The deans point to New York, where they claim the legal work is comparably sophisticated, yet the state has a lower pass score of What makes California so much better to justify a higher pass score? But this difference may ultimately be irrelevant.
While both exams require the MBE multiple-choice section, the essay questions are different. Reasonable people will have differing opinions. Lowering the pass score will almost guarantee that more people will be admitted as lawyers. But will that improve post-graduation employment? That wording suggests that finding work is hard as it is.
The California Bar Exam
Oh, and of course there is the magic solution: starting your own practice. As the cheerleaders and marketers will say, if you network, say your prayers, eat your vitamins, and pay for our boot-camp seminar, one day you will have a successful seven-figure practice while working two hours per week or something like that. The problem is until you reach the mountaintop, you need clients, preferably those who can pay. And in the beginning, you are going to accept any case you can get. Sure, some of the rules you learned are not the law in your state.
But at least you will have a foundational understanding that can help you when you do your legal research.
The deans also argue that the bar exam is a test designed for the paper-and-pencil generation inflicted on the smartphone generation. Maybe if the lawyers threatened to give the courthouse a bad Yelp review, they will look into it. Finally, Dean Mnookin got the last word and pointed to a study by Dr. In-depth analysis of possible causal linkages will depend on the collection of detailed student performance data from law schools.
Will law schools provide this more detailed data? Only 11 California law schools participated in this study, excluding the usual suspects.
California Score Analyses
Also, law schools are notorious for not disclosing information that is not in their best interest. Some of us may remember when a startup non-profit called Law School Transparency asked every ABA accredited law school to provide detailed post-graduate employment information.
Grading processes vary by jurisdiction. The [Committee] maintains a diverse pool of approximately experienced attorneys from which graders are selected for each examination grading cycle.
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A majority of the graders have been grading bar examinations for at least five years and many of them have participated for well over 10 years or more. Bar examiners are not trying to give bad grades, and they are certainly aiming for consistency. Jurisdictions have varying grading-process quality controls—some are more transparent than others.
Check your jurisdiction, but here are a few interesting examples —.
First, a refresher on bar scoring.
In order to assure fairness and uniformity in grading, the Board of Bar Examiners shall follow NCBE-prescribed standards for grading to be used by all graders. The Virginia Board of Bar Examiners follows this interesting procedure to ensure fair grading —. Immediately following the exam each examiner reads and assigns preliminary scores to a sample of the essay answers.
The examiners then meet with professors from the approved Virginia law schools to discuss the essay questions and the answers proposed by the examiners. The law school representatives often suggest alternative approaches to answering some of the questions, which the examiners consider and adopt if appropriate.
Following the meeting with the professors, the examiners reach a consensus on grading guidelines for each question. They then return to their respective offices where they and the graders working under their supervision assign raw scores to the exam answers in accordance with the grading guidelines.
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