I don’t think the bar exam should be easy. When you look at the proliferation of law schools and how easy it is to get into law school, I think that the bar exams become the limiting factor of last resort.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s a shame that the bar doesn’t test skills that lawyers actually need to serve clients. It’s a shame that the bar is basically reduced to a test of memorization, information ordering, and most importantly, reading comprehension. The bar is just a barrier to entry, not a true licensing test.
But when you have a record number of people taking the damn thing in February in New York, right in the middle of a market that doesn’t have enough job for lawyers, I don’t really have a problem if half of those people are broken by two days of the New York bar.
So it’s not going to come as a surprise that I’m glad New York is New York and not Texas….
The February results in Texas are all sunshine and agave. From the Tex Parte Blog:
Of the 381 Texas law school graduates who were first-time test-takers, 323 (84.78 percent) passed, according to results released today by the Texas BLE. That pass rate is higher than the 76.57 percent, or 281 of 367, first-time test-takers who passed the February 2012 exam.
The overall pass rate in Texas was 74%. That’s a healthy number. Have fun defending oil companies or arguing there’s a Second Amendment right to own tanks, or if you live in Austin, keep fighting the good fight.
The overall pass rate in New York was 50%. That’s up from 44% after the February bar last year. When reached for comment, the New York Bar Examiners said: “Mwahahahaha.”
Look, law is hard. Not everybody can play. If we’re going to let just anybody into law school, then we need strong bar exams. There are already too many lawyers competing for too few jobs, and at this point, the New York Bar is serving an important Darwinian purpose.
It stinks if you failed. But if it makes you feel any better, even if you passed there still wouldn’t be a job waiting for you.
Texas February bar exam results released today [Tex Parte Blog]
February 2013 N.Y. bar exam results out; 50 percent passing rate [Thomson Reuters News & Insight]