Did you take a BAR/BRI bar exam review course sometime in the past five years? Or are you taking BAR/BRI now, having paid for it prior to March 21? If so, keep reading.
As we recently mentioned, the deadline for joining or objecting to the proposed class action settlement in Stetson v. West Publishing Corp. is fast approaching (May 30). The lawsuit, alleging antitrust violations, was filed against West Publishing, which owns (but is selling) BAR/BRI, and Kaplan, the test prep company owned by the Washington Post. The class is defined as “[a]ll persons and entities who paid for a BAR/BRI full-service bar-review course from August 1, 2006, through and including March 21, 2011.”
Are you a class member? Let’s review your options….
UPDATE (5:30 PM): Please note the updates added to the end of this post.
As we reported last month, it looks like Leeds Equity Partners will be acquiring BAR/BRI, the well-known bar exam preparation business, from West Publishing / Thomson Reuters. If you’ve taken a bar exam prep course, odds are that you took BAR/BRI — although there are alternatives, such as BarMax and Themis (disclosure: ATL advertisers, whom we thank for their support).
If the deal goes through, Leeds will get its hands on what would seem to be a very good business. BAR/BRI courses aren’t cheap, at a few thousand a pop (often paid by law firms, which aren’t very price-sensitive). And since BAR/BRI has had its bar-prep infrastructure in place for a long time — curricula, instructors, etc. — its marginal costs for each new teaching cycle aren’t that high. In short, BAR/BRI seems like a money-making machine.
(Note: This analysis about the economics of BAR/BRI is somewhat speculative. Please correct us, by email or in the comments, if we’re wrong.)
But Leeds will also inherit complaints about BAR/BRI. Some are of the consumer variety — e.g., the website going down when people were trying to pick their course locations, the date by which books must be returned in order to get deposits back being set too early, unfair late fees, etc.
And some complaints are of the legal variety, in the form of antitrust class actions alleging collusion between (1) West Publishing, the owner of BAR/BRI, and (2) Kaplan Inc., the test prep company owned by the Washington Post Company that is known in the legal community for its LSAT courses. One of the lawsuits alleges “that BAR/BRI agreed not to compete in the LSAT business and that Kaplan agreed not to compete in the bar review business, thereby allocating to BAR/BRI the market for full-service bar review courses in the United States.” (Now, of course, Kaplan has its own full-service bar review course.)
To the legal complaints we now turn. You should follow along, since there might be some money in it for you….
Back in November, we told you that Thomson Reuters was looking to unload BAR/BRI, its bar exam preparation business. The news was huge, given BAR/BRI’s status as a de facto finishing school for would-be lawyers.
Today, it appears that BAR/BRI has found a home. According to various reports, BAR/BRI will be acquired by Leeds Equity Partners. Leeds is a private equity firm that specializes in educational products and services.
Above the Law just spoke with Jeffrey T. Leeds, the co-founder and president of Leeds. He called BAR/BRI a “jewel” for the firm. And since the man is a graduate of Harvard Law School (Class of ’83), he knows just how important BAR/BRI is to our system of legal education… .
Alas, one student at Temple Law School didn’t get the “no begging” memo. She sent out a Facebook invitation to almost 800 people, requesting their attendance at an event entitled “HELP [REDACTED] RAISE MONEY FOR THE BAR EXAM IN JULY!!!!”
Yes, she’s asking her law school classmates — some of whom are probably just as cash-strapped and debt-burdened as she is — to just give her money.
Or pay her for one of her magic spells. Because she’s a witch, you see….
I’m in my last year of law school and will be taking the bar this summer. I was wondering if you had some advice on the necessity of a bar review course. The opinions I’ve received from friends who have passed the bar has been split. They all say that it helped keep them “on pace” or “forced them to study” which I’m frankly not worried about. Is there going to be enough new law in one year to sink your bar exam if you’re studying from the previous year’s materials?
Wouldn't it be awesome if every person in this picture received education from the same place?
As we’ve previously reported, Thomson Reuters is contemplating the sale of Bar/Bri. Instead of preparing the lawyers of the future, Thomson Reuters has acquired Pangea3, a legal outsourcing company. We’ve speculated on what Thomson Reuters’s shift says about the legal economy.
But who wants to get into the business of preparing recent graduates to pass the bar exam and become actual attorneys? There are so many kids in law school and law schools don’t even pretend to prepare people to pass the bar. Surely there’s a business opportunity there.
One company is being mentioned as possibly interested in acquiring Bar/Bri. And put it like this: it would kind of make sense if the company responsible for helping you pass the bar could also help you get a degree in refrigerator repair…
It’s not yet November, so California and New York test takers still have some time left to wait. But if you took the Massachusetts bar exam, release of the results is imminent, according to Stuff To Do During BarBri.
(Random aside: BAR/BRI isn’t the only provider of bar exam preparation services. For a comparison of BAR/BRI, Kaplan PMBR, and BarMax, see here — including the comments.)
Stuff To Do During BarBri attributes the Massachusetts mailing, said to be taking place tomorrow, to “the grape vine allegedly originating in the Massachusetts Superior Court.” So at this point it’s still rumor.
But we do have confirmed news of bar exam outcomes from other states….
Fourth of July weekend is behind us. And we all know what that means: if you’re studying for the July 2010 bar exam, it’s time to buckle down and focus. There are just three weeks left until your date with destiny.
It pains us to say this, but for those of you taking the bar this summer, you should probably start rationing the amount of time you spend online (whether on Twitter, Facebook, or Above the Law). Use the prospect of web surfing to incentivize your studying. For example, let yourself surf the web for X minutes after you complete Y hours of study.
That’s just one tip for bar exam studying; there are many others. On our last post about the bar exam, in which Elie explained how you can fail the Bar/Bri “midterm” and still pass on the first try, this advice-dispensing comment was popular with readers (with over 20 “likes”):
(1) Use the BarBri/Pieper/PMBR study schedule to guide you. This will keep you from spending too much time on any given subject.
(2) Practice, practice, practice. Practice those essays. Practice those MBE questions. And better yet, time yourself when you practice.
(3) Stress. You’re supposed to stress. But stress just enough to keep fire under your a*s. Don’t stress so much that you black out or have an anxiety attack. E.g., a former coworker fainted the morning of the exam.
It’s about the time of year when students studying for the bar exam are gearing up for one of the big BAR/BRI practice tests: the midterm. Many, many people report that they only really step up their study efforts after the 4th of July — and the reason for that is usually a disappointing score on the midterm.
Most people who score poorly on the midterm will either slip into despair or go into crazy, hyper-studying overload. And both of those paths can lead to bar exam failure. For the vast majority of people, passage or failure on the bar exam is not about innate intellectual ability. It’s about managing your nerves and successfully gaming the test. Most people who can graduate from law school can pass a bar exam. But many will not, and their failure is not about being dumb.
To give hope to those who might be feeling hopeless this week, I’d like to tell you how I passed the bar on my first try — after absolutely bombing the midterm just a month before the real thing…
A college graduate without student loan debt is akin to reading a kind quote about Kim Kardashian in a tabloid—it’s rare.
In the past eight years, student loan debt has nearly tripled to a whopping $1.1 trillion, and in the past 10 years, the percentage of 25-year-olds with such debt has risen from 25% to 43%
It’s gotten so bad, in fact, that New York Fed economists warned last month that the burden of student debt could stilt consumer spending by twentysomethings, as well as further hamper the recovery of the housing market and economy.
To get a better idea of what massive student loan debt (we’re talking over $100,000 massive) looks like, we talked to an attorney who graduated with a large student loan debt. We also consulted LearnVest Planning Services CFP® Katie Brewer to see just how their repayment plans stack up.
S. Fischer, 36, Attorney Graduated: 2001
How Much I Borrowed: $100,000
What I Still Owe: $45,000
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Ed. note: The Asia Chronicles column is authored by Kinney Recruiting. Kinney has made more placements of U.S. associates, counsels and partners in Asia than any other recruiting firm in each of the past six years. You can reach them by email: email@example.com.
Deal flow has clearly picked recently up for most US associates, counsels and partners in Hong Kong/China and Singapore. We are on the phone with a lot of these folks on a daily basis, many of whom we have known for years. Further, the head of our Asia team, Evan Jowers, and Kinney’s founder and president, Robert Kinney, frequently meet in person with leading US partners in Asia to assess their needs and keep on top of the inside scoop at as many firms as possible. The need for legal recruiting help in Asia from experienced recruiters appears to be live and well. In March, Evan and Robert were in Beijing at such meetings, in April, Evan was in Hong Kong, and for half of June Evan will be in Shanghai and Hong Kong. Thus its pretty easy for us to tell when there has been an across-the-market pick up in capital markets and corporate work.
On an average day in Asia when Evan and Robert visit firms, they typically have 5 to 9 meetings a day, mostly with US partners in the market. The reason they have these meetings is not simply because Kinney makes a lot of US attorney placements in Asia and that a particular firm may have openings; instead these are just visits with friends. After years of working together as business partners, the folks at Kinney are actually these peoples’ friends. The firms Kinney work closely with in Asia (which is just about every law firm – call us if you want to know the one firm in the world we will never place anyone with again, ever, and why) look forward to the visits, or at least act like they do. After seven years in the market, many of the client partners are former associate candidates. Also, these US partners see Kinney as a very good source of market information as well, because they know how deep their contacts are in the market and how frequently they are speaking to counterparts at peer firms.
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