There is an article posted this morning on Bloomberg BNA worth reading. It’s called “Are Lawyers Getting Dumber?” and it considers the apparent drop in passing the bar exam in 2014. The President of the NCBE, Erica Moeser, tends to blame the preparation of law students and, generally, the quality of law students sitting for the bar. That’s one plausible assessment, what with the decline in law school applications, or should I say quality law school applications.
The big debate in the last several years is whether law schools would shrink enrollment to protect the rating of the class. No schools like to see their average class LSAT and GPA aggregates drop. On the other hand, someone has to pay for those tenured faculty salaries and that may mean admitting a few students who wouldn’t necessarily be admitted in “normal” times. Deans, naturally, blame the test as being harder. The article examines the tension between these two points of view.
I’ve said in other forums that the bar exam is hard and that it is not an interesting or particularly engaging test. It’s orientation time, so new students can put off these thoughts for three to four years. I would recommend that those in their final year of law school take preparation for the exam seriously. I say that from watching graduates prepare over the years. It’s the type of draining experience that no one would want to go through twice, especially for something that directly affects a graduate’s legal career. Either that, or go to school in Wisconsin where law school graduates there are not required to take the Wisconsin Bar Exam.