Thursday, January 10, 2008

Bar Passage Rates

I don't have too much time to say anything substantive, but the complete bar pass results came out. I will add that someone from USF forwarded me the results gloating about their higher pass rate (85) compared to Boalt's (82). My reaction: Enjoy OCI with the downturn in the market.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

hm. bummer. is that boalt's traditional rate? i'd have guessed it in the 90's.

1/10/2008 6:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

yeesh, we sure don't come out looking too hot. get ready for the navel gazing

1/10/2008 9:26 PM  
Blogger Tom Fletcher said...

Hmm, Dean Edley's prediction was off. By 18 percentage points. NIce try though.

As for last year, I believe we were in the 86-88 range. This is lower, but possibly not significantly lower.

1/11/2008 7:32 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The california bar exam is dumb.

1/11/2008 8:23 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ummm, grades anyone?

1/11/2008 12:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ummm, affirmative action anyone??

1/11/2008 2:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is an outrage. I don't care how many millions of dollars are spent on our school and milked out of our alums - if the admissions committee continutes to let people in who aren't smart enough to pass the bar exam, even on the second try, we will NOT stay in the top 10.

1/11/2008 3:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

3:27, have you taken the Bar? I'm pretty sure that if you have, you wouldn't think that passing it has anything to do with being "smart enough." Plenty of "smart enough" people don't pass, and plenty of "dumb enough" people do pass. Hell, maybe even you passed.

Anyway, an 82% passage rate is worrisome, and Boalt should take this seriously, because that is they type of thing applicants will look at.

1/11/2008 3:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

3:50 - You seriously think that passing the bar has nothing to do with intelligence? Give me a break.

1/11/2008 4:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's a factor in USNWR rankings too. It does seem like a >10% discrepancy with Stanford is pretty bad...

1/11/2008 5:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

USF is significantly more diverse than Boalt. Our Academic Success Program, which provides additional support for students who have faced hardship and are admitted with lower scores and grades, had a bar passage rate roughly the same as our overall bar passage rate.

I am also proud to report that our student body, when faced with shortcomings, doesn't try to scapegoat minorities.

1/11/2008 5:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It seems like Bar passage rates would reflect more on work ethic than on intelligence. But I haven't taken the Bar yet, so I really have no authority to say this.

1/11/2008 6:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't understand how anyone in good conscience can object to Richard Sander's study in light of the bar passage rates of minority students at Boalt. Why wouldn't all members of the legal community (regardless of race/ethnicity) want to support research trying to figure out why minorities at elite schools perform so poorly on the CA bar?

Also, 5:32, since when is ASP a service only for students who experienced hardships and were admitted with low grades? It seems like everyone can take advantage of ASP sessions. One of Boalt's problems is that it lacks a support service targeting students who are having problems.

I've never heard of the bar passage rate for students who went to ASP as opposed to those who didn't. Can you enlighten us?

1/11/2008 7:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Don't take a class just because it's on the bar. Bar-bri will teach you everything you need to know." ---- WORST ADVICE EVER!!

1/11/2008 9:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

7:01 - the ASP comment was posted by a USF student. Hats off to you, USF, congrats on your great bar passage rate.

1/11/2008 9:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

7:01-9:43: At USF, ASP is a special admissions program... enrollees with lower scores have to agree to a summer session before their first year and special tutoring sessions throughout their education, plus other things. Academic Achievement Program (AAP) is a tutoring program offered to all students, perhaps similar to Boalt's ASP.

9:43 - Thanks! We know we can always do better, but it is nice to be improving.

1/11/2008 10:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My reaction: Enjoy OCI with the downturn in the market.

Rome didn't collapse in a day either, enjoy your eroding ivory tower.

1/12/2008 1:28 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

whoever you are, 1:28, my idiot-meter just shrieked

1/12/2008 3:43 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

3:43 - Perhaps you should invest in a sarcasm meter instead?

Clearly one set of bar passage numbers does not an entire ranking make. But you have to give a wee chuckle to the fact that a school holding the precarious rank of 100 just scored higher than a T10.

Oh, and thanks for resorting to name calling, a couple meters I pay attention to just "shrieked."

1/12/2008 7:54 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'd like to hear from some Boalties who didn't pass or from those who know people who didn't pass. What in the world went wrong? Did too many people simply blow off the bar exam?

1/12/2008 8:24 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yale had a 76% passage rate last year.

Maybe people just didn't study very hard. But Yalies learned quickly, and this year, their numbers improved dramatically.

1/12/2008 9:05 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

UC-Berekeley first time taker pass rate for July exams:

2007 82
2006 85
2005 87
2004 87
2003 91

9% decrease is a big number. Assume 275 grads. Assume 80% take the California bar. That's 220. Take 9% of = 220 and it's about 20. Calculate the costs, debt, and all that for those 20 people. It's a lot of money, time, and sacrifice.

1/12/2008 9:06 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Friday, 3:50 PM here---

First, to 4:46, obviously I'm not saying intelligence has nothing to do with it. But it sure as hell isn't everything.

I know a lot of people who didn't pass. And I have to say that the people who didn't pass were very academically accomplished. For the most part, no one would mistake them for not being "smart enough."

So what happened? Having a bad day can sink you. So can misunderstanding one question. Maybe you studied hard but not in the best way--no way to know until afterwards. Or maybe Boalt does need to do a better job of preparing its students over the course of 3 years. I don't really know.

1/12/2008 9:44 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'd also like to hear from more Boalt alums who didn't pass. A bunch of you had numerous HH grades.

1/12/2008 9:59 AM  
Blogger Callagy said...

My neighbor at the Bar Exam went to USF. He told me that USF has a semester-long class that prepares students for the Performance Test. He didn't say if other classes addressed other areas of the Exam, but he seemed to know a lot more about the workings of the whole process than I did.

Maybe Boalt could try something along those lines. It might be a blow to the ego to teach to the test, but law school is still about becoming a lawyer, and what a waste if you can't pass the frickin test. I think some bar courses--even offered on an extracurricular basis--would do a lot more good than Dean O's "be very afraid" speech.

1/12/2008 10:08 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

9:59 - How do you know the grades of those who didn't pass?

1/12/2008 10:45 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

10:45- well, given the influential and prestigious positions some of the non-passers held, they had to have amazing grades, right?

1/12/2008 11:24 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You can't make arguments based on the grades of Boalt's non-passers unless you have reliable data -- not just impressions, anecdotes, and intuitions. And it's virtually inconceivable that any one person would possess reliable data of that kind.

1/12/2008 11:29 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Any other Boalt alums care to share their experiences with the bar?

1/12/2008 12:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think people are assuming that because an unusually high number of CLR board members failed that people who did well in law school failed. As the CLR admissions and board election process are not inherently linked to grades, I think this assumption is likely flawed. One could certainly say disparaging things about CLR and that it should, like virtually every other top 20 law school, have a grade component for admission, but I think this speaks more to the need for more vigorous admissions requirements at Boalt generally, amazing and unique backgrounds notwithstanding.

But, seriously, I don't think there's much need for concern or really any changes. I bet nearly all of the people who failed in July will pass next month. If Boalt starts admitting people who can't pass period then we might have a problem. Until then, this is just slightly embarrassing and unfortunate for everyone involved, but not the end of the world. Let's all wish everyone the best in Feb. and good luck to the class of 2008 in July.

1/12/2008 12:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I took the jul. 07 bar and I agree with the comments that suggest Boalt needs more emphasis on black-letter in the MBE subjects. We're not all philosophers and academics in training. That said, if you're the least bit worried about the bar - TAKE BAR CLASSES.

Above all the bar is a crapshoot. I studied with a group of boalties all summer - all attended barbri, did roughly the same amount of work every day, took little time off (just enough to stay sane), kept up with the pace program (ha ha, just kidding, that's just impossible), and all but one of us passed. It is an utter mystery. Random graders, one bad day, panic, they all factor in.

Another thing that struck me about the july exam was that, while the overall pass rate was quite high, relatively speaking (56.1%), boalt's showing was poor, relatively speaking. I wouldn't be surprised if we all took Sakai's lead and are now masters of civ pro and evidence cal/fed distinctions...spending time on all the new material and missing out on the big six. Which seem to have been just about the only subjects on the exam.

Before i took the bar someone told me that although you inevitably hate the process when it's still in your future, you'll be glad it's there once you pass. I don't agree at all. I still think it's horrible.

1/12/2008 2:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My friend amjured a core 1st year class and still didn't pass the bar.

1/12/2008 5:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The crapshoot comment is pretty dead-on. I have no idea why I passed and many of my classmates, most of whom studied a lot more than I did, I'm sure, didn't. I didn't really listen to Sakai's predictions though, as I decided his lectures were a whining waste of time after the first one. I also didn't fight the "be a sheep" mentality. But I think it's more about the one bad day, one cranky grader, one misunderstood question. Sure Boalt could offer something akin to ASP for second-semester 3Ls to introduce us to the Performance Test and other quirky bar things, but would people go? Would Dean Ortiz teach that rather than relying on her fear speech?
In any case, best of luck to everyone, Boalties or USF-people or whomever, retaking next month.

1/12/2008 6:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Don't go to dean o's talk. Here's why. 1) it's unnecessarily panic invoking at the expense of being useful. 2) The things she says which are useful (if any) can be found on the bar website. ASIDE: I think people mostly go to this talk to find out if it's really true that you can't bring food or a water bottle to the exam. YES, it's true. But there is water available (on the other side of the football stadium that is your test center) - overall, it's not as bad as you think. I know it's easier said than done, but don't worry about testing conditions. It's just like any other standardized test. Just longer. But if you make it through bar bri, you certainly have the stamina. And if you don't, you'll be running on the adrenaline of how exciting it is to be three days away from the end of the bar experience. hopefully. 3) she'll tell you to start doing MBE problems in february. That's crap. 4) when was the last time she took the bar? Think about it people.

1/12/2008 6:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

okay so what are the classes most helpful to take for bar preparation? I'm guessing evidence... estates and trusts... any other very important ones?

1/12/2008 8:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

re: low passage rates of CLR members, perhaps this is because CLR admissions are fueled partially by affirmative action, and not merit.

1/13/2008 2:45 AM  
Blogger Casey said...

re: 8:17's question about which bar classes would be most helpful to take.

The most important elective classes to take are Criminal Procedure and Evidence, because these subjects are tested on the MBE (multiple choice pit of hell) and the essays. I took both my 3L year, which was an advantage because they were fresh in my mind. Also, taking an advanced Con Law class that focuses on speech, religion, etc., can be helpful. However, the bar tests con law at such a superficial level that there is always the risk you'll overanalyze a bar question if you know too much and aren't able to be a sheep.

Then there are the essay-only subjects. In addition to Estates & Trusts, I recommend Community Property. (disclaimer: I didn't take either of these and still passed, but I would have had a lot more peace of mind if I wasn't seeing the material for the first time.)

And pay attention in Professional Responsibility! Take the exam instead of Steele's paper option so you have yet another opportunity to focus on the actual rules.

And regarding Dean O's talk. You do NOT have to set aside the rest of your life while studying for the bar. The value of your studying is in its quality, not quantity. If you're in the library for 10 hours "studying" but doodling in the margins feeling sorry for yourself for living like a monk for two months, you aren't doing yourself any good. If you're in good spirits, you'll study more effectively, so don't deprive your emotional life and physical well-being. Thats a no-brainer.

p.s. if you possibly can, clear your plate of journal obligations and tie up lose ends in clinical work before you start studying for the bar. While you may have been a superstar multitasker in law school, the bar exam requires a lot of energy and focus. You should either be working on the bar exam or having fun, not working on something else.
(For those who want to see significance in the allegedly high non-pass rates among CLR board members (I only know what I've read on this blog), also consider that these people may have had other responsibilities over the summer.)

1/13/2008 7:36 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can't really say why a lot of my friends didn't pass. Many who didn't are very smart and worked very hard. However, I can speak to what I thought helped me out the most in studying for and passing the bar. I second the comment about taking evidence (I took it in my last semester so it was very fresh in my mind for the bar -- just luck -- I didn't actually plan it out this way). It's heavily tested on the MBE, and is so detailed and rules-based that it's a very tough subject to learn in 2 days during BarBri (and I think it's something like 80% of the people who fail the bar fail the MBE). I didn't take community property in school, and was glad -- that's about the easiest subject to learn in BarBri. I also took crim pro and was glad I did, and wished I had taken Con law II, as that was confusing to try and learn in BarBri. As far as stuying goes, it helped me the most to go over old essay questions. I heard people complaining during the bar about BarBri not having taught us something on the community property essay, but one of the old essays provided to us by BarBri had actually covered the exact topic. If you at least read over enough old essays and answers, you'll start to get the hang of how you're expected to answer at least enough essay scenarios that you should feel pretty confident and prepared. Good luck '08s!!!

1/13/2008 9:19 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Regarding CLR Board members:

I've done some research, and I've found that at the very least, 80% passed.

That real figure may actually be higher since some states publish only exam numbers on their pass lists and not people's names.

Remember that not everyone takes the bar in CA or NY. Also, not everyone takes the bar in July.

1/13/2008 12:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I realize that the bar pass rate was 82% for California, but does Boalt compile the overall pass rate? For example, I passed in another state. Is Boalt counting that?

1/13/2008 7:44 PM  
Blogger Mike B said...

I went to USF and passed last July's bar exam. Boalt didn't accept me when I applied. Perhaps the admissions committee should cross-check their past rejections with the pass list to see which people they should have admitted. I'd accept an honorary degree if the administration changes its mind. ha!

For the record, USF has a Legal Drafting course taught by Honingsberg in the fall (and another professor in the spring). Roughly 70 students take this course out of the ~230 who take the bar exam. It teaches methods for the performance test portion of the exam. We did ~25 practice tests. I think that Bar/Bri's preparation during the summer was woefully inadequate. I couldn't believe that people expected to learn the method for taking performance exams in only a few days' time.

USF also has Sakai teaching a 2-hour/week class in the spring called "Bar None". It's optional for those in the lowest 20% GPAs. They cover the basics of the bar exam format and strategies for studying. They also most of the time time reviewing two subjects, such as Contracts and Torts. 14 of those 17 taking Bar None passed the CA bar exam last July!!

To elaborate on some of the other posts, the ASP program at USF does not have tutoring after the first year. 2Ls who used to be in the ASP program tutor 1Ls. Also offered are the AAP lectures open to all 1Ls, where 2Ls and 3Ls essentially recite outlines.

1/14/2008 3:47 PM  
Blogger devin said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

1/27/2008 5:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sounds like our friend Devin is going to be "that guy" in his class.

2/02/2008 8:00 PM  
Blogger devin said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

2/03/2008 10:27 AM  
Blogger Armen said...

Same ballpark. Take the ribbing in stride kid, otherwise you'll get eaten alive.

2/03/2008 11:04 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Does anyone know where I can find a full list of passage rates for more than just the 2007 July bar that is listed here? I would love to attend Boalt but have to look closer to home and am trying to figure out how Empire College gets away with claiming they have an 80% passage rate (listed on the first page of their Law School website) when they clearly aren't anywhere near that.


11/03/2008 12:55 PM  
Blogger Armen said...

Bottom of the page.

11/03/2008 1:02 PM  

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