Bar Exams

* For all of you gearing up for the bar exam, take heart that failure isn’t the end of the world. At least if you fail with a last name like “Roosevelt” or “Kennedy.” [Buzzfeed]

* Hobby Lobby may be behind us, but there are still anti-ACA cases on the horizon. [The Advisory Board Company]

* Morning Docket noted Neal Katyal’s op-ed suggesting the Supreme Court was less divided these days. Consider this a detailed response. [mitchellepner]

* Thoughts on Kitchen v. Herbert. [Pollvogtarian]

* The great unpaid internship revolt is on. And based on Harris, we should expect the working stiff’s got a great chance here. [Capital New York]

* Some right-wing college paper is bent out of shape that a full law professor teaching one class (and running a clinic) is paid over $200,000. That salary actually doesn’t sound all that shocking. Now what would be interesting (though these folks probably wouldn’t care) is how that salary stacks up to his female colleagues’ pay. [The College Fix]

* Ever see Jimmy Kimmel’s “Celebrities Read Mean Tweets” sketch? Here’s video of professors reading mean evaluations… [TaxProf Blog]

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The Socratic method is the marathon racing of law school: Greek, very few people like it, those that do are way too into it to be healthy, and the best thing you can say about it is that the first guy who did it died. But law professors continue to sing its virtues thousands of years down the road, even after evidence begins to mount that it puts some students at a distinct disadvantage.

That’s why it’s an event to see law professors argue on an Internet board about the merits of the Socratic method as an instructional strategy….

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Mid-June and approximately six weeks to the bar exam.  If you are only mildly stressed right now, don’t worry, it will get worse, and worse, and yet worse, with, if you are like me, successive panic apexes interspersed with periods of apathy.  A wonderful cycle.  

This column doesn’t usually come with advice, but for your sanity I recommend taking a week off after your bar review course during which you don’t crack the books at all. It might help to have a facilitator ensuring you are perpetually inebriated during that time, so you won’t be tempted. All I can say is it worked for me….

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We know how much our readers love rankings, so this is probably a good time to let you know that the National Jurist has released its eighth annual list of the law schools thought to offer the “Best Value” to law students — usually a list dominated by public schools with a smattering of private schools. The magazine also released its second annual list of the “best value” private law schools at the same time.

The Best Value ranking system typically takes into account a law school’s tuition (weighted 25 percent), students’ cost of living expenses (10 percent), students’ average indebtedness upon graduation (15 percent), the percentage of graduates who got a job after graduation (35 percent), and bar passage rates (15 percent).

What’s so exciting about this year’s list? For starters, the list of the overall “Best Value” list includes the most private law schools to date, in part due to the fact that average indebtedness is down since law schools started tossing out scholarships like Mardi Gras beads just to convince students to enroll.

Let’s take a look at the 2014 “Best Value” rankings…

Please note the UPDATE on the second page of this post.

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If you appreciate the information and entertainment provided by Above the Law, please send us tips. You can reach us by email or by text message (646-820-8477).

Sometimes folks ask us, “What’s in it for me?” For example, on last week’s story about the epic UVA email screw-up, one reader wondered why UVA students told us about it in the first place.

Well, venting about something can be therapeutic. But sometimes tipping ATL can help people out in more specific and concrete ways. Here’s a great story involving a reader who emailed us about a problem that we helped to get fixed….

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Stanford grads chilling around campus while studying for the bar exam received the grim news that the school was cutting off their access to the gym and pool. Not a huge shock since these folks are technically no longer students. Is this worth making a big deal out of? Meh. I mean, they’ve just indebted themselves to the tune of $130K+, so it’s not entirely unreasonable for the school to let them take a swim for an extra month. Especially for the subset of students still paying to live on-campus as opposed to just living in the area. On the other hand, school’s over. You have to expect to leave the nest some time, kids.

In any event, nothing engenders more sympathy for a cause than an over-the-top, petty response from a bureaucrat drunk on her own meager power. As they say, fights in academia are so vicious precisely because the stakes are so small.

And the dean and students trade barbs over a string of emails….

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I’ll have been here for six years this summer, and I still read most of the comments to most of my posts. I rarely respond, unless I’ve been drinking, which I do almost constantly, so you do the math. But it’s been years since I’ve directly addressed commenter concerns in an actual post.

In my post about the Ivy League law grad who is struggling to pass the bar and build a career, I expressed sympathy for the graduate’s plight. It was a sad story that was powerfully expressed and tugged at my nearly blocked heart.

But commenters claimed that my sympathetic response to the Ivy League grad was because the person went to top law schools. They argued that I would not be nearly as nice to a person who struggled in the same way after going to a non-elite school.

If I my channel my inner Nathan Jessup: YOU’RE GODDAMN RIGHT I WOULDN’T….

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We’ve received many emails here from struggling law students or recent law grads who have high debt and no job. Some of them deserve mockery. Some of them are good jumping off points for a discussion on the failures of legal education.

But this one is just sad. I feel bad for this person. The kid went to Columbia, got an LL.M from Cornell, but has now failed the bar four times.

I don’t have any flip or snarky internet advice. I just honestly hope that somehow things get better for this person. I think I’m feeling what you humans call “sympathy”…

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Ever have that feeling that someone got your slot in law school even though they didn’t deserve it? They had worse grades, worse test scores… they may not even be able to pass the bar. It’s ridiculous that schools are allowed to have biased admissions policies that discriminate against qualified students in favor of some politically popular factor.

Like, favoritism.

Because this is a story about candidates who — on the face of it — just don’t appear qualified to attend the school, and who just so happen to have political pedigrees and got in….

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Graduation season is upon us, which means that bar exam craziness will soon follow in its wake. In fact, it seems like that incredibly uneasy time may already be here. Law professors are usually there to support their former students, but at one law school, that doesn’t seem to be the case.

One law professor is absolutely enraged about the number of his former students who continually fail the bar exam. He’s so angry, in fact, that he sent out a school-wide email to vent about the situation. His message probably could have been evaluated for its overly harsh tone before being sent out.

We received an email about it from someone who may or may not be another professor at the same law school, with the following subject line: “This is how professors at [X Law School] treat their bar takers.”

Which law school are we talking about, and what did the angry professor say?

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