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Messages - Maintain FL 350

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1
Nonsense, it's a straw man argument. I've never claimed to advocate a libertarian or pure free market approach to the practice of law.

I'm in favor of some restrictions and opposed to others, as we all appear to be. If a restriction legitimately serves the interests of the public by weeding out crooks and incompetents, I'm generally in favor. If a restriction has no demonstrable purpose other than seeking to keep lawyers' fees inflated, than I'm generally opposed.

When I say that I'm opposed to protectionism, it is with the assumption that the actors involved are competent to practice law and don't pose a risk to the public.

Yes, you should need a law degree, bar passage, and a positive C&F determination to prove  that you are competent to practice and aren't a criminal. I'm completely in favor of that. What seems ridiculous to me is the notion that someone who has done all of those things is able to practice in say, 35 states (by taking advantage of reciprocity agreements) but not all 50. Again, am I supposed to believe that the average lawyer in Ohio is drastically inferior to the average lawyer in California?

Has anyone here actually read the article? The UBE is still a bar exam, and still allows for state-specific questions. It would simply make your degree more portable. Why would any of us be opposed to that?

2
I think most of the posters on this thread are missing the point-

the Bar is pure protectionism. Now that we have licenses, we should want to keep the pass rates as low as possible. Barrier to entry and all that.

Instead of asking how to make the CalBar easier, you should be asking how to make it much, much harder. After all, three days is nothing. Why not five?

I agree that protectionism is a key function of the bar. The point is certainly not lost on me. The thing is, I'm generally against protectionism. As a consumer, I love competition in every single other field. Why be blatantly hypocritical and argue that the laws of supply and demand shouldn't apply to lawyers? If we're going to argue that the public should only have such  limited access to lawyers as we see fit to give them, should the public in turn have a say in limiting the lawyers fees?   

Chemerinsky isn't arguing that the bar should be dumbed down, he's arguing for the adoption of the Uniform Bar Exam. As far as I know, the UBE is still a demanding test and requires brains and skill to pass. The primary benefits would be greater economic and geographical mobility for lawyers, and yes, greater choices for the consumer. 

3
It is interesting how the unaccredited on campus is double digits below online. You'd think it would be the opposite. Anyone have links to any official studies on why that is? Sounds like an interesting paper class elective for any quasi ambitious but still not overly so 3L's who might be reading this.........

I wondered the same thing. Here is my guess: the majority of online grads come from one school, Concord. That school has a higher bar pass rate than any other online school. Maybe they're a little more selective, maybe they simply have a superior program, I don't really know.

Anyway, my point is that I'm not sure that the online format is necessarily better than the fixed facility format, it's just that Concord in particular has a better program, produces most of the online test takers, and pushes up the overall online pass rate. 

Another issue might be that the handful of fixed facility non-accredited schools are very small, and have very limited budgets. I think they pretty much rely on local attorneys to teach one or two classes, and there might be a lot of variation in the quality of the programs. Concord has enough money to hire good people and to provide academic support programs.

It would also be interesting to see what the attrition rates are at each school. I wonder if Concord weeds out a lot of underperformers quickly?

4
I essentially agree, especially with the part about personal motivation and discipline being a huge factor. But here's the thing, forget about the non-ABA grads and the handful of foreign lawyers and you're still left with ABA pass rates of only 54% and 41%. That's like twenty or thirty points lower than most states.

So what explains that? Several possibilities:

1) CA has more slackers/attracts more out of state slackers than other states. Possibly.

2) CA law schools do an unusually poor job of preparing students for the CA bar/out of state students do an unusually poor job of preparing. Maybe, probably not.

3) The California bar is unusually difficult. This seems to be the most obvious answer.

The question I have is this: is there any real benefit to this? Do we get better lawyers as a result? A better job market? I'm not convinced. I think Chemerinsky makes some valid points about degree mobility. 

5
Yes, I agree that all of those issues factor into the rate.

However, look at the historical trend over many years. 2015 isn't exactly an outlier. The rate may vary by 5-10%, but  California always has the lowest pass rate. Doesn't that say something about the exam?

I mean, is there any evidence that lawyers in other states are less qualified because they passed less difficult exams? My guess is that the average lawyer in say, Ohio (which has something like an 80% pass rate) is just as competent as the average CA lawyer.

Just my personal opinion, but I think they should dump the performance tests. They just seem like six hours of pointless busy work, and don't really test legal knowledge. Even dropping one PT and replacing it with more essays or short answer questions would make more sense to me.   

6
Here are the stats for first time takers:

CA ABA   54%
Out of state ABA   41%
CA Accredited   30%
Non Accred Fixed   22%
Non Accred Correspondance   33%
Non Accred DL   38%

The bottom four categories (non-ABA) combined are usually no more than 15% of the total test takers. Foreign degree holders are usually 1-2%. Even if those applicants had passed at the same rate as ABA grads (approx. 50%), the overall pass rate would still be only 47%.

What's bringing down the CA pass rate is not the relatively few non-ABA grads, it's the slew of ABA grads who are only passing at 41-54%.

It seems to me that either other states are too easy, or that CA needs to rethink it's exam. 

7
Pre-Law in high school / Re: Upcoming Undergrad-- Law???
« on: May 29, 2015, 12:20:13 PM »
Very true. I know a couple of solo practitioner PI lawyers whose wallets are so fat they'd make a Biglaw partner green with envy.

8
Interesting article by Erwin Chemerinsky, Dean of the UCI law school and Conlaw giant. He argues that CA should follow NY's lead and adopt the Uniform Bar Exam. I'm not entirely sure what the UBE entails, but it does seem like CA's exam needs a reboot. The two, three hour long performance tests are absurd.
 
I'm all for a demanding bar exam that weeds out those who should not be lawyers, but a 39% pass rate? That almost seems punitive.

 http://www.latimes.com/opinion/op-ed/la-oe-0511-chemerinsky-standard-bar-exam-20150511-story.html


9
Pre-Law in high school / Re: Undergrad Internships
« on: May 28, 2015, 02:35:36 PM »
For question #6, I forgot to mention that there is one soft factor that can make a big difference: race. Specifically, African American and Native American.

10
Pre-Law in high school / Re: Undergrad Internships
« on: May 28, 2015, 02:01:23 PM »
Before I respond, please keep in mind that no one here can make these decisions for you. No one here is qualified to give you actual advice, we can just sort of make observations. You should do all the necessary research on your own, talk to high school and college counselors, talk to your parents, and figure out how all this meshes with your life and goals.

That said, I'll try to address your questions.

1) I'm not sure, but I think it might. I assume they prefer students with an obvious interest in politics, but connections are probably at least as important (if not more).

2) Difficult to answer. Being a career politician is like the lottery. Many will play, few will win. As a general rule, I don't think it's a good idea to go to law school unless you want to be a lawyer. It's just too big and expensive an undertaking to do otherwise. When you graduate law school at 25 it is unlikely that you'll immediately get elected to Congress, so you're going to have to pay off those loans somehow. That means practicing law.

3) Lawyer, unless you don't want to go to law school.

4) Paralegals cannot practice law. They do research, draft documents, maybe interview clients. They can't give legal advice or appear in court. They are like a highly skilled assistant to the lawyer. A law degree is not required.

5) No worries. Most law school grads end up doing something different than what they planned anyway. Honestly, the job market for lawyers is pretty tight, and most new lawyers will take whatever job they can get.

6) GPA and LSAT are HUGE. Other factors (so-called "soft factors") like your personal story, work experience and goals do count, but they are waaay behind GPA and LSAT.

7) No.

LSAT: take a look at an LSAT prep book. That will answer your question.

SAT vs ACT: I don't know which is better. Law schools won't care either way, they are only used for undergrad admissions.

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