Context

Exploring why the legal apprentice path is relevant within the larger context of legal education and the justice system.

8 Tips for Taking on the Baby Bar (Like a Grownup)

Last month, I promised I’d be back with tips for the June First Year Law Students Exam. Here are some of the strategies I found useful when I was preparing back in 2014. Having just taken the July 2017 California bar exam, I can say most of these tips also apply to bar exam prep. Passing the First Year Law Students Exam, or “baby bar,” on schedule will allow you to continue accruing credit [...]

Reemergence of a Missing Legal Apprentice

It’s been three years since my last blog post, but I have reemerged momentarily to share some good news…I passed the July 2017 California bar exam!!! Passing the CA bar was a milestone for me personally, but equally so for the legal apprenticeship experiment we’re running here at the Sustainable Economies Law Center. Of the four legal apprentices we have on staff, I was the first to [...]

National Lawyers Guild is Now Accepting Applicants for Tuition Free Law Study and Mentorship in the San Francisco Bay Area

By Steven DeCaprio, Association of Legal Apprentices // The National Lawyers Guild San Francisco Bay Area Chapter (NLGSF) has expanded their mentorship program to include opportunities for marginalized people to study law under the Law Office Study Program (LOSP), a tuition free alternative to law school. If you are located in the San Francisco Bay Area and are interested in studying law under [...]

Becoming an Attorney Without Law School with the National Lawyers Guild

By Steven DeCaprio, Association of Legal Apprentices The Association of Legal Apprentices (ALA) has been working to create a Legal Apprentice Committee within the National Lawyers Guild San Francisco Bay Area Chapter (NLGSF). This year I was granted the Haywood Burns Memorial Fellowship by the National Lawyers Guild (NLG) in order to focus on this work. Since we first approached the NLGSF about [...]

Narrowing the Justice Gap with the CA State Bar’s Law Office Study Program

Last year, the State Bar of California created a the Civil Justice Strategies Task Force, the purpose of which is to:  “analyze the reasons for the existing “justice gap,” to evaluate the role of the legal profession in addressing the crisis, to seek the input of groups who have been working to expand access to justice to understand what efforts have worked and which have not [...]

The People Who Don’t Go to Law School, Part 3: Growing the Farm Workers’ Movement

How do you create the country’s most historically successful farm workers union? A quick study of Cesar Chavez and the United Farm Workers of America turns up a couple essential tools – bullhorns and an in-house legal team. Cesar Chavez helped catalyze one of the most successful non-violent social movements in US history, winning civil rights for farm workers and challenging the political [...]

The People Who Don’t Go To Law School, Part 2

The American Bar Association should do a study of people who don’t go to law school, so that we may learn about the ways in which our profession is missing out. What are the talents, ideas, life experiences, and perspectives that never make it down the narrow pathway through law school and into the profession? I’ve been meeting a remarkable number of people who say that they have seriously [...]

Read this: How to Become a Lawyer Without Going to Law School

A new Shareable article by Cat Johnson does a great job explaining how and why to become a legal apprentice. My favorite quote (from our very own Chris Tittle) alludes to the powerful impact legal apprenticeships can have on our legal system: “Laws protect those who write and defend them. So, in a country where over 88 percent of lawyers are white, 70 percent are men, and 75 percent are [...]

Your Questions and Answers About Legal Apprenticeships

At SELC’s first Legal Apprenticeship Teach-In, over thirty participants discussed how legal apprenticeships will change legal education and the legal profession. Law students, law school graduates, attorneys, and prospective legal apprentices asked the SELC apprentices and company about the nitty gritty details, and made for an enriching conversation. In fact, soon after this discussion, one [...]

Increasing Diversity in the Legal Profession through Legal Apprenticeships

Attorney Sushil Jacob advises clients at SELC’s Resilient Communities Legal Cafe, along with Thea Chhun, a legal apprentice at the Homeless Action Center. I recently had a conversation with a woman named Jimena who described her long-time dream of going to school. In her late 30s, Jimena works for a social justice organization while raising her children. She had been accepted into law [...]

Mix and Match Your Custom Legal Education

With apprentices, learning about fracking and air pollution in CA’s Central Valley. Today, President Obama made the bold suggestion that, in order to make legal education more affordable, law school could be reduced to two years, possibly followed by a year of apprenticeship or internship.  If they haven’t started discussing the idea already, I imagine that every state bar association [...]

Learning the Law in a Changing World

At SELC, we are dedicated to creating more just and resilient local economies. And increasingly, we are exploring what a more just and resilient practice of law might look like. SELC’s Wheel of Resilience A critical insight from the wider resilience movement is that we live in a world in transition. Institutions and ways of thinking that developed in the Industrial Age – including the [...]

Legal Service Organizations Meet the Legal Apprenticeship Movement

Throughout the U.S., legal services organizations are struggling to raise funds and meet demand for client services.  Meanwhile, aspiring lawyers are discouraged — by the rising cost of law school and poor job market ­– from pursing their dreams.  Sometimes, two problems can conspire with each other to find a solution. Legal service organizations and aspiring lawyers, you two [...]

The People Who Don’t Go To Law School

It’s striking to learn that only 55,760 people applied to law school this past year, while 83,400 people applied to law school in 2008. It’s also thought provoking, and worth contemplating: Who are the roughly 27,600 people who would have applied to law school this year if application rates had remained steady?  The latest ABA article on application rates quotes the Dean of [...]

Where am I? How I decided Legal Apprenticeship was the right path for me.

I woke up particularly early this morning, and I was surprisingly reflective (given how very early it was). “It’s sunny,” I thought. “I’m back in the East Bay,” I thought. “I’m doing exactly what I want to do,” I thought. But to be honest, working full time for a nonprofit law center and reading the law outside of law school was not what I [...]

Rising Debt While Studying Law? Not for this Legal Apprentice!

By Christina Oatfield  “What? You can do that!? I’ve never heard of that before…” “Yes, in California you can do that, really, yeah, I know, not that many people know about it. Lots of attorneys don’t even know about it.” This is how many conversations go when I first meet people who ask me what I do and I explain that I’m an apprentice at a law [...]

One Revolution

Two years ago I was living in a grass thatched, mud hut. My communication with the outside world was done from atop a two-story termite mound. I bathed from a bucket under the shade of trees. And my diet consisted of boiled leaves, caterpillars, and hard porridge. Now, I’m beginning a Law Office study program in one of the most technologically advanced and innovative areas of the world. I’m [...]

Following in Lincoln’s Footsteps

Abraham Lincoln never went to law school; yet, he is one of the most celebrated lawyers in U.S. history. Society take note: Going to law school is not the only route to becoming a skilled and knowledgeable lawyer. In fact, becoming a lawyer by apprenticing may be an incredibly effective way to learn how to practice law. The apprenticeship route to becoming a lawyer makes the legal profession [...]