Bar Exams

It’s the middle of September, which means most people are waiting for the results of their summer bar exams. Here in America, we all take the bars at the same time, so new lawyers hit the market at relatively the same time. This is because… well, I don’t know, but it’s how we do things.

In Puerto Rico — which is kind of like a disenfranchised America, like D.C. or black people living in North Carolina — they do things a little differently. This is because… oh, who cares? It’s weird, from a mainland point of view. There are lots of things that are weird about the Puerto Rican bar…

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Lady Gaga

* You skip over the footnotes when you’re reading for class, but Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg doesn’t think you should. She’s a proponent of the most important footnote in all of constitutional law. [New Yorker]

* New York will modify its pro bono requirement for LL.M. students to allow public service completed outside the country. Well, so much for closing the state’s justice gap. [New York Law Journal (sub. req.)]

* Everything’s bigger in Texas, including the government-initiated trademark infringement actions over “Don’t Mess With Texas.” Like “I <3 NY," the Lone Star State's slogans are off limits. [New York Times]

* WUSTL Law Dean Kent Syverud didn’t mind advocating for halving professors’ salaries. He just stepped down to become Syracuse University’s president — for much higher pay. [National Law Journal (sub. req.)]

* You can sue Lady Gaga for overtime pay all you want, but you do not want to face her wrath. The pop star is due in court in early November where she’ll tell a judge “exactly what f**king happened.” [Daily Mail]

Despite my consistent exhortations that people should do as well as possible on the LSAT, I don’t think the LSAT is a particularly useful test. The LSAT, like all other standardized tests, is really an examination of past performance and learned ability to take the test. It doesn’t measure “raw” intelligence, however you want to define that term. It measures your ability to take the LSAT.

I had thought that your ability to do well on the LSAT would be predict your ability to do well on the bar exam. Again, not because of any intelligence measuring, but just because people who are good at standardized tests tend to continue to be good at standardized tests.

But perhaps I’ve been wrong. A new study suggests that LSAT performance isn’t the best indicator of future bar passage. Instead, passing the bar has a more direct correlation with your law school grades…

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Our readers love nothing better than law school rankings, so it was kind of the National Jurist to roll out its first-ever list of the Best Value private law schools. This new ranking comes in addition to its regular ranking of Best Value schools (which is usually dominated by public institutions of learning). These lists are usually released in alphabetical order, but this time, National Jurist assigned letter grades to each school due to a post-publication error. We’re off to a great start already.

The Best Value ranking typically takes into account the following criteria: tuition, cost of living, average student debt, the percentage of graduates employed nine months after graduation, and bar passage rates.

When the National Jurist created the Best Value rankings to “honor schools that took the cost of legal education seriously,” why choose to highlight private law schools at a time when tuition is higher than ever?

We’ll explore possible answers to that question, as well as reveal the rankings, after the jump…

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Sergio Garcia (not the racist golfer) has lived in California most of his life. He worked his way through law school and then took and passed the California bar exam on the first try.

Yesterday, the California Supreme Court heard argument on whether Garcia could be admitted to practice law.

Sergio Garcia was brought to the United States when he was 17 months old. The California justices must decide whether an undocumented immigrant can be admitted. The State of California says yes. The Obama Administration says no.

The news coverage of the case implies that California has the equities on its side while the Obama Administration has the law.

It’s a tidy narrative for a story, but the media hasn’t really focused on the briefs, because when you actually unpack the statute the administration cites, it requires tortured mental gymnastics to support rejecting Garcia’s application….

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It’s been a little more than a month since the administration of the July 2013 bar exam reached its conclusion, and the most epic of waiting games has begun. Test takers are anxiously biding their time until their respective state bars decide to tell them their fates.

Some people have already received their results. Over the long holiday weekend, we received several emails about the results for the North Carolina exam — which is impressive considering that last summer, the state board of law examiners couldn’t even keep the lights on during the exam. North Carolina usually has the quickest turn around time on bar exam results, averaging about four weeks between the time the exam ends and the reporting of results.

But unfortunately, not all test takers are so lucky. Some states take months upon months to get their results out to bar examinees, and the wait is torture. Why the hell does the grading process take so long?

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The day after the July 2013 bar exam concluded nationwide, we broke the news about a young woman of Muslim faith who was taken to task by a proctor over her religious headwear, a hijab. The proctor didn’t approach the examinee before testing on the Massachusetts exam started, or even during the lunch break — instead, the proctor passed her a note during the morning session of the exam, instructing her to remove her headscarf (even though the examinee had already received approval to wear it).

To interrupt someone during the bar exam and break their concentration over something that could’ve been taken care of when testing was not in session is not only incredibly rude, but also incredibly stupid. This is a professional exam that will determine if and when a person will be able to start their legal career. Why do something that could put their chances of passing in jeopardy? On top of that, why do something that could make it look like this was religiously motivated? This was a bad move on many levels.

From the Council on American-Islamic Relations to legal academics to the internet at large, people were upset about the way that the incident unfolded. Now the state is doing something about it…

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If we don’t stand up to evil now, then when?

* Most folks think the police overreacted by issuing a civil disobedience warning for a 3-year-old girl, but those people need to watch Children of the Corn. [UPI]

* Speaking of the Brits, authorities detained Glenn Greenwald’s partner (interestingly, Greenwald’s partner is named Miranda) for nine hours and “confiscated his computer, phone, camera, memory stick, DVDs and video games” while passing through Heathrow. Wow, this is the sort of thing that might make Greenwald mad at the surveillance state. [ABA Journal]

* A detailed analysis of confidential sources. I’m pointing this out to publicly clarify that ATL keeps its tipsters confidential unless they specifically ask to be cited. So feel free to tip away! [Talking Biz News]

* Tales of Ted Cruz as a young man. So we’re calling parliamentary-style debate “debate” now? OK. [Daily Beast]

* Professor Rick Hasen examines North Carolina’s new voter suppression law and how it proves that the country still needs the Voting Rights Act. [Slate]

* Maybe bar exams should write better questions that actually cover all the material candidates have to learn. Personally, I was just fine not having to memorize a lot about New York commercial paper law. [Ramblings on Appeal]

* The tale of a wealthy couple evading the law. The article describes the story as an “arthritic version of Steve McQueen and Ali MacGraw in The Getaway, perhaps, moving at nursing-home speed.” Hollywood just found a plot for Expendables 4. [Seattle Weekly]

* The government’s obsession with FCPA enforcement has bit JP Morgan over hiring the children of Chinese officials to woo business. [Dealbreaker]

* Chief Judge Michael P. Mills of the Northern District of Mississippi weighs in on a copyright suit between the estate of William Faulkner and Woody Allen. The judge is apparently not a fan of Sharknado because he has no soul. Video of the quirky conflict after the jump…

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Bar review courses, in my opinion, are the biggest rip-off ever.

Christopher Carrion, a recent graduate of New York Law School, expressing disappointment over the cost of his bar prep fees. According to Carrion, because bar review courses are often prohibitively expensive, some of his friends did not enroll in a class prior to taking the July 2013 exam.

* Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is definitely one of our favorite judicial divas. When asked if she thought the Supreme Court’s work was art or theater, she mused, “It’s both, with a healthy dose of real life mixed in.” [New York Times]

* According to the Citi Private Bank’s Law Firm Group report on the first half of the year, the legal industry should count itself lucky if it manages to meet last year’s single-digit profit growth. This “new normal” thing sucks. [Am Law Daily]

* Howrey going to celebrate these “monumental” settlements with Baker & Hostetler and Citibank? The failed firm’s trustee might throw a party when he’s finally able to file a liquidation plan. [Am Law Daily]

* Uncommon law marriage? A man stuck in an inheritance battle who lived with his late partner since 1995 now asks the District of Columbia to declare him common-law husband. [Wall Street Journal (sub. req.)]

* The ABA’s Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar proposed a major overhaul to its accreditation standards. Action, of course, likely won’t be taken until next year. [National Law Journal]

* Despite the fact that these measures could help struggling graduates, law deans are at odds over the ABA’s proposed changes to tenure requirements for professors. [Capital Business / Washington Post]

* “Sooner or later you’ve got to make a choice, because you need enough revenue to cover what your expenses are.” Cooley will weather the storm by introducing a massive tuition hike. [Lansing State Journal]

* “How would you feel if you spent well over $100,000 on law school, only to have to spend an extra couple of thousand dollars on a course to get you to pass the bar?” You’d probably feel like everyone else. [CNBC]

* Requiring porn stars to wear condoms might not be sexy, but a federal judge says it’s constitutional. Don’t worry, unlike its actresses, the adult film industry won’t go down without a fight. [Los Angeles Times]

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