Washington state residents considering law school should look into this law clerk program instead. Participants of this unique four-year program get on the job training as a paralegal or an apprentice with a firm or prosecutor's office and are allowed to sit for the bar exam.
About 230 people have graduated from the program since the 1930s, about 150 of them since 1984. The Washington State Bar Association formally established standards in 1934.
The law clerk program formalized the longstanding practice of serving as an apprentice under an attorney in order to become a practicing lawyer.
In order to qualify for the program, candidates must have a bachelor’s degree and a full-time job with their sponsoring attorney. Monthly tests are given by the tutor.
Unlike full-time law school, which takes three years, the law clerk program takes four years.
Accepted students pay $1,500 every year to the state bar. The expense is far less than that of part-time or full-time law school — anywhere from $20,000 to $42,000 a year.
The state bar says the goal is to have students study and learn the same things law students receive in the classroom — such as constitutional law, torts and criminal procedure.
Many of the law school scam bloggers including myself and L4L at Big Debt, Small Law have advocated for apprenticeship programs that would give students on the job training for little to no cost, saving students thousands of dollars and allowing them to make connections with employers that could lead to full time job offers after passing the bar exam. Indeed, it seems that this is the one of the few legal programs in existence that could currently boast a large percentage of their participants finding full-time jobs in the legal field upon graduation and sitting for the bar.
Alumbaugh, who earned a bachelor’s degree in law and justice from Central Washington University, started with the prosecutor’s office in 2002 and was promoted in February to become a deputy prosecutor under a legal rule that allows law students waiting for the bar exam to practice under supervision.
She previously worked as a secretary, attended Yakima Valley Community College and ran a day-care center from her home. She had considered law school, but it wasn’t realistic since she wanted to stay in Ellensburg, where family members have helped with her children. So she pursued the alternate route — formally known as the law clerk program — and got Zempel to be her sponsor.
“It’s been a really great experience, and I’m glad I did it. It’s definitely an option for people who are looking to become an attorney,” Alumbaugh said.
She expects to stay with the Kittitas County Prosecutor’s Office for the near future and then see where her new legal career takes her.
So tell me again why the majority of law students are paying up to $200k for an education that doesn't prepare them to become lawyers, doesn't guarantee them a job, and holds students in disdain for expecting good paying jobs after a three year, $200k investment? Why is the system set up so that most students studying the law aren't allowed a low cost education while getting real world experience in a legal apprenticeship? Oh, right. Because the law schools and the shills (like Crittenden at the National Jurist) who feed off them need the money. Otherwise how could Cooley Law School afford their million dollar baseball stadium or pay Dean Karen H. Rothenberg's $371,000 a year base salary?