Why don’t law schools offer bar review courses?

I don’t know the answer. Since Bar/Bri uses law professors to teach classes and often uses law school classrooms, why don’t law schools just do this themselves?

There are some advantages to this idea. First, law schools might raise their bar passage rates (and rankings) if they put together a good bar review program. Second, schools could raise some revenue from these programs (especially if they are good). Third, some schools could tailor their program to the particulars of their state bar exam in a way that Bar/Bri can’t.

I suppose the reason this doesn’t happen (aside from neglect) is that it looks like a concession that the school did not do a good job of training its students for 3 years. But this is wrong. Teaching to a test is different from teaching.

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7 Responses

  1. Dan Cole says:

    My guess is that law schools do not offer their own bar review courses because they couldn’t do it cost-competitively with the existing national firms.


  2. Might work for in-state essay test, but I can’t see it working for out-of-state prep. There is an economy of scale there for the national prep firms.

    Also building up a bank of practice multistate questions is a high fixed cost, but low marginal cost, activity (once you have the bank, adding a test-taker costs very little). This gives a national firm a huge advantage over a local competitor.

  3. mls says:

    Maybe a better question would be why BAR/BRI can’t award a JD

  4. Diane says:

    Law schools do offer bar review courses for credit — approximately half of them, according to this survey of law school curricula published this past June — http://www.ncbex.org/assets/media_files/Bar…/810212beCarpenter.pdf.

    This is impressive, given that until 4 years ago, the ABA accreditation standards prohibited schools from offering bar prep courses for academic credit.

  5. A school that offered bar review courses would be labelled a “trade school,” and forever remitted to the last circle of hell. IOTW–union rules

  6. Jimbino says:

    The real question is: why don’t we get rid of certification via JD or bar exam, as Milton Friedman advocated?

    We might then end up with some lawyers who understood math and science. I tried teaching pre-meds and pre-laws Baby Physics and Baby Math, which were the most advanced courses they could afford to take while maintaining their GPAs.

    Ignorance of math and science shows even at the SCOTUS level, where only Breyer has shown any sophistication in STEM. The rest are a bunch of History, English, Poly Sci and International Studies majors!

    It’s a good thing that the real movers and shakers, like Michael Dell, Bill Gates and Steve Jobs skipped the graduation and certification nonsense altogether.

  7. David says:

    – “Teaching to a test is different from teaching.”

    I wish that sentence, so obviously true to those of us who teach in higher ed, would get through to primary and secondary school officials and educational foundations, most of whom would dispute that premise.