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Messages - Maintain FL 350

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To some (limited) extent, this already goes on. There are "document preparation" services which facilitate stuff like no-contest divorces.

I have mixed feelings on this one. Although I agree that there are simple legal issues which you probably don't need a JD to handle, someone who is not a lawyer might also miss important issues embedded within the seemingly "simple" issue. This could result in an involuntary waiver of otherwise legitimate claims, that sort of thing. So even then, I think there would have to be some sort of licensing or certification.

In CA we have a problem with "notaries" which the state bar has been trying to address. They are common in Latin America, but have a bad reputation here for engaging in UPL. Helping to fill out a form is one thing, but giving bad legal advice is another. Again,  think there would have to be some way to monitor such services.

I have heard this proposal floated by various libertarians. It would involve some combination of the following-
-Anyone can practice law. No restrictions. No UPL charges.
-Changing the various rules and statutes that privilege attorneys.
-People that want to learn what they are doing can go to school, etc. There could be voluntary organizations (such as the ABA) that an attorney could apply to, or take an exam with, and then advertise. "I'm ABA-certified!"
-Use the tort system (malpractice) to enforce standards.

This is the problem I have with ideologically based solutions. They aren't practical. The average person has no clue what ABA certification is, and it would be ridiculously long and expensive to let the tort system take care of it. A much easier solution is just require an exam!

Pie, I almost can't believe that ANY lawyer would actually disagree with the notion of requiring a comprehensive exam to get a license to practice law. We can agree that the bar exam could be better administered and needs a make over, but no exam at all? Seriously?

Do you think that everyone you went to law school with was competent to practice law as soon as they graduated? Definitely not the case in my experience.

If you don't like the FAA example (which does require both written and cockpit tests, BTW), then how about CPAs or real estate brokers? Do you think they should be allowed to do people's taxes and transfer property based on nothing more than their degree?

Historically, the bar exam is a much more crucial part of the licensing scheme than the JD. Abraham Lincoln didn't even have to attend law school, but he still had to pass the Illinois bar. The public has a right to know that licensed attorneys are at least minimally competent.

As to your point about lawyers not having that much power, I wholeheartedly disagree. A lawyer can ruin someone's life, cost them millions, or cost them their freedom. The potential impact is far greater than many other professions which require a licensing exam.

Instead of making the exam easier maybe they should have just offered it three times a year instead of two, and with a quicker turnaround on grading.

I know people who had to take it more than once, and they eventually passed. What really hurt them was taking the bar in July and having to wait until November to see if they passed, then scrambling to sign up and prepare for the Feb bar of they didn't. It was financially very difficult for some people.

Politics and Law-Related News / Re: POTUS
« on: August 18, 2015, 04:08:05 PM »
I don't think the FBI is actually investigating her, per se. They're looking in to the security of the State Depts overall systems.

Nonetheless, it contributes to a general feeling of discontent and mistrust among many Democrats which could eventually hurt her. It depends on many variables.

At this point, there is no reason to believe Sanders will win Iowa. New Hampshire yes, but not Iowa. Long term, I don't think Sanders is a serious threat to Clinton's ability to obtain the nomination. The excitement over Sanders does, however, indicate that many Democrats are happy that there's an alternative to Clinton. Maybe that means lower voter turnout next November, maybe not.

The only serious threat she might face is if Biden jumps in. Chaffee and O'Malley no threat at all, but Biden has a good rep among most Democrats. He's far more likeable. 

Even if the exam has a high pass rate, it's useful if it keeps out the 10-20% who probably shouldn't have been admitted to law school in the first place. Law schools themselves are willing to admit just about anybody at this point, and will graduate them with minimally passing grades. Thus, the bar exam is serving an important gatekeeper function. Not everyone who manages to graduate from law school can automatically be entrusted to handle the public's legal needs.

Do you think a pilot should be able to fly commercially without taking the FAA checkrides as long as they graduate from flight school?

I do believe that there are plenty of modifications that could be made to both the bar exam and law school curricula which would result in better legal training. I'm all for that.

I agree that non ABA should have to sit it, but other than that. Meh.

Interestingly, I think the primary result of such a rule would be that the average non-ABA student would be more knowledgeable on bar topics than the average ABA grad. I don't know about you, but if I didn't have to take the bar, I wouldn't have bothered with learning 90% of that stuff. But I'm glad I did.

Honestly, I think only non ABA grads should have to take it. Wisconsin has the right idea.

I completely disagree.

Not everyone who manages to scrape by and earn their JD is fit to practice law. The bar exam serves as a weeding out process for those few who really should not be entrusted with handling the public's legal needs.

California has a notoriously difficult bar, but what about states with a 80-90% pass rate? If you can't pass an exam that 80-90% of your classmates passed, should you really be allowed to give legal advice?

How many lawyers actually orally argue cases in front of a judge, though?

It just depends on what you're practicing.

As Loki pointed out, civil transaction attorneys may never see the inside of a courtroom. But PDs, DAs, juvenile dependency lawyers, family lawyers, etc., are in court all the time. I worked at a fairly large city attorney's office during law school, and on any given day it seemed like half the office was in court for some or another hearing. As Citylaw stated, this may be a California thing.

If anything to make it more realistic there should be some kind of oral requirement on the bar I can't tell you how many times I have been in court and seen licensed attorneys unable to articulate a sentence in front of a judge.  Or ramble on so incoherently that all hope for the case is lost.

They could include a section titled "How Not to Piss off the Judge: a Primer". Here's a hint for newbies, when you see the judge go from merely rolling their eyes at you to turning red with veins popping on their forehead, stop talking. 

I guess people's perceptions and assessments vary according to their strengths or weaknesses. I found the PTs to be fairly straight forward, just time consuming. Conversely, I had to practice like crazy for the essays.

As far as being a realistic representation of what lawyers actually do, I'm not sure that it's any more or less realistic than the essays. I understand that drafting motions and client letters is a huge part practicing law, but I've never had a boss say to me "Here's a case you never heard of and a mountain of docs. Draft a Motion for Summary Judgement. You have precisely three hours." Just I've never had one hour to spot all the issues in a particular case, as the essays require.

I agree that losing one essay sucks, it's a mistake. Maybe keeping a three day exam schedule but with more essays or short answer questions along with one 3-hour PT would make more sense. But I won't bemoan the loss of two 3-hour PTs, it was overkill.

Holy cow, I come back from vacation and get greeted by THIS!

Like just about everyone here, I'll admit that I'm flat out jealous. Anyone who spent three days of feverish, stressful writing in some stupid convention center is bound to be jealous. It sucks.

But putting our jealousy aside for a moment, what is the actual substantive difference?

We're talking about the loss of one essay, and way less time spent on PTs (1.5 hrs vs 6 hrs). As far as I know, grading and the percentages required to pass will remain the same.

I'm against the loss of even one essay. They test substantive knowledge of the law, issue spotting, and the ability to form a cogent argument.

The PTs, on the other hand, are pretty much a waste of time in my opinion. It's just complicated busy work. Someone who has never attended law school but is reasonably smart could probably pass the PTs. Most of my law school classmates considered the PTs a gift, and figured they would help make up for the more difficult essays and MBE. I think most of us probably spent way less time preparing for the PTs than the essays.

The main issue here is simply TIME. Is it a better test because it's longer than others? If it was three full days of substantive legal testing, then I'd say yes. But when six hours are devoted to PTs I think you can trim that back and still have a good bar exam.

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