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Bar Statistics Continued (Again :) )

30 Apr

Visit my website here to compare Statistics from February 2013 through February 2016

  • Alabama (21.5%) – Fall of 21.4% from Feb. 2015
  • Arkansas –Unknown, Statistics not Shared.
  • Florida (58.4%) – Rise of 6.4%
  • Idaho (69.9%) – Steady
  • Illinois – Unknown, Statistics not shared.
  • Indiana (51%) ~ Fall of 16% from Feb. 2015
  • Iowa (61%) – Fall of 11% from Feb. 2016
  • Kansas (50%)Fall of 31.5% from Feb. 2015
  • Kentucky – Unknown, Statistics not yet shared.
  • Louisiana (66.16%) – Rise of 1% from Feb. 2015
  • Maine ~ Unknown, Statistics not yet shared.
  • Massachusetts (50.7%) – Fall of 6% from Feb. 2015
  • Mississippi – Unknown, Statistics not Shared.
  • Missouri (74.3%) – Fall of 3.4% from Feb. 2015
  • Montana (67% including those who have not passed the MPRE, 60% if you don’t include them) – Fall of 7%-14% depending on which number they use from Feb. 2015
  • New Hampshire – Unknown, Statistics not yet shared.
  • New Mexico (69%) – Fall of 11% from Feb. 2015
  • New York (41%) – Fall of 2% from Feb. 2015
  • North Carolina (26% – if you compare applicant list to passing list) – Fall of 17% from Feb. 2015 unless a bunch of people just haven’t taken the MPRE yet (unlikely, but we’ll hope).
  • Ohio (57.2%) – Fall of 6.6% from February 2015
  • Oklahoma (69%) – Rise of 2% from Feb. 2015
  • Oregon (60%) – Fall of 4% from Feb. 2015.
  • Pennsylvania (56.3%) – Rise of 5.7% from Feb. 2015
  • South Carolina (56.18%) – Fall of 7.27% from Feb. 2016
  • Tennessee (51%) – Fall of 3% from Feb. 2015
  • Vermont (61.3%) – Rise of 15.6% from Feb. 2016
  • Washington (58.5%) – Fall of 7.2% from Feb. 2015
  • West Virginia (50.4%) – Fall of 17.7% from Feb. 2015
  • Viriginia (57.64%) – Fall of 1.5% from Feb. 2016

Bar Exam Statistics Continued

22 Apr

Visit my website here to compare Statistics from February 2013 through February 2016

  • Arkansas –Unknown, Statistics not Shared.
  • Florida (58.4%) – Rise of 6.4%
  • Idaho (69.9%) – Steady
  • Illinois – Unknown, Statistics not shared.
  • Indiana (51%) ~ Fall of 16% from Feb. 2015
  • Iowa (61%) – Fall of 11% from Feb. 2016
  • Kansas (50%)Fall of 31.5% from Feb. 2015
  • Kentucky – Unknown, Statistics not yet shared.
  • Mississippi – Unknown, Statistics not Shared.
  • Missouri (74.3%) – Fall of 3.4% from Feb. 2015
  • Montana (67% including those who have not passed the MPRE, 60% if you don’t include them) – Fall of 7%-14% depending on which number they use from Feb. 2015
  • New Mexico (69%) – Fall of 11% from Feb. 2015
  • North Carolina (26% – if you compare applicant list to passing list) – Fall of 17% from Feb. 2015 unless a bunch of people just haven’t taken the MPRE yet (unlikely, but we’ll hope).
  • Ohio (57.2%) – Fall of 6.6% from February 2015
  • Oklahoma (69%) – Rise of 2% from Feb. 2015
  • Oregon (60%) – Fall of 4% from Feb. 2015.
  • Pennsylvania (56.3%) – Rise of 5.7% from Feb. 2015
  • South Carolina (56.18%) – Fall of 7.27% from Feb. 2016
  • Tennessee (51%) – Fall of 3% from Feb. 2015
  • Vermont (61.3%) – Rise of 15.6% from Feb. 2016
  • Washington (58.5%) – Fall of 7.2% from Feb. 2015
  • West Virginia (50.4%) – Fall of 17.7% from Feb. 2015
  • Viriginia (57.64%) – Fall of 1.5% from Feb. 2016

Bar Exam Statistics Continued

16 Apr

Visit my website here to compare Statistics from February 2013 through February 2016

  • Arkansas –Unknown, Statistics not Shared.
  • Idaho (69.9%) – Steady
  • Illinois – Unknown, Statistics not shared.
  • Indiana (51%) ~ Fall of 16% from Feb. 2015
  • Kansas (50%)Fall of 31.5% from Feb. 2015
  • Kentucky – Unknown, Statistics not yet shared.
  • Missouri (74.3%) – Fall of 3.4% from Feb. 2015
  • Montana (67% including those who have not passed the MPRE, 60% if you don’t include them) – Fall of 7%-14% depending on which number they use from Feb. 2015
  • New Mexico (69%) – Fall of 11% from Feb. 2015
  • North Carolina (26% – if you compare applicant list to passing list) – Fall of 17% from Feb. 2015 unless a bunch of people just haven’t taken the MPRE yet (unlikely, but we’ll hope).
  • Oklahoma (69%) – Rise of 2% from Feb. 2015
  • Oregon (60%) – Fall of 4% from Feb. 2015.
  • Pennsylvania (56.3%) – Rise of 5.7% from Feb. 2015
  • Tennessee (51%) – Fall of 3% from Feb. 2015
  • Vermont (61.3%) – Rose of 15.6%
  • Washington (58.5%) – Fall of 7.2% from Feb. 2015
  • West Virginia (50.4%) – Fall of 17.7% from Feb. 2015

Bar Statistics Start to Fall Again in 2016 (Week 1)

2 Apr

Bar Results are starting to come out and some of the passing rates seem to be falling again!

  • North Carolina (26% – if you compare applicant list to passing list) – Fall of 17% from Feb. 2015 unless a bunch of people just haven’t taken the MPRE yet (unlikely, but we’ll hope).
  • Oklahoma (69%) – Steady
  • Kansas (50%) – Fall of 31.5% from Feb. 2015
  • Illinois – Unknown, Statistics not shared.
  • West Virginia (50.4%) – Fall of 17.7%

A.B.A. to Enforce Stricter Timeline for Law Graduates to Pass the Bar Exam

16 Mar

**Law Students – Input? DB

“A.B.A. to Enforce Stricter Timeline for Law Graduates to Pass the Bar Exam”

by Elizabeth Olson via “NY Times

American Bar Association’s accrediting body put law schools on notice Monday that it intended to tighten a rule that sets a deadline for graduates to pass state bar exams — a near-universal requirement for becoming a practicing lawyer.

The new measure would clarify the existing deadline that 75 percent of students pass within two years. Bar passage rates have been falling noticeably across the country.

At issue for the schools is their accreditation by the association. The theory behind the rule, which is one factor in accreditation, is that schools should be accepting students who are likely to have the qualifications to become practicing lawyers. Proponents of the change say that schools exploit students when they accept those who — based on admissions tests and other measurements — have a small chance of succeeding. . . .

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The 2017 U.S. News Law School Rankings Leak: The Top 50

11 Mar

IOWA (MY UNIVERSITY) RANKED #20! Whoop! **DB

US-News-Rankings-Logo-no-year

The 2017 U.S. News Law School Rankings Leak: The Top 50

via Above the Law

After U.S. News & World Report erroneously published a portion of its 2017 law school rankings yesterday — a segment that contained the top law schools in the nation — members of the legal profession, ranging from law students to law school deans, found themselves in a desperate position. Unfortunately, the only information available at the time related to the most elite law schools in the country, and many longed to find out whether their alma mater had improved its position or taken a hit in the latest edition of the rankings.

Fear not, because Above the Law has news you can use. The remainder of the U.S. News law school rankings aren’t due for publication until next week, on Wednesday, March 16, but we’ve got the unofficial Top 50 rankings for you to feast your eyes upon today.

Please note the UPDATE below.

Today’s U.S. News rankings leak comes to us courtesy of Mike Spivey of the Spivey Consulting Group, who broke the news. You can review them here, or at his blog here.

We’ve already discussed them, but here’s a quick refresher on the Top 14 law schools:

1. Yale (no change)
2. Stanford (no change)
2. Harvard (no change)
4. Columbia (no change)
4. Chicago (no change)
6. NYU (no change)
7. Penn (no change)
8. Berkeley (no change)
8. Michigan (+3)
8. UVA (no change)
11. Duke (-3)
12. Northwestern (no change)
13. Cornell (no change)
14. Georgetown (no change)

With that out of the way, let’s take a gander at the law schools outside of the T14. Like last year, we’re faced with yet another rankings orgy, with nothing but ties, ties, and more ties. There are five ties in this segment of the rankings alone (two two-way ties and three three-way ties), with more to follow. Here are the schools ranked 15 – 30:

15. Texas (no change)
16. Vanderbilt (+1)
17. UCLA (-1)
18. Washington University in St. Louis (no change)
19. USC (+1)
20. Boston University (+6)
20. Iowa (+2)
22. Emory (-3)
22. Minnesota (-2)
22. Notre Dame (no change)
25. Arizona State (+1)
25. George Washington (-3)
25. Indiana-Bloomington (+9)
28. Alabama (-6)
28. UC-Irvine (+2)
30. Boston College (+4)
30. Ohio State (+4)
30. UC-Davis (+1)

Both BU Law and Indiana-Bloomington soared in this edition of the rankings, while two law schools fell out of the Top 20 entirely. Emory and Minnesota, you’ve got some explaining to do. GW Law also has some excuses to make, seeing as this is the second year in a row that the school has taken a tumble in the rankings. Alas, it seems like the tide is rolling out for Alabama, which sank like a stone. What happened, Alabama? This law school took the largest rankings nosedive out of the entirety of the Top 50. Ouch.

On the other hand, Boston College and Ohio State are schools that are on the move, in a very positive way. Congratulations to these two law schools — we’re sure the class of 2016 is thrilled to be graduating from a Top 30 school. Another law school that did the right thing is UC-Davis, which finally clawed its way into the Top 30. Well done.

Also notable is UC-Irvine’s upward mobility. Dean Erwin Chemerinsky promised for years that his school would be in the Top 20, and in the school’s second year of being ranked by U.S. News, it’s still moving towards that goal. Don’t stop believin’!

Now, for the rest of the law schools in the Top 50, where there are two two-way ties, a three-way tie, a four-way tie, and two five-way ties. There was A LOT of movement: . . . .

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Bar Exam Tip #2

30 Jan

When you get to the Multiple Choice Questions, always follow this method:

  1. Read the Answers first and mark off those you know are legally incorrect or that don’t make sense.

  2. Read the Question second and mark off any more wrong answers you notice here (i.e. answers that are true facts but that don’t actually answer the question).

  3. Finally read the Facts.  

Why do this?

Historically, this is the easiest, fastest, and most accurate way to solve any Multiple Choice question. I recomend it to students taking the LSAT, TESOL, IELTS, GRE, GMAT and other exams as well.

There are many reasons for doing the first step at the beginning.

  1. You avoid some of the test traps. Test questions often play mind games. For example: they give you opposite answers, they alter the time limits for a statute of limitations, they add an exception, they change one word. And the facts will point to the wrong conclusion. Don’t let them get to you; You’ve studied the law. Just go with what you remember from your studies and take out any answers you know are legally incorrect before letting the facts distract you.
  2. You avoid the dreaded moment where you think you have the answer and then it isn’t on the list. Your mind blocks up, you can’t get that first solution out of your head, and you bomb it. Know the possibilities, the real possibilities, and read the question to figure out which one fits.
  3. You can now easily ignore any irrelevant facts or details (also a reason for doing steps three and four next) in the fact pattern itself and move more quickly to the relevant information.  These questions often through in irrelevant information and ask you to sort through it to figure out what was important. Knowing the answers helps you move through the question quickly. If all the answers are about whether or not the person is guilty because the crime was in private property, you know to ignore the fact that the suspect gave different answers about their age.  

The second step mainly keeps you from falling into the mistake of getting lost in the facts and failing to answer the right question. Fact Patterns can actually depict a couple of legal issues, while only one is relevant for the question. Nonetheless, one of the answers will solve or be related to that irrelevant legal problem trying to trick you. Often, that “correct but wrong” answer is higher than the right one on the list because we will instinctively go with the first “correct” answer we see. But that is not our job on the test. We are not required to solve all the legal errors, we are asked to answer the question given.  So to avoid falling for the red herring (correct, but not the right response, answers), do step two to erase all possible distractors that fail to solve the question.

I’d say for about 1/4-1/3 of the test, these first two steps will actually lead you to only one remaining answer. 

For the rest of the test, you’ll need to pick between 2 (sometiems 3 on a tough question) remaining solutions.  But at least you have narrowed your options down and the odds are better!

 

Bar Study Course Poll

18 Jan

Bar Study Tips

14 Jan

Hello Bar-Takers!

I know the February Bar Exam is coming up on us pretty quick (and July is terrifyingly closing in), so I wanted to have a post dedicated to Bar Exam tips.  I thought I would share a couple of things that helped me, and I want to encourage all of you to share at least one tip for fellow bar examinees on what is helping you do well.  

Tips included could be on:

  • Preparing for the bar
  • Taking the Exam
  • Handling Stress. . . .

Anything that is helping you in your efforts!

For those of you who already took the bar, we’d love for you to participate as well!  

JPEG

My tip of the day (I’ll add more later 😛 )

When you are doing the Performance Tests, the first step is to copy the law from the exam onto your document. Tidy it up, throw in any more in-depth notes on the law you feel are relevant, and sort it out into the elements. I like to really space out each element of the law so I can see that they are separate.

Then read the facts and start pasting the facts in under the applicable portion of the law.  If a fact goes into more than one element, that’s fine. It looks messy, but you have time later to go back and smooth it out.  I found this to be the fastest and simplest method. I always finished the PT portion way earlier than the timer!

Now What’s Your Advice?!

What to Do When you Fail the Bar Exam?

24 Oct

“Help! I failed the bar! Now what?”

If I had a penny for the number of times people have asked me this, I’d probably have a whole dollar.

No seriously, there is a difficult decision facing people who don’t quite make it past the bar exam’s tough standards.  I have a very close friend who was absolutely convinced that California was the state for her. She packed up and moved lock, stock, and barrel to LA hoping to start her dream of legalizing the state one case at a time. But after 3 very expensive tries at passing the Cali bar, she’s starting to lose hope.  

So what do you do? 

I can’t promise you I have all the answers. There for a while, I was pretty convinced I wasn’t going to make it past the exam myself. But, by the grace of God, here I am – a proud Iowa attorney.  So I haven’t exactly been where you are. Note however, that I had already started looking at non-law based jobs before I even took the exam, that’s how concerned I was. So I do understand your fears.  

There are a few options available to you. Most notably ~ 1) Re-take the Exam or 2) Find a different type of Law job or 3) Go another route.

1) If you’re going try the exam again, that’s great. I wish you all the best and the truth is, practice makes perfect. The more you study, the more you practice, the better you will be on the actual exam! A lot of people take the exam and pass it on their second try.  Many Bar Review programs will actually let you take the program again for free if you failed the exam the first time, so that fee isn’t going to be over your head.  There are many people out there willing to tutor you in essay writing, in exam taking strategies, etc. You actually could probably hire a private Bar Tutor online or in your area.  There are plenty of things you can do to improve your strategy. Obviously what you did the first time was insufficient, so do more.  Try new techniques, find online support and practice groups, find new ways to learn the law. I honest-to-God learned a lot of Evidence/Criminal law by watching “Murder One”–where the people followed most of the rules of evidence/objections and I could see how the rules developed or worked. A lot of fiction books are written by lawyers, so maybe find a few that include the rules of law that you are working on.

One note of warning– you will do worse on your second exam if you don’t continue studying and reviewing in the interim. A lot of repeaters say, oh I did great on contracts, so I don’t need to study that anymore. This so wrong I can’t even tell you. Wait 6 months and try to remember all those contracts rules again, you’ll find they’ve already started fading into memory. So you really should continue reviewing EVERYTHING, not just the stuff you didn’t do so well on.

2) Finding an alternative law job is probably the most difficult option of all to accomplish.  There are however, some types of jobs available to juris doctorates–even if some require additional training. For example, you could teach law (at home or abroad). The J.D. is technically a PhD, and there are several schools who won’t care about your bar scores as long as you can teach the topic. Now, teaching in America is probably more difficult, but there are a lot of schools internationally (High-school or College) that want professors of American Law.  Or you could advertise your skills as a Consultant. This is sort of like a lawyer, except you aren’t doing any of the paper work, courtroom actions, etc. And you have to be upfront on the lack of a license. But you do have a PhD in Law (J.D.) and you are qualified to discuss the topics.  Especially if you work in an alternative field and utilize the law as a supplement–work as a business consultant with the addition of a law degree.  Paralegals are sometimes paid even more than lawyers, and that doesn’t require a law degree at all.  Try out writing–many mystery writers start out as lawyers because they get experience in how criminal law works, maybe you could try your hand at it.  You could try being an administrator. There are some organizations that want to hire people aware of the law, but don’t really care if you have a license or not. Try working as a legal researcher. A lot of lawyers and legal websites need legal research done for them–you don’t need a law license, you just need to understand the law. As you can see, there are several options available to you. I’ll try to pull together a list for you to use something in the future.  But for now, try googling around for jobs requiring a J.D.  

3) Actually, a lot of people who do pass the bar are going this route as well–finding a different path.  This happens largely for two reasons–you aren’t good at law (let’s just agree that some people are not meant for the legal industry) or you generally dislike the field (it happens!).  Law is never going to be a completely worthless degree.  Businesspersons use it to create their contracts, protect their company, build start-ups, shutdowns, and more. Accountants use it to ensure they understand the field of banking/taxation and the rules that accompany those industries. Psychologists understand how to protect themselves and their patients. Politicians–well it’s obvious how they use the law. You get my point–you can do something completely different and still utilize your J.D.  

But sometimes, the law field itself is just not going to work for you. Maybe you figure out after the 3rd or 4th try that you’re never going to get past the exam. Maybe you finally take the exam and realize that law sucks–it’s boring, takes a ton of hours out of your life, destroys families, the judges/legal systems are biased and unfair, etc.  Some people take to the world of law like ducks to water. Others of us figure out that us practicing law is like a pussycat trying to be the champion diver in a competition field consisting of sharks.  It just isn’t meant to be. 

This is where my experience comes in. I actually passed the exam. I tried the law. I HATED it. Kudos to my friends who are extremely successful, but that was not going to be me. I could have been successful, but I figured out I didn’t really want to be–at least in that field. Now, have I abandoned my legal studies? NO! I am actually a law professor, legal researcher, and writer. I focus on the areas of law that actually interest me (Art Law & Cultural Heritage Law), rather than trying to force myself into a career as a Business lawyer or Family lawyer.  I like teaching so much better–in fact, I’m getting ready to pursue a MA and PhD in English Literature, where I might be writing about Law in Literature.  

If you are failing the exam over and over again, maybe you need to stop and think about your future. Is law really for you?  Is the future you see yourself in really worth all this stress, aggravation, and money?  I can’t promise you that once you get past the exam, everything will fall into place. If you had trouble memorizing and applying the civil procedure rules before the exam, you’re still going to have to do that in real life where the judges yell at you when you screw up.  It’s not like passing the exam is a magic thing that means you’ll automatically be good at law for the rest of your life.  No, you are still going to be tested on your law knowledge every time your stuff goes before a court. 

So take a step back. Stop trying to force yourself into a bubble that you just aren’t fitting into. What is it that you actually like about law? Money? Maybe you’d be better off going back and getting an accounting, engineering, business degree. The learning? Teachers have a lot more learning time.  Argumentation/Discussion?  Writing, Politics, Teaching government, Creating government policy–all of those include persuasion and arguments. There are a lot of fields out there that will let you use your law degree while still being more successful at something you love.  Yes, this may mean going back to school–and Lord knows, you’re tire of school. But most MAs take 1-2 years and can be shockingly affordable. A PhD may require 1-2 years of classes, but the rest is just writing your dissertation. It’s not like Law school, you can work your way through these programs. And some of your law classes might even transfer!  See what I mean, you have options.  Maybe the bar exam isn’t for you.

Whatever happens, just remember you have options.  If you want to take the exam again, that’s great! Check and see what help you can get for free (the options are better now)! But if you are starting to get depressed about your future, stop it. The bar exam isn’t the end of the world–there are lots of opportunities that work just perfectly without a silly bar certificate.  This exam is only to prepare you for one job. There are lots of other jobs available to you! And some might be even better!

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