Ray's J.D. (Juris Doctor)
About this Program Type:
Specifically in regard to Northwestern California University School of Law (NWCULaw):
The first two years of this specific program (NWCULaw) resulted in the issuance of a Bachelor of
Science in Law, BSL. The school currently (December 2016) does not offer the BSL degree, but I did
receive mine (I completed the requirements in December 2015).
The study of law requires three or more years to complete. This is no light undertaking by any measure. It
would be wise to go into such an endeavor knowing why you are doing it in the first place. For me, the
initial reason has evolved. My current reasons include my efforts with ETE, and for personal legal
knowledge in my profession as well as being a better (knowledgeable) consumer of legal services.
I get three chances to successfully pass the FYLSX, June of 2012, October 2012 and June of 2013.
If I am not successful by June of 2013, I must be removed from the J.D. program until such time
that I do pass the FYLSX. [I was not successful until my sixth attempt in October 2014!]
If it takes me more than the first three attempts to pass, at the time I do pass, I am allowed to
go back into the J.D. program, but only allowed credit for one year of study... having to retake
any courses I had already done beyond that point... passing the FYLSX is quite important!
Follow up on the above - I failed the FYLSX five times, passing it in October 2014. I had to repeat
the 2L year, but my GPA went from below a 2.0 to being 2.175 because of passing the FYLSX.
I created a page that discusses the FYLSX, FYLSX The Exam, in which I discuss important
issues about the exam you must know.
My goal is not necessarily to practice law as much as to know the law. I plan to seek admission
to the California Bar when I complete my studies and after I obtain that, I would appeal to the Florida Bar to
seek the opportunity to take the Florida Bar as well.
I took the LSAT (Law School Admissions Test) cold. I scored a 148 on the exam and that got me into five different
law schools, all of which cost more than $32,000 per year, plus fees, books and other expenses. The lowest cost
school that I applied to, Florida International University, was $13,000 plus fees, books and other expenses and
is about an hour drive, each way, from where I live.
With my personal success via distance education technology for my Bachelor's Degree as well as my Master's Degree,
I decided that I would "buck the system" (I do not think anyone would be too surprised by that) and obtain my
legal education via distance education through what I term as The California Option.
The American Bar Association, who accredits law schools, does not accredit distance learning programs - by their
From Standard 306: Distance Education:
This rule makes any school that offers a J.D. totally via distance or online education ineligible
for ABA accreditation.
(d) A law school shall not grant a student more than four credit hours in any term, nor more than a
total of 12 credit hours, toward the J.D. degree for courses qualifying under this Standard.
My personal and professional advice to anyone who is considering going to law school is that they partake
in state owned and operated ABA accredited law schools where you must go and sit in class at specified times
and locations. This is the best way in which to allow yourself the opportunity to take any state's Bar Exam.
All states will allow an ABA law school graduate to sit for their Bar Exams. If you graduate from a non ABA
accredited law school, like I will, you are LIMITED as to what Bar Exams you can take, and when.
I passed the 1L year, just barely, but I passed, in March 2012.
Because I failed the FYLSX three times, I had to be removed from the program in August 2013. I continued to
take the FYLSX because my scores continued to improve (other than in June of 2014!). I finally passed the
FYLSX in October 2014, on my sixth attempt - what a ride!.
I rejoined my law study program with NWCULaw in December 2014 (when the scores had been released from the
October FYLSX), and, once back in the program, I decided to sit for the MPRE (Multistate Professional
Responsibility Exam) - which I passed with a 103 (I needed an 86 to pass for California).
Completed the BSL Degree, no longer offered by NWCULaw, in December 2015.
Completed 3L in December 2016.
I will cover more fine detail of all this as I go along. For now, my tuition is locked in at slightly under
$3,000 per year, which makes the tuition less than $12,000 for the entire program. It has the limitations of
what I call "The California Option." This is perfectly in line with my long term goals and objectives.
My first year law texts (I only purchase brand new materials) was less than $1500. This might seem high, but
I added additional materials in expectation of really wanting to pass the California FYLSX (First Year Law Student
Exam) on the very first try (June of 2012 for me).
Update to Costs: I have been working on a program to cut all of the costs I possibly could. As
of 3L, I no longer purchase any Case Books. I only purchase Gilbert's Law Summary's for the big picture, the
California Bar Essay Book, discussed elsewhere in this site, and I rely heavily on Wikipedia and Google for
background information. I hardly even use Lexis Nexis, but I have a couple of times - it is rare. My goal is to
demonstrate that learning the law can be VERY affordable, and my tuition for all four years was the same, $2,850
I have three shots at passage and must be successful by June of 2013 or face being dropped from the Law Studies
Program (yet I would still complete the Bachelor of Science in Law (BSL)).
Update to the Above: It took me six attempts at the FYLSX to pass it, which I did in October 2014.
I also did complete the BSL degree, and I earned that in December 2015. The school does not currently offer the BSL
Again, my personal goal for law studies relates to knowing the law more so than the practice of
law. I will seek California Bar entrance as well as Federal Court in California. I will seek to appeal for a waiver
to take the Florida Bar Exam as well - I love the punishment of it all, I must...
All of my goals and objectives are continuing to evolve as I move through this process. I expect to evolve this page
along the way with insights as to my progress and how I am doing.
If you already have an Associate's Degree, you could qualify to enter this sort of program in California.
Having said that, I have already noted some very important relevance of my Master's Degree (and my Associate's
Degree - I specialized in Psychology) with this study of law. I believe that I have done very well for myself in
completing the Master's Degree first - which ought to help me in some later law study subjects.
If you have the motivation, dedication, and determination, I think that someone with an Associate's Degree might
do well in this sort of program. For myself, I am very glad that I have the education behind me to assist in my
continued forward movement.