Law School Discussion

SLU vs. Case Western (and other schools)


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Re: SLU vs. Case Western (and other schools)
« Reply #50 on: April 07, 2015, 09:32:24 AM »
" I have kept my 1L property book, which is covered in pointless highlighter marks to remind to keep it simple,"

Heh. I never marked by books at all, since I took all my notes by writing (in actual handwriting!). Took 3 times as long, but it was worth it for me, and had amazing re-sale value!

But I will never forget one of my friends' tort books. The entire thing was highlighted. I asked her if the parts she didn't highlight were the important passages.

She didn't think that was funny.

Re: SLU vs. Case Western (and other schools)
« Reply #51 on: April 07, 2015, 12:31:43 PM »

Well.......that was amusing. Heh, guess I'm dumping everything I know out of my mind when I go into my first day :)

Re: SLU vs. Case Western (and other schools)
« Reply #52 on: April 22, 2015, 03:50:46 PM »
Phantom, if you're still here I noticed something today that you may find interesting.

Just out of curiosity, I went on Calbar to look up my alma mater's performance on last July's bar exam. I noticed that Santa Clara only had a 60% first time pass rate.

Although that is not super low in the absolute sense, it does seem quite low for a long established school with relatively decent admissions numbers. I mean, other schools were lower but they were places like Whittier and Thomas Jefferson which have had problems with bar passage rates for years. Other schools like McGeorge were also lower, but so are their admissions numbers so it isn't too surprising.

I seem t remember that when I was in law school a couple of years ago SCU had very respectable pass rates. If the rate has fallen, I'd wonder why? It doesn't necessarily mean anything bad, might just e luck of the draw. One year of low pass rates is not a trend.

BUT, if I were a consumer (and yes, law students are consumers) considering writing a very large check to ANY law school and I noticed this issue, I would ask:

1) what happened?
2) what are you doing about it?

Re: SLU vs. Case Western (and other schools)
« Reply #53 on: April 22, 2015, 04:01:02 PM »
July 2014    60%

July 2013    73%

July 2012    73%

July 2011    76%

July 2010    70%

That's a significant drop in one year. I'd ask why.

Re: SLU vs. Case Western (and other schools)
« Reply #54 on: April 22, 2015, 06:41:17 PM »
Bar passage rates are down at every school and the reason is that during 2008-2011 you had record numbers of applicants and a very high quality  pool of people to choose from law school bar passage was up at almost every school. Then everyone was saying how crowded law school was and from 2011-to present application numbers are dwindling the quality of the pool has gone down and bar passage rates are going down.

Santa Clara is for all intents and purposes the same. Same professors, same location, etc and it is a perfectly fine school. Also, most importantly of all whether a student passes or fails the bar has far more to do with themselves than the school they attend.

In general students that finish in the top half of any ABA school will pass the bar.

Re: SLU vs. Case Western (and other schools)
« Reply #55 on: April 22, 2015, 08:48:59 PM »
I more or less agree with you, Citylaw.

I don't doubt that SCU is as good as any other ABA school. The 13 point drop in one year, however, struck me as unusual. I know that bar pass rates do fluctuate, but that's a big drop.

Like I said, one year's drop in the rate is NOT necessarily indicative of a problem. But, if I were considering spending 100k+ on a law degree I'd want to know why the drop occurred, and whether they were taking measures to remedy the issue.

I guess part of my concern comes from personal experience. When I was in law school (my second year of a four year part time program) my school experienced a significant drop in the pass rate. The administration pretty much brushed off the issue, "Oh, don't worry we'll be back again next year." The next year, the rate was again pretty low. Suddenly, the admin was freaking out because the low pass rate was hurting the school's ability to attract students (money).

They established a whole new bar prep program, hired great instructors, and slowly pushed the numbers up. Now, they're fine but it took a while and hurt their reputation in the meantime.


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Re: SLU vs. Case Western (and other schools)
« Reply #56 on: April 23, 2015, 08:02:38 AM »

I wouldn't worry too much about it. IMO, bar passage rates largely reflect the quality of the student body, which reflects the quality of the institution. In all honesty, I don't think law schools should teach for the bar. Barbri-type prep materials (whether through the course, or done independently) are more than sufficient to pass any state bar, provided the person in question takes it with a modicum of seriousness, paid a bit of attention their first year, and doesn't panic. In fact, it's usually a sign of a bad law school when they teach to the bar. I would even go so far as to recommend against taking specific subjects just because they appear on the bar if you have absolutely no interest in them (other than your base 1L classes), since they'll be covered in bar prep anyway. It's worked for me on two bars- one in California.

Rates fluctuate from time to time. My alma occasionally has hiccups. It happens. And when it does, everyone overreacts. If it's a long term trend, though, that usually means that admission standards are getting worse, or there is a structural problem (they aren't doing a good job the first year). But, again IMO, I don't think the solution is to teach to the bar.

Re: SLU vs. Case Western (and other schools)
« Reply #57 on: April 29, 2015, 04:41:15 PM »
Hey guys, sorry I've been away from the board (busy with work and planning logistics for attending Santa Clara).

I noticed the Bar pass rates, and while at the admitted students day this past weekend, they mentioned how they're revamping/starting a new bar-prep program this upcoming year. Also I've heard a LOT of people tell students (particularly 2L's) to take bar-prep classes to be ready for the Cali Bar exam.

If what you say is true Loki, it's a relief. I'd much rather spend my investment learning about the law topics I enjoy (and thus perform better in class I think) than bash my head against a wall doing Bar prep for units on a time crunch. Reminds me of taking chem/calculus during my neurosci requirements in undergrad before I switched to Psych/Law.


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Re: SLU vs. Case Western (and other schools)
« Reply #58 on: April 30, 2015, 06:46:10 AM »
What I say is always true, Phantom! :)

Seriously, I always try to give aspiring students is the following-
1. When you go to choose courses (after your 1L year, when they are selected for you), do it based on the following criteria, and in this order-
a. Professor
b. Subject Matter

Why? Because a good professor will make any course awesome. On the other hand, a bad professor, no matter how cool the subject or how "important" the subject matter is to your future, will never help you. Here's a dirty little secret of law school- the vast majority of what they teach you doesn't matter. The basics- civpro, conlaw, tort, contracts, real property? Yes. How to read cases and think like a lawyer? Yes. The lingo? Yep. But I have have practiced, now, for some time in areas of law that I never, ever, ever took any courses for in law school. And this is common. Take courses with professors that will challenge you, engage you, and get you to think like an attorney- and they may be in subjects that you will never practice in- and you will come out a better attorney for it. (Ex. I took an advanced and specialized admin law course with a professor because he was amazing. I will never, ever, practice in that area. I am so glad I took that course, because I still use some of the things he taught, which had nothing to do with the subject matter.)

2. After your first year, do not take any classes just because they are "Bar Classes."

Huh? But my school says I should take (BizOrgs/Estates&Trusts/FamilyLaw/CrimPro/whatevs). Don't do it. Go back to (1). If one of these courses is being taught by a good professor, then take it! If not, then don't. There is only one class I regret taking in law school- Estates & Trusts. It was taught by the worst professor. I took it because it was on the bar my first semester, second year. I hated it, and to this day, I still know nothing about the subject. I learned more from BarBri review than I did from that class. If you are paying attention in law school, if you are "living the law," then you'll pick up enough in general.

3. General classes are better than specific classes.

As a general rule, foundation classes are better than hyper-specialized classes, assuming a good professor. Look, classes like "CivPro II" and "Conflict of Laws" and "Federal Courts" and "Corporations" and "Estates and Trusts" don't sound as interesting as "Corporate Responsibility in the Amazon Basin" but they will provide you with more general tools for practice.

4. Talk to other people to understand.

Some classes might sound strange, and you might not understand their use. As an example, I would highly recommend Administrative Law, and some schools are considering putting it into their core curriculum. It's really hard to practice now without running into it on the state or federal level, and you probably want some exposure in school. If you're a litigator, Remedies is kind of important- the first question you ask (either prosecuting or defending a suit) is what can a person get? Sales (as it is often called) just sounds bizarre, but this is sort of an advanced level UCC/contracts. If you don't understand these things, you might not know that these are some classes worth taking (if that floats your boat).

5. But it's really about the professor.

I can't emphasize this enough. Every school will have amazing professors, and every school will have deadwood. After your first year, you will have the choice. Make sure you don't get the deadwood.

Re: SLU vs. Case Western (and other schools)
« Reply #59 on: May 04, 2015, 02:31:54 PM »
Great post Loki and I agree with the majority of it.  A professor more or less breaks a course, but if there is something generally you want to do certain classes are important.

I.E. if you want to be a litigator take trial advocacy and try to as many mock trial competitions as possible even if the professor is terrible if you get the chance to compete in a mock trial it is as close to the real thing as you will get. I would also recommend remedies, which is typically a recommended bar class,  but I think having a basic understanding of legal remedies is key as that is what any client wants.

The client will always want a remedy to their situation and understanding the various remedies out there TRO, injunction, receivership, settlement, whatever it may be is a good use of 3 units and it is usually on bar exams, which doesn't hurt.

I also know some schools require these courses, but others recommend them and I would encourage any law student to take these courses Wills & Trusts, Business Associations and Evidence.  Any lawyer needs to have a basic understanding of these three subject areas as they come all the time in the practice of law no matter what field you are in. Additionally, they are on the bar as well so it doesn't hurt.

If you attend Santa Clara a bar recommended course in California is Community Property since California is a community property state. However, you can learn community property in a few hours. If you are married anything you earn through work is split 50/50 except for gifts or inheritance. 

Anything before marriage or after separation is separate property. 

There are nuances of course, but that is the gist and I took the class in law school, which was a complete waste of 2 units.