Tuesday, December 13, 2016

California Schools Blowing Up Bar Exam

California bar exam pass rates by school have been published.  They're real, and they're spectacular:
Just five of 21 California law schools accredited by the American Bar Association had at least 75 percent of their graduates pass the July bar exam...
The overall pass rate for this year’s summer exam was 43 percent, the lowest figure for a July sitting in 32 years....
[N]ine ...schools had pass rates below 57 percent. At some campuses, less than one-third of exam-takers passed the bar.
Now, you might think to yourself, "well that fucking sucks," much like the guy who steps onto a used car lot, kicks a tire, and watches the engine explode.  But just as the scorching fireball of rust and sleaze brings one the million-dollar gravy train of a big-money negligence lawsuit, these bar passage rates actually signify a good thing.

These schools are fighting against the most hostile, stringent bar examination climate ever, one that actively seeks to keep people from practicing law and reinforcing the justice monopoly.  This ain't 1975 anymore.  Adjusting our current bar exam passage numbers to 1970s levels, the pass rate would be around 93%.  I don't have a source for this number I pulled from ass, but it's just common sense, you know?

Don't believe me?  Let's ask an expert!
Kevin Johnson, dean of UC-Davis School of Law, said he doesn’t think [that less capable students are enrolling in law school].

The first-time pass rate for UC-Davis School of Law dipped to 72 percent in July, down from 74 percent in 2015 and 86 percent in 2014. At the same time, incoming students’ Law School Admission Test scores and undergraduate grade-point averages have remained constant, Johnson said.

“That fact makes one wonder what has triggered the decline and whether the grading of the California bar exam is becoming stricter,” Johnson wrote in an emailed statement.
Proof beyond a reasonable doubt, friends.  The bar examination simply isn't fair to the schools that keep relatively failing it.

Sometimes, when a car engine spontaneously explodes, it's just not a defect with the car, but rather someone kicking the car too damn hard.


  1. “That fact [LSAT scores and grades remaining constant] makes one wonder what has triggered the decline and whether the grading of the California bar exam is becoming stricter."

    Why would a stricter bar be a problem? You don't like a challenge?

    But no. The bar grading hasn't become stricter. Instead, the quality of the law graduates has eroded. The way the LSAT is designed, the target score for the median is always going to be 150. As the brighter college stduents are avoiding law school like a whore with herpes, the LSAT applicant pool has become more intellectually challenged. A dude with a 150 today would be a Neanderthal* compared with 150 in 2010.

    Regarding the undergraduate GPAs, the Gentlemen's C of yesteryear has been replaced with the Millenial A minus. The combination of the student-as-customer model combined with the wide use of shit-scared, starving adjuncts has resulted in a system in which the students get higher grades for learning less. If a student were to receive a C, their momma would call the Dean. As a result, grades don't tell you much these days. And that goes double for the inflated law school grades.

    *Not to disparage Neanderthals. While I would be hesitant to hire a Neanderthal as a lawyer, I would definately buy Neanderthal art, both for personal enjoyment and as an investment

    1. Dean could care less about the sucker stsudents. What drives down the quality of students is the same factor that drvies down law student quality: asses in seats. Adjuncts are pressured to lower standards or else, all unspoken.

  2. Ah, I see where the Dean is going with this...since students go directly from taking the LSAT to taking the Bar exam, all other things being equal, it must be the bar grading!

    WTF did your students pay you for, Dean, if not to become learned in the law enough to pass the bar.

    I'm no genius, passed the California bar just fine. You really have to be kind of stupid to fail.

    P.S. Truth Center: Lawrence Lessig is attempting to persuade electors not to vote for the President elect! You think maybe our notoriously thin-skinned President will react...against the whole class of sniveling, entitled, shrill, moronic, scumbag law professors. Could be a fun 4 years...

  3. How amusing to watch the law deans scramble to bad-mouth the bar exam! Fact is, student "quality" HAS diminished ever since the scambloggers and others revealed the reality of a shrinking legal job market and blew open the Big Lie of the hyper-valuable and versatile J.D.

    1. Ever fewer of the best and brightest apply and go to law school these days.
    Deans' Response: Take anyone, we need the money.

    2. LSATs, which are the only common piece among all law applications, have been heading downward for years now.
    Deans' Response: LSATs don't measure capability.

    3. Bar exam results have nosedived.
    Deans' Response: The Bar exam is the problem, not us.

    4. The flush years of law school invincibility are gone and are not coming back.
    You deans need to face reality: the long-running law school party is over!