Bar Exam

‘Oh my God, I failed the bar exam…’

The July 2013 bar exam is exactly two weeks from today. Some of you have been studying your asses off since graduation, and some of you just started studying. In either case, no matter what you do, some of you will fail — perhaps miserably (been there, done that), or perhaps by just a point or two (been there, done that, several times), but still, you’ll fail. But maybe it’s not so bad? Come on, even famous people have failed. No. Just no. It is that bad.

The experience is absolutely mortifying because for the first time in your life, you’ve been beaten by a test. Maybe you studied the “wrong” way, maybe you had an anxiety attack halfway through the test and had to take a few crying breaks in the bathroom, maybe you skipped a bubble on the Scantron sheet and didn’t realize it until time was about to be called. Whatever happened, whatever bar exam horror story you experienced, you failed. You failed, and it’s a mark that will follow you for the rest of your life, even if you eventually pass.

This is a test you do not want to fail: you’ll be disappointed in yourself, and worse yet, even though they’ll say they aren’t, your parents will be disappointed in you. You do not want to fail this test. But if you think you’re going to fail, perhaps you should start preparing yourself for the worst before the exam.

For a great example of how to shrug off your impending bar failure with humor, keep reading…

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Unlike when the New York bar exam results were released in early November, we’re not experiencing a hurricane-induced blackout. But today, some people might wish that they were experiencing a different kind of hurricane-induced blackout (one that involves alcohol, not nature), because we’ve finally got a list of the passage rates for the July 2012 administration of the New York bar exam by law school.

Last year, more than half of the state’s law schools were able to improve their pass rates over the prior year’s results. This year, more than half of the state’s law schools saw a decline in their pass rates, and in some cases, epically so. The state’s pass rate for first-time takers dropped a whole percentage point, due in part to the law schools’ reversal in fortune.

So which law schools’ pass rates tumbled, and by how much?

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I’d like this story a lot better if it was about an associate busted for using a fake disability to get extra time, instead of just about an associate getting busted for not actually having whatever BS affliction the kids are using these days. But I guess this is a start.

A Hastings Law graduate and former summer associate at Morrison & Foerster was nailed for faking an unnamed disability to get more time on the California bar exam.

In related news, I’ll now be marketing myself as a disability-faker detector. I have a simple methodology for determining fakers, and I’m not afraid to share it. My system is: if you can fake it so well that I can’t tell the difference, then it’s not a real disability that requires extra time in the first place!

I’ll be coming to a bar testing center near you to show my proven method in action…

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Yesterday, I reiterated the point that the third year of law school is largely useless. Such a position is not novel. Recently, NYU Law announced a big change to its 3L curriculum because, in part, the current use of the time is silly.

But even changes to the curriculum still contemplate making most students waste another year of tuition while they wait to take the bar and start their job search in earnest.

Out in Arizona (I’m still allowed to write about Arizona without having to prove my status, right?), some are pressuring the state supreme court to skip ahead and allow 3Ls to sit for the bar exam in February. They argue that the change will allow students to pass the bar before they graduate; that way they don’t have to wait until the fall to find out if they’ve passed the bar in a state where there aren’t a lot of jobs for students who have their bar passage “pending.”

Sounds like a great idea, so of course some people have a problem with it. You know, because then students will spend time caring about the bar during their third year, instead of reading Above the Law in class…

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* Better late than never: congratulations to everyone who passed the New Jersey bar exam. You’re just in time to get in on some Sandy class-action litigation. [New Jersey Board of Bar Examiners]

* Congratulations to all honorees from the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association conference in D.C. last weekend — including, but not limited to, the Best Lawyers Under 40. [NAPABA]

* And congrats to Professor Sherrilyn Ifill, incoming president and director-counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense & Educational Fund, Inc. [Concurring Opinions]

* Does every bra made in America have Gloria Allred’s phone number sewn into it? [WSJ Law Blog]

* Who is “Portfolio Manager A” in the latest major insider-trading scandal? [Dealbreaker]

* You don’t need to be a dog lover to find these allegations abhorrent. [Alabama Live]

* Want to avoid dating Democrats (or Republicans)? There’s an app — okay, two websites — for that. [Jezebel]

* After the jump, Jeffrey Toobin and Alan Dershowitz discuss Obamacare….

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Staci here. It’s been a few months since we last spoke about our man Sam E. Goldberg’s travails with the New York bar exam. From working hard to hardly working, he brought us the blow-by-blow experience of a first-time test taker in graphic detail this past summer.

Well, the results finally came in last week, but we know that our readers have been dying to know whether Mr. Bar Exam passed the test, perhaps for the schadenfreude. What’s the likelihood that a dude who took a trip to Vegas in the middle of studying passed the test?

Hold on to your hats, because we’re about to find out….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Mr. Bar Exam: Did This Guy Pass the Bar Exam, Or What?”

Well, isn’t this a nice surprise! The results of the July 2012 administration of the New York bar exam have been released — ahead of schedule, as it turns out. And this time it appears to be an intentional rather than accidental release.

The New York State Board of Law Examiners previously stated that it would announce the results tomorrow, Friday, November 2. But NY BOLE went ahead and made results available to applicants tonight, at around 10 p.m. or so.

Keep reading, for a link to the results page and commentary from Above the Law readers….

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Was one of the essay questions “design an American truck that runs on candy and rainbows but still has enough power to make a Texan feel better about his small penis”? Because that would be a hard question. And it would explain the abysmal bar passage rate achieved by test takers on the July 2012 Michigan bar exam.

The people who took the Michigan bar exam passed at a rate as if all of them went to Cooley. Okay, it wasn’t that bad, but it was still pretty bad. The bar passage rate for the state was 55 percent. Tipsters and commenters contend that those ridiculous numbers are due to a change in scoring the essays, but the Michigan Bar hasn’t released an official reason for the low rates.

Hell, maybe they want it this way. One way of slowing the saturation of the legal market is to make it a harder market to enter.

Let’s take a look at a school-by-school breakdown…

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These days, passing or failing the bar exam can have a great impact on employability in what little remains of the entry-level job market for recent law school graduates. That’s probably why those who took the July exam have been so cranky lately — they want to know if they’ll even have a chance to launch their careers.

Not even a month has passed since our last open thread devoted to bar exam results, but it appears that we’ve got a lot of catching up to do. It’s not yet November, so New York and California test takers still have some time left to wait, but we do have confirmed news about results from other states.

Within the past week, including today, at least three states announced their bar exam results. In fact, test takers from one state were so desperate to find out whether they passed that a post about the state’s results from two years ago is one of our most heavily trafficked pages today.

Let’s take a look, shall we?

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Connecticut, Illinois, Indiana — any others?

No, Professor Jacobson, you won’t be getting her scalp.

Yesterday we mentioned the latest issue to arise in the contentious Massachusetts Senate race between incumbent Scott Brown and Elizabeth Warren, the Harvard law professor turned political candidate and national celebrity. On his blog, Legal Insurrection, Professor William Jacobson of Cornell Law School effectively accused Warren of engaging in the unauthorized practice of law in Massachusetts.

Are the accusations valid? Let’s hear from some experts — and from you, through a pair of reader polls….

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