The New York Board of Law Examiners has been releasing bar exam results earlier and earlier every year. Last year, for example, bar candidates received their results on October 30. Once again, it’s not even November, and some nervous test takers received emails from the New York BOLE before midnight on October 27 with their results from the July 2014 administration of the exam.
This news bears repeating: it’s not even November, and we have the New York bar exam results. As one of the most-taken exams in the country — about 12,000 people took the test last July — this is big news. It’s almost like the BOLE wants recent law school graduates to be able to start working as attorneys sooner — or trying to, at least. We’re living in crazy times, folks.
So much for that mid-November release date everyone was talking about, huh?
It’s 12:01 a.m. Your phone dings as an email arrives from the Board of Law Examiners. The results are here. You nervously open the email and quickly scan through until you see, “We regret to inform you …” Why bother reading any further, you know what it says. A rush of emotion pours over you. Anguish. Embarrassment. Anger. Then questions start popping up. What am I going to tell my parents? Why didn’t I study harder? What is wrong with me? What do I do now?
Over the coming days, people will tell you how Hillary Clinton failed the bar or that U.S. Supreme Court Justice Benjamin Cardozo failed several times, but that won’t make you feel better. You’ll get words of encouragement from friends and family, but that will only make things worse. What you need is a plan…
* Squire Patton Boggs may be lobbying for Ebola drugs, but Reed Smith has launched a Global Ebola Task Force. Don’t worry, folks, the firm doesn’t want to “sensationalize” the outbreak. [Washingtonian]
* Hong Kong is great for lawyers interested in corporate misconduct. “I’ve barely had a weekend off for the last eight months,” says this partner who’s really excited about a not having a life. [Bloomberg]
* As we noted, New York is considering adopting the Uniform Bar Exam. Touro Law’s dean thinks the format change could be “jolting” for students, but the head of the NY BOLE doesn’t agree. [WSJ Law Blog]
* Wayne State Law is freezing tuition and giving a scholarship to incoming students that’s equal to a 14 percent tuition cut. That’s one way to combat a 13 percent drop in enrollment. [Detroit Free Press]
* Whittier Law is one of the “most challenged” when it comes to its graduates’ ability to obtain legal employment. Just one in four students gets to be a lawyer after graduation. [Orange County Register]
New York has always been the vanguard when it comes to making legal precedent. When Justice Benjamin Cardozo left the New York Court of Appeals to join the U.S. Supreme Court, many viewed it as a step backwards. New York is proposing adopting the Uniform Bar Exam (UBE).
Is this a step backwards or a move forward for New York and the rest of the country?
* The Supreme Court’s new term kicks off today, and lawyers are pumped — especially since “the Roberts court [may] be to the rights of gays and lesbians what the Warren court was to the rights of African Americans.” [New York Times]
* But come on, the Supreme Court hasn’t even decided to take up a same-sex marriage case for October Term 2014, you say. Not to worry, because “[h]owever slow the term is starting, it could obviously explode.” [USA Today]
* This year’s law firm merger pace is slightly more robust than last year’s record-breaking rate. Lawyers should probably get ready for some real merger mania before the new year comes. [Am Law Daily]
* The legal services sector just lost the largest number of jobs in a one-month period in almost five years. Our condolences to recent law school graduates who are still searching for employment. [WSJ Law Blog]
* On the other side of the spectrum, this recent law school graduate has it made. This former bank robber turned D.C. Circuit clerk just found out he’ll be allowed to take the bar exam. Yay! [National Law Journal]
If you think about it, there shouldn’t be any bar exam administrative debacles. Something like ExamSoft should never be allowed to happen. Every state has its own board of law examiners, and these folks simply have to administer and score a test. It’s amazing that every year, at almost every administration of the bar exam, there is some kind of comic failure from those in charge of administering the exam.
Of all the bar exam failures we’ve covered, this one is the most cruel. It’s terrible to tell students that they’ve passed the bar when they actually failed. But telling them the night before the swearing-in ceremony is among the worst things I’ve ever heard….
I have been helping students pass the bar exam for over four decades. Before me, my father invented the modern bar review course in the 1940s. I mention this so you know that it is coming from good authority when I tell you the secret that those of us in the bar review industry don’t want you to know.
That secret: A bar review course cannot relatively improve your chances of passing the bar exam.
Bar review marketing is gearing up across the country on every law school campus, with bar review reps trying to entice students with giveaways and discounts. But no amount of bar-review-branded swag will improve your chance of passing over your GPA rank at time of graduation.
What’s the best predictor of success on the bar exam?
* Much to his defense team’s chagrin, accused Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s trial will remain in Boston. The media spectacle is set to begin in January 2015. [New York Times]
* Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino of Jersey Shore fame was indicted on tax fraud charges to the tune of $8.9M. He pleaded not guilty yesterday afternoon. There aren’t tanning beds in jail. [Asbury Park Press]
I have a great strategy for passing the bar: write it in Ontario. The Law Society of Upper Canada (our governing body) doesn’t publish official statistics, but it is anecdotally reported that 90% of takers pass in Ontario. Contrast that with New York, where approximately 30 to 40% of takers fail in any given year. That’s a bloodbath.
The system has changed a bit since I wrote, but let me take you back in time to 2002. I had just graduated from Queen’s law school in picturesque Kingston, Ontario. I then had to face something called Bar School. That’s four months of sitting in a stifling classroom during the beautiful and inviting months of May, June, July, and August. Don’t feel bad for me — you’ll see why in a second….
* Lawyer busted for impersonating a Transformer. On that note, what would be the best name for a Transformer lawyer? Atticus Prime? L-Woods? Paddotron, who transforms into a clock that only measures tenths of an hour? [Jonathan Turley]
* Did you think your studying for the MBE could have used more original songs as study aids? Well, if so, you’re in luck because there’s an app called Study Songs that sets legal rules to music to help you remember. [Bar Exam Toolbox]
* New York courts are getting more and more fed up with the lack of relief available when lenders flaunt the law. [New York Law Journal]
* We’ve talked about litigation financing in the abstract before, but how can litigation financing help injured workers specifically? [LFC360]
* In sad news, Sher Kung — part of the trial team that took down the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy, and recently of Perkins Coie — was killed in a cycling accident on Friday. [Seattle Times]
As part of a nationwide tour, Above the Law is coming to the great city of Chicago.
Join preeminent law firm management consultant Bruce MacEwen, Katten Muchin Chicago managing partner Gil Sofer, and JPMorgan Chase & Co. assistant general counsel Jason Shaffer for a panel discussion (sponsored by Pangea3) on the evolutionary and market forces bearing down on the law firm business model. Come on by Thursday, November 20, at 6 p.m., for thought-provoking discussion, food, drink, and networking.
Space is limited and there will be no on-site registration, so please RSVP
Average law school debt for graduates of private universities hovered around $122,000 last year. With only 57% of new attorneys actually obtaining real lawyer jobs, recent graduates have a lot to consider when it comes to managing their student loan payments. Thanks to our friends at SoFi, today’s infographic takes a look at student loan debt, including the possible benefits of refinancing for JDs…
Kinney Recruiting’sEvan Jowers is currently in Hong Kong for client meetings and still has a few slots available through October 22. Evan will also be in Hong Kong November 14 to December 15. Further, Robert Kinney has been in Frankfurt and Munich this week and is available for meetings with our Germany based readers.
One of our key law firm clients has referred us to one of their important clients in the US, Europe and China – a leading global technology supplier for the auto industry – in order to handle their search for a new Asia General Counsel and Asia Chief Compliance Officer.
Kinney is exclusively handling this in-house search.
This position will have a lot of responsibility and include supervision of eight attorneys underneath them in the Asia in-house team. The new hire will report directly to the global general counsel and global chief compliance officer, who is based in the US. The new hire’s ability to make judgement calls is going to be as important as their technical skill set background.
The position is based in Shanghai and will deal with the company’s operations all over Asia and also in India, including frequent acquisitions in the region.
It is expected that the new hire will come from a top US firm’s Shanghai, Beijing or Hong Kong offices, currently in a top flight corporate practice at the senior associate, counsel or partner level. Of course, the candidate can be currently in a relevant in-house role.