Why Are More People Failing the Bar Exam?

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6 Responses

  1. MR says:

    I think that the growth of unaccredited schools must have some role. If you look at the stats in California, the highest fail rate is among (a) unaccredited schools, and (b) second time takers. Thus, I don’t think that higher standards can account for all of the decline in pass rates when the number of unaccredited schools is increasing.

  2. rtw says:

    I don’t doubt the article’s comment that: “Indeed, the situation has become such a concern that law schools have begun implementing for-credit bar review courses into their curricula.” But how does that comment square with this ABA accreditation standard?

    “Interpretation 302-7:

    If a law school grants academic credit for a bar examination preparation course, such credit may not be counted toward the minimum requirements for graduation established in Standard 304. A law school may not require successful completion of a bar examination preparation course as a condition of graduation.”

    I suppose that the course can’t count toward the graduation requirements, and it can’t be mandatory, right?

  3. it’s probably not the fact that the schools are unaccredited that’s the problem, it’s just that having them around increases the pool of test takers….and their lower pass rate probably says more about the caliber of the test taker than it does about the quality of school they came from. The converse is also probably true: the “better” schools’ higher pass rates are probably just due to a higher caliber of student rather than the quality of the teaching of 1st year Crim Law.

    They could probably also increase the pass rate just by allowing you to take it after the 1st year instead of waiting so long after you’ve taken the applicable courses.

  4. Mikeyes says:

    Medical students take the national boards exam in three parts, two of them in school and one after internship. While it is obviously not the same since this is a national test and each state has separate laws, the format might help both the schools and the students. Even though the test is taken in parts (and some schools, like Yale, use it as their only grade) it does not count until you graduate from school (thus showing you are capable of doing the body of work to become a physician) and then finish your first post-graduate year. A similar program could be started at some state schools.

    Or, you could do as Wisconsin does, and trust the schools in the state to produce sufficiently prepared students so that simply by graduating from UW or Marquette you are deemed qualified to practice law.

  5. DDR says:

    Response to rtw, March 14:

    Interpretation 302-7 is too new to know precisely how it will be applied by the ABA. A for-credit course can count toward graduation, though; the limitation is that it can’t be counted toward the ABA minimum credit-hour requirement. Many schools require more than the ABA minimum for graduation, so bar prep credit can be used for a law school’s graduation requirement exceeding the ABA minimum hours.

  6. TV says:

    When there are too many law schools in the country that take too many students how does the field limit practitioners? They set bar pass rates that cause higher numbers of applicants to fail. Then they speculate as to why that is. Are the people who fail incapable of passing? Are they from unacredited law schools? Are they discouraged by the entire adversarial, scarcity based enculturation?

    If you are going to compare law to medicine please look at the fact that the AMA and the acrediting bodies for medical schools limit the number of students accepted as a means of limiting the number of graduates. Graduates need to prove competence not compete for a posiition in which they can practice their chosen profession. This is a responsible model, in my opinion.

    People are making tons of money on the unsuccessful law school graduates, money on tuition, money on bar review courses, money to sit for the bar, money to retake the bar review courses and money to retake the bar. I think the law school admission, graduation and testing procedures should be scrutinized and regulated by individuals who have no financial stake in the current system.