Law Students

Deputy Prosecutor Isn't Licensed and Isn't a Law School Student

Margie Alumbaugh doesn’t have a law license and she isn’t a student at a traditional law school, but she’s already getting experience as a deputy prosecutor.

In February Alumbaugh became a prosecutor in Kittitas County, Wash., under a state rule that allows law students waiting to take the bar exam to practice under supervision, the Yakima Herald Republic reports.

But Alumbaugh isn’t in a traditional law school. She hopes to get her law license under a four-year state program that permits would-be lawyers to skip law school if a senior lawyer supervises their instruction. Her primary tutor is Kittitas County Prosecuting Attorney Greg Zempel.

Alumbaugh has a bachelor’s degree in law and justice, and experience as a legal secretary, the story says. She has worked for the prosecutors’ office since 2002 and plans to take the bar exam soon.

About 230 people have graduated from the program since the 1930s, the story says. Participants have to have a college degree and must work full-time for their sponsoring lawyer. They also have to pay $1,500 a year to the state bar, which oversees the program.

Fewer than 10 states have similar programs that allow students to bypass law school, according to the newspaper.

Alumbaugh pursued her law degree through the program because she didn’t want to leave Ellensburg, where family members help care for her two children. “It’s been a really great experience, and I’m glad I did it,” she told the newspaper.

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