Law School Discussion

Law Students => Current Law Students => Topic started by: crazymofo on November 21, 2005, 09:52:24 PM

Title: 48% Bar Passing Rate.
Post by: crazymofo on November 21, 2005, 09:52:24 PM
Results for the last bar exam cycle just came out.

Forget Kansas, what's the matter with California? 

And why must I immediately hear all the "my friend is really smart and she didn't pass it; took the prep class and everything" stories?

I'm only a 1L, but I'm already starting to dread taking that exam...getting that far only to be stoned inches from the finish line.

Yikes.
Title: Re: 48% Bar Passing Rate.
Post by: Jumboshrimps on November 22, 2005, 05:08:36 AM
I wouldn't worry about it. An earthquake or governor will cause much more catastrophe than the bar exam in the next couple of years...
Title: Re: 48% Bar Passing Rate.
Post by: CoxlessPair on November 22, 2005, 08:00:33 AM
I thought this was another Cooley bashing thread based on the subject heading.
Title: Re: 48% Bar Passing Rate.
Post by: voss749 on November 22, 2005, 09:15:57 AM
Speaking of Cooley, their students CA bar pass rate  has been LOWER than
Concord Law School and Northwestern California University both of which are
non-aba approved online law schools.
Title: Re: 48% Bar Passing Rate.
Post by: jjason on December 22, 2005, 12:11:14 PM
Speaking of Cooley, their students CA bar pass rate  has been LOWER than
Concord Law School and Northwestern California University both of which are
non-aba approved online law schools.


where have you seen this? the bar stats report i saw only identifed ABA, CA Non-ABA, out of state ABA, out of state non-aba. thx. was this a cummulative report, or for only one exam?
Title: Re: 48% Bar Passing Rate.
Post by: TheJesus on December 23, 2005, 06:53:08 PM
Hmmmm....

I don't know much about CA law schools, but I'm wondering if the fact that CA has something like 17 or 18 schools might have something to do with the bar passage rate...

Sure, they have USC, Stanford, and the UC's, but I have to imagine that a lot of those other schools are tier 4s with lower passage rates that drag down the average.....

Title: Re: 48% Bar Passing Rate.
Post by: plumeria on December 23, 2005, 08:48:45 PM
Hmmmm....

I don't know much about CA law schools, but I'm wondering if the fact that CA has something like 17 or 18 schools might have something to do with the bar passage rate...

Sure, they have USC, Stanford, and the UC's, but I have to imagine that a lot of those other schools are tier 4s with lower passage rates that drag down the average.....



CA state has way too many lawyers and not enough jobs... many lawyers do not have jobs here.
The more difficult it is to pass the bar, the less ppl would try to practice law in CA.
Title: Re: 48% Bar Passing Rate.
Post by: jdohno on December 24, 2005, 09:07:52 AM
CA is widely considered to be the second hardest bar exam after NY. Apparently, either last year or the year before, the Bar passage rate went up to 51%. The state Bar announced this year that they're going to make the test harder and get the passage rate back under 50%. I was shocked when I read that. Apparently PMBR was hiring people who used to make questions for the Bar exam. In their books, PMBR have questions that were similar to the Bar exam. They are being sued by the Bar Examiners right now for the 3rd or 4th time because of the similar questions. Also apparently, CA thinks PMBR might have contribute to high bar passage rate. 

Hmmmm....

I don't know much about CA law schools, but I'm wondering if the fact that CA has something like 17 or 18 schools might have something to do with the bar passage rate...

Sure, they have USC, Stanford, and the UC's, but I have to imagine that a lot of those other schools are tier 4s with lower passage rates that drag down the average.....


Title: Re: 48% Bar Passing Rate.
Post by: swburger on December 24, 2005, 06:14:56 PM
I think the CA bar is the hardest bar.  it takes the greatest amount of raw score points to pass while testing similar subject matter. 

CA is widely considered to be the second hardest bar exam after NY. Apparently, either last year or the year before, the Bar passage rate went up to 51%. The state Bar announced this year that they're going to make the test harder and get the passage rate back under 50%. I was shocked when I read that. Apparently PMBR was hiring people who used to make questions for the Bar exam. In their books, PMBR have questions that were similar to the Bar exam. They are being sued by the Bar Examiners right now for the 3rd or 4th time because of the similar questions. Also apparently, CA thinks PMBR might have contribute to high bar passage rate. 




Title: Re: 48% Bar Passing Rate.
Post by: jdohno on December 25, 2005, 09:11:33 AM
You're right. It passed NY. Here's an interesting article.
Raising the Bar:
Even Top Lawyers
Fail California Exam

Former Stanford Law Dean,
Becomes Latest Victim;
A Mayor Tries Four Times
By JAMES BANDLER and NATHAN KOPPEL
Staff Reporters of THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
December 5, 2005; Page A1
 
Kathleen Sullivan is a noted constitutional scholar who has argued cases before the Supreme Court. Until recently, she was dean of Stanford Law School. In legal circles, she has been talked about as a potential Democratic nominee for the Supreme Court. But Ms. Sullivan recently became the latest prominent victim of California's notoriously difficult bar exam. Last month, the state sent out the results of its July test to 8,343 aspiring and already-practicing lawyers. More than half failed -- including Ms. Sullivan.

Although she is licensed to practice law in New York and Massachusetts, Ms. Sullivan was taking the California exam for the first time after joining a Los Angeles-based firm as an appellate specialist.

The California bar exam has created misery for thousands of aspiring and practicing lawyers. Former California Gov. Jerry Brown passed on his second try, while former Gov. Pete Wilson needed four attempts. The recently elected mayor of Los Angeles, Antonio R. Villaraigosa, never did pass the bar after failing four times.

 But it's unusual for the exam to claim a top-notch constitutional lawyer at the peak of her game. "She is a rock star," says William Urquhart, who last year recruited Ms. Sullivan to join his firm, Quinn Emanuel Urquhart Oliver & Hedges LLP. "Practically every lawyer in the U.S. knows who Kathleen Sullivan is." If anyone should have passed, Mr. Urquhart says, it is Ms. Sullivan. "The problem is not with Kathleen Sullivan, it is with the person who drafted the exam or the person who graded it."

Ms. Sullivan, 50 years old, did not return phone and email messages seeking comment. Her firm said she wasn't reachable over the weekend because she was at a remote location.

Mr. Urquhart says he does not know Ms. Sullivan's score, but knows she spent little time preparing because she was inundated with work for the firm and Stanford Law School, where she now runs the school's constitutional law center. Ms. Sullivan plans to take the test again, according to Mr. Urquhart. "She'll prepare more next time," he says. "My advice to her is that she should look at 15 bar questions and 15 sample, perfect answers. That is all she'll need to pass."

The California test, by all accounts, is tough. It lasts three days, as compared with two or 2-day exams in most states. Only one state -- Delaware -- has a higher minimum passing score. According to the National Conference of Bar Examiners, just 44% of those taking the California bar in 2004 passed the exam, the lowest percentage in the country, versus a national average of 64%.

Like many professions, lawyers are regulated by the states, and nearly every state requires passage of a bar exam for attorneys to practice law. Some states grant reciprocity to out-of-state lawyers. California does not; to be licensed in the state, one must pass the California bar exam. This July's version of the California test aimed at lawyers licensed in other states -- like Ms. Sullivan -- claimed an unusually high percentage of victims.

The two-day test, which is identical to the longer exam but omits a long multiple-choice section, had just a 28% passage rate in July, an astoundingly low figure that state bar officials are at a loss to explain. Out-of-state lawyers can take the full three-day exam if they choose.

Critics say the test is capricious, unreliable and a poor measure of future lawyering skills. Some also complain that California's system serves to protect the state's lawyers by excluding competition from out-of-state attorneys. There has been some loosening of the rules. California adopted rules last year permitting certain classes of lawyers to practice in the state without having to take the bar.
Gayle Murphy, the senior executive for admissions for the State Bar of California, says that the purpose of the bar exam is to protect the public, not to restrain competition. Great efforts are taken to make sure exam grading is fair, including use of multiple graders, she says. The exam includes six essays and two written performance tests. Each written part is assigned a separate grader. Test-takers who are close to the passing line are assigned nine more graders, so a borderline exam will have as many as 17 graders.

One reason for California's high failure rate, Ms. Murphy says, is that graduates of unaccredited and correspondence law schools are allowed in California to take the test. California's pass rate for ABA-approved schools is in line with those of other states, Ms. Murphy says.  She says a possible reason for failures by practicing lawyers is that they simply don't have enough time to put in the requisite studying hours. Attending a premier law school doesn't guarantee success: former Gov. Wilson got his law degree from Berkeley, while former Gov. Brown went to Yale.

Aundrea Newsome, an attorney in Hermosa Beach, Calif., who passed the July test, limited her prep time to two months, but she worked eight to 10 hours a day, every day, during that stretch. "That is standard," she says. "You make a deal with the devil and give up two months of your life to pass."

Ms. Newsome, who graduated from the University of Southern California Law School in May, says preparing for the exam requires studying so many different legal fields, including such arcane topics as 18th-century criminal common law, that practical knowledge or even mastery of several legal subjects is not enough.

Robert Pfister, who was already licensed in Indiana, Connecticut and New York, also found the experience grueling. After the first morning of the exam, "you feel like your hand will fall off from writing so much," says Mr. Pfister, an associate with Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP who passed the July exam in California. "After the second day, you just want to go home and sleep. But then you have to come back for a third day."

Mr. Pfister, who handles securities-fraud cases and had been practicing law for about four years before taking the California bar, recalls one question where he was asked to parse the law that would apply to a disabled child who was seeking to move to a housing complex. "You can be the greatest personal-injury lawyer in the country, or mergers and acquisitions lawyer," he says. "But the stuff they give you is often some area of law you haven't dealt with."

Former Gov. Wilson describes his need to take the bar exam four times as "frustrating." He blames his difficulties on his penmanship, which he says was not messy, but very slow. "To put it in the simplest terms, if I had not learned to type, I would never have passed it," says Mr. Wilson.

A spokesman for former Gov. Brown, who is currently mayor of Oakland, Calif., says several of his classmates from Yale also failed the exam, some of whom went on to be judges and prominent lawyers.

A native of New York City, Ms. Sullivan has an undergraduate degree from Cornell University and a law degree from Harvard University. She taught at both Stanford and Harvard before becoming dean of Stanford's law school in 1999. The author of a leading constitutional-law casebook, Ms. Sullivan has argued several cases before the Supreme Court. Earlier this spring, the nation's highest court ruled in favor of one of her clients, a California winegrowers' group, striking down state laws that restricted direct sales from vineyards to consumers.

Last year, after announcing she would step down from her Stanford post, Ms. Sullivan joined the Silicon Valley office of Quinn Emanuel Urquhart to head a new appellate practice.

Ms. Sullivan is unlikely to need as many attempts as Maxcy Dean Filer, who may hold the California bar endurance record, having passed in 1991 after 47 unsuccessful tries. The Compton, Calif., man, who says he'll practice any kind of law that "comes through the door -- except probate and bankruptcy," says he always tried to psych himself up before taking the test by repeating, "I didn't fail the bar, the bar failed me."

 

I think the CA bar is the hardest bar.  it takes the greatest amount of raw score points to pass while testing similar subject matter. 

Title: Re: 48% Bar Passing Rate.
Post by: miller on December 27, 2005, 10:10:27 PM
Rumor has it a certain school has been put on two years probation by the ABA for its abysmal bar passage rate.  Wonder which school that is? 
The second one is Whittier: recently I got the letter from Dean saying that they are on probation by the ABA.
Title: Re: 48% Bar Passing Rate.
Post by: slacker on December 28, 2005, 08:31:42 PM
Here's the info on Whittier (tough to find on their site, relatively): http://www.law.whittier.edu/admissions/admissions_faq.asp#probation

I've known several people licensed in other states who couldn't pass the CA bar. It's fairly notorious that way.
Title: Re: 48% Bar Passing Rate.
Post by: Grotos on December 28, 2005, 10:42:37 PM
Forget Kansas, what's the matter with California?

Based on the CA-educated attorneys I work with, the CA bar is about as brutal as it comes.    They have their own special interpretation of how legal education and admittence to the state bar should work in the Bear Republic.  No wonder there's talk of breaking up the 9th circuit.
Title: Re: 48% Bar Passing Rate.
Post by: plumbert on December 29, 2005, 02:53:07 PM
What would California's bar passage rates have to do with the arguments in favor of breaking up the 9th Circuit?
Title: Re: 48% Bar Passing Rate.
Post by: Grotos on December 29, 2005, 04:17:11 PM
What would California's bar passage rates have to do with the arguments in favor of breaking up the 9th Circuit?

They both arise from the same issue: the fact that the California apparently deviates from the ABA standard, more so than anyother state in country.
Title: Re: 48% Bar Passing Rate.
Post by: Bobo on December 29, 2005, 06:05:32 PM
What would California's bar passage rates have to do with the arguments in favor of breaking up the 9th Circuit?

They both arise from the same issue: the fact that the California apparently deviates from the ABA standard, more so than anyother state in country.

This is completely and utterly incorrect.  ABA and the possible break up of the 9th circuit have nothing to do with each other.  They want to break up the 9th circuit because California is so populated and creates such a huge caseload.  Because so many cases come from California, and California is much more liberal that other 9th circuit states such as Idaho, this is known as the most liberal circuit.  If you were able to extricate California, then you would get one more conservative circuit.  The fact that the breakup was being pushed for by Republicans should be a good indicator of this.

Also, the decision to break up the 9th circuit is a congressional one, and has nothing to do with the ABA (which is a non-governmental agency).
Title: Re: 48% Bar Passing Rate.
Post by: crazymofo on December 29, 2005, 08:17:37 PM
What would California's bar passage rates have to do with the arguments in favor of breaking up the 9th Circuit?

They both arise from the same issue: the fact that the California apparently deviates from the ABA standard, more so than anyother state in country.

Hmm...I've always considered California to be out on the leading edge of the law, probably about 5 years ahead of the rest of the country. And that scares the hell out of the rigid conservative mucky mucks (not the reasonable ones). You call it deviates, I call it a trailblazer.

The 9th has had a target on its back for quite some time. The pledge of allegiance theatrics sure don't help -- very interesting issue, but easy sound bite material ("the fruits and nuts in the 9th have ruled the pledge of allegiance unconstitutional; let's get'em Jethro).

Remember, "judicial activism" is just another name for a decision you just don't agree with.
Title: Re: 48% Bar Passing Rate.
Post by: Grotos on December 31, 2005, 07:20:46 AM

This is completely and utterly incorrect.  ABA and the possible break up of the 9th circuit have nothing to do with each other. 

In order for my point to be "completely and utterly incorrect" you would have to assume that professional standards, as set by the state bar, have completely (as well as utterly) no effect on the practice of the profession within that state
Title: Re: 48% Bar Passing Rate.
Post by: Grotos on December 31, 2005, 07:34:34 AM
Hmm...I've always considered California to be out on the leading edge of the law, probably about 5 years ahead of the rest of the country. And that scares the hell out of the rigid conservative mucky mucks (not the reasonable ones). You call it deviates, I call it a trailblazer.

You don't know me very well.  I tend to use nouns where appropriate, and as such I would call it "deviation."  Deviation, in and of itself, is not indicative progress.  Many other progressive states like Massachusetts, Delaware and Illinois have bars that conform to the national standard. Sacramento is not Rome, and where others do not follow her example she ceases to be on the leading-edge, but remains simply on the edge.
Title: Re: 48% Bar Passing Rate.
Post by: Bobo on December 31, 2005, 10:00:21 AM

This is completely and utterly incorrect.  ABA and the possible break up of the 9th circuit have nothing to do with each other. 

In order for my point to be "completely and utterly incorrect" you would have to assume that professional standards, as set by the state bar, have completely (as well as utterly) no effect on the practice of the profession within that state

Huh??  I assumed nothing about professional standards in California.  I said that the ABA had nothing to do with splitting up the 9th circuit, and that splitting up the circuits is a congressional decision.

I have no idea what you are trying to get at with your response.

Title: Re: 48% Bar Passing Rate.
Post by: Grotos on December 31, 2005, 11:08:21 AM
I cannot see why this is unclear.   

First of all, I'm talking about the CA bar, not the ABA, since they are directly responsible for setting the standards of legal practice in the state of California.  One crucial way the CA bar deviates from the national standard is that it allows candidates from unaccredited law schools and correspondence courses to also sit for the state bar.  This is entirely unique as compared to other states and it leads to the highest percentage of the population in the US trying to become lawyers.  Although, as established on this thread, the CA bar is notoriously difficult those who do pass are still more than plentiful and come from comparatively sorted educational backgrounds than in New York or Kansas.

While California becomes the most litigious place on Earth it remains subject to that pesky rule of supply and demand, so a lot of those lawyers are out of a job.  So they do what unemployed businessmen do.  They get creative and find new ways of making money by creating new torts, causes of action etc.  But unlike the businessman, none of this is subject to a true market place other than the scrutiny of his peers.  Judges are sympathetic and zaney legal reasoning becomes part of the state common law.  On the occasion that the fed's get jurisdiction, you'll note, the 9th district court of appeals becomes the most overruled district in the country (I will bet you a million dollars that the great bulk of such matters do not arise from places like Boise or Anchorage).  And this ultimately brings the entire circuit under legislative scrutiny.
Title: Re: 48% Bar Passing Rate.
Post by: TheJesus on December 31, 2005, 11:22:37 AM
What would California's bar passage rates have to do with the arguments in favor of breaking up the 9th Circuit?

They both arise from the same issue: the fact that the California apparently deviates from the ABA standard, more so than anyother state in country.

Hmm...I've always considered California to be out on the leading edge of the law, probably about 5 years ahead of the rest of the country. And that scares the hell out of the rigid conservative mucky mucks (not the reasonable ones). You call it deviates, I call it a trailblazer.

The 9th has had a target on its back for quite some time. The pledge of allegiance theatrics sure don't help -- very interesting issue, but easy sound bite material ("the fruits and nuts in the 9th have ruled the pledge of allegiance unconstitutional; let's get'em Jethro).

Remember, "judicial activism" is just another name for a decision you just don't agree with.

I'd have to agree with this assessment...things tend to happen first in CA, and the reast of the county follows suit later...and I believe Califonia's liberalism accounts for this...conservatives are really just history's losers...and I don't mean that in a derogatory sense...but the fact is that conservatives have, throughout history, tried to hold on the the "old ways", while they constantly and continuously lose ground to the liberal human spirt that has a natural tendency to want to explore uncharted territory...
Title: Re: 48% Bar Passing Rate.
Post by: crazymofo on December 31, 2005, 06:26:12 PM
Hmm...I've always considered California to be out on the leading edge of the law, probably about 5 years ahead of the rest of the country. And that scares the hell out of the rigid conservative mucky mucks (not the reasonable ones). You call it deviates, I call it a trailblazer.

You don't know me very well.  I tend to use nouns where appropriate, and as such I would call it "deviation."  Deviation, in and of itself, is not indicative progress.  Many other progressive states like Massachusetts, Delaware and Illinois have bars that conform to the national standard. Sacramento is not Rome, and where others do not follow her example she ceases to be on the leading-edge, but remains simply on the edge.

I tend to avoid knowing messageboard grammar fascists, so in that regard, I'm quite fine with not knowing you very well.

Forgetting the fact that mine was simply a general comment, and not narrowly directed at state rules governing the bar exam, I'll also accept the fact that you enjoy using nouns where appropriate but seem to care less about spelling words like "admittance" correctly.

Doh!

But thanks anyway for the 'insights'.
Title: Re: 48% Bar Passing Rate.
Post by: Bobo on December 31, 2005, 09:03:40 PM
I cannot see why this is unclear.   

First of all, I'm talking about the CA bar, not the ABA, since they are directly responsible for setting the standards of legal practice in the state of California.  One crucial way the CA bar deviates from the national standard is that it allows candidates from unaccredited law schools and correspondence courses to also sit for the state bar.  This is entirely unique as compared to other states and it leads to the highest percentage of the population in the US trying to become lawyers.  Although, as established on this thread, the CA bar is notoriously difficult those who do pass are still more than plentiful and come from comparatively sorted educational backgrounds than in New York or Kansas.

While California becomes the most litigious place on Earth it remains subject to that pesky rule of supply and demand, so a lot of those lawyers are out of a job.  So they do what unemployed businessmen do.  They get creative and find new ways of making money by creating new torts, causes of action etc.  But unlike the businessman, none of this is subject to a true market place other than the scrutiny of his peers.  Judges are sympathetic and zaney legal reasoning becomes part of the state common law.  On the occasion that the fed's get jurisdiction, you'll note, the 9th district court of appeals becomes the most overruled district in the country (I will bet you a million dollars that the great bulk of such matters do not arise from places like Boise or Anchorage).  And this ultimately brings the entire circuit under legislative scrutiny.

Now you are bringing in the State bar???  My comment was plain and simple, that the low passage rate of the California Bar has nothing to do with trying to split up the 9th circuit, and that splitting up the 9th circuit is a congressional decision and has nothing to do with the ABA.  I stand ny that statement, and your verbose discussion which loses itself in its own logic still does not address my initial criticism.

I responded to the followimg quote:

What would California's bar passage rates have to do with the arguments in favor of breaking up the 9th Circuit?

They both arise from the same issue: the fact that the California apparently deviates from the ABA standard, more so than anyother state in country.