Online Law Grad Petitions to Take Bar, Cites High Cost of Traditional Ed.
Posted Dec 3, 2009 12:51 PM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss
Valarie Wallin, a graduate of an online law school, has passed the bar in California and Wisconsin. Now she wants the Minnesota Supreme Court to allow her to take the exam there.
Wallin is joining with three other petitioners to ask for a change in Minnesota rules that allow only graduates of ABA-accredited law schools to take the state bar exam, according to PineandLakes.com. Wallin graduated from the Oak Brook College of Law and Government Policy, an unaccredited distance-learning law school in California that touts its Biblical approach.
Today the average annual tuition at the four law schools in Minnesota is $27,890, according to Wallin’s petition (PDF). That compares to an annual tuition of $9,250 at the online Concord Law School and $3,500 at Oak Brook College of Law.
Wallin says Minnesota is one of 19 states that do not have some kind of waiver for graduates of unaccredited law schools. Her Supreme Court petition seeks an amendment to the rules to allow lawyers licensed in other states to sit for the Minnesota bar exam, regardless of their legal education.
Another petitioner is Kent Schmidt, a partner at Dorsey & Whitney who had to move to California because he could not take the bar in Minnesota after graduating from an unaccredited school. MShale.com wrote about yet another petitioner, Henry Ongeri, a law graduate of the University of Nairobi, Kenya.
The state supreme court has referred the matter to the Board of Law Examiners for a comprehensive review and a report that is due by next June.
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