Law School Discussion

Law Students => Incoming 1Ls => Topic started by: Marauder on April 23, 2012, 11:18:57 PM

Title: Baby Bar
Post by: Marauder on April 23, 2012, 11:18:57 PM
I would like to get feedback from people who have taken the Baby Bar and have passed.  In other words, why do up think you were successful? 
Title: Re: Baby Bar
Post by: sollicitus on April 24, 2012, 12:44:55 PM
3/4 fail it. Nuff said.
Title: Re: Baby Bar
Post by: Opie58 on April 24, 2012, 05:15:50 PM
3/4 fail it. Nuff said.

That's not what was asked.  Another negative Nancy who can't, or won't, answer a simple, honest question, but tears down anyone who seeks to do something they don't approve of or agree with.  So, are we going to debate the pros & cons, again, about the nontraditional approach to law school, the ABA's pluses & minuses, the California approach to offering alternative law schools, etc, etc, etc.  We know 3/4 do not pass; we can see the results, too.  But, 1/4 DO pass, and that is who Marauder is reaching out to - or should they stop because you, and those like you, say so?  If you didn't take the Baby Bar, keep your crappy answer to yourself, please.  I havenít taken it myself, so no offers here, but people like you just donít know when to shut up about the same old illogical crap we all read in other posting Ė I get you view point, but I will NEVER agree with you position.  Shut the pie hole, please.
Title: Re: Baby Bar
Post by: Marauder on April 24, 2012, 05:59:38 PM
Thanks Opie for your comments!
Title: Re: Baby Bar
Post by: Maintain FL 350 on April 24, 2012, 06:37:27 PM
I haven't taken the exam, so I can't offer advice per se. I've spoken with several people who have taken (and passed) the FYLSX, however, and this is what I've been told:
It's tough, maybe tougher than the bar exam. It's not as long and doesn't cover as many subjects as the bar, but the level of difficulty (I've been told) is perhaps harder.

Study hard, take lots of practice tests, then really take the time to compare your answers to the model answers. Not just a cursory comparison, but in-depth. Like the bar itself, I imagine that you will start to see patterns in the model answers the more you study and you'll get a feel for what they're looking for.
Check the CA bar website, they might have past exams available.

Successful test taking is a learnable skill, and involves more than memorizing the subject matter. If the FYLSX is like the bar, you've got to remember that the graders will probably not spend too much time on your test. Organizing your answer as clearly and logically as possible will get you the most bang for your buck.

Good luck!
Title: Re: Baby Bar
Post by: sollicitus on April 25, 2012, 12:58:38 PM
yes, and "warning:contains penuts" is also a conspiracy to get you and ruin your dreams by your local grocier.  :P 
Title: Re: Baby Bar
Post by: Opie58 on April 26, 2012, 09:21:48 PM
yes, and "warning:contains penuts" is also a conspiracy to get you and ruin your dreams by your local grocier.  :P

 :o
Title: Re: Baby Bar
Post by: sollicitus on April 27, 2012, 01:43:14 PM
yes, and "warning:contains penuts" is also a conspiracy to get you and ruin your dreams by your local grocier.  :P

 :o

 :'(
Title: Re: Baby Bar
Post by: Cher1300 on May 16, 2012, 11:52:00 AM
I think the biggest problem passing the baby bar is that your are still a baby lawyer - having to take it after only one year of law school.  Your writing skills are not up to par at that point compared to 3Ls taking the bar that have at least gotten a good grip on writing an essay under pressure.  3Ls are also better at spotting issues.  I don't know of anyone who passed the baby bar, but you may want to get a study partner for your essay writing.  I have a study group for school that I've been lucky to find because we are not competitive with each other.  We'll take the same practice exam, switch papers, and learn from each other what we've missed or could have done better.  If you don't have someone to study with, see if you can get one of your professors to look at your outline or full exam in addition to the practice exam answers.  One-on-one feedback from a professor is great because you can ask questions to figure out why you missed a certain issue, etc.  Anyway, hope that helps and good luck. 
Title: Re: Baby Bar
Post by: Duncanjp on May 16, 2012, 10:03:51 PM
The thing about the pass/fail ratio of the baby bar is that a substantial percentage ó I would assume the majority ó of the people who take it are former law students who struggled to get satisfactory grades on ordinary law school exams. If this assumption is correct, then most of the people who take the test go in the door with trouble applying the law to fact patterns. So of course, the test seems hard. But I've seen some baby bar fact patterns. They didn't look any harder to me than the final exams I took at the end of 1L. I have no doubt that most of the people who pass 1L with more or less good grades would also pass the baby bar without much more difficulty. (This may not be true for those who passed with only marginal grades.)

That said, a certain percentage who fail the baby bar probably don't prepare properly for it. Whichever category you fall into, if you need to pass the baby bar to continue your legal education, I would recommend paying for a personal, professional tutor who will keep you focused on a program of study that works, which means that you will write practice exams over and over until you're dizzy, and who will give you feedback and instruction on what you're doing wrong.
Title: Re: Baby Bar
Post by: john4040 on May 17, 2012, 12:39:02 PM
I think the biggest problem passing the baby bar is that your are still a baby lawyer

Stopped reading after this.  You're not a lawyer until you've passed the bar.
Title: Re: Baby Bar
Post by: IrrX on May 17, 2012, 03:15:22 PM
I prefer "lawyer larva."
Title: Re: Baby Bar
Post by: Cher1300 on May 17, 2012, 03:21:13 PM
Great IrrX.  I will definitely use that.  I had no idea it was so offensive. 
 
Title: Re: Baby Bar
Post by: Opie58 on May 17, 2012, 09:43:12 PM
I have no doubt that most of the people who pass 1L with more or less good grades would also pass the baby bar without much more difficulty.

Subjective, at best.  I would really like to see if it would be true.  I say ALL 1L students should have to pass the Baby Bar to proceed on to the next levels, no matter which school you attend.
Title: Re: Baby Bar
Post by: Duncanjp on May 17, 2012, 10:27:35 PM
I have no doubt that most of the people who pass 1L with more or less good grades would also pass the baby bar without much more difficulty.

Subjective, at best.  I would really like to see if it would be true.  I say ALL 1L students should have to pass the Baby Bar to proceed on to the next levels, no matter which school you attend.

Fair enough. The sad thing for me is that some of my best friends in 1L had to take the baby bar to continue, and I understand that passing it has been pretty difficult for them.
Title: Re: Baby Bar
Post by: Maintain FL 350 on May 17, 2012, 11:01:01 PM
My understanding was that the baby bar was only required for students who attend unaccredited schools, study in judges's chambers, etc. Who else would have to take it to continue?
Title: Re: Baby Bar
Post by: Maintain FL 350 on May 17, 2012, 11:07:07 PM
BTW Opie, I think that making the FLYSX mandatory for all law students isn't such a bad idea. There were several people in my section who managed to scrape by with barely passing grades, and will possibly never pass the bar exam. Weeding them out after 1L would save them tens of thousands of dollars and a lifetime of frustration.
Title: Re: Baby Bar
Post by: Duncanjp on May 19, 2012, 02:06:43 AM
My understanding was that the baby bar was only required for students who attend unaccredited schools, study in judges's chambers, etc. Who else would have to take it to continue?

First-year students who don't achieve a minimum GPA of 2.0 in the core subjects of criminal law, contracts and torts can be required to pass it before being allowed to continue.
Title: Re: Baby Bar
Post by: Cher1300 on May 21, 2012, 01:25:51 PM
My understanding was that the baby bar was only required for students who attend unaccredited schools, study in judges's chambers, etc. Who else would have to take it to continue?

First-year students who don't achieve a minimum GPA of 2.0 in the core subjects of criminal law, contracts and torts can be required to pass it before being allowed to continue.

That is true for my school as well.  We are ABA approved, but students who cannot maintain a 2.0 after their first year will be dropped unless they take the baby bar.   Even then, I think are only allowed to return on probationary status until they can get a 2.0 for their next semester.
Title: Re: Baby Bar
Post by: steavejohn1994 on May 26, 2012, 04:35:39 AM
what is the meaning of baby bar i dont know i think that it might be a bar for babies only and i want to say thatbaby bar means a bar for babies where only babies are allowd and the came there only for babies in a male baby have a female baby for thier recreation
thanks for listning my comment
Title: Re: Baby Bar
Post by: cerealkiller on May 26, 2012, 11:18:21 AM
what is the meaning of baby bar i dont know i think that it might be a bar for babies only and i want to say thatbaby bar means a bar for babies where only babies are allowd and the came there only for babies in a male baby have a female baby for thier recreation
thanks for listning my comment

 ???
Title: Re: Baby Bar
Post by: GlenRPierre on June 13, 2012, 10:12:47 AM
I also am new to posting here, but have been quite disappointed with the negativity on these boards.  I'm exploring law school options (in fact my wife is as well), and as a "non-traditional" applicant (ie older working person) I thought it would be beneficial to others to share my experiences as I think through my options.    Assuming I attend a school that requires the Baby Bar, I don't need to re-hash the whole debate about CA distance schools, etc., or hear the whole "all distance law schools are bad" game and dance over and over. 

Maurader, I have two close friends that passed the Baby Bar on their first try and also have two family members who are CA-barred attorneys.  Now, I don't purport that this makes me an expert, but in both cases, the friends who took the baby bar studied independently and did tons of practice essays.  When they did the practice essays, they literally took their answers and compared them to the model answer line by line to see the differences between their answers and the sample answers.  They used the resources on CA's website.  Another trick they used was to use actual bar questions.  Now, the regular bar questions are cross-overs, but it made the "issue spotting" piece even more challenging once they got the basics--then they only analyzed the isues that were contracts, torts or crim.

There's also a service where students who fail the bar submit their answers to this website that aggregates answers from all of the different administrations of the bar.  Sometimes people fail by only a few points, but when you fail, you get your essays back with a SCORE, so that service is great because a single essay question has a variety of real anwers with real grades.  I think it's for the regular bar only--not sure. That's how my youngest brother studied a few years back.  PM me and I'll see if I can track down the name of the website--don't know what it is off the top of my head.
Title: Re: Baby Bar
Post by: Duncanjp on June 14, 2012, 08:49:08 PM
I also am new to posting here, but have been quite disappointed with the negativity on these boards. 

Welcome to the reality of law school forums, Glen. Negativity I can handle. But I really struggle with the lack of civility and petulant disposition of so many of those who post on law school forums, whether this one or others. Law school forums are unequivocally the rudest topical forums I have ever experienced on the internet. I might post more often if I thought I could get a polite, vigorous discussion about issues and points of view, which can be thoroughly enjoyable. I like banter and I respect alternate points of view. But the second you express an opinion of any kind on a law school forum, those who disagree frequently seize the chance to launch reprehensible personal attacks. And they don't really warrant a response because replying just gives them fuel to keep showing how juvenile they are and how incapable they are of serious discourse. I would have expected more from law students. A lot more.

That said, Falconjimmy, Fortook, Cerealkiller, Roald, and a couple of others on this forum are very capable of holding intelligent conversations about issues without telling you to stfu just because they disagree.
Title: Re: Baby Bar
Post by: GlenRPierre on June 18, 2012, 12:54:12 PM
Quote
That said, Falconjimmy, Fortook, Cerealkiller, Roald, and a couple of others on this forum are very capable of holding intelligent conversations about issues without telling you to stfu just because they disagree.

Thanks for the heads up, Duncanjp.  I'll look forward to future conversations with them (and you), and see where the road takes me. 

Incidentally,  I completely agree that it would be great if all law students, from elite traditional law schools like Harvard, to mid-tier B&M law schools like  Hastings, to online law schools were required to take the Baby Bar.  With all the emphasis on rankings, one would assume the Baby Bar passage rates would be a great proxy for other criteria currently used to determine the best law schools.  Also, it would give students an early "heads up" about their prospects for passing the CA bar exam early in their educations, before incurring large amounts of debt. 

And, although the performance tests are a good start, it would also be great if there were some measure of graduates' ability to handle the basic blockling & tackling of being a practicing attorney (i.e. can you draft an engagement letter, do you really understand how to avoid co-mingling funds, etc.).

cheers!
Title: Re: Baby Bar
Post by: SoCalLawGuy on September 10, 2012, 04:15:26 AM
While the baby bar is the hardest law school bar exam I know, it is true that some manage to actually pass it. I think the key is to study so hard and not give up no matter what. After 5-6 months of intensive studying you should pass, if you took everything seriously.
Title: Re: Baby Bar
Post by: jennid1234 on September 10, 2012, 11:00:50 AM
I failed my first try, 2nd try is in October.  It is hard but I failed 537 - one multiple choice question for the 2nd evaluation - which might have passed me, received 60 - 60 - 60 and 65 on my essays = 77% on the multiple choice - but the degree of difficulty killed me my 308 was lowered to 289, waiting for my essays to see what issues I missed and a professor at the school will evaluate what I need to do.  I'm a Concord student - we have a program called Second Time Sucess - it is helping me prepare for the test.  Concord First I started in middle of May - could kick myself for not starting earlier, so I could pass on the first try.  Did about 1600 multiple choice, about 50 essays, 10 were graded by a professor at the law school.  First right out your rule statements, memorize them, sing them, go over them in your head in the shower, in bed. Take small breaks, if you work like I do, live, eat and breath - Criminal Law, Torts and Contracts.  If you are not in a review course - sign up for one right now.  If you have six weeks to prepare and haven't started, working full time - you might pass on your first try.  I'm lucky, I have my crim law down, now I'm hitting torts.  I've heard people like Gould - google it with FYLSE.  AND GOOD LUCK
Title: Re: Baby Bar
Post by: RLS90 on December 09, 2012, 05:41:50 PM
Jennid1234,

How is it possible that you did so poorly on the essays, yet received a 77% on the MBE questions? Such circumstances are a complete distortion of how things work in these types of exams. Similarly, other people on the forum who have failed the FYLSE also claim high scores on the MBE, yet poor scores on the essays.

For you to score in the 60's on the essay portion means that you were objectively bad at understanding how to apply the law to a set of facts. The threshold for law scores on the essay portion start at 40 - which means you only received 20-25 more points than the MINIMUM on each essay. Yet, miraculously, you were able to understand the proper application of the law on the MBE section? This, and other claims made by people in your exact situation who have posted on this board claiming scores as high as 85% on the MBE rings extremely odd. Indeed, how can one score an 85% on the MBE, yet fail the exam based on the poor performance on the essays? It just makes no sense.
Title: Re: Baby Bar
Post by: RLS90 on December 09, 2012, 05:58:36 PM
Here's another reason so many people fail the Baby Bar: Most of the people taking it are complete morons who don't belong anywhere near the law.

For example, when I took the Baby Bar this past October 2012, not one, not two, but three people mentioned that the second tort question on the essay portion (question 4) involved the application of ultrahazardous activity and/or strict liability.

The fact pattern dealt with a woman who ran a day care center and her next door neighbor was always feeding stray cats and the woman who owned the day care center was worried that one of the cats might bite her students at some point in the future. So, to get rid of the cats, who had a habit of pooping in the sandbox, she poured ammonia in the sandbox and one of the kids ate the sand and got sick from ammonia poisoning.

Now, the question asked us to analyze a causes of action for negligence against the neighbor and the owner of the day care. As a threshold issue, the daycare center owner has a duty of care established under the invitee standard of premises liability because the children's parents pay for the children to be on the property. As for strict liability, the pouring of ammonia into the sandbox does not suffice, in any way, as a strict liability issue. Strict liability requires that the (1) activity be inherently dangerous, (2) is uncommon to the geographic area, (3)cannot be made safe even with the highest level of care, and (4) whose risks outweigh its social utility. That being said, pouring ammonia into a sandbox is not inherently dangerous. Ammonia is an everyday household cleaning product which is commonly found under the kitchen sinks of most Americans. While the daycare lady may be liable in negligence, she is certainly not strictly liable for an ultrahazardous activity.

Now, as to the strict liability for the neighbor: Two shmucks, one dumber than the next, said to me that the neighbor was strictly liable because the cats were wild animals. I didn't even get into it with these dummies, but it is a well-settled judicial principle that "wild" animals are animals that are not domesticated. Thus, cows, chickens, bulls, sheep, goats, horses, dogs, and yes, even cats - stray, wild, or otherwise - are not considered wild animals for the purposes of strict liability. Even if the neighbor knew that these cats had vicious propensities, she still would not be liable because she did not own the cats.

Now, I just wrote this analysis off the top of my head in a little less than 6 minutes. If you aren't able to do the same, then you shouldn't be taking the Baby Bar.
Title: Re: Baby Bar
Post by: Maintain FL 350 on December 09, 2012, 10:02:51 PM
How is it possible that you did so poorly on the essays, yet received a 77% on the MBE questions? Such circumstances are a complete distortion of how things work in these types of exams.

I'm not so sure about that. The multiple choice and essay sections are fundamentally different (that's why the bar tests both formats). Both portions of the exam involve the same black letter law, but each requires a very different output from the taker. The MBEs require the taker to simply identify and locate the rule. The essays are, in my opinion, more complex. The taker must not only regurgitate the rule, but apply the rule(s) to multiple facts and create an easy-to-read, logical essay under timed conditions. There are simply more moving parts, and I see how someone might do considerably better on the MBEs than on the essays.

BTW, on the bar 65 is passing for the essays. Is that the same for the FYLSE? If so a 60 doesn't seem so bad, certainly capable of being remedied.

 

 
Title: Re: Baby Bar
Post by: Groundhog on December 10, 2012, 11:39:32 AM
BTW, on the bar 65 is passing for the essays. Is that the same for the FYLSE? If so a 60 doesn't seem so bad, certainly capable of being remedied.

Sounds like some jennid knows the law but needs more essay practice. Have someone look at the essays to see what simple things you can do to improve your formatting and style.
Title: Re: Baby Bar
Post by: Duncanjp on December 11, 2012, 11:46:12 AM
Here's another reason so many people fail the Baby Bar: Most of the people taking it are complete morons who don't belong anywhere near the law.

I don't think a pejorative term like "moron" is necessarily a fair or accurate way to describe those who fail the baby bar. Skill in any field is relative and people aren't morons simply because they aren't quite as adroit as others when it comes to applying the law to a set of facts.

However, there is truth in your statement. I've been maintaining this exact point for some time now, if trying to express it a little nicer. The reason the baby bar seems hard is because so many of the people who have to take it have already demonstrated that passing law exams gives them trouble. I've read some of the essay questions that appear on the baby bar. They look like ordinary law school essays to me. Nothing more difficult than the essay questions I faced with my first year final exams. It's all the same material. Contracts is contracts. Torts is torts. Crim is crim. It's easy if you know your outline and you've gotten some decent feedback on enough practice tests. There is no good reason to fail the baby bar unless you fail to prepare properly, you write at an elementary level, or you just can't think logically under timed constraints. My guess is that the majority of those who fail the exam do not prepare properly, or effectively. They haven't practiced writing about the law nearly enough. But most law students who passed their first year exams by a comfortable margin would have no problem passing the baby bar. It'd just be another exam to them. The BB's reputation for difficulty reflects only the perceptions of those who struggle to pass ordinary law exams to begin with.
Title: Re: Baby Bar
Post by: RLS90 on December 12, 2012, 09:08:33 PM
Duncan,

I'm hoping you're right. I know that I may have missed one or two issues (albeit minor ones) on the Baby Bar essay exams, but I highly doubt that missing these issues could dock me enough to have scored anything lower than a 75 on any of the essays. I feel confident, but at the same time, I also feel like my law school graded my exams unreasonably and was overly critical of my writing. When I had a family friend who is an adjunct professor of Con Law at Loyola read my writing, he said that I could have scored no lower than a B+, yet at Taft, the online law school I attend, I got a C-. I think the people at Taft are just trying to trick me into believing that my skills needed improvement so that when I do take the Baby Bar, I kill it. While such efforts are all well and good, I think it did more in detracting from my confidence than it did push me to study - I was studying hard no matter what.

Now, I'm glad that we agree on the idea that most of the people taking the Baby Bar are not suited for being in law school and that is why the fail rate is so high. But, I disagree with your objection to my use of the word moron. The simple fact is: after a year of studying the law of torts, if you try to argue that stray cats should fall under the umbrella of strict liability because they are wild animals, then you are definitely a moron. And you should go back to reading John Grisham novels and leave the law to the ones capable of competently practicing it.
Title: Re: Baby Bar
Post by: jennid1234 on December 14, 2012, 11:15:58 AM
 :) I really love your observation even if it is inaccurate:

"For you to score in the 60's on the essay portion means that you were objectively bad at understanding how to apply the law to a set of facts."

It was not "bad at understanding" it was not hitting all the issues, but my skill set improved, I just passed the FYLSE in October.  Have no idea on my score since snail mail hasn't arrived here in Oregon.

An attorney at work made the same quick judgement about my June test, he said, "I must not have enough substantive knowledge."  That was clearly an opinion that kicked my butt, because it just wasn't true. 

As for the cat negligence question on the Tort question in October, I pretty much flew threw that explanation this time: RACE HORSE STYLE. I originally put how the day care operater should kill the cat, (that's what I would have done) but after I wrote that, I quickly deleted it and stated her options were clear, call the local animal shelter and have them trap the cats and keep the children indoors so no child would be harmed.  The day careoperator was negligent in her actions when she knew the danger existed outside and her duty of care for those children as invitees - DofC of reasonable care to known dangers: those wild fury cats which can be pretty vicious and Oh MY Goodness: poop in the sand box, what state was she in, she would have been a trained operator in CA and would have known to pour Ammonia - a caustic hazardous substance in a sand box is a NO NO?  Her license should be revoked.  I had fun, but I was so drained after that test, the last 8 MPC's had to answer in the last 5 minutes so the last 3 were guesses. We then HAD to drive 11 hours home to Portland so I could be at work the next day!   

At least we went to the Oakland Raider game the Sunday before;)  That was my day of rest prior to the test.

 


My advice again, KNOW your RULE statements, speed writing or typing is the only way to score passing scores on the essays, missing one issue will be a BIG deduction, the lawyers who grade the essay give no mercy.  We are all at mercy - even some students from brick and mortar schools suffer the consequence of taking this test, but at a 20% pass rate it isn't that anyone is a moron or that some people don't get the issues quickly or missed the issues, some under pressure have a hard time.

My test in June, we had a question that was a criminal law question and some answered it as a tort - Doc sent an emergency room patient home without seeing him because the nurse diagnosed the guy with indegestion when he had chest pains.  On his way home, he suffered a heart attack while driving and crashed into a truck.  He died.  The call of the question was WHAT CRIMES could be found against the Doctor?  LOL  most who read that question thought TORT!  One simple word and they got credit for their answer but most were 35 and 45 for missing the call of the question.  I answered it correctly, my mistake was my opening statement or I would have passed that one.  My conclusion, fry the doc (LOL not really)  I put it could be negligent homicide due to his inaction but had to go through the entire MURDER fact pattern to conclude NH or No Crime if the court viewed it was reasonable for him to rely on the nurse's indegestion conclusion.  I also put that if the state does find him guilty of negligence homicide, the state medical board might also consider the crime some sort of violation to his license and he might loose his license - but that shouldn't have been even put in the discussion.




A
Title: Re: Baby Bar
Post by: RLS90 on December 14, 2012, 02:57:47 PM
How do you know if you passed if you didn't receive your score yet?
Title: Re: Baby Bar
Post by: jennid1234 on December 14, 2012, 04:53:14 PM
It was posted on my admissions status on the Ca Bar Future Lawyers website
Title: Re: Baby Bar
Post by: RLS90 on December 14, 2012, 08:43:14 PM
Well then I guess I failed because it says that the requirement is not satisfied.
Title: Re: Baby Bar
Post by: Duncanjp on December 15, 2012, 01:09:54 AM
Jenn is right. The key is issue spotting. I got a terrible grade on my crim midterm, which was the first law exam I took after the LSAT. Unfortunately, I didn't have the luxury of taking pre-law, so I really didn't know what I was doing. Thankfully, it was weighted only 25% of my grade. There was a homicide and I threw every factoid of law in the book at it, whether it applied or not. Puking law. When the exam ended, I hadn't addressed all of the issues. I hadn't even addressed the whole call of the question. But by the time I took my final, I had figured out the game. When they said, "Go," I didn't even open my test. I took the scratch paper and wrote down a checklist of all of the crimes and inchoate crimes, and all of the defenses we had covered. As I went through the facts, I had my finger on my checklist and I check off every single one, plus every plausible crime for analysis, even if I could see that it didn't have all of the elements. And boom: aced the final. That's how you pass law school exams. You spot all of the issues and talk about them intelligently. The baby bar is no different. If you hit all of the issues and talk about them with the right rule, passing the BB should be a snap.

That said, if somebody is reading a fact pattern on the BB, and they start talking about torts when the problem is crim, then they need to just give it up. They aren't lawyer material.

Oakland Raider games rule. Some of the most fun I've ever had.
Title: Re: Baby Bar
Post by: wildcat on December 15, 2012, 09:22:43 AM
After three times of sitting for the Baby-Bar (06/2011, 06/2012, and 10/2012), and taking two additional classes, as I was in good standing; I can finally share these great words:

First-Year Law Students' Examination
Admissions requirement:    Pass the First Year Law Students' Examination or establish exemption
Applicant status:    Requirement satisfied
FYLSE required status:    Requirement satisfied (Passed), October 2012 First-Year Law Students' Examination

Therefore, for those of you who after receiving your results, feel devastated or defeated, don't let that stop you. It is possible, with hard work, dedication, and hours of comprehensible studying you will achieve success! Good luck to everyone!
Title: Re: Baby Bar
Post by: Maintain FL 350 on December 15, 2012, 10:27:39 AM
Congratulations Jenni, I'm glad you passed!

That's how you pass law school exams. You spot all of the issues and talk about them intelligently. The baby bar is no different. If you hit all of the issues and talk about them with the right rule, passing the BB should be a snap.

Duncan, I'd go a step further and say that's essentially how you pass the bar exam, too. Take a look at the examples of passing bar essays on Calbar. The rule statements are often short and direct and the analysis is good, but not incredible. I think my law school placed a higher value on in-depth analysis than the bar examiners. If you fail to identify issues on the bar however, you're toast. The best analysis in the world won't score you enough points to pass if you miss a major issue.

One of the major obstacles people face on the bar essays and PTs (and, I assume, on the FYLSE) is simply organization. I knew a lot of classmates who knew the black letter law and could apply it to fact patterns. What they sstruggled with was distilling that mountain of info into a cohesive, easy to read format. The bar graders are going through hundreds of essays, and you've got make your essays as clear as possible. If you bury a key point in the middle of a long, complex paragraph that is otherwise full of brilliant analysis it may be missed. Writing good essays, whether it's law school, the baby bar or the bar is a learnable skill, but it takes lots of practice.

The reason the baby bar seems hard is because so many of the people who have to take it have already demonstrated that passing law exams gives them trouble. I've read some of the essay questions that appear on the baby bar. They look like ordinary law school essays to me. Nothing more difficult than the essay questions I faced with my first year final exams.

I agree. This illustrates one of the problems I have with unaccredited programs. Unaccredited programs accept almost everyone and have little in the way of prerequisites. Bachelor's degree not required, good UGPA not required, LSAT not required. In other words there's no "weeding out" process previous to matriculation and many unqualified applicants are admitted. Not surprisingly a huge number fail the FYLSE and bar exam.

Certainly there are smart, successful graduates of unaccredited schools. I've had the pleasure of meeting several. Statisically, however, these graduates are the exception, not the rule. If someone hasn't demonstrated that they can succeed academically or on a standardized test (LSAT), I'm not sure what criteria (if any) is used to determine that they'll be able to pass the state legal exams.
Title: Re: Baby Bar
Post by: Duncanjp on December 15, 2012, 01:32:53 PM
I agree. This illustrates one of the problems I have with unaccredited programs. Unaccredited programs accept almost everyone and have little in the way of prerequisites. Bachelor's degree not required, good UGPA not required, LSAT not required. In other words there's no "weeding out" process previous to matriculation and many unqualified applicants are admitted. Not surprisingly a huge number fail the FYLSE and bar exam.

Certainly there are smart, successful graduates of unaccredited schools. I've had the pleasure of meeting several. Statisically, however, these graduates are the exception, not the rule. If someone hasn't demonstrated that they can succeed academically or on a standardized test (LSAT), I'm not sure what criteria (if any) is used to determine that they'll be able to pass the state legal exams.

Hi, Maintain. Good, thoughtful post. I have mixed emotions about unaccredited law schools. One the one hand, they may serve a purpose for the right person. On the other, that purpose is probably something other than putting a J.D. on one's resume in furtherance of applying for jobs as an attorney. I attend a CBE school. My decision to enroll required a balancing test similar to that which students of unaccredited schools would have to apply, even though my school is accredited in California and the school enjoys local respect. With an unaccredited school, you get the education, for whatever it's worth. A CBE school is only a few notches above that, since outside of the local legal market, the J.D. is pretty well meaningless, except maybe to non-attorneys. But I understood that when I enrolled. For me, the goal is less about enhancing my resume for job hunting and more about developing my capacity to analyze risk as an attorney. Once I've passed the bar, my mission will be accomplished. I already have an established career in insurance underwriting. A killer degree from a ranking ABA school would be suh-weet, but I don't believe it would advance my career much further than my blue collar J.D. will. Not enough to justify the hit that my retirement savings would take, at any rate. I'm in law school because 15 years into my career, I felt like I'd reached an insuperable plateau. I work with other lay underwriters who have been doing the same thing now for 35 years. My only shot at rising above my lay peers is to become underwriting counsel. With a CBE education and a bar card, I'll rise well above my colleagues and I won't have to spend 35 years in the business to do it. The license makes all the difference. And my company is completely behind me. My mentoring attorneys have all said, "Just get the license." Fifteen years ago, when I had no experience and no industry contacts, the advice would have been different. But my law school alma mater won't matter as much once I pass the bar because my position and reputation within my company are already firmly established. That said, I'll never run the legal department. But that's not my goal, anyway.

I think unaccredited schools can serve a niche market of people who just want to learn how to apply the law, but don't intend to become BigLaw attorneys. On a more basic level, they also provide people who would never be accepted by regular law schools with a chance to ride the bumper cars, as it were. Maybe their chances of success are slim, but inasmuch as the law applies to everybody, I believe everybody should have an opportunity to take a stab at it. If they get a hard dose of reality, well... That's life. But with unaccredited schools, at least giving it a try doesn't come at a ridiculous, crippling cost. And if they succeed against the odds, they'll do with the license whatever they can.

Personally, I would not not attend any institution of higher learning that wasn't at least accredited by my state. The statistics are scary enough for evening students like myself for passing the bar, so students of unaccredited institutions really need to weigh the realities. But accreditation itself is a competitive field, and the higher the accreditation value, the higher the cost of enrolling. Prospective law students need to identify the point where the cost-to-value ratio satisfies their goals and investment-backed expectations.
Title: Re: Baby Bar
Post by: Maintain FL 350 on December 16, 2012, 11:22:57 AM
I have mixed emotions about unaccredited law schools. One the one hand, they may serve a purpose for the right person. On the other, that purpose is probably something other than putting a J.D. on one's resume in furtherance of applying for jobs as an attorney.

Hi Duncan. As usual, I think your analysis is spot on. Unaccredited schools can be the best choice for the right student. Much of the criticism of unaccredited schools is unfair and comes from younger ABA students who don't understand the benefits that may accrue to an older student who just wants to further their career, and couldn't care less about biglaw. Like I said, I've met attorneys (and even a judge) who graduated from unaccredited schools.

That said, in order for someone to determine whether or not an uaccredited program is right for them they've got to understand the potential limitations of such a degree. And it's here that I see some blissful ignorance (or denial) on the part of some unaccredited students.

I go back and forth on this issue of unaccredited law schools. Clearly they serve a purpose, but it's equally clear that some issues with FYLSE and bar pass rates exist. Are the low FYLSE pass rates due to a lack of academic rigor? Or is there a lack of meaningful feedback to the students? Or is the problem with admissions (letting in unqualified students)? Maybe it's a combination of these and other factors.

As I said, much of the criticism of unaccredited schools is unfair and is based on snobbery. Nonetheless, if unaccredited/online programs want to be taken seriously they've got to meet the rest of the legal profession half way. It's not enough to just say "Everyone else needs to change their attitude." They are going to have to significantly boost their FYLSE/bar exam pass rates. Until then, I don't think much will change.

You mentioned that your CBE degree is only a notch above an unaccredited degree, but I'd disagree. CBE schools are accredited, just not by the ABA. In California the bench and bar are well stocked with CBE grads, and many CBE law schools have good local reputations. I've worked at offices where CBE grads worked alongside UCLA grads, but where an unaccredited grad would probably not even get an interview, period. That may be unfair and short sighted, but it's true nonetheless.

The fact is, the CBE schools have already proven that non-ABA degrees can be accepted by the legal profession if they adhere to predictable, accepted standards. 
Title: Re: Baby Bar
Post by: RLS90 on December 16, 2012, 12:36:03 PM
Here's the truth: You know what they call you when you pass the Bar? A lawyer!!! I know people who have graduated summa from ABA accredited schools that have passed the Bar exam in myriad jurisdictions only to fail the California Bar multiple times. If you pass the California Bar, you're likely to find a job somewhere and if not, there is always the option of opening your own practice.

Here's another truth: Unless you are graduating at the top of your class at one of the top 35-40 law schools in the country, you probably aren't going to get a job in BIG LAW. If you go to Cooley or St. Thomas, or any other 4th Tier School,  your job prospects are limited. The best move is to attempt to get a job at the City or District Attorney's office somewhere, or to work in the Public Defender's office, obtain a good amount of trial experience on the County or State's dime, and then lateral your way into a big law job. That's how to do it. When you've got the license to practice, anything is possible if you are good at what you do. Its not how you get to your destination that matters, its whether you get there or not. If you get to the party, then there are opportunities abound.
Title: Re: Baby Bar
Post by: Duncanjp on December 17, 2012, 10:20:08 PM
I have mixed emotions about unaccredited law schools. One the one hand, they may serve a purpose for the right person. On the other, that purpose is probably something other than putting a J.D. on one's resume in furtherance of applying for jobs as an attorney.

Hi Duncan (I used to post as Roald, but got bored and changed my nom de plume). As usual, I think your analysis is spot on. Unaccredited schools can be the best choice for the right student. Much of the criticism of unaccredited schools is unfair and comes from younger ABA students who don't understand the benefits that may accrue to an older student who just wants to further their career, and couldn't care less about biglaw. Like I said, I've met attorneys (and even a judge) who graduated from unaccredited schools.

That said, in order for someone to determine whether or not an uaccredited program is right for them they've got to understand the potential limitations of such a degree. And it's here that I see some blissful ignorance (or denial) on the part of some unaccredited students.

I go back and forth on this issue of unaccredited law schools. Clearly they serve a purpose, but it's equally clear that some issues with FYLSE and bar pass rates exist. Are the low FYLSE pass rates due to a lack of academic rigor? Or is there a lack of meaningful feedback to the students? Or is the problem with admissions (letting in unqualified students)? Maybe it's a combination of these and other factors.

As I said, much of the criticism of unaccredited schools is unfair and is based on snobbery. Nonetheless, if unaccredited/online programs want to be taken seriously they've got to meet the rest of the legal profession half way. It's not enough to just say "Everyone else needs to change their attitude." They are going to have to significantly boost their FYLSE/bar exam pass rates. Until then, I don't think much will change.

You mentioned that your CBE degree is only a notch above an unaccredited degree, but I'd disagree. CBE schools are accredited, just not by the ABA. In California the bench and bar are well stocked with CBE grads, and many CBE law schools have good local reputations. I've worked at offices where CBE grads worked alongside UCLA grads, but where an unaccredited grad would probably not even get an interview, period. That may be unfair and short sighted, but it's true nonetheless.

The fact is, the CBE schools have already proven that non-ABA degrees can be accepted by the legal profession if they adhere to predictable, accepted standards. 

LOL. I thought you sounded like Roald as I read your post. Hilarious.

I was being slightly facetious when I said a CBE degree is only a notch above an unaccredited school, but I'm a realist about it, too. It has its limitations. A number of my colleagues who are CBE-educated attorneys have also admitted to me that not having an ABA degree has definitely held them back in their careers. But from where I sit, there's nowhere to go but up.

You're correct that unaccredited schools need to figure out what they're doing wrong insofar as improving the number of their graduates who ever pass the bar. I can't see wasting my time and money - especially the latter - on a legal education if I didn't plan to pass the bar exam. There was an article that came out a few months ago about a proposal to require CBE schools to reach a minimum average pass rate of 50% over a five-year period or lose their state accreditation. I think that's a sound idea, personally. The education is just too expensive to get all the way through the program and then find yourself unable to get over the last hurdle.

I've noticed that my professors are starting to talk more and more about the bar and what it takes to pass it. My con law prof in particular likes to spend five or ten minutes at the beginning of each class to put things into perspective for us. He's a great guy, but a very sobering individual. About two weeks ago, he said to us, "You're all working adults, some with families, some with mortgages. It can be tough to take eight weeks off from work to immerse yourself in the law and do nothing but prepare for the bar. But you need to be thinking about how you're going to do that now, while you still have a year and a half to go. Consider your competition: all those students who graduate from ABA schools. Do you think they're going to be working 40 hours a week during those eight weeks leading up to the bar exam?" You could have heard a pin drop. He didn't even need to shake his head. So it's an ominous road ahead when you're a night student with a career. I can't even imagine what it must be like facing the bar while attending an unaccredited school.

That said, I still have 19-20 months before I sit the bar. I'm already in bar review classes, which will run twice a year until I take the bar. I'll be spending the next 20 months working on my approaches and my issue-spotting skills. And I've informed my boss that I'll need to take a leave of absence to prepare for the bar when the time comes. So I hope I've got a fighting chance. I'm sure trying to do what it takes. But this is a steep hill to climb.
Title: Re: Baby Bar
Post by: Maintain FL 350 on December 18, 2012, 12:33:20 AM
It's tough, but it can be done. I prepped for the bar while getting three or four hours of sleep per night because my infant daughter was waking up constantly. During the day I'd be groggy and stressed out, and I still only got a fraction of the study time that my peers enjoyed because I had other familial obligations. It is much, much easier to prep for the bar if you're young and single. If you can take two months off work, that's great, and you should do it. I'd also advise writing practice essays and PTs from day one. I felt that my bar prep course was great at teaching black letter law, but didn't spend nearly enough time on how to efficiently write essays and PTs.

I hadn't heard of the CBE bar pass rate proposal, but it seems like a good idea. 50% over five years is hardly onerous, unlike the ABA's standard which requires a school to be within 15% of the state wide average. (Not such a big deal in North Dakota, but very unfair to small local schools in California who have to compete with Stanford and Berkeley on the toughest bar exam in the nation).

If you pass the California Bar, you're likely to find a job somewhere and if not, there is always the option of opening your own practice.

I more or less agree, with the caveat that opening your own office and finding paying clients fresh out of law school is no small task. It can be done, but it's tough.

The best move is to attempt to get a job at the City or District Attorney's office somewhere, or to work in the Public Defender's office, obtain a good amount of trial experience on the County or State's dime, and then lateral your way into a big law job. That's how to do it.

Unfortunately, that option is almost non-existant right now. I can't speak for the rest of the country, but in California (the only state an unaccredited graduate is likely to get licensed in) government hiring is nearly at a standstill, and has been for some time. The state is broke and the government law offices have had their budgets cut significantly. They routinely don't have the money to replace attrition, let alone create new positions. When they do get the opportunity to hire a few new attorneys, they are flooded with hundreds of resumes, many from experienced attorneys. The government market is very competitive right now, and an inexperienced graduate of an unaccredited school would face an enormous uphill battle.
Title: Re: Baby Bar
Post by: Cher1300 on December 20, 2012, 02:39:37 PM
That is true about the California government jobs.  The District Attorney for Orange County CA spoke at our school and told us that for the last position they had available, there were about 1400 resumes mostly from ABA-approved schools.  I'm not saying it's impossible to get a job with an online degree or CBE degree, but the competition is immensely fierce right now for jobs so its just important to be realistic about how and when you'll get your first job.  Once you are hired, however, and have experience, where you went to school won't be nearly as important. 
Title: Re: Baby Bar
Post by: Julie Fern on February 10, 2013, 06:49:53 PM
I have mixed emotions about unaccredited law schools. One the one hand, they may serve a purpose for the right person. On the other, that purpose is probably something other than putting a J.D. on one's resume in furtherance of applying for jobs as an attorney.

Hi Duncan (I used to post as Roald, but got bored and changed my nom de plume). As usual, I think your analysis is spot on. Unaccredited schools can be the best choice for the right student. Much of the criticism of unaccredited schools is unfair and comes from younger ABA students who don't understand the benefits that may accrue to an older student who just wants to further their career, and couldn't care less about biglaw. Like I said, I've met attorneys (and even a judge) who graduated from unaccredited schools.

That said, in order for someone to determine whether or not an uaccredited program is right for them they've got to understand the potential limitations of such a degree. And it's here that I see some blissful ignorance (or denial) on the part of some unaccredited students.

I go back and forth on this issue of unaccredited law schools. Clearly they serve a purpose, but it's equally clear that some issues with FYLSE and bar pass rates exist. Are the low FYLSE pass rates due to a lack of academic rigor? Or is there a lack of meaningful feedback to the students? Or is the problem with admissions (letting in unqualified students)? Maybe it's a combination of these and other factors.

As I said, much of the criticism of unaccredited schools is unfair and is based on snobbery. Nonetheless, if unaccredited/online programs want to be taken seriously they've got to meet the rest of the legal profession half way. It's not enough to just say "Everyone else needs to change their attitude." They are going to have to significantly boost their FYLSE/bar exam pass rates. Until then, I don't think much will change.

You mentioned that your CBE degree is only a notch above an unaccredited degree, but I'd disagree. CBE schools are accredited, just not by the ABA. In California the bench and bar are well stocked with CBE grads, and many CBE law schools have good local reputations. I've worked at offices where CBE grads worked alongside UCLA grads, but where an unaccredited grad would probably not even get an interview, period. That may be unfair and short sighted, but it's true nonetheless.

The fact is, the CBE schools have already proven that non-ABA degrees can be accepted by the legal profession if they adhere to predictable, accepted standards. 

LOL. I thought you sounded like Roald as I read your post. Hilarious.

I was being slightly facetious when I said a CBE degree is only a notch above an unaccredited school, but I'm a realist about it, too. It has its limitations. A number of my colleagues who are CBE-educated attorneys have also admitted to me that not having an ABA degree has definitely held them back in their careers. But from where I sit, there's nowhere to go but up.

You're correct that unaccredited schools need to figure out what they're doing wrong insofar as improving the number of their graduates who ever pass the bar. I can't see wasting my time and money - especially the latter - on a legal education if I didn't plan to pass the bar exam. There was an article that came out a few months ago about a proposal to require CBE schools to reach a minimum average pass rate of 50% over a five-year period or lose their state accreditation. I think that's a sound idea, personally. The education is just too expensive to get all the way through the program and then find yourself unable to get over the last hurdle.

I've noticed that my professors are starting to talk more and more about the bar and what it takes to pass it. My con law prof in particular likes to spend five or ten minutes at the beginning of each class to put things into perspective for us. He's a great guy, but a very sobering individual. About two weeks ago, he said to us, "You're all working adults, some with families, some with mortgages. It can be tough to take eight weeks off from work to immerse yourself in the law and do nothing but prepare for the bar. But you need to be thinking about how you're going to do that now, while you still have a year and a half to go. Consider your competition: all those students who graduate from ABA schools. Do you think they're going to be working 40 hours a week during those eight weeks leading up to the bar exam?" You could have heard a pin drop. He didn't even need to shake his head. So it's an ominous road ahead when you're a night student with a career. I can't even imagine what it must be like facing the bar while attending an unaccredited school.

That said, I still have 19-20 months before I sit the bar. I'm already in bar review classes, which will run twice a year until I take the bar. I'll be spending the next 20 months working on my approaches and my issue-spotting skills. And I've informed my boss that I'll need to take a leave of absence to prepare for the bar when the time comes. So I hope I've got a fighting chance. I'm sure trying to do what it takes. But this is a steep hill to climb.

julie not understand how this site ever get along without you.