- 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 are the professors available to the students?
- How will I know the start date and end date for my first term of study?
- Which casebooks are used by the students?
- Do I have to take and pass the California First-Year Law Students' Examination (the "Baby Bar")?
- May I enroll in the law study program and register as a law student with the State Bar of California 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?
- Is Northwestern California University accredited?
- Does Northwestern California University have any law degree programs other than the standard Juris Doctor degree program?
- May I transfer units completed at other law schools to Northwestern California University?
- How can I get further information about the school's accredited law study program 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 almost 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 Learning Management System (LMS). 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 those 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 are the professors available to the students?
The school's professors are available to students online in Virtual Classrooms and Online Discussion Boards via the school's eJuris™ online teaching and learning platform.
How will I know the start date and end date for my first term of study?
Once a student enrolls, it typically takes 1-3 weeks before the student file is opened and a start date is assigned. The student is sent an email message on their start date, or a few days prior to their start date. The message provides various details including the student's enrollment date, and the start and end dates for the student’s year of studies.
Which casebooks are used by the students?
The assigned casebooks are the same as those typically used at traditional law schools. The casebook for the 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 the program. This is the Schwartz, Kelly, Partlett casebook by Foundation Press.
Do I have to take and pass the California First-Year Law Students' Examination (the "Baby Bar")?
All ‘Special students’ at Northwestern California University are required to take the First-Year Law Students’ Examination (FYLSX) at the end of their first year of study. It is administered by the Committee of Bar Examiners of the State Bar of California in June and October of each year.
‘Special students’ are those who, for one reason or another, did not complete enough college work to qualify for enrollment under ‘Regular student’ status. They, instead, qualified for enrollment by achieving required scores on designated CLEP (College Level Examination Program) exams. Special students must pass the FYLSX to qualify for continued study at the law school.
The FYLSX must also be taken by the Regular students who were enrolled in the law study program at Northwestern California University prior to its accreditation and were not eligible to transition to the accredited program, or for other reasons did not transition to the accredited program.
In accordance with Section 6060 of the California Business and Professions Code, students who must take and pass the FYLSX must do so within three administrations of first becoming eligible to take it, which is upon successful completion of their first year of law study. If passed during the first three administrations after becoming eligible to take the examination, credit may then be allowed for all courses taken prior to passing.
Those who do not pass the examination within its first three administrations upon becoming eligible to take the examination, but who subsequently pass the examination, shall receive credit for one year of legal study only.
May I enroll in the law study program and register as a law student with the State Bar of California Bar without any prior college credit?
Yes. The Committee of Bar Examiners of the State Bar of California and the 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). College 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 the 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.
Is Northwestern California University accredited? Also, will I upon graduation be eligible for Bar membership in any jurisdiction other than California?
The school was approved in 1982 to confer degrees by the State of California Department of Education. It is accredited by the State Bar of California. Graduates of the school are eligible to practice law in California if they successfully take and pass the California Bar Examination. The school, as with all law schools that provide law study entirely via distance learning, is not American Bar Association (ABA) approved. The ABA does not offer approval to law schools that provide Juris Doctor degree programs completely by means of distance education. However, Northwestern California University is fully accredited by the Committee of Bar Examiners (CBE) of the State Bar of California and its graduates are eligible to practice law in California after passing the California Bar Examination, 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 the school's graduates, if they possess a JD law degree from the 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 the school's JD program in their schools' LLM program. Certain other ABA law schools with LLM programs may also accept the school's 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.
Lastly, it should be noted that there are opportunities for the school's graduates to practice law in other countries. Each graduate of the school, for example, after having been a member of the California Bar for more than two years can become a Solicitor of England and Wales by passing an open-book test, called the Qualified Lawyers Transfer Scheme (QLTS), here in the United States. A solicitor is one of the two types of lawyers in England and Wales. The test is the 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 any law degree programs other than the standard Jurs Doctor degree program?
No. Northwestern California University does not offer any law degree programs other than the standard Juris Doctor degree program?
May I transfer units completed at other law schools to Northwestern California University?
Yes. The school accepts units for courses successfully completed at American Bar Association (ABA) approved law schools and California Accredited Law Schools (CALS). Also, the school may accept credits earned in unaccredited programs registered with the State Bar of California for applicants who have passed the California First-Year Law Students' Examination (FYLSX). If passed during the first-three administrations after becoming eligible to take the examination, credit can be allowed for all courses taken prior to passing. Those who do not pass the examination within its first three administrations upon becoming eligible to take the examinations, but who subsequently pass the examination, can receive credit for one year of legal study only. Transfer of credits is determined on an individual basis.
How can I get further information about the school's accredited law study program and obtain an enrollment application?
Information about the accredited law study program at Northwestern California University and an application for enrollment are located on the web at http://www.nwculaw.edu.