If there are plans to pursue law in America, information on ABA accredited law schools must be accessed. ABA i.e. American Bar Association, is the authority which certifies law schools as high quality educational institutes, for providing legal education to students from all over. Most of the law schools in US are accredited by ABA; less than 50 schools do not have this quality certification to prove their teaching standards.
Pursuing law from ABA approved setup is pertinent because in all states, except California, in order to practice law all one should have obtained is a law degrees from ABA approved setups. But of course if there are colleges without the ABA accreditation, there is a meaning to it. In the state of California, accreditation is not mandated and in all states for careers other than law, where applicants from legal background can apply, ABA accreditation is not a must. Thus, if the aim is to study law and practice law, enroll with a school which has the necessary ABA approvals.
American Bar Association was setup in 19th century with the aim of enhancing the level of education amongst all law schools and universities. A group of legal personalities took up the cause. In addition to providing ABA approval certificates, the association also ranks schools accredited by it. These are referred to as tiers of law school. The system is supposed to assist students in selecting best school; ranking system however is facing criticism.
Significance Of ABA Approval
Post completing law degree from an ABA accredited school, a corporate job comes easy. For those who are qualified from such schools and universities, at least one phase of interview is cleared by default. Approval from ABA is a stamp of quality and to get it, schools make an extra effort in the procedures of granting education. Thus, from an employer’s perspective, if the candidate has a degree from an approved setup, he / she has been taught and tested diligently.
However it must be remembered that ABA accreditation is simply a standard and not a seal of individual credibility. Thus, while students have an edge because they have gone through stringent screening process, yet those from other schools, with different accreditation have a fair chance of selection. Thus, other accreditations too have their relevance and employers at any stage cannot be questioned upon selection procedures, in respect to school approvals.
With this said and done a fact remains that except California, all other states have mandated that to appear in bar exams, students must have law degrees from ABA accredited setup. Thus, though there is the choice, ABA is the preferred standard. Call it the people associated with ABA or the influence of this association, following a norm is a safer approach.
Case Of California
California follows its own approval schema known as CALS. The committee of bar examiners approves law schools and grants CALS accreditation. This approval is of relevance only for those practicing law here. In the state of California thus there is CALS and ABA Accredited Law Schools.
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