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My Review of NWCU Law School

Posted on:March 8, 2024 at 07:17 AM

👋 Hey there, after seeing wonderful posts reviewing other academic programs, there’s a shocking lack of content on Northwestern California University School of Law where I recently completed my JD 📜.

Why become an attorney?

My mother suffered a tragic back surgery in 2018 that resulted in her near permanent hospitalization for many years and ruined her quality of life. It was awful. This fascinated me with the concept of truly advocating for others and I learned vicariously through the malpractice lawsuits that followed. I’ve observed many times how much good one can do for the community around them by providing answers to complicated questions. Being an honest lawyer with integrity is a unique quality, and can have a tremendously positive impact on those around you who need you the most.

Here are all the other reasons I wanted to become an attorney;

  1. MBAs are a complete scam
  2. All the skills involved in ‘business’ can be learned elsewhere for free
  3. Law is a more useful skillset, and always a plus to any other skillset
  4. Being a lawyer enables you to advocate for yourself because you know the rules of the game being played
  5. Knowing law is an incredible way to be more effective over your lifetime in various personal and professional pursuits
  6. Most importantly, if you’re a lawyer you have the ability to sometimes fight for the causes you believe in and have a positive impact

A word on law school accreditation

There are essentially one way to become an attorney. The vast majority of lawyers go to a normal ABA law school, but there are a few who do it by apprenticeship.

As far as law schools, there’s ordinary ABA law school, OR a state accredited law schools. These are schools that are only valid in one state. From what I can tell, these exist in states like Alabama, Tennessee, and California.

The California state supreme court is surprisingly one of the best in the nation with respect to attorney eligibility, you can become an attorney in California by both apprenticeships, state-accredited schools and regular ABA schools.

Northwestern California University School of Law is a California state accredited school, so you don’t need to sit for the typical “baby bar” exam after your first year.

Time management

California state schools have some basic requirements around how many hours you have to spend on law school every year. I didn’t find these requirements too difficult, as the lectures qualify and they have plenty of material for you to watch to get familiar.

Attendance isn’t required, and I never went to class. My recommendation is to practice quite hard for finals to get familiar. What I did for the two weeks before finals every year for each subject;

Difficulty & Grading

As far as exams, law students are essentially training themselves through deep learning to become inconsistent compilers. This is really annoying because there are a lot of principles that can produce inconsistent results that can arrive in different contexts. You just have to remember and accept these inconsistencies. This stands in stark contrast to engineering school where you have to understand how things work and be able to derive a solution to a problem that works.

Here, you have to understand exactly why a particular outcome will occur, and be able to spot all the relevant possible rules that could be relevant to the situation. This requires a lot of memorization and practice.

TL;DR engineering school is definitely harder material, but law school professors are harsher graders

At NWCU, Midterms are 33% of your grade, Final Exams are 66%. Fortunately, NWCU is wonderful with grading as you can make it through the program without a tremendous amount of difficulty.

That’s it.

The product itself

With all of the benefits as described I would almost say that the product doesn’t matter because you’re basically just paying for the ability to sit for the right exams and prove you can learn the law.

That said, this is a law school too, and there are some resources. They have regular weekly online classes, and access to various resources like CALI and the school run forums. I didn’t find these tremendously helpful but I think they could be better for others.

Value for money?

This is one of the best parts. NWCU is quite committed to making this program as affordable as possible. As far as tuition goes, this is one of the best parts of the program. The entire program can be done for around $16,000. In fact, when I did the program I paid somewhere around $12,000 total in tuition.

This is incredible compared to the average ABA law school graduate with 130,000 in debt. Suffice it to say, this is a phenomenal value for money compared with traditional law schools.

a note on textbooks

All textbooks are extortion, and law school is no exception. A few quick points from me on saving money;

Career possibilities

In my opinion, if you’re not going to a top 25 law school, your school doesn’t matter. Going this route means you’re using your own abilities, hustle, and network. So there’s no functional difference between an ABA and non-ABA school.

so where can you use this degree?

At least right now, the best way to use this degree is to then take the California bar exam (the true final exam of this law school). Unfortunately, California is widely considered the hardest bar exam in the country. That said, there is a recent rule change by the Indiana Supreme court allowing Non-ABA graduates to sit for the Indiana bar exam.

Studying for this exam is tough. This is not a post on the bar exam but I should mention that the cottage industry of bar prep companies is sickening.

Once you’re admitted

Assuming you can pass and get admitted to the bar, a wide spectrum of possible waivers and transfers open up for you;

For more on transfer you can actually check out the NCBE guide on admission and reciprocity.

So is this worth it?

All things considered, if you were on the fence about whether you should try law school and never thought you’d have the time, I think NWCU is a fantastic option. This degree, like any law degree, is really just buying the eligibility to sit for the bar.

If you’re interested in NWCU, I’m happy to evangelize for the school, it was a great opportunity to learn the law in a structured way with challenges along the way.