Law School Discussion

Nine Years of Discussion
;

Author Topic: 48% Bar Passing Rate.  (Read 4354 times)

crazymofo

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 18
    • View Profile
48% Bar Passing Rate.
« on: November 22, 2005, 12:52:24 AM »
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.

Jumboshrimps

  • Sr. Citizen
  • ****
  • Posts: 598
    • View Profile
Re: 48% Bar Passing Rate.
« Reply #1 on: November 22, 2005, 08:08:36 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...

CoxlessPair

  • Sr. Citizen
  • ****
  • Posts: 770
    • View Profile
Re: 48% Bar Passing Rate.
« Reply #2 on: November 22, 2005, 11:00:33 AM »
I thought this was another Cooley bashing thread based on the subject heading.
Air Force JAG Corps

voss749

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 2
    • View Profile
    • Email
Re: 48% Bar Passing Rate.
« Reply #3 on: November 22, 2005, 12:15:57 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.

jjason

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 6
    • View Profile
Re: 48% Bar Passing Rate.
« Reply #4 on: December 22, 2005, 03:11:14 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?

TheJesus

  • Sr. Citizen
  • ****
  • Posts: 299
    • View Profile
Re: 48% Bar Passing Rate.
« Reply #5 on: December 23, 2005, 09:53:08 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.....


plumeria

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 7
    • View Profile
Re: 48% Bar Passing Rate.
« Reply #6 on: December 23, 2005, 11:48:45 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.

jdohno

  • Sr. Citizen
  • ****
  • Posts: 180
    • View Profile
Re: 48% Bar Passing Rate.
« Reply #7 on: December 24, 2005, 12:07:52 PM »
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.....



swburger

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 8
    • View Profile
Re: 48% Bar Passing Rate.
« Reply #8 on: December 24, 2005, 09:14:56 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. 





jdohno

  • Sr. Citizen
  • ****
  • Posts: 180
    • View Profile
Re: 48% Bar Passing Rate.
« Reply #9 on: December 25, 2005, 12:11:33 PM »
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.