Bar Exams

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?

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Too many lawyers are wearing this name badge.

* 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….

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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?

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Mike Sorrentino

* Per the First Circuit, plaintiffs who successfully challenge the Defense of Marriage Act in court aren’t entitled to attorneys’ fees. The Department of Justice had no comment. [National Law Journal]

* Florida Coastal Law finished second-to-last in bar passage for the July 2014 exam, with 58% of grads passing. It was one of Florida Coastal’s worst performances to date. [Florida Times-Union]

* ASU Law got a $10M donation, its largest ever. “The remarkable thing about it is we didn’t ask him for it,” says the dean, which is a slightly better response than Drexel’s dean had. [The Republic]

* 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….

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* 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]

* A former U.S. Attorney pleads guilty to not paying his taxes for years. [Las Vegas Review-Journal]

* 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]

Almost a month after ExamSoft treated us to the biggest bar exam disaster ever, they’ve issued an apology. Well, that’s something. One would have expected this within hours of the debacle that the Internet dubbed #Barghazi. Maybe it was written in July and it’s just taken this long for the ExamSoft software to load it up.

Despite calls that ExamSoft needs to bite the bullet and refund student money over this mishap and pending legal claims, ExamSoft is content to offer a straight-forward “oops, our bad,” and carry on like nothing ever happened.

Is this apology enough? Do the victims of this snafu deserve more?

Are all of you just overreacting?

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Now that the July 2014 administration of the bar exam is in the books, everyone can commiserate over the mental anguish they went through while cramming hundreds upon hundreds of pages of otherwise useless legal knowledge into their brains.

When it came to the bar exam, you weren’t studying. As it turns out, you were stuDYING. Given how tedious the entire process was, it must’ve sometimes been difficult to stay sane.

This girl found a way to keep herself from losing her mind — barely — and we’re going to show you how…

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In the class that Florida Coastal admitted in 2013, more than half the students were unlikely to ever pass the bar.

– Professor Paul Campos of Colorado Law, in a feature essay published by The Atlantic about the dangers of attending for-profit law schools like those owned by InfiLaw — namely Florida Coastal School of Law, Arizona Summit Law School, and Charlotte School of Law.

(Remember when a dean candidate was thrown out of Florida Coastal because he suggested the school was doing a disservice to its students? We’ve got his name. If you’re interested, keep reading to find out who he is.)

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