Bar Exams

After the July 2012 Michigan state bar exam, we noted that Michigan seemed to be tightening the screws on the people taking its bar exam. The overall pass rate for the exam was 55%, and it was only 62% for first-time test takers.

As people gear up for the July 2013 Michigan bar exam, it looks like the degree of difficulty on the test isn’t a blip, it’s a trend. The February 2013 numbers suggest that Michigan wants to keep its test hard and its test takers nervous….

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I don’t think the bar exam should be easy. When you look at the proliferation of law schools and how easy it is to get into law school, I think that the bar exams become the limiting factor of last resort.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s a shame that the bar doesn’t test skills that lawyers actually need to serve clients. It’s a shame that the bar is basically reduced to a test of memorization, information ordering, and most importantly, reading comprehension. The bar is just a barrier to entry, not a true licensing test.

But when you have a record number of people taking the damn thing in February in New York, right in the middle of a market that doesn’t have enough job for lawyers, I don’t really have a problem if half of those people are broken by two days of the New York bar.

So it’s not going to come as a surprise that I’m glad New York is New York and not Texas….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “February Bar Exam Results Are Fine In Texas, Pathetic In New York”

* “It’s a fine line society walks in trying to be fair.” Justice Sonia Sotomayor spoke earlier this week on the perils of racial profiling with respect to the Chechen suspects in the Boston Marathon bombings. Were we fair here? [Associated Press]

* What keeps in-house counsel awake at night — aside from the tremendous piles of money they’re rolling around in? Apparently they’re expecting an “onslaught” of food labeling and data breach class actions. [WSJ Law Blog (sub. req.)]

* Susan Westerberg Prager, known for being the longest-serving dean ever at UCLA School of Law, will take up the deanship at another illustrious institution, Southwestern Law School. [National Law Journal]

* The February results for the New York bar exam are out, and with the highest number of test-takers ever, the pass rate was brutal. We may have more on this later. [Thomson Reuters News & Insight]

* Rhode Island just got a little more fabulous. The Ocean State legalized gay marriage yesterday, making it the tenth state to do so, and uniting New England in marriage equality for all. [Bloomberg]

* Back in December, we told you about an alleged “well-dressed” groper — an unemployed lawyer, as it were. Well, now there’s nothing alleged about it, because that guy just pleaded guilty. [New York Post]


It’s mid-April, and you all know what that means: some people are already starting to freak out about the July 2013 bar exam — but not about whether they’ll pass or fail. This time, people are losing their minds over their hotel accommodations, or the lack thereof.

Yes, you read that correctly. Bar examinees in New York are going to be forced to find alternate lodging during this most crucial of times, because most major hotels do not have a single reservation available between July 28 and July 31.

But what on earth could be more important than the bar exam? And which test sites will be affected by this disruption in service?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Taking the New York Bar Exam? You Probably Won’t Be Able to Find a Place to Stay…”

With spring semester drawing to a close, graduating law students must be getting really antsy. After all, the July 2013 bar exam is just around the corner, and in this kind of a competitive job market — you know, the kind of job market where only 56 percent of graduates secured long-term, full-time jobs that required bar passage in 2012 — passing the test is more important than ever.

That being said, wouldn’t it be convenient if you knew how hard you needed to study for your own state’s exam (not that you shouldn’t be studying hard in the first place), as compared to other states’ exams? Luckily, there’s a brand new ranking for that.

You’ve all got some preconceived notions about which states have the toughest bar exams, so the top 10 on this list might just blow your mind. Let’s take a look….

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On April 1st, first thing in the morning, a number of law students all across the state of Illinois received a forwarded message that the upcoming administration of the Illinois Bar Exam would be “harder” than it has been in the past. Students were told that the Illinois Supreme Court had “resolved” to make the exam more difficult, and the students were exhorted to make the appropriate preparations for the exam.

The email found its way into my inbox, but I largely ignored it. April 1st, April Fool’s Day, I’ve been doing this internet thing for a while now. I didn’t believe that a law professor randomly decided to freak out the entire law student population of Illinois.

But the joke is on me… and Illinois Bar takers. The test is going to be graded with more rigor this year, in an attempt to make it harder….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “The Whole ‘Illinois Bar Exam Is Getting Harder’ Thing Was NOT An April Fool’s Joke”

In a story that Ethan Bronner of the New York Times will repackage nine months from now and pretend like it is new, the National Law Journal tells us that two for-profit law schools are offering refunds to students who can’t pass the bar.

It only sounds nice if you don’t read the fine print, though in fairness, people who go to for-profit law schools are probably not the best at even identifying the fine print, much less at reading it and understanding how it might apply to their lives.

Still, I don’t know what kind of mathematically challenged people think that getting a $10K refund after spending nearly $120K to go to law school and not passing the bar is a good deal….

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Hey 2Ls, you might want to pay attention to this one. You’re really going to want to pass the July 2014 Bar Exam, because by February 2015 the exam is going to be new.

Really new. In the biggest change to the bar exam in decades, the February 2015 exam will have a new section: Civil Procedure.

I’ll pause now until the groaning subsides….

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Taking the bar shouldn’t be like running in the Iditarod.

My God, I am glad I wasn’t cast down with the sodomites and forced to take the February administration of the bar exam. Apparently, not only does February have the usual amount of administrative errors, but some of the students who take the February exam are downright gross.

Yesterday, we told you about the power outage during the Missouri bar exam. We need to close the loop on that because the power came back on, but the technology did not.

Still, at least the people in Missouri maintained basic human civility. You can’t say the same for the test takers in Texas….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Bar Exam Horror Stories: Losing Power > Losing Bladder Control”

Doesn’t this road just scream ‘Let’s go take a bar exam’?

So, in case you haven’t heard, they’re having a bit of weather in the middle west today. It’s bad. The climate Gods continue to be angry at us.

The impending snowstorm didn’t stop the good people of Missouri from trying to hold their February bar exam today. Because, I mean, just because we can make some predictions on what’s going to happen with the weather doesn’t mean we should do anything about it or adjust our plans in any way.

For at least one group of students, the infrastructure couldn’t cash the check the Missouri Board of Law Examiners wrote. Their power went out during the bar….

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