Law School Discussion

Difference in Bar Pass Rates

Difference in Bar Pass Rates
« on: March 09, 2004, 11:45:39 AM »
The following is a reprint from the Law School After Dark website that I made today regarding the differences in pass rates between traditional and correspondence law schools:

From my own experience there are several factors contributing to the higher failure rates of correspondence school students:

Problem 1) Correspondence schools do not properly screen out prospective law students. Case in point: Two correspondence law schools I applied to accepted me immediately, even without review of my undergraduate transcripts! (You can guess that I did not have to take the LSAT either...)

Problem 2) Spheres of influence weaken with distance. There have been scientific studies showing that orders given remotely are less respected than ones that are given by someone within the immediate vicinity. In one experiment an individual was asked to apply shock treatment with increasingly higher amounts of electricity to another individual by a curator within the room. In the second experiment the same conditions existed but the curator gave instructions over the phone. The result? Participants stopped shocking the test subject much sooner when the curator was further away.
From the book I am reading on law school (Law School Basics by David Hricik), much of the first year law school experience is dependent upon striking fear in students with the so-called Socratic Method. Correspondence schools can emulate some of this process online, but not very much. Peer pressure is a powerful device if used properly. Online and correspondence schools have no comparable tool to inspire students to learn.

Problem 3) The professional interests of correspondence graduates may differ substantially from those of full-time law school attendees. What the raw pass/fail statistics DO NOT tell you is how the different types of students prepared for the exam nor how much it meant to them. Passing the bar with a traditional law degree gives you greater opportunity to practice law in the Unites States. This is an undisputed fact thanks to the ABA and the local boards of bar examiners.
Let's use an example: There are two sets of diamonds that you have to climb a nominally high mountain to get. The first path on the mountain takes you to a virtual hotbed of very high quality diamonds. The second path may take you to a few diamonds, or perhaps none at all. If you took one hundred random respondents and asked them which path they would take, how many do you think would *willingly* accept the second path? What is the quality of those applicants? All other things being equal, the second path will invariably attract a higher percentage of people who are probably more interested in sight seeing than actually getting at any diamonds.

All this being said, people can -- and do -- pass the California Bar Exam with only a correspondence education. It is a proven fact. Also, it is a fact that about 30-35% can pass on the first try (see the California 2003 results on the Baby Bar).

I am not arguing that you should dump your entrance letter to Harvard to study correspondence, just reasons why the numbers are obviously different.

--end of excerpt---


Re: Difference in Bar Pass Rates
« Reply #1 on: September 21, 2004, 07:03:22 PM »
Your analysis fails to take into account another perspective. Being in my forties, one size does not fit all. But one thing is certain, the bar exam. Being a licensed CPA I know about a structured exam. The bar separates the men from the boys and rightly so. Just like the CPA exam. If you put in the time, effort and committment, you've earned the right. Many ABA approved schools have low pass rates in the 50 - 60% for first time takers. Did they screen properly?? How much more credit goes to a correspondence law school graduate for passing the exam the first time!! This is what separates the dream from the dreamer.

I'm not impressed with the ABA. If you believe in full access to the law and the court system, the rhetoric wins. It has been reported that nearly two thirds of americans can not afford a lawyer when they need one. Why? Because most ABA types need to go to the big firms to pay off the 100k+ student loans from school. Access for all? In your dreams.

Another contention is the ABA McCrate report of the early nineties. It showed the lack of the ABA "approved" educational structure for teaching proper legal education. Read the report and any subsequent published papers. Not much has change since then.

To add to that the Justice department sued the ABA for antitrust violations on graduate law programs. Finally, someone woke up and said enough is enough!!

To end all of this (because I'm studying). The certifying exams do just well in screening out people. Especially, the ABA graduates who have to repeat the bar exam several times before they pass!!

Re: Difference in Bar Pass Rates
« Reply #2 on: February 03, 2006, 01:44:27 PM »
Ok so I agree some tier 4 schools dont screen out enough, but the ones that they do screen out end up at the DL schools.  So yes the tier 4 aba schools need to screen out more but the ones they already screen out are at the DL.  Anyone who thinks a non ABA is the same as an ABA is crazy.  I can go to any state I want and my degree is recognized as real.  The non aba degree is a fake law degree at most.

Re: Difference in Bar Pass Rates
« Reply #3 on: April 14, 2006, 09:40:51 AM »
Ever wonder why the kids in some school districts score better on standardized tests (the kind states use to comply with no child left behind etc)? Is it because their teachers are better? Or, is it mainly due to the environment they come from? I think it is the environment. Please see my recent letter to Calbar in response to an article concerning non-ABA schools in the state.

April 13, 2006
Dear California Bar Journal,
Thank you for publishing Nancy McCarthy's article on your website. I wonder if State Senator Joe Dunn has considered this possibility:
The best and the brightest choose ABA law schools because an ABA degree gives them the most options upon graduation--not because they are concerned about the quality of the legal education received at an ABA school.
These best and the brightest constitute raw materials that are going to do well in whatever they choose to do and to some degree regardless of whatever school they go to. For the most part ABA school grads do well on the California State Bar exam. Is this because they got a better education at the ABA school or because they are just smarter people who wouldn't think of going to a school whose degree limited their options? Why should the ABA take credit for these people who were better than the rest before they ever darkened the door of an ABA law school?
I believe that we would see a significant change in the Bar exam pass statistics if there was a level playing field. ABA grads know they will have better job prospects and will be able to practice anywhere in the country they choose. Non-ABA grads face entrenched notions from employers and Bar examiners around the country. As things are right now, the people who are most likely to do well on the Bar exam are the same people who would not consider going to a non-ABA school. If you were to minimize or remove the limited options of the graduate of a non-ABA school, more of these people would attend non-ABA schools and the reputation of these schools would have the better raw material benefit which the ABA schools have enjoyed for so long.
Moreover, an entire hierarchy of non-ABA schools might arise throughout the country. Just as ABA schools are very selective along the lines of LSAT and GPA, it is conceivable that non-ABA (correspondence schools, for instance) could start doing the same thing because with the limited options minimized or gone, more people would be interested in a non-ABA school. It's entirely possible that non-ABA schools might arise which would be more selective than all but the top ten of the ABA schools. Then, when these people attend, (either fixed facility or correspondence), graduate, take the Bar and practice, you might see that they are doing just as well as the ABA grads and in many cases better---because they have the right stuff!
Ray Barnes