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Messages - Maintain FL 350

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251
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. 

252
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.   

253
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. 

254
Law School Admissions / Re: Upcoming Undergrad-- Law???
« on: May 29, 2015, 10:20:13 AM »
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.

255
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


256
Law School Admissions / Re: Undergrad Internships
« on: May 28, 2015, 12:35:36 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.

257
Law School Admissions / Re: Undergrad Internships
« on: May 28, 2015, 12:01:23 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.

258
Law School Admissions / Re: Upcoming Undergrad-- Law???
« on: May 28, 2015, 11:37:23 AM »
A few people stated that by working as a lawyer I wasn't necessarily going to be dealing with the constitution and law school is probably not what I think it is. Can anyone give me some more insight on what to expect?

What they mean is that the vast majority of lawyers do not practice Constitutional law. Constitutional cases, which would include things like civil rights, free speech, voting rights, etc., make up a VERY small percentage of all the cases filed. The people who do handle these cases tend to be highly experienced specialists.

The majority of lawyers deal with more mundane things like contract disputes, wills, divorces, and DUIs.

In law school you will take one required Constitutional law class, and have the option to take a few electives that also deal with Constitutional issues. You don't major in law school like you do in undergrad, you just take a lot of required courses and a few electives. Most of your time will be spent taking required courses like Contracts, Torts, Property, and Corporations. Most of it is very dry and difficult (especially the first year).

259
Law School Admissions / Re: Upcoming Undergrad-- Law???
« on: May 28, 2015, 09:47:02 AM »
I don't have the exact quote, but there's only like a dozen lawyers who regularly deal with Constitutional issues, and they all went to Yale, Harvard or Stanford decades ago. Don't let this discourage you but you should have a realistic picture of what lawyers do.

Along those lines, I had a conversation with the daughter of a family friend a while back who had just been accepted to a mid-range local law school. She told she wanted to go to law school to be a "human rights lawyer", working at the UN and travelling around the world. (Forgive me if I'm repeating this story, I think I told it once before).

"Wow" I said, "that's a really admirable goal. Would you also be happy as say, a public defender? Or some other kind of public interest lawyer?"
 
"No, I'll get my law degree then go to grad school for International Relations."

I mentioned that in the ENTIRE world there are maybe a couple of hundred people who do that job, that they tend to be highly experienced, that they tend to be graduates of places like Harvard and Oxford, that law school is a big and expensive undertaking, blah blah blah. She politely ignored me, and said she would follow through.

I didn't want to seem like a crusher of dreams, but at the same time I almost felt obligated to point out the reality of the situation. She was surrounded by a bunch of people who know nothing about law or international relations all telling her to follow her dream, if you want it badly enough, it will happen, etc etc.

If it was all free, then yes. But when you're talking about a six figure debt you need to be a little more objective.   

260
Law School Admissions / Re: Upcoming Undergrad-- Law???
« on: May 28, 2015, 08:36:53 AM »
As others have stated, it doesn't really make much difference what you major in. A biochem major with a 3.5 GPA will be considered a little "better" than an Art major with a 3.5, but it's not a huge difference. As far as the slew of potential social science/liberal arts majors (poly sci, history, English), they'll all be viewed as more or less the same.

One thing I would urge you to consider is debt. I know that when you are 18 and choosing colleges the cost of attendance can seem almost abstract. You see the numbers, but it doesn't really hit home until you actually have to start paying back those loans. If you accrue $100,000 debt for undergrad, defer it for three years while you attend law school, then accrue another $100-200,000 law school debt, you are talking about a debt that will control your life.

If you're rich or you get a full scholarship, then obviously this is inapplicable. Otherwise, be careful.

BTW, unless you get into someplace like Harvard or Yale nobody will care where you went to undergrad. Having a bachelor's from the #50 ranked music program versus the #25 ranked program will make no difference. The vast, overwhelming majority of employers won't care one bit.

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