Letters From Graduates
I am writing to express my gratitude for your program. With a young family to support, traditional law school was out of the question. I was elated to learn that I could become an attorney through online course work without amassing huge amounts of debt.
Although the course work requires self motivation, I felt well prepared for the baby bar and general bar exams, both of which I passed on my first try.
During law school I became a certified law student which allowed me to participate in two civil trials and numerous depositions and mediation sessions. I would highly recommend that all NWCU students find a mentor in their locale and get right in to the practice of law while still in law school. Generally a local bar association can assist in that undertaking. Seeing the practical application of what you learn at NWCU is invaluable.
I am currently working in my father's law practice in San Diego handling civil litigation matters. I regularly appear in court and at depositions. I am truly thrilled with my new profession. I love helping clients solve problems and find solutions to difficult and trying situations.
Once again thank you for your wonderful program which allowed me to reach my goal of being a duly licensed attorney and counselor at law.
Ryan M. McCabe, Esq.
(NWCU Class of 2005)
As a recent NWCU graduate, I want to take a moment to thank the great staff at NWCU for helping me achieve a personal goal that would likely have otherwise not been attainable.
My decision to attend law school came later in life than it would have for the "normal" law student. Having a family of my own, an existing career, and all the normal obligations that go along with growing older, attending a traditional law school at somewhere near $30k a year wasn't an option.
At first I was skeptical about attending an online school like NWCU, but decided to give it a try. That was one of the best decisions of my life. It was clear right from the beginning that the staff at the school had one simple goal, i.e. providing their students with a world-class education at a reasonable price.
I feel ready to enter the legal profession without any need to be intimidated by a graduate of an ABA school. I have thoroughly enjoyed the interaction with the staff and other students through the school's online learning management platform. Once I tried it I quickly realized what an incredibly valuable tool this was for my education. I was able to post questions, comments and review issues in my studies and received prompt feedback from the faculty. Even better was being able to look at things that other students had posted and the responses they had received. I highly recommend that all students become thoroughly active on the platform as it will help their understanding of the law.
Thanks again for providing me an opportunity that I otherwise would have never been able to have. I look forward to having the opportunity to do great things in the legal profession that will make NWCU proud of one of their graduates.
(NWCU Class of 2006)
I would like to let you know that, after graduating from NWCU in January 1998, and passing the February 1998 California Bar Exam, I have been practicing as a maritime lawyer with a worldwide clientele, and have recently been made a Proctor member of the Maritime Law Association of the United States.
As I expected when I embarked on a correspondence legal education, my shipping clients are not in the least bit troubled by my external, non-traditional JD degree, and I have never regretted my decision to enroll in NWCU. Your progressive and efficient approach to law school teaching has been rewarded by the school's longevity, for which you are to be congratulated.
F. Max Hardberger, Esq.
(NWCU Class of 1998)
It was a pleasure to have attended your School of Law. I wish now that I would have originally started with your institution from the beginning of my law studies. I feel like I would have had a stronger education because of the structure and requirements of your JD Program.
Upon graduation from your School of Law, I was promoted within my company to the level of Director. I almost daily use some aspect of my law studies in my workplace. I would highly recommend this University to anyone seeking a Juris Doctorate. The experience was wonderfully challenging, but getting that degree makes it all worth it.
(NWCU Class of 2005)
A few months after graduation from NWCU with a J.D. degree I moved to Europe. I got a job as a GSE 12 [Department of Defense rank]. It was for me the best of both worlds - all the US amenities with a European flare. That was in 2004. In my first job out of law school I was earning more than three times my previous income. I dreamed what for me was the impossible dream. And, thanks to NWCU it became a reality.
(NWCU Class of 2003)
I wish to thank the faculty and staff once again for the tremendous, reasonably priced education I received at Northwestern California University (NWCU) School of Law. Shortly after graduating from law school, I was hired as a Court Executive for the Third District Court in Utah. I have remained in this position for three years, and have found that a law degree has provided me with additional standing in the courts.
I believe that Dean Clancey has correctly advised prospective students to attend a traditional law school if it is possible. However, in my personal situation, as a working parent unable to attend school during the day and with no evening law school in Utah, NWCU provided a viable and affordable opportunity for me to attend law school and achieve a lifelong goal of becoming an attorney. Furthermore, having attended another non-traditional law school prior to enrolling at NWCU, I believe NWCU is the best law school of its kind.
I have also found that once a law student graduates and is admitted to the bar, distinctions on where one attended law school become less important and performance on the job is the overriding factor. For me, passing the California Bar Examination validated the NWCU curriculum.
My future plans are to become a corporate counsel and be admitted to the Utah Bar. Both of these objectives are achievable as a result of graduating from NWCU.
Please accept my gratitude for your assistance in helping me achieve my goal of becoming an attorney.
Larry D. Gobelman
(NWCU Class of 1994)
I completed my course of study at Northwestern California University in April, 1994. I took and passed the California State Bar examination in July, 1994. I had not taken the trouble of completing and submitting the moral character documentation. As a result, I was not admitted to the bar until June 1995. Bit of advice: Submit this moral character material toward the end of your last year of study.
I have been active in solo practice since November 1995. I [normally] have an office in San Luis Obispo, but live and work in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada for at least six months of each year since I remain on the faculty of the University of Alberta and must balance my duties at the University with law practice.
I devote about 12-15 hours a week to law. My practice is almost exclusively federal in focus, with about 80% dealing with immigration and the remainder to U.S. Federal agencies, e.g., U.S. Customs, FDA and the Commodities Futures Trading Commission. I do some corporate, business and copyright law related to this federal practice. The majority of my clients are Canadian individuals or companies, with a smattering of clients from Asia and Africa. If I was to pigeonhole my practice it would be international/administrative law.
I am an advocate of identifying a legal niche and specializing [in it] since it is so hard to be a generalist and render competent service. Also, from a marketing standpoint a solo practitioner needs an identifying theme which sets him or her apart from the thousands of other lawyers.
I plan to take early retirement from my university position in about four years, gradually increasing my practice so that I am investing about forty hours per week. My focus will continue in the area of administrative law, with more attention to federal agencies and less to immigration. I will be moving my office to San Francisco, and opening an office in Seattle in two years. I may hire an associate in 1998.
My type of practice lends itself nicely to a "virtual" office existence, permitting me to operate anywhere in the world. Much of my legal work is conducted with the assistance of CD ROMs, internet links with Lexis-Nexis, FAX and conference calls. I strive to keep court appearances, hearings and depositions which I must attend in person, particularly in geographically remote areas, to a minimum. I recommend the virtual office highly to the solo practitioner because of the high cost of office overhead.
Because of the specialized focus of my practice, the law school courses of greatest applicability were in administrative law, constitutional law and civil procedure. Everything else, e.g., immigration and customs law, I have had to pick up on my own. The American Immigration Lawyers Association has a good mentoring program, and offers a number of books, manuals and courses to develop expertise. These resources have been critical in my practice. Graduates of Northwestern California University might consider joining one of the Bar association sections for their CLE opportunities and to acquire mentors.
W. Andrew Harrell
(NWCU Class of 1994)
I was admitted to the Bar on June 3, 1997. Since then, I have been relaxing and recovering from the intensively tight schedule of studying while maintaining the family and caring for children.
After a trip to Asia, I wish to establish a small office working on international business law, estate planning, and immigration law.
I really love the legal profession. I worked during the day in a law firm with a heavy workload and had to take care of two young children at night without much family support. You provided me with the best available channel to get a legal degree under my overall conditions.
Aside from what's learned from law school passing the Bar Exam is directly related to the quantity and quality of time spent studying for the exam. In this regard, I found it useful to attend commercial preparation courses and to test myself on past bar exam questions.
Hsiao Han Wang
(NWCU Class of 1996)
I went to Northwestern California University School of Law, did some clerking in the last year of study for a local attorney, and graduated in 1992. I was able to pass both the Baby Bar and the Bar Exam the first time, which speaks to the effectiveness of the NWCU program. I have been practicing law for 18 years, and my legal background prepared me for many different areas and styles of practice: I have worked in a law firm, taught law at two institutions, and enjoyed my private practice for many years. My NWCU education served me first in Environmental, Human Dignity and Corporate Responsibility law, and since 2000, in my practice, which is mainly Estate Planning. I chose to focus on that field because when my mother developed Alzheimer's disease, I found out first-hand how important it is for families to have legal documentation that supports a positive outcome for the disabled and their families. It has been very rewarding.
I have NWCU to thank for all of this. Since I'm independent-minded, I loved the way Northwestern California University School of Law helped me take charge of my own future. A sound legal education furthered my understanding of the way things work in the world, and the emphasis on Common Law with a superstructure of statutory law made a complex subject much easier to grasp. I benefitted greatly from the support of the faculty and educational tools; but most of all, the self-reliance and research involved in this kind of study prepared me well for actually being an attorney. For students who have self-discipline and a love of learning, graduating from NWCU School of Law will provide a jump start on their law career.
Margaret Draper, Attorney At Law
(Class of 1992)
People have different reasons for wanting to study law. For me, I did it as a personal challenge. I grew up with the notion that law is a difficult subject and I merely wanted to prove to myself that I have the mental capacities to handle a "perceived" difficult subject, law.
As an airline pilot, my work schedule did not allow me to attend a traditional law school and correspondence law study was my only option. Northwestern California University offered the opportunity for me to establish my eligibility to sit for the California General Bar Exam at an affordable price. I am grateful for that.
The hours spent reading law books and "outlines" finally paid off when I received a letter in the mail informing me, "The Committee of Bar Examiners of the State of California is delighted to report that you achieved a passing score on the February 1997 administration of the California Bar Examination. Congratulations, you may justly be proud of your achievement". I felt relieved after reading the letter because I would not have to attempt the bar exam a second time and deal with the uncertainty associated with it. Passing the bar exam allowed me to move on to other areas in life.
I was admitted to the California State Bar 12 days after receiving the "successful applicant notice" and I now practice real estate law and estate planning with a lawyer friend who has 20 years of experience. I still keep my flying job because that is the job that brings in the "bread and butter."
In sum, studying law through the correspondence method requires great determination and self-motivation but the reward can be sweet indeed.
Alex Lin, Attorney at Law
Boeing 777 Pilot
(NWCU Class of 1997)