Thursday, April 17, 2008

Administration Response Email on Bar Passage Rate

Attached (in the comments) is the administration's email to 3Ls regarding last year's bar passage rate.

Essentially, the administration finds that class rank and bar passage are correlated. And they're looking at helping "those people" with a pilot assistance program.

So: what do you think of (1) the administration's response email; (2) the findings presented; and (3) the proposed action?

PS: did anyone actually attend the town hall meeting and have any insightful comments to share with those who did not attend? Here's an insightful comment: I bet there are now at least a few of you who wish you had attended, armed with Patrick's post on Telebears (see below)...

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64 Comments:

Blogger tj said...

Memorandum

From: Dean Edl*y, Associate Dean Sh*lanski, Assistant Dean 0rtiz, Professors B*ndy and S*lbin

To: Third Year and LLM Students

Subject: Bar Examination Issues

Date: April 17, 2008

Since the release of last July’s bar examination results many students have been understandably concerned about Boalt Hall’s bar passage rate and what it might mean for them personally and for the School. The rate at which Boalt J.D. graduates have passed the July sitting of the California bar has varied significantly over the past decade.* Last year’s 82% pass rate is the lowest recorded by Boalt graduates in the past 10 years. Though our first time passage rates remain markedly higher than the overall pass rate for ABA accredited law schools, we do not regard the 2007 results as acceptable. We do not yet know whether those results reflect statistical variation or real changes in preparedness among our graduates. We have begun to look at those issues and will look more deeply into them in the coming academic year. In the meantime we wanted to report some initial steps intended to address the concerns of graduating third year students.

Our first short term goal was to find a simple way to help students understand, on a confidential basis, their own prospects on the bar. The experience at other law schools is that class rank is a reliable and readily available measure of whether a student has reason to be concerned about passing the bar. That turns out to be true at Boalt as well. Boalt does not record class rank on transcripts, and it does not disclose class rank, except for very limited purposes. But we do calculate class rank for J.D. students, both for clerkship purposes and for purposes of various academic awards.**

Class rank turns out to be correlated with success on the bar. At the July 2007 sitting, for example, 100% of Berkeley J.D. test takers from the top third of the class passed. Of the students in the middle third of the class, 94% passed. Among students in the bottom third, 51% passed. But correlation is not destiny. Students in the top third of the class sometimes fail. Even last year, when results significantly lagged our historical averages, students in the bottom third were still more likely than not to pass. For all students, invested effort, focus and test taking strategy matter at exam time.

Still, knowing your class rank may empower you, whether by giving you confidence that the approaches you have relied on in law school will likely carry you through or by alerting you to the potential need to intensify your efforts or master new skills. You may already have a clear idea of your class rank, perhaps because of the clerkship process. But if you don’t know that information, and believe it would be helpful to you to know it for purposes of bar examination planning, you can obtain it, on a completely confidential basis, by making a personal visit to Dean 0rtiz’ office or sending her an e-mail requesting your ranking.

Our second goal has been to establish an initial pilot program of assistance in preparing for the bar. The schedule for that program is attached to this memorandum. We designed this program in consultation with experts who have conducted such programs at other schools. It is intended to hit the critical issues in the limited window of time before the end of the semester. The program consists of four sessions, two dealing with preparation strategies and the structure of the examination, and two focusing on exam writing strategies and skills for the performance and essay portions of the exam. All sessions will be recorded and made available on a secure site for those who cannot attend in person. The sessions which involve exam writing each include a proctored practice examination, which will be graded by an experienced bar grader. Accommodations will be offered to eligible students on the proctored tests. Please contact M*nd* Mysl*w*ec if you will be requiring accommodations.

Though the program is designed to be of special use to students whose academic record in law school indicates that the bar may pose a distinctive challenge, it is open to all graduating third years and to LLM students who plan to take the bar. The two shorter initial sessions on Demystifying the Bar seem particularly likely to be useful to all and helpful in deciding whether it would make sense to participate in the longer exam writing sessions that follow.

Looking ahead, in the coming months the School will continue its study of diagnostic and curricular issues relating to bar passage. These inquiries will be conducted in conjunction with a broader review of our academic support program, headed by our new Director of Academic Support, Kr*sten Holmqu*st. Ms. Holmqu*st is coming to us from UCLA Law School, where she has been director of their very successful program. A central goal of those inquiries will be to identify durable programmatic changes that could help in ensuring a higher rate of success on the bar for all our students over the long term.


----


* Here are the data: July 1998 -- 91%; July 1999 -- 85%; July 2000 -- 94%; July 2001 -- 90%; July 2002 -- 85%; July 2003 -- 91%; July 2004 -- 87%; July 2005 -- 87%; July 2006 -- 85%; July 2007 -- 82%. Because historically so few LLM graduates have been eligible to take the California bar, we do not have data on their pass rates.


**We do not calculate class rank for LLM students.

4/18/2008 10:20 AM  
Blogger Laura said...

I think it's weird this email only went to 3Ls. Any 'secrecy' was bound to be blown by forwarding, blogging etc. More to the point, it's an issue that impacts all of us. As a Boaltie, you'd have to have your head buried in the sand not to worry about what went wrong with last year's bar takers and what that says about your chances.

4/18/2008 10:22 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The school now discloses class rank for purposes of peace of mind?

Isn't that a departure from the historical policy?

4/18/2008 10:25 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Overall, a good email - I'm glad to hear that the administration agrees that the result was alarming.

I don't have any issue with disclosure of class rank - I mean, is it really a mystery for people?

4/18/2008 10:35 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

blb has a post about the town hall mtg from someone who (presumably) actually attended the town hall meeting.

4/18/2008 10:35 AM  
Blogger tj said...

Laura- I initially had that same sentiment. But after I thought about it for a while I realized an email that went out to ALL students may appear more scandalous and become more likely to show up on ATL as a Dean "freak-out" post (akin to the ones regarding other schools dropping in the USNWR rankings). Hopefully this one will be seen as a targeted measure that's distinctly non-freak-out.

And, yes, he had to know it was going to end up here as soon as I got my grubby hands on it.

4/18/2008 10:41 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Two things:

1) 1Ls and 2Ls shouldn't worry about the bar yet - there are way more important things in the near future (finals, job search, getting an offer from your summer gig, the market, etc).

2) I thought the drop from 100%/94% for the top 2/3 of the class to 51% in the bottom 1/3 of the class was alarming. Anyone else find that really surprising?

4/18/2008 11:12 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The email was whack and I am pissed Dean Edley sent it. If someone wants to know this stuff by all means tell them. No need to keep it secret. However, what possible purpose does it serve to email a bunch of skittish 3Ls that they have a 50-50 chance of failing if they are in the bottom of the class?

He basically sought to reassure the students who statistically should pass the bar anyway at the expense of students who were already freaked out. What possible purpose does his email serve? Almost everyone I know says that passing the bar involves being mentally strong. Thanks a lot Edley for undermining the confidence of the students who probably needed a shot of confidence the most.

4/18/2008 12:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The email was whack and I am pissed Dean Edley sent it. If someone wants to know this stuff by all means tell them. No need to keep it secret. However, what possible purpose does it serve to email a bunch of skittish 3Ls that they have a 50-50 chance of failing if they are in the bottom of the class?

He basically sought to reassure the students who statistically should pass the bar anyway at the expense of students who were already freaked out. What possible purpose does his email serve? Almost everyone I know says that passing the bar involves being mentally strong. Thanks a lot Edley for undermining the confidence of the students who probably needed a shot of confidence the most.

4/18/2008 12:07 PM  
Anonymous Old Man Alum said...

I really think the grading system has a lot to do with this. In my opinion, the bar is largely a test of one's work ethic -- i.e., ability to sustain effort over a 6 week or so period. Since Boalt doesn't really have a grade equivalent to a "C" that is mandatory on the curve for each course, the people at the bottom get soft, get Ps without doing any work, and lose their work ethic. In other words, their experience at Boalt causes them to underestimate the level of effort they'd need to put in for the bar.

4/18/2008 12:07 PM  
Blogger Stave said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

4/18/2008 12:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Old Man Alum: I think you are absolutely right about that. The people in the bottom of the class will get used to Ps, expect them, and do very little work to get them (not to say all of the bottom third does that, but I'm sure quite a few do).

I agree that this email would freak out those at the bottom of the class, but shouldn't they know they are the people who tend to fail? Ignorance may be bliss, but only until you fail the bar. Failing the bar can't be blissful.

4/18/2008 12:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

12:14 PM: So honestly, what is the solution? The people I know that failed last year worked their ass off. Their failure had nothing to do with not working hard enough. Which brings me back to my point. How could Edley possibly think telling people this (unsolicited) would empower them? Give us extra help whatever, but don't emphasize that half are going to fail without having a good reason to do so.

4/18/2008 12:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Umm...I think the bottom third of the class does need to be worried, that was the point of the email. From that passage rate, it is apparent that people are not getting the law school test thing down. Unfortunately, it doesn't matter if these people studied hard for the bar if they don't know how to do a law school test. *I want to dislcaim that I do not think that three hour in class testing has any relationship to the practice of law. It doesn't but you do need to do it well enough to pass the bar.

On this subject of testing, I've spoken with a few transfer students on this subject lately. They always note how much more theoretical the classes are at boalt. We get right to policy whereas their old schools were very regimented, and focused on the basics. I think that we might be so focused on the theoretical stuff here that we don't notice when some students are missing the basics.

4/18/2008 12:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

DE does have a good reason to tell the class these statistics in an effort to encourage people to attend the info sessions and training seminars noted at the top of the email. That's some kind of solution.

Clearly DE and the administration were not happy about the low passage rate and want to help. I agree they could have made the point without using the percentages per se - by just saying that performance in law school correlates to performance on the bar. But we all know that's not nearly as powerful an argument as using the stats (which are so striking).

But I'll say this for the current 3L class - I think we're all going to blow this out of the water and prove that last year's results were a fluke for Boalt.

4/18/2008 12:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It may not matter that one works his or her ass off during the bar if that person did not absorb sufficient knowledge (of the law, test-taking, efficient study habits) during the law school because they didn't work hard then.

I know several individuals from class of 2006 who did not pass, who simply did not work hard in prep. It's a myth that *everyone* works hard but some mysteriously fail. It happens, yes, but I doubt it's as common as people like to say.

Also, I knew others who worked their ass off, but they spent their studying time doing useless things that didn't best help them learn the material.

Finally, DE's email is fine since it's meant to scare these people into action. He could've been a bigger asshole and used finer class ranking breakdowns -- I wouldn't be surprised if the pass rate for the bottom 10% was near zero. But that probably would have gone way past an "attempt to scare straight" to straight up demoralization.

4/18/2008 12:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

He did not need to send that shitty email to get us to attend the extra help session. Most people were going to go anyway. They have never done special help before and they had no reason to believe people weren't going to attend. In fact, Dean O's other bar sessions were well attended. Making people *worry* more is not going to help people pass the bar.

4/18/2008 12:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think he did. "Most" people do not attend the meetings. There are 300 people in the 3L class. I doubt even 100 go to these meetings.

4/18/2008 1:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'd just like to offer a word of encouragement to the 3L class. I'm not a 3L, I'm a 2L, but your class seems to work really hard at law school. I think you guys know what you're doing when it comes to studying. So I think you guys will do great on the Bar, regardless of your class rank. Good luck, and don't stress too much about it!

4/18/2008 1:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for that sincere, yet trite and absolutely meaningless post, 1:13.

4/18/2008 1:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

1:13, I think this is the kind of complacent "You'll do great!" attitude that Boalt is trying to change.

I would have expected some correlation between grades and bar exam results, but DA-amn. That's pretty startling.

4/18/2008 1:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Almost everyone I know went to at least one of the many Dean O bar talks. I am not sure what meetings you are referring to 1:09. Are you talking about the townhalls, because I purposefully avoid those.

4/18/2008 1:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is illogical to bash the administration's email as somehow undermining the low-ranked for purposes of the bar. I find it hard to believe that any of us is really so fragile as to be better off going into the bar unaware of a significant possibility of failure. It would appear that blissful ignorance did not serve the bottom third so well last year.

Increasing bar failure is a real problem, both for affected individuals and the school. The administration is taking practical steps to aid awareness and make help available. Far better ex ante than ex post, no?

4/18/2008 2:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As someone in the bottom third, Edl*y's email has seriously freaked me out.

4/18/2008 2:03 PM  
Blogger ibz said...

It's very surprising to me that people object to knowing the truth.

4/18/2008 2:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Damn, I guess it's really true that "no good deed goes unpunished." I guess I should be pointing out the flaws in the 3L class instead of offering encouragement? Well here's one: some of you guys are apparently rude, and passing the bar won't change that. Good luck in life.

--1:13

4/18/2008 2:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's okay 1:13--I think most people know you meant well and appreciate the sentiment, if not the logic. You'll find that the bar is a very touchy subject for a lot of people, and comments like "I know you'll pass!" are just really hard to hear when you're not sure yourself. Right before results come out, your family and non-law friends will come out of the woodwork to reassure you, and it can make you feel even more scared b/c you know there's no guarantee and you fear disappointing those people. In a year from now you'll know what I'm talking about. Until then, it's best to just keep it to "good luck."

And on behalf of the Class of 2007, dude, we studied hard and I'm sure all of us thought we knew what we were doing too. I hope the Class of 2008 doesn't remember us as partying idiots, for crying out loud.

4/18/2008 2:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks, 2:32, and I totally get your point. I always hate when family and non-law friends tell me "oh you know you did great" when I freak out after a test or something, so you're right. I was just trying to offer encouragement in an anonymous forum where no one will ever be accountable to me for their Bar passage or failure, but I get your point. So good luck to the class of '08. Most of you, anyway.

--1:13

4/18/2008 2:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The correlation between class rank and bar passage is cool and all, but it doesn't explain how Boalt used to do so much better. Look at the class of 2000--a 94% success rate indicates that even the people at the low end of the grade spectrum tended to pass. This explanation still leaves me wondering what the fuck.

Probably good that people are concerned, if it gets them to take the Bar seriously. I mean, most people would have anyway, but apparently some need convincing.

--Maxwell Demon

4/18/2008 4:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So the bottom of the class was much more likely to have failed the bar. And do I correctly remember hearing that minority students didn’t fare as well on the bar relative to the rest of the students here? So, minority students – speaking generally - seem to be in the bottom 1/3 of the class? That’s not good. What’s to be done about that?

4/18/2008 4:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think it's great DE is putting this info out there now. I also think we need to start all this Bar junk earlier. 1Ls and 2Ls wonder (mostly in passing) whether it's helpful to take bar classes. I get conflicting advice about that - some say you should, and others say it's fine to just learn a new subject during BarBri.

As someone who finished my first year in the bottom third (maybe bottom tenth), maybe it would have been helpful to know that it would have helped to know that I should have seriously considered taking bar classes during my next two years instead of all these 2 unit seminars.

4/18/2008 5:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

@4:41--no, you don't remember correctly. There was a lot of rumor, but no one has ever provided information showing that minorities *at Boalt* did any worse on the bar than any other demographic.

4/18/2008 6:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think it would be interesting to see data like this from other law schools. For example, I wonder if Stanford's bottom 1/3 passes at such a dramatically lower rate as well, or if this is unique to Boalt. I know we will probably never get this data, but it would be interesting.

4/18/2008 7:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

2:02PM: I still don't see the function of freaking out already worried 3Ls in the bottom half. There is absolutely nothing to suggest that people failed last year because no one told them they have a greater chance of failing because of their grades. Are you honestly saying that more people would have passed if Edley told them they only have a 50% shot at passing? Really?

As for your fragile comment, I think you are missing the point. There was nothing useful about Edley's #s comment for the people who need the most help. Haven't you ever heard of the saying, that if you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all?

4/18/2008 7:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

7:04, it sounds like you need a hug.

It also sounds like you needed to study harder over the past three years.

Suck it up and don't make us look bad. You have some cleanup to do after last year's class.

4/18/2008 7:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

7:03--yes. Also, it would be interesting to know why the bottom 1/3 at Davis, UCLA, USC and USF did better than Boalt.

4/18/2008 7:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Look. Bar passage dropped in 2007. And now the number's have come out. Boalt's top third = 100%. Boalt's bottom bottom third = 51%. Those numbers tell a pretty clear story of where to best tackle the problem. And while 7:12's phrasing is harsh (maybe s/he needs a hug, too?) it can't be denied that the bottom of the class, as a whole, needs to improve their bar scores.

I don't see any reason to take offense or leap to the defensive over DE's email. There is nothing wrong with being candid about our weaknesses, and frankly, those numbers make our weakness damningly and embarrassingly clear. If you are in the bottom third, he's not insulting you, or suggesting you suck. But he is pointing out that you are in a demographic with some hurdles. And because it is completely appropriate to focus energy on where it will likely have the most effect (after all, those in the top third don't need it) it is completely appropriate to focus it on you. Period.

4/18/2008 7:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ok 2:02, thanks, we got your point. Three times, or so.

I am one of the 'few' passing members of the '07 class. And my question is WTF? People, complacency, whatever it's cause, lead to a couple % point drop (plus that barbri jackass running around crying 'everybodypasses!'. Edly sent the letter because people (namely you all) are freaking out. There's no way to stem this kind of flow, Probably DE and DO knew they'd exacerbate it, but better to do that then be blamed for doing nothing.

Here's how you pass, whatever third you're in. STUDY.

This is starting to look like those weight loss debates, everyone's looking for the quick fix, or at least an answer they can rely on, they're obsessing and venting and rationalizing. BUT THERE ARENT ANY QUICK FIXES OR RELIABLE ANSWERS. Just stop talking about it and study. I know it's daunting and even depressing but it's not forever.

post-bar life is pure bliss. And if you follow my advice you'll feel silly for making such a fuss over it all.

4/18/2008 8:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Whatever people may say, studying for (and passing) the bar is hard, but it is not mysterious. There are lots of ways to study more or less efficiently, and if you study smarter of course you're better off. But here's the thing. If you have a knack for understanding and applying legal rules, or if you studied hard enough in school that some of the law stuck with you, then you have a BIG leg up.

So of course people who did well in school do better on the bar. And of course you probably have more catch up to do if you were at the bottom. Finally, of course you should freak out right now if you are getting ready for the bar and in the bottom third. So you study hard. Put in enough time and be smart about it and you have a good chance of passing. Lots of the people who failed worked hard. But most of them also could have started earlier, or studied smarter. Maybe a few were so far behind that there wasn't enough time to get it right on the first go no matter what, but that's really, really rare among Boalties. Talk to them. All my friends who failed (who mostly studied as hard as I did during BAR/BRI) can say now how they were less efficient than they could have been or how they could have done it differently to make a difference. No one at Boalt is incapable of getting their shit together and doing what is necessary to pass.

So lean on your friends, or bitch about it, or set aside some time to freak out, but then do what you need to. You know some people will have to put in more time to get there, so if you're worried that is you, you'd better get to work. But it's true that there is no one at Boalt who doesn't have what it takes. Not just in terms of brains of ability or discipline. There are some superstars and some who are, um, not superstars. But everyone here has enough. Seriously. It's just hard.

4/18/2008 9:08 PM  
Blogger MRP said...

9:45 - Yeah you got it. Brilliant analysis. Everyone here just looks to Berkeley Law Blog for topics and then tries to pass them off as our own.

4/18/2008 10:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

At last, the real issue--blog supremacy.

/What a shock you imbeciles can't pass the bar

4/18/2008 10:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey N&B moderators--ignore the blog supremacy debate. Instead, let's just all get along and take a peak at the Professor Review blog. See in the right sidebar its option to subscribe to an RSS feed of all comments posted? Could you please set that up? Pretty please?

4/18/2008 10:46 PM  
Blogger Matt said...

10:46,

Here ya go: RSS and Atom. (Keep in mind that I'm not an admin here, and the admins could disable this feature at any time. But as of my posting, both of those should work.)

4/18/2008 11:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

2L here.

I'm probably on the cusp of the bottom 1/3, and I'm very grateful to Dean Edley for posting the statistics.

The stats have shaken me out of my state of denial. I'm going to take some bar courses next semester, and I'm going to start studying a few months in advance.

Thanks, Dean Edley!

4/19/2008 12:14 AM  
Blogger Patrick said...

10:46 -- This is Armen's web-child, but personally I am a fan of your suggestion.

Here is what I know:

Blogger (the google platform here) underwent a transformation sometime back. (Maybe a year or two? I donno.) At any rate, there is a "new blogger" and an "old blogger" template. N&B is in the old blogger template, while Professors Blog is in the new blogger template. And RSS comments feeds, I am sorry to say, are a feature of the new template.

Someone on an earlier thread asked to set up some kind of system like an RSS, etc., in the sidebar. I fooled around with it for a while, but was unable to make it work in the old blogger template without causing other, decidedly unacceptable problems. Ultimately, just like the weak, easily distracted person I am, I threw in the towel.

If Matt's links work for you, that's great -- problem solved. If not, then I am at somewhat of a loss,* because I am afraid that "upgrading" N&B to the new template will result in problems with older threads/formatting/etc.




*email Armen or me for more specific discussion here, if you are actually interested, or if you have skills/expertise.

4/19/2008 3:18 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This revelation about bar passage rates immediately brought that infamous Sander article to mind. He argued that using affirmative results in lower bar passage rates because the students in the bottom of the class (who came in with lower LSAT scores and GPAs) end up getting frustrated and doing worse than they would have done at a lower-ranked school where they were average.

Although affirmative action at Boalt isn't an issue because of Prop. 209, it would be interesting to know if bar passage was correlated to LSAT score. Boalt has historically admitted people with a broad range of scores (wasn't the class of 2007 something like 25th percentile at 160 and 75th percentile at 168?) Then it would be interesting to know if people at Boalt who scored 160 on the LSAT have lower bar passage rates than people at Hastings who scored 160 on the LSAT.

4/19/2008 10:37 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sander's "generic law school" affirmative action correlation (benefit vs. class rank) was nearly as severe as Boalt's class rank vs. bar passage correlation. (I think the study found that 50% of URM students were in the bottom 10% of their class.) We don't know if the first correlation (race vs. rankings) occurred about Boalt, because those statistics were never released.

Post Prop-209, one wouldn't expect any meaningful correlation between race and grades, because Boalt no longer practices affirmative action (um, right?). This might suggest no correlation between race and bar passage--which would be a very good thing.

4/19/2008 12:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That's the same thing I was thinking, 12:06. Boalt and Hastings might be in a unique position (because of Prop. 209, assuming it is being respected) to prove that bar passage and race are NOT correlated and that the real correlation is between class rank and bar passage.

The politics of such a finding cuts both ways, though. On the one hand, it would be great that the bar is not systematically harming minorities. On the other, such a finding should seriously undermine affirmative action (because no one, especially not progressives, should want to disproportionately set minorities up to fail) in law school admissions and would hurt student body diversity.

4/19/2008 1:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Maybe the correlation you should all be talking about isn't race, but rather, residency status. I'm pretty sure the bar is slightly lowered for in-state California residents (this being a public school), and perhaps those are the people at the bottom third bringing it all down.

4/19/2008 2:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

2:17, I don't think that makes any sense. (For the record, I am not a CA-resident, so I have no agenda here.) There are a TON of CA residents who apply to go here, so the law school can be very picky when it comes to which ones it admits. Plus, I don't think that Boalt has to admit a certain % of residents, and even if it does, it doesn't suffer from the same problem that a school like Michigan does (which has to admit 25% residents without benefiting from an enormous in-state applicant pool like CA).

I think it's pointless to sit here and try to look at race. We don't know, so why speculate? The bottom line is that the bottom 1/3 needs to get its sh*t together for the Bar. When last year's Bar results came out, there was a thread on here demanding to know why the pass rate was lower. Well, the deans answered that question with some strong data. And the correlation makes perfect sense: if you have low grades, you either don't take tests well (obviously a problem for the Bar) or you don't study/care (obviously a problem for the Bar). I have two friends that I am 99% sure are in the bottom 1/3 of my class. I can guess this b/c they have been very vocal about their poor grades, and they rarely come to class (I'm talking, like, they will skip for 2+ months at a time, no joke). I would not be shocked if they failed the Bar. They're not stupid, not at all, but they clearly don't care about studying. So, to me, it seems strange to try to "dig deeper" than what we've just been told. The correlation makes sense to me.

4/19/2008 2:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The problem with the passage rate/class rank correlation is that it doesn't account for variation in passage rate--particularly the latest one, resulting in Boalt's lowest rate in a decade. Class rank is an annual constant--according to my math, 1/3 of every class falls into the bottom 1/3--yet in some years 94% of all students pass. What happened to the bottom 1/3 *this year*?

4/19/2008 5:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think this whole in-state students pulling down the bar passage rates speculation is bad reasoning. UC law schools always have a high percentage of in-state people. There is no reason to suggest that the class of 2007 was any different from the class of 1997 or any other year when the bar passage rate was a lot higher.

It does not matter who comprises the bottom 1/3. Trying to blame this on low LSATs, ethnic status, or residency is mean spirited. What matters is that people know they might need to adjust their studying or method of taking exams. I'm not sure the school does this very well. I've spoken to alums who said that when they were at boalt, they took a lot more in class, closed book exams. They were shocked at how we have almost all open note/book exams.

Just my two cents.

4/19/2008 6:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am glad that these statistics came out. Based on my grades, I'm definitely in the bottom 1/3- not because i don't go to class, do my reading, or know the material-but because I don't take timed tests very well. Despite trying to improve on my own, I haven't been very successful. I know I will have to make huge strides in these areas to perform well on the Bar, but it would be nice for Boalt to help students like myself before the Bar comes around. Just my two cents...

4/20/2008 3:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As a 3L transfer, I must say that I'm glad I spent my first-year at a law school that's always scared shitless about its Bar passage rates.

I came to Boalt after taking 10 closed-book, in-class exams made up of both essay and MC questions. I really think that figuring out how to understand and memorize huge amounts of material in short periods of time (i.e., the 2-3 days between exams) will be very helpful when I'm studying for the Bar.

Since being at Boalt I haven't had one closed-book exam and the only MC questions I've had to answer were on Ste*le's PR final.

The point of all of my rambling is...if you're concerned about studying for the Bar, practice, practice, practice. And not just when you take Barbri & PMBR. Start doing practice exams early, take the Bar courses offered at Boalt and study for your exams as if they were closed book.

I think that this is what DE is trying to help students with.

4/21/2008 1:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

is there any information available regarding bar exams for states OTHER than california?

4/21/2008 3:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Can we please stop for a minute to discuss how good Boalt Briefs was today? I mean really, bravo, that should go into the admit packet.

4/21/2008 11:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes! I just saw what they did to the BBB today, too.

Priceless.

I agree that it should go in the admit packet, and I hope someone looks into it. It would make an even better douche-bag screen out device than those long tours through our crappy building.

4/22/2008 9:46 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can't believe someone came here to post about how GOOD Boalt Briefs was. It must be one of the authors.

I thought the humor was exceptionally unfunny and obvious.

4/22/2008 9:51 AM  
Blogger Boalt said...

9:51-

Neither I nor any of my staff made those shill comments above.

EIC, Boalt Briefs

4/22/2008 12:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

please post a pdf of the briefs.

4/22/2008 12:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i was actually laughing out loud when i read Boalt Briefs last night. What was really the deal with that Vigilante publication?

4/22/2008 1:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

9:51, you aren't really that fun to be around are you?



But that's unfunny and obvious. Oh burn!

4/22/2008 1:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am really curious as to how any of you even know what your class rank is? I certainly don't. Someone with straight P's could have a higher class rank than someone with a mix of P's and H's, if the former is getting high P's every time.

And jesus christ -- it's not the end of the world if you fail! Employers know it's hard, and even most of the top firms let you take it again before they'll think about firing you. So chill out, because stressing doesn't help, unless stressing makes you study; for most people, stress is just paralyzing.

10/14/2008 7:11 PM  
Blogger Armen said...

Uh, no one is reading this thread. And you're an idiot. What's the Mark Twain quote? "It is better to keep your mouth closed and let people think you are a fool than to open it and remove all doubt." Look up how class rank is calculated, then opine.

10/14/2008 7:16 PM  

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