Bar Exam

We have entered June, and most recent law school graduates finished school a few weeks ago. The initial anxious adrenaline rush of receiving your fancy new bar exam study materials has faded, and summer tedium is setting in.

Our Bar Review Diarists are getting a little deeper into their studies. They’re beginning to realize studying for the test isn’t necessarily difficult. It’s largely boring. They are discovering how alluring a pointless shopping trip can be, and they are realizing how long it’s been since they have written anything by hand. In other words, it was kind of a bummer of a week.

Let’s see how Jeanette, Nathan, and Andrew are handling the summertime blues…

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When we last checked in with our Bar Review Diarists, they were just barely finishing exams and getting ready to walk down the graduation aisle. We checked in with them again this week, and weirdly, they all seem to… be enjoying themselves?

Nathan, Jeanette, and Andrew are all having fun so far this summer. They’re going to weddings, hanging out at coffee shops, and drinking at Disneyland. What the hell is going on here? Let’s hope the good times last, despite the test looming on the somewhat distant horizon…

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It’s that time of year again. Graduation, graduation parties, beer, beach parties… and studying for the bar exam. Fun times. That being so, it’s finally time for us to unveil the three winners of the 2012 Bar Review Diaries Contest. Our winners will receive free Themis bar preparation in exchange for providing us with weekly updates on their lives as they study for the bar.

Without further ado, let’s meet Andrew, Jeanette, and Nathan!

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The deadline for entering the 2012 bar review diaries contest passed on Friday. We received close to 200 submissions and will announce the winners early next week. To hold you over until then, we checked in with last year’s student columnists. And we have some updates!

Where are Mariah, Mike, and Christopher now? Did they pass the bar? Let’s see…

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The results of the February New York bar exam are available for private look-up.

They’ve actually been available for nine hours. If you didn’t know that, it’s because the New York State Board of Law Examiners decided to release this crucial information at midnight last night/this morning.

Who does that? Well, remember that a couple of years ago the NY BOLE accidentally released the results for full public viewing and then pulled it back. This is not an organization that has its act together.

In any event, let’s check out some of the late night reactions to the bar results…

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We’ve previously written about all of the problems that have befallen Duncan School of Law’s hopes for provisional accreditation by the American Bar Association. With motions pending in Duncan Law’s antitrust lawsuit against the ABA, perhaps the school thought that it could enjoy a momentary respite from all of the negative media attention it’s been receiving.

No such luck. As we mentioned in Morning Docket, a law student has now sued the school — but not because she couldn’t get a job, like the plaintiffs in the other law school lawsuits we’ve seen this year. Instead, this law student is suing the school because she claims that Duncan Law “negligently allowed her to enroll.”

Who is suing the law school, and what are her allegations?

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Most law school graduates pass the bar exam with flying colors on the first try. Law schools, of course, are ecstatic when their graduates pass, because it’s something that they can brag about in their brochures. Other law school graduates aren’t so lucky — they fail, and they fail hard. But law schools don’t want you to know about the people who fail the bar exam. They’d like to shove those dirty statistics far, far away from public view.

So what happens when a law school’s graduates fail the bar exam in such great numbers that it becomes national news? Does that law school hang its head in shame and admit defeat? Or does it figure out a way to game the numbers so that next time, it won’t be so embarrassed?

As with most things having to do with numbers, this law school has allegedly made an ill-advised decision to appear more appealing to the public (and the American Bar Association). This law school is allegedly offering its students money in the hopes that they won’t take this summer’s bar exam. But which law school?

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Thomas Jefferson once wrote, “I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just, that his justice cannot sleep forever.” In contrast, Thomas Jefferson School of Law does not tremble before the toothless authority of the ABA. In fact, the school feels free to respond to utter institutional FAIL with peevish blame-shifting. Either TJSL has a serious problem with its admissions standards or it fails students once they arrive. Or some combo platter thereof. Does it matter? Let’s all stipulate that this is a “bad thing.” But what, if anything, should be done?

There are obviously a range of legal/societal stances toward the treatment of “bad things.” Bad things like cigarettes are legal but have mandatory warning labels. Bad things like the New York Lottery are just a Darwinian tax on the ignorant. Predatory subprime mortgage lenders are subject to a patchwork of federal and state laws. Ponzi schemers face criminal fraud charges. Where a law school charging $120,000 for a dubious product fits into the scheme of bad things is open to debate. So we reader-sourced the question. Last week, we conducted a research poll asking:

• Should the ABA impose national minimum LSAT and/or GPA standards for entry into accredited law schools?
• In what range should the LSAT & GPA cutoffs be?
• Should law schools lose their accreditation if their graduates’ bar passage rates fall below a certain threshold?
• Below what level should a school’s accreditation be in jeopardy?

After the jump, you tell us whether and where the lines should be drawn….

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The picturesque Richard H. Chambers Courthouse in Pasadena, home of the Ninth Circuit.

California has released some macro-level results from the July 2011 administration of the bar exam. The California bar is notoriously difficult, and every year we like to take a look at which schools prepared their students well for the exam, and which schools did not.

Last year, the overall pass rates were 68.3% for all takers and 75.2% for graduates of the twenty ABA-approved law schools in California. This year, overall pass rates clocked in at 67.7%, while students who went to ABA-accredited law schools in California passed at a 76.2% clip.

But you might be surprised at which California law school had the best passage rate on the California bar. Hint: it’s not Stanford, or Boalt Hall, or UCLA….

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Johnathan Perkins

When it comes to the protagonists of 2011′s biggest legal stories, our readers want to know: Where are they now? Last week, for example, we brought you an update on Casey Anthony, which generated keen interest (and traffic).

The recent alleged misadventures of certain UVA Law School students — students accused of breaking and entering, students accused of bothering bikers (to be fair, some bikers are obnoxious and deserve what they get) — have caused commentators to wonder: Whatever happened to Johnathan Perkins?

Johnathan Perkins was the then-3L at UVA Law who confessed to fabricating a tale of racial harassment by university police. As a result of his dishonesty, did he have to go before UVA’s famously strict Honor Committee? Did he end up getting his law degree? There was some ambiguity over whether he would graduate.

We have an update, based on a statement from the dean of the law school….

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