Thursday, April 29, 2010

Why come to Tahoe?

I hope that you already have the weekend of September 11 highlighted on your calendar. It is, after all, going to be a fantastic weekend of Alumni fellowship and fun in Lake Tahoe.

But if you're on the fence, or making excuses to miss out, you don't have to take my word for it. Here's what Alumni are saying about attending:
Tahoe is a beautiful location to get away to, but the best part of the reunion for me was not the sightseeing but the fellowship- with old friends and new. The highlight of the '09 reunion was the time of worship and sharing Sunday morning. I can't imagine any OBCL'er regretting making the effort to attend. - Sean S.

The weekend in Tahoe made me grateful once again for the strong ties that bind Oak Brook alumni together, and for the fellowship that we have together in Christ regardless of where our professional paths lead. - Emily Y.

More Alumni testimonials to come - as well as registration forms. But mark your calendars now!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Follow the Alumni Association on Twitter!

Taking the next step in our quest to connect Oak Brook Alumni, we've launched a Twitter account! If you're on Twitter follow us @obclalumni. We will be certain to not only follow you back, but to re-tweet your news, accomplishments, and links along with general news from the Alumni Association.

And if there is something that you'd like to see on the Twitter feed, be sure to hit us up with a direct message. Looking forward to following all you twitter-savvy alumni!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

"Law School Grads Face Tougher Economic Times"

In a fitting update to Lael's post from last week, US News and World Report is reporting on the status of the legal profession's economy in a write-up entitled "Law School Grads Face Tougher Economic Times."

The truth is that the legal profession isn't what it once was. It is hard to get a job, especially a high-paying entry job to pay off student debt. As is pointed out in that article, it is a gamble for even the most brilliant student to incur a crushing amount of student debt in the hopes that high income will allow the new lawyer to pay it off.

This story is a great reminder to me of two things - first off, how grateful I am to be able to practice law without the burden of debt, thanks to the vision of OBCL. Second, it's a reminder to me of the great potential of the Alumni Association. We exist, in large part, to network graduates with Alumni that are established in their professions, so that institutional knowledge, practical wisdom, and yes, jobs can be available for the entire body of students and alumni.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Are traditional law schools keeping up?

Guest post by alumni Lael Weinberger

The National Law Journal has a report on a recent conference that called for big changes in traditional legal education. The conference was called “Future Ed: New Business Models for U.S. and Global Legal Education,” and was sponsored by the law schools at New York University and Harvard.

According to the article, the conference was a reaction to an important 2007 report from the Carnegie Foundation that warned that traditional law schools were doing a poor job teaching students practical job skills. Many of the participants in the “Future Ed” conference went further, warning that law schools are out of touch with the real world. They don’t teach practical skills as well as they should. They don’t emphasize business considerations (like talking with clients about costs). They are run on a model that is becoming obsolete: students rack up enormous debt on the assumption that they can get high paying jobs at firms, but those jobs are disappearing and the firm structure is changing.

The article quotes one analyst at the conference who said that American law school is “not simply incomplete.” “It's directionally wrong in many respects because it's misaligned with where the world really is. In my opinion, most of the things I see that are problematic in the profession right now are rooted in law schools.”

The report concludes by noting that the conference “included panels on the possible alternatives” to the standard legal education model and “addressed accelerated programs, experiential learning and distance education and lessons learned from other industries.”

“There's a saying in academia that change is good…for others,” one of the conference participants joked. For a long time, most American law schools have resisted change. But with conferences like this, momentum seems to be building for more change in the field.

Hopefully, this means that the larger world of legal education is recognizing what Oak Brook College of Law has known since its founding in 1995. OBCL’s non-traditional program puts an emphasis on practical skills and the curriculum makes it possible to get real-world work experience while in school. In the process, OBCL students also avoid the enormous debt that usually accompanies three years at a traditional law school.

Board Update

Last night, April 13, the OBCLAA Board met to share our progress since our last meeting in February. Here are some highlights of the meeting:

* Thanks to the excellent work of Jordana Ward and Rachael (Moxon) Denhollander, and the cooperation of many alumni so far, we are coming close to finishing our compilation of updated contact information. The goal of having a detailed bio for each alumnus/alumna is still a bit more far off. If you've been contacted by Jordana or Rachael, please help them out by filling in the blanks in your bio.

* Plans for the OBCLAA's 2010 annual meeting in Lake Tahoe continue to go well. The meeting is scheduled for September 11, 2010, to be held at Zephyr Cove. Mark that weekend on your calendars now! And expect to see the official invitation and registration soon.

* As the contact information is gathered, Mark Bigger and Brandon Stallings are planning an information packet that will be sent to all alumni, informing them about the Alumni Association and its work on behalf of Oak Brook College, its students and graduates.

* Charissa Sonntag (with the exceptional help of Anita Paulsson for Washington state) is working on the ever-growing project of compiling admissions rules for states around the country. The next step in this project will be getting some estimates on web design to make this information accessible to OBCL students and graduates.

Please continue to pray for the Board and for the leadership of OBCL, that they would have wisdom and be faithful to the school's mission while adapting to new challenges.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Alumni In The News V

Meredith Turney discusses Democrats attempts to change the subject of the health care legislation, how it was passed and what it contained to demonizing the opponents of health care.

OBCL Grads Michael Reitz and Jonathan Bechtle discuss in their own entertaining way rulings of the Washintgon Supreme Court on their extremely popular monthly podcast. The Supreme Court Blog Podcast gets over 11,000 views a month, making it one of the most popular State Supreme Court Podcasts in the nation.

Michael Reitz also writes on the WA Supreme Court’s ruling that the Governor of Washington does not have to fund in the state budget proposal an $87 Million arbritration award given to state workers.

OBCL Grad Bryan Tyson updates the latest on the Georgia Supreme Court Blog. The Georgia Supreme Court Blog is dedicated to following civil law rulings in Georgia’s top court.

Tahoe- Why This Is More Than A Destination

I just wanted to share my personal experience in going to Tahoe for the first time as a law student in hopes that this inspires students/alumni to attend this picturesque locale. I went to Tahoe to get a job as a clerk for a smaller firm that dabbled in all areas of law. I felt that this was necessary for my professional development as it allowed for me to get experience in many areas which would lead to me being able to make an informed decision on what I wanted to do for the next couple years of my life.

In contacting ABA attorneys regarding the possibility of interning for them, none of them were comfortable with the idea of OBCL, and at least comfortable with the nature of the education I was receiving. For this reason, I felt that my education in the practical workings of the law would be best assisted by an OBCL grad who would not be questioning my school background. Again, I felt that to get my foot in the door, it would be wise to intern with an OBCL grad and what better place to get a feel for things than a gathering of OBCL alumni.

My experience in interviewing and meeting OBCL grads proved to be inspiring and motivational in that it put a bit of meat to the educational skeleton that I had been working toward. To meet real live OBCL attorneys lent credibility to my endeavors and to the years of toil. I ended up getting a clerkship with Clayton Campbell which allowed me to be introduced to the Bakersfield legal community, and eventually led to a job with the District Attorney's Office.

I went back to Tahoe in 2009 as a newly licensed attorney, and was again struck by the level of support and motivation that this event offered. It was great to reconnect with friends, and also network with alumni that I had not met previously. Again, I saw the importance of being intentional in building community with those of a similar background as I was able to focus on moving forward, rather than merely treading water with ABA people.

As a new attorney, I couldn't say enough about Tahoe and the people that I have met there. Give it a try; I look forward to hearing about the growth that takes place as a result of making this much more than a destination.