- What is the history of the school and where is it located?
- Does the school year depend on my enrollment date or does it begin on a specific set date?
- How are the courses structured and how are assignments given out?
- How much interaction is there between student and professor and is this done through e-mail?
- What makes up 48 weeks of study according to California Bar requirements?
- Which casebooks are used by the students?
- Does the school provide a review for the California First-Year Law Students' Examination (the "Baby Bar")?
- May I enroll in the law study program and register with the California Bar without any prior college credit?
- Must I take the Law School Admissions Test (LSAT) to gain entry to the school's law study program?
- Are TOEFL or IELTS test scores required for international applicants?
- Must I locate a proctor now and does this person have to be a lawyer or judge?
- Is Northwestern California University accredited?
- Does Northwestern California University have a Non-Bar JD program?
- May I transfer units completed at other law schools to Northwestern California University?
- How can I get further information about the school's programs and obtain an enrollment application
What is the history of the school and where is it located?
Northwestern California University School of Law was founded in 1982. It is located in an office building with a beautiful campus-like setting alongside the Sacramento River in Sacramento, California. The school's facility contains an administrative lobby, faculty offices, a moot courtroom and a law library. The courtroom has been used over the years for the filming of lectures.
Does the school year depend on my enrollment date or does it begin on a specific set date?
The school year depends on your enrollment date. You may enroll at any time and begin your studies at once.
How are the courses structured and how are assignments given out? For instance, how will I know when to read which chapters and listen to lectures? Do I complete assignments at my own pace or are they assigned by a professor throughout the course?
You will access study guidebooks and lectures from the school's online course management website. The guidebooks contain a goals checklist, a list of all of the terms and definitions used for each course, a list of cases to read in the casebooks with an indication of ones for which you will need to provide written briefs, quiz and midterm questions (open book), and a list of needed casebooks, supplemental recordings and outlines. The timeline for the completion of your readings, your written case briefs, your open book quizzes and midterms, and the final exams is planned and coordinated by you. The final exams, unlike the quizzes and midterm exams, are not open book and must be proctored. You need to request that the final exams be sent to your proctor when you are ready. The midterm answers must have already been completed before the final exams will be sent to your proctor.
How much interaction is there between student and professor and is this done through e-mail?
Our professors are available on the school's Online Discussion Boards as well as in the Virtual Classroom and by e-mail.
What makes up 48 weeks of study according to California Bar requirements? How is it determined that I have studied no less than 48 weeks and no more than 52 weeks to meet these requirements for each year of study?
Once a student enrolls, it typically takes 1-3 weeks before the student file is opened and a start date is assigned. Students are emailed on their start date, or a few days prior to their start date. The email sets forth the students enrollment date, and the start and end dates for the student’s year of studies.
Which casebooks are used by the students?
The assigned textbooks are ones used in traditional law schools. The casebook used in our first year course on Torts would be a good one to look at to get a feel for the level of difficulty involved in the written material required for our program. This is the Schwartz, Kelly, Partlett casebook by Foundation Press.
Does the school provide a review for the California First-Year Law Students' Examination (the "Baby Bar")?
We have an online Baby Bar Practicum. However, the practicum is not designed to be as comprehensive as a review course. Therefore, we highly recommend that you enroll in a "Baby Bar" review course as soon as possible after enrollment in your first-year courses. Home study courses that we recommend are commercially available. We provide details about classroom review courses and home study review courses in our online guidebooks. Our school (unlike certain others of its type) does not have a mandatory requirement that students take a commercial Baby Bar review course during their 1st year of study, or a requirement that they take a commercial General Bar exam review course in the 4th year of study, but we strongly urge them to do so. Doing so does absolutely increase their chances for success on the bar exams.
May I enroll in the law study program and register with the California Bar without any prior college credit?
Yes. The California Committee of Bar Examiners and our school will accept adequate scores on each of three, or in some situations five, 90 minute CLEP tests in lieu of prior college credit (Click here to see: State Bar College Equivalency Policy). English Composition must be taken and a score of at least 50 must be obtained. In addition, two other examinations, each designed to correspond to semester courses of 6 semester hours each, or four other examinations, each designed to correspond to semester courses of 3 semester hours each, can be selected from any of the following subjects:
Composition and Literature (Humanities Examination Only)
History and Social Sciences
Science and Mathematics
These scores will satisfy the college prerequisites for enrollment in our school and the requirements for California Bar law student registration. Call (800) 257-9558 or go to the website at https://clep.collegeboard.org/develop/ace-credit to schedule the examinations. You should also purchase a book to help prepare yourself for the CLEP exams. There are a few available. Most large bookstores carry these books. They are usually stocked in the "Reference" section of each store.
To review a list of CLEP exams offered and the recommended semester hours for each go to the Webpage at http://www.collegeboard.com/student/testing/clep/scr_cgs.html.
Must I take the Law School Admissions Test (LSAT) to gain entry to the school's law study program?
No. The school does not require LSAT scores for enrollment.
Are TOEFL or IELTS test scores required for international applicants?
All coursework at Northwestern California University is provided and completed in the English language. The School does not provide ESL (English as a Second Language) instruction. It is, therefore, essential that all enrolling students have a high level of comprehension and ability in oral and written expression in the English language.
International applicants for enrollment who are non-native speakers of English and who have not successfully completed at least two years of study at an institution where the language of instruction was in English must demonstrate English proficiency by submitting a score report from a company that provides English language testing. One of the two tests recognized by the School for this purpose is the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). The other test is the International English Language Testing System (IELTS).
Citizens and permanent residents of sovereign or non-sovereign countries where English is the official language, as well as individuals who have successfully completed at least two years of study at an institution where the language of instruction was in English, are not required to provide TOEFL or IELTS scores. However, non-native speakers of English who received instruction in English in a country where the national language is not English must submit official documentation from the institution attended stating that English is, in fact, the medium of instruction there.
A TOEFL score of at least 550 points (paper-base test), 213 points (computer-based test) or 79 (internet based test) must be achieved by those required by the School to take an English proficiency test. Alternatively, an IELTS band score of 6 or higher is required. There is no preference for one test over the other.
TOEFL information and test scheduling may be obtained through TOEFL Services, P.O. Box 6151, Princeton, NJ 08541-6151, U.S.A. Phone: (609) 771-7100, Fax: (609) 771-7500, E-mail: TOEFL@ets.org, Website: http://www.ets.org
IELTS information and test scheduling may be obtained through IELTS International, 100 E. Corson St., Suite 200, Pasadena, CA 91103, U.S.A. Phone: (626) 564-2954, Fax: (626) 564-2981, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, Website: http://www.ielts.org
The score reports must be submitted directly to Northwestern California University by the company conducting the testing. The School will not accept a copy of a score report from an applicant.
TOEFL and IELTS scores are valid for only two years. They are deleted from the official database at each testing company at the end of that time period.
Must I locate a proctor now and does this person have to be a lawyer or judge?
You may locate your proctor after enrollment. This person must be a professional educator (i.e., a teacher or school administrator from a local school in your area), a lawyer, a judge, or a proctor at an approved proctoring facility or testing center. Our school does not need the identity of your chosen proctor until you are ready for your final examinations.
Is Northwestern California University accredited? If not, will I be eligible for Bar membership in any state other than California?
Our school was approved in 1982 to issue degrees by the State of California Department of Education. It is presently registered with and regulated by the California State Bar. Our students are eligible to practice law in California if they successfully take and pass the California First-Year Law Students' Examination (the "Baby Bar") after the first year of our program and later, upon completion of the program, pass the California General Bar Exam. The school, as with all distance learning and correspondence schools, is not accredited by the American Bar Association (ABA) or by the California Committee of Bar Examiners (CBE). However, as mentioned above, it is registered with and regulated by the California Bar as an unaccredited law school and our students are eligible to practice law in California after passing the Baby Bar and General Bar Exam, and are eligible to practice in certain other states and the District of Columbia (Washington D.C.) pursuant to special eligibility rules.
Northwestern California University graduates have so far been admitted as lawyers in Washington D.C., the states of Alaska, California, Florida, Iowa, Massachusetts, Michigan, Washington and Wisconsin; and in the U.S. Territory of Puerto Rico (Federal).
It is also true that, regardless of location, as members of the California Bar they can represent individuals in litigation related to federal tax, customs & trade, immigration, military courts-martial (as non-military lawyers), veterans claims and many other matters, with bar membership that can be acquired in certain federal courts, including the U.S. Court of Federal Claims, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims, the Army Court of Criminal Appeals, the Air Force Court of Criminal Appeals, the Navy-Marine Corps Court of Criminal Appeals, the Coast Guard Court of Criminal Appeals, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces, the U.S. Tax Court, the U.S. Court of International Trade and the U.S. Supreme Court; and can represent individuals in general immigration matters with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, in general tax matters with the Internal Revenue Service, and in other administrative matters with many other federal agencies.
One or more states have had rules that allowed bar eligibility to our graduates, if they possess a JD law degree from our school and an LLM degree from an ABA approved school, with no special requirement related to prior bar membership in California or anywhere, and no requirement involving prior active practice as a lawyer. However, these rules have been changing significantly, and since eligibility requirements are relatively comprehensive and can change extensively anytime, you are urged to make inquiries to determine all pertinent details related to gaining bar eligibility in the state or states where you wish to practice law.
In addition to checking with the bar organizations of the states where you may wish to practice law; you should also review the Comprehensive Guide to Bar Admission Requirements. The publication is available on the National Conference of Bar Examiners website at the following URL: http://www.ncbex.org/assets/media_files/Comp-Guide/CompGuide.pdf
Officials at St. Thomas University School of Law in Miami, Florida (an ABA approved law school) have confirmed that they will accept graduates of our JD program in their schools' LLM program. Certain other ABA law schools with LLM programs may also accept our JD degree graduates as LLM students. Their catalogs usually indicate that they require, as a prerequisite to enrollment, the prior conferment of a Juris Doctor degree from an ABA approved law school. In reality though, these schools will occasionally accept graduates of schools that are not ABA approved, and in doing so, apply a relaxed standard that looks at the "complete picture" of an applicant's background and experience.
The California Bar once compiled a list of ABA approved law schools that may accept California correspondence law school graduates for advanced graduate degrees. The schools named on the list were as follows:
University of Alabama (Tuscaloosa, Alabama)
Capital University (Columbus, Ohio)
Case Western Reserve University (Cleveland, Ohio)
University of Illinois (Champaign, Illinois)
John Marshall (Chicago, Illinois)
Lewis & Clark College (Portland, Oregon)
Northwestern University (Chicago, Illinois)
St. Louis University (St. Louis, Missouri)
Temple University (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania)
University of Texas at Austin (Austin, Texas)
University of Utah (Salt Lake City, Utah)
Wayne State University (Detroit, Michigan)
St.Thomas University School of Law in Miami, Florida should now be added to the list.
Lastly, it should be noted that there are opportunities for our school's graduates to practice law in other countries. Each graduate of our school, for example, after having been a member of the California Bar for more than two years can become an English lawyer (solicitor) by passing an open-book test, called the Qualified Lawyers Transfer Scheme (QLTS), here in the United States. The test is England's official transfer exam for foreign attorneys. Those who pass the QLTS are eligible for licensing as a solicitor in England and Wales. Such licensing may also lead to eligibility to practice law in various British dependent and independent territories, subject in some places to supplemental requirements related to training and residency. Information regarding the exam can be obtained from the Web Site of The Solicitors Regulatory Authority of England and Wales at the following URL:http://www.sra.org.uk/solicitors/qlts.page
The exclusive administrator for the QLTS in the United States is QLTSchool. You can obtain information related to study materials and other important details on the QLTSchool Web Site at the following URL: https://www.qlts.com/us
Does Northwestern California University have a Non-Bar JD program?
No. Northwestern California University does not offer a Non-Bar Juris Doctor (J.D.) program.
May I transfer units completed at other law schools to Northwestern California University?
Yes. We accept units for courses successfully completed at ABA approved, CBE accredited, and California State approved law schools.
How can I get further information about the school's programs and obtain an enrollment application?
Information about our school and an application for enrollment are located on the web at http://www.nwculaw.edu.