The Wall St. Journal reports: Raising the Bar: Even Top Lawyers Fail California Exam:
Kathleen Sullivan is a noted
constitutional scholar who has argued cases before the Supreme Court. Until
recently, she was dean of
The two-day test, which is identical to the longer exam but omits a long multiple-choice section, had just a 28% passage rate in July, an astoundingly low figure that state bar officials are at a loss to explain. Out-of-state lawyers can take the full three-day exam if they choose.
The bar exam tests how well one has prepared for the bar exam, not how good of a lawyer one may be. Passing the exam requires knowing the test and not just the law.
At Concurring Opinions (my favorite new blog of recent launch), Daniel Solove discusses further: Abolish the Bar:
One big problem with the Bar is that
it functions so as to make it very onerous for lawyers to move to a different
state. Thus, Sullivan is already licensed to practice in
Practicing attorneys who are working are less likely to have lots of free time to study and it shouldn't be surprising that they pass at a lower rate than fresh graduates who are taking the entire summer off to study.
Those graduates who are taking the summer to study are almost all taking the Bar/Bri review course. THe NY Times reports on an anti-trust lawsuit filed against Bar/Bri: Are Lawyers Being Overbilled for Their Test Preparation?
But now BAR/BRI could use a few lawyers itself. Some of the people who paid the fees, took the courses and passed the bar have turned on the company, which is owned by the Thomson Corporation of Stamford, Conn. Represented by an aggressive Los Angeles lawyer named Eliot G. Disner, they have filed a lawsuit charging that the company that helped them to become lawyers has operated an illegal monopoly and has overcharged hundreds of thousands of students by an average of $1,000 each - or, collectively, by hundreds of millions of dollars.
The choice quote from the article is: "Bar review is a very profitable business." Especially when you need to host only a single lecture with most of students watch recorded lectures on video.