for the bar will be very challenging and she is going to have to devote a lot of time to studying. Still, she has resources many do not have! It may take her a few years, but I have a feeling she's going to eventually pass.
Huh. On second thought I know nothing about her since I’ve literally never watched her show or followed her on any kind of media so I don’t know why I asked.
I mean she may be annoying but she isn't dumb. You don't become a multi-millionaire running multiple successful brands by being stupid. She actually stated one of the reasons for divorcing Kanye was because she wanted to focus on her law degree and couldn't do that while managing his mental states.
Are you able to ever practice outside of VA? Can you get reciprocity anywhere else? If you decided to move, could you even sit for the bar somewhere else? Or do you plan to spend your entire career in VA (and federal courts)?
From what I have looked into, DC and maybe Vermont may accept a law reader through reciprocity. I haven't found any other states that would. The vast majority require a Juris Doctorate degree. I practice primarily family law, so I have no plans on being an immigration or tax attorney. If I was an immigration or tax attorney, I probably could practice in another state through the immigration court or tax court. However, from what I understand, I would not be able to practice in most federal courts unless I was admitted into that state's bar.
At this time, I plan on staying in Virginia to practice. The limited jurisdiction is probably the biggest con to choosing the law reader route. At least though I know I never have to worry about taking another bar exam again!
You can only be licensed to practice law in reciprocity states but you could still be admitted to any court pro hac vice, right?
I'm not sure if I would be able to be admitted into a court pro hac vice. I would have to read the rules. As for reciprocity, most states will only accept those who have a juris doctorate. There may be a couple of exceptions. I think the last time I checked, Vermont and DC were possibilities, but I am not completely positive. At this time, I plan on staying in Virginia.
I’ve phv’d into a lot of different courts, and don’t think I ever saw a requirement for a JD. They generally want a certificate of good standing from the top state court where you’re admitted, a record of every court you’re admitted in, a record of any previous phv admissions in that court, and a confirmation that you haven’t been reprimanded (or an explanation for any). Also a fee of course. And you’ll need local counsel.
We’re you paid while studying? How did you afford rent/bills etc?
I was not paid by my supervising attorney while studying. During the program, I worked as a freelance paralegal and a private process server for a few attorneys. I was able to afford my bills because of the bit of money I got from the freelance work, my parents helping me, and dipping a lot into my savings.
Frank Abagnale Junior, is that you ?
How would this affect your ability to waive into different state bars? Can you waive into DC bar?
From what I have seen, I think I could waive into DC and possibly Vermont after so many years of experience, but I haven't found any other states that accept an attorney that lacks a JD for reciprocity. Currently, I am only licensed in Virginia.
Saul Goodman? You know… Like it’s all good man.
He studied law at the University of American Samoa. Go land crabs!
I am not aware of a program like that in Canada, but I can't say for sure.
Now that you’re an attorney, will the other 46 states allow you to practice in those jurisdictions, assuming that you are able to pass their bar, or do their rules of no-school-no-bar still apply?
Frank, how did you cheat on the bar exam?
He didn't cheat. He studied for two weeks and he passed.
I heard that was entirely made up.
Pretty much everything he claims he did was made up. Turns out a con man is still a con man.
How familiar are you with Bird Law?
Imagine you’re a deer. You’re prancing along. You get thirsty. You spot a little brook. You put your little deer lips down to the cool, clear water. BAM! A fuckin’ bullet rips off part of your head! Your brains are laying on the ground in little bloody pieces!
Now I ask you: Would you give a fuck what kind of pants the son of a bitch who shot you was wearing?
Is this sort of like a paid internship?
Would it be the more financially responsible route for some instead of attending a traditional school?
It depends on the state. In Washington, it is my understanding that the law reader must work for the attorney and be paid. In California, it is optional for the law reader to be paid. In Virginia, the law reader is actually not allowed to be paid. The Virginia bar examiners want this to be a study program and not a situation where the law reader does work for the attorney. I wouldn't describe the Virginia law reader program then as an apprenticeship or internship. It is literally sitting in an office and studying the law through books, lectures, and speaking with the supervising attorney.
The law reader program is not for everyone. The student is required to learn an extraordinary amount of information on their own. I would only recommend it to people who already have some experience in the law.
There are many pros and cons to law school v. the law reader route. Finances is definitely a factor. There are other factors though, like how much you can learn on your own and where you want to practice. Law readers are very limited as to where they can practice. I discussed in other answers that most states require a JD to join their bar.
How is the pay?
It varies, but in my experience, is about the same as other attorneys. (At least this is true in my field of family law).