Thursday, April 14, 2016

Dumbing Down the Bar Exam: TTTT News in Oklahoma

Yes, Let’s Make It Easier to Pass the Exam: On March 8, 2016, Staci Zaretsky posted an ATL entry that was labeled “State Supreme Court Lowers Bar Exam Standards Due To Declining Pass Rates.” Read this epic opening:

“For the past two years, bar exam pass rates have plummeted, with several jurisdictions posting their worst pass rates in decades. What could have caused this problem to rear its ugly head? 

Thanks to the recession, law school after law school lowered their admissions standards, allowing students who may never pass the exam to enroll. Now that several admissions cycles have come and gone, it seems that Erica Moeser, president of the National Conference of Bar Examiners, was correct when she stated that today’s test-takers are “less able” than their predecessors. 

The solution here seems relatively simple. As we noted previously, “Law schools need to stop scraping the bottom of the barrel when it comes to admitting students to fill their otherwise empty seats. Admission standards must be raised to end this misery.” Rather than wait for law schools to get their acts together, one state’s Supreme Court has decided to act on their behalf. What unique judicial remedy did the court have to offer? 

Before we get to that, we’ll note that the court in question is the Oklahoma Supreme Court, and its judges have sat and watched the state’s bar exam pass rates slump for years. In July 2012, the pass rate for the Oklahoma bar exam was 83 percent; in July 2013, the pass rate for the exam was 82 percent; in July 2014, the pass rate for the exam was 79 percent; and finally, in July 2015, the pass rate for the exam was 68 percent.

Amid the declining enrollment and loosened admissions criteria outlined above, the Oklahoma Supreme Court decided in a contested 5-4 decision that the proper thing to do in this situation would be to make it easier for law school graduates to pass the state’s exam. The majority’s decision defies all logic and reasoning…

This is most certainly not a viable solution. Bar exams should not be dumbed down to account for the intellect of the law school graduates taking them, and bar exam grading and scaling should not be made easier to accommodate the failings of law schools to properly cull their entering classes. We’ve said several times before and we’ll say it again because this time, it really bears repeating: “Until law schools realize they’re doing a disservice to everyone — their students, their graduates, and their graduates’ future clients — things will only continue to get worse.” [Emphasis mine]

As you can clearly see, the law school pigs – and the cockroaches on the state “supreme” court of Oklahoma – do not give one goddamn about the students/financial rape victims, recent graduates, or even the supposed “profession.” It is ALL about the money, simpleton! Did you ever think that it was about anything else?! By the way, has anyone else ever noticed that the state of Oklahoma resembles a toilet?

Other Coverage: On April 9, 2016, Debra Cassens Weiss wrote an ABA Journal piece that was entitled “Faced with declining bar pass rates, Oklahoma changes the exam grading.” Here is the full text of that article:

“The Oklahoma Supreme Court has reacted to a decline in bar pass rates with a change in bar exam scoring. 

The change is an apparent effort to make bar passage easier, Above the Law reports. The article notes that pass rates in the state have dropped from 83 percent in July 2012 to 68 percent in July 2015. 

The court acted in an order in which four dissenters said there should be no change in the present scoring system, which is in line with national standards. 

“The purpose of the bar examination is to screen applicants in such a way as to protect the public and to protect the reputation of the legal profession,” the dissenters said. “The bar examination should not be easy. It should be a rigorous test of legal knowledge and ability. The fact that there was a greater failure rate on the most recent bar examination is not a reason to change the examination’s grading or scaling.” 

Above the Law criticizes the majority for its decision. “This is most certainly not a viable solution,” the blog says. “Bar exams should not be dumbed down to account for the intellect of the law school graduates taking them, and bar exam grading and scaling should not be made easier to accommodate the failings of law schools to properly cull their entering classes.” [Emphasis mine]

Seeing that this was a 5-4 decision, it is evident once again that law equals politics. Hence, why you see such fights and fiery rhetoric over who will replace Pig Antonin Scalia on the Supremes. If you ever want a chance to be appointed to such positions, make sure you warm yourself up to the right politicians.

Conclusion: In the final analysis, this will only help show that the legal “profession” is a joke. The pieces of trash on this court made it CLEAR that they don’t care what happens to the potential clients of dumbed down lawyers in the state. And once these cretins start getting sued for malpractice, you can bet your ass that the state bar examiners and the “supreme” court will be exempt for licensing the morons. By the way, this Tulsa World piece mentions that the court met with “educators” before reaching this idiotic decision. Enjoy repaying $120K+ in NON-DISCHARGEABLE debt, while you try to scrape by, representing poor white trash. At least, it will be easier for you to get a law license!


  1. Commentary on the scam hits the Chronicle of Higher Ed.

    The Chronicle should comment on this OK decision, too.

  2. Get ready for the tsunami of lower standards, with Oklahoma(!?) leading the way. What a crass and cynical decision by the OK supreme court-it would be unbelievable-but Nando's been warning us for years-it's about nothing but money. These learned jurists and their law school dean friends will be safely retired when the time bomb of lousy lawyers explodes-and it's the public that will ultimately suffer.
    This is the sort of thing which shows how far the law has fallen as a profession. You might as well attend clown college-it's going to be just as well respected as attending law school soon.

    1. With all due respect, but some clown schools have higher standards than these unranked legal toilets, i.e.

  3. Note to self: Do not hire any dumbass lawyers from Oklahoma following this decision. Got it.

    Cute image of Homer Simpson, BTW.

  4. I used to work at a law school. Everyone said that during the recession of the early 90s, law school applications surged. Applications surged again during the recession of Bush II's first term. Now, people are saying that applications are slumping because of the recession of 2009-2013 (or whatever). IT'S ALMOST LIKE LAW SCHOOL ADMISSIONS OFFICES DON'T REALLY KNOW WHAT DRIVES LAW SCHOOL APPLICATIONS!!!

    Shortly before I left law school admissions, people kept asking me if I knew why law school applications were slumping. I made a chart that showed our school's annual tuition and average starting salary over a 10-year period. Adjusted for inflation, average starting salary went down 1% and annual tuition went up 80%. I showed the faculty and dean this and said, "This might help explain why nobody wants to go to law school anymore."

    (There's also a demographic dip in 18-25 year olds that is projected to persist for at least another 5 years, which doesn't help things either.)

    Their response? "Meh. We're just gonna keep blaming the recession."

    That was a shitty job and I do not miss it.

    1. I'd like to hear more, if you don't mind...

  5. The. Scam. Must. Continue. In 20 years 125 LSAT scores will be the norm and 80% Bar passage rate will still be the average.


    Check out this comment submitted yesterday, on an old TTR entry regarding Oklahoma City University Sewer of Law:

    Anonymous, posted on April 13, 2016 at 7:46 PM:

    “I am an attorney in Texas contemplating suicide because I went to OCU Law and racked up so much f*&king debt. 170K...after this shithole sucked me dry. I make $100K per year, but I've lost so much of my life. My relationship is in shambles. My soul hurts every month I make my payments on time. No house, but I have a mortgage payment. When I think of how naïve I must have been to sign up this debt, I resent myself. I feel fairly well educated, but honestly most of the education I received had nothing to do with the teachers. If you know how to read and think, and have money for text books, you can pass. I promise you that the teachers in 2005-2008 have nothing to do with skills set. I'm praying for debt relief from the government. I am praying for a revolution of likeminded individuals. Can we march on Washington? My gun is in the drawer at home, cocked, loaded, and ready to go... Don't go to law school. This is my last contribution to society. Good bye.”

    Let’s hope that this isn’t a real threat. That entry and profile of this fourth tier trash pit was from February 6, 2011. Do you still want to take the plunge, lemming?!?!

    1. I hope this person seeks out some help. His problems go deep.

      My former coworker had a breakdown on the job. It was an awful thing to witness. The collapsing legal industry is stressing out a lot of people.

  7. Absolutely unreal ..... "Florida Bar passage rate at 58% for February exam" (April 11, 2016).

    1. Captain Hruska Carswell, Continuance KingApril 14, 2016 at 8:27 PM

      Please understand I was there to. It is not hopeless. Make peace with these law loans. Call the Loan Servicer and get on IBR or get a deferment or a hardship. There are multiple varieties and choices that will provide relief. Just make peace with your loan and understand that you will never get rid of this debt. Think of it as MANAGING the loan. Refocus. I have 197K in debt. I will likely never pay it back unless I sign up a plane load of crash victims. I have never been denied a 0.9% auto loan, HELOC, mortgage or low rate credit card. Car dealers think these student loans are bullshit cause everybody has them. Life is to damn short to worry about ridiculous student loan debt. Just don't default.

  8. I guess this is a score for Team AAMPLE.
    Hope you enjoy the decline of the legal profession as we knew it.

    On the bright side, it could always be worst... next up, hope they find a way to bypass the lsat once and for all.

  9. First, I hope the depressed guy finds peace.

    Second: ****DOUBLE DOWN ON BAR/BRI.
    And if you do not succeed, try, try, try again!

    Just remember most jobs in all industries suck, and don't always assume the grass is green, on the other side "if I never went to law school, man.. my life would be different".

    Understand that life occurs in cycles and you could not forecast the current economic conditions. Although in undergrad the career services had job forecast data, broken down by major, then profession...oh well that process proved unreliable.

    Accept the loans and try to work around them.

    1. True, things do go in cycles.

      However, some cycles can last a long time, and this "depression" in the legal sector can last for another 20 years. This won't help any of us.

  10. The future of the legal profession.

    1. That's what happens when your lawyer gets his law degree from Costco.

    2. What is the difference between getting a law degree from Costco and one from Cooley, Touro, or Brooklyn?


    On April 10, 2016, the Tulsa World published an Arianna Pickard piece, under the headline “High failure rate on Oklahoma bar exam prompts change to state test.” Take a good look at this opening:

    “Responding to a high failure rate on the Oklahoma bar exam last year, the state has thrown out a scoring model some believe may have failed prospective lawyers whose performance on the test should have allowed them to pass.

    After seeing the lowest statewide pass rate in more than a decade, some believe the 3-year-old scoring model dropped applicants’ results to a failing score when their performance was good enough to pass. One Oklahoma law school dean told the Tulsa World that many students would have passed if it weren’t for the changed scoring model, which she believes elevated the multiple choice portion of the exam to hold more weight in the overall score than the essay portion.

    Responding to last year’s drop in state exam scores, the Oklahoma Supreme Court ruled March 7 to vacate a scoring model that scaled scores on the essay portion — graded by Oklahoma lawyers — based on results from the multiple-choice section, which is standard across multiple states.

    Effective June 1, the scaling system implemented in 2013 will no longer be used to score the state exam, though the Oklahoma Board of Bar Examiners maintains scaling shouldn’t affect pass rates.

    In an opinion dissenting from the court’s 5-4 decision, Justice Steve W. Taylor wrote: “The fact that there was a greater failure rate on the most recent bar examination is not a reason to change the examination’s grading or scaling.”

    Compared to the year before the grading change, Oklahoma’s 2015 bar exam passage rate dropped 12 points to 68 percent — the lowest it’s been in more than a decade, according to National Conference of Bar Examiners statistics.”

    Hell, why don’t the bastards just allow any who “tried really hard” on the test to pass?!?! Then, the bar exam can be the equivalent of a participation trophy for kids. After all, we don’t want you to feel bad about being a FAILURE! Who cares if legal clients are represented by morons. At least, those licensed dummies will not have the stigma of defeat. Plus, it may even artificially boost their self-confidence.

    I like how the article notes in the first and second paragraph how certain dolts’ performance “should have allowed them to pass” and then quoted the OCU Sewer of Law dean as saying that “many students would have passed.” Get out of here, bitch! Losers say “could’ve, should’ve, would’ve.” Winners perform and succeed. They don’t make excuses. Of course, the Oklahoma state “supreme” court comes to bail out the law school pigs.

    They don't want the cockroaches to be embarrassed with pathetic bar passage rates. That could affect future enrollment, as well. Think of how quickly the politicians in black dresses acted, in response to the results. Remember, "the wheels of justice" typically move slower than molasses.

  12. CPA pass rate is in the 40s....

  13. This is a perfect example of why the scam will be extremely difficult, if not impossible, to eradicate. The deans have access to the levers of power, and will use that power unashamedly to preserve the scam. It's mind-boggling, but when a state supreme court over-rules the Board of Bar Examiners, it's beyond shocking-it shows that the fix is in. The Board, a seemingly independent group, exists solely to prepare and implement an exam for new attorneys, as it has done for decades. For its methods to suddenly fall under scrutiny, and be revoked(essentially) because the law schools are unhappy with the results-well, a scandal should result. But it won't, because it's law school.
    It really is outrageous-but there will be no outrage, because, well, it's lawyers and TTTs. No one expects much from the "profession" and no one expects anything from the TTTs.

    1. Captain Hruska Carswell, Continuance KingApril 16, 2016 at 1:02 PM

      These law schools, mostly "Rank Not Published" are defended and protected by the local body politic. Just like an obsolete military base. Why? Look no further than Indiana Tech and Valpo. They generate good paying, "creative class" types of jobs and Union work. What other jobs are there in Indiana? Walmart? Used Car lots? You are King of the Hill if you teach at Valpo. They are protected as long as it's federal money coming in there...

  14. Next ruling: Tests discriminate against stupid people.

  15. I am a civil litigation defense trial lawyer having practiced for almost 30 years.

    From those of us in the trenches, we see a changing consumer for legal services that demands lower prices, more for less and much faster turnaround. Clients have forced a commoditization of legal services which has and will continue to radically impact the look of lawyers and law firms in the future.

    Gone are the triangle shaped partnership paths or lock step approaches to lawyer compensation. The new client mind set simply does not want to finance the "old way" of doing things and want and care only about results, shelf life of a matter, metrics, costs and the value proposition.

    On the other side of the coin, law schools cannot maintain traditional paths of curriculum and training law students as things were done decades ago. The world has changed and I don't believe law schools are in any respect collectively sensitive to the changes that those of us in the trenches have seen take over our lives, particularly in the past 5 years. Perhaps summits or heightened conversation is an approach but whatever it is, there is currently a gigantic disconnect between the current value driven client and the law schools charged with training the new generation of lawyers looking to service these folks.

    The eradication of the civil jury trial along with scores of legislative initiatives offering expedited paths to resolution, the prevalence of alternative fee arrangements (inadequate flat fees), the rise of lawyer temp agencies (Axiom), electronic billing review guaranteed to slash 25% of even the most tightly written legal bill, flat hourly rates not keeping up with increased costs and a cottage industry of consultants creating algorithms to measure economic efficiency of outside counsel, all speak to the fact that the global consumer of legal services now is looking at price, and no longer at quality as the key determinative factor for selecting a lawyer.

    The commoditization tsunami has taken over the legal profession at the same time a new generation of people, focused on quality of life, having lesser work ethic and far less passion about being lawyers than their predecessors enter the profession in droves.

    It is indeed The Perfect Storm. I don't know where this story ends.

    Good luck to everyone.

    1. Captain Hruska Carswell, Continuance KingApril 16, 2016 at 6:44 PM

      My retail theft and bar fighter clients want quality legal services. They just don't want to pay for it. The reason folks are looking at price is the Walmart effect. Everybody wants everyday low prices and they will get it because there is a lawyer on every corner desperate for work. This pie is too thin and "consumers" whether they are my street crime clients or Fortune 500 know that. The question is, why? Thanks, Rank not published schools...

    2. Great post 2:46. This got me thinking about this weekend’s op-ed piece in the NY Times about the 600,000 high skill technical jobs going begging today in the US. These include machine tool operators with programming skills, welders, machinists, etc. Curiously, the 600,0000 employee deficit just about mirrors the numbers of attorneys working in non-legal positions or the unemployed. It does not include the large number of bottom feeders working in doc review, shit law, or in non-economic solo positions. (Most of this work could be done by paralegals).

      We as a nation have to understand that all professional jobs, including lawyers, are for the most academically gifted top 5% of college grads with the highest aptitude. Engineering schools, the CPA exam, and science courses coupled with the MCAT screen out the unqualified in other professions, but law school administrators have no such qualms in admitting virtually anyone. Setting a minimum qualifying score of 160 on the LSAT would cure matters in a hurry.

      Far better for young people who can’t attend an elite law school, or a strong regional school, to train for something that would actually pay them a good wage in the trades. I know of welders who make over $75,000/year and master plumbers making far more—without the burden of massive debt. We need to get over this boomer mentality that everyone should be a professional. Not interested in a great technical job or trade, then try teaching or nursing. Lets train young people for real jobs.

    3. Excellent point. A friend of mine is an "industrial arts" teacher(we used to call it shop). He told me he regularly gets calls from skilled trades-carpenter/electrician/plumber-looking for willing apprentices(and keep in mind that these jobs actually pay, as opposed to the many "volunteer" law clerk jobs law students get suckered into). He told me even students who clearly have the talent in one of these area won't consider it-because every student in his HS is pushed to go to college. He told me it's nuts-clearly not every kid is cut out for college, many can't afford it so they take on a mountain of undergrad debt, and many of his students would make a good living in one of the trades. He's getting near retirement(which for teachers is 55) and is extremely discouraged. Many kids who could have a good middle class life are being steered into the trap of higher ed for no good reason other than the push to have everybody attend college.

    4. Good luck with that. The entitlement is strong with this generation. They are well programmed. The young aspiring law students I know wouldn't touch a high school teaching job with a ten foot pole much less a welder or plumber job. No, I'm afraid they're going to learn the hard way, their health, relationships and personal finances be damned.

    5. This is "The Supporter of the Old Guy." Graduate school is not for everyone. Not only do you need the aptitude to succeed, you need to put in a tremendous amount of real work, after you graduate.

      Society needs plumbers, auto mechanics, and welders.

      For those of you who are young and hold a legal degree, do yourself a favor. If you are having a hard time earning a decent wage, then go back to school and learn a trade or study something else, e.g. business.

      It is a tough journey. It is unfair because you will end up working 20 times harder to get to a respectable wage than the person who bypassed law school.

      But the alternative of not going back to school is very grim. Do you want to be a solo?

      As a solo, you will have no life, no benefits, and no perks.

    6. The 600k jobs lacking in skilled trades just goes to show what happens when everyone (and I mean just about fucking everyone) is pushed to college.

      My ex girlfriend (she'd be about 40 now) had a kid when she was 17. Her son graduated from HS early and went to community college to be a welder. I remember one time when I was finished eating her pussy, she told me everyone in the family was disappointed in him. "He's so smart" and all that. And the kid is smart. He was actually smart enough to skip the college bullshit. He paid about $10K for his certification. And the kid makes more at 23 than I do as a lawyer with ten years of experience.

    7. I don't think this generation is any more or less entitled than any other-it's more a pattern of really bad advice given to them from people in positions of authority(hs college counselors, parents, the talking heads on tv, any number of politicians) who ought to know better. And it's gotten so bad that if anyone were to publicly suggest that college was a bad idea for some students, the outcry would be deafening. Our society has also developed a mindset that strongly suggests that we look down on all who work with their hands, making no differentiation between an unskilled laborer and a plumber-it's just crazy b/c society will end up with a shortage of skilled tradesmen while stacking worthless(and unemployable) BAs and JDs coast to coast.

    8. 6:20 PM; Maybe if you improved your diet...?

  16. Note to self: do not get into any legal trouble in Oklahoma.

    1. Captain Hruska Carswell, Continuance KingApril 17, 2016 at 6:56 PM

      The entire Oklahoma justice system is going to be dumbed down. So, relatively speaking, the OK Prosecutors and Judges will come from the same dumbded down pool. I just can't imagine the outrage that current attorneys feel....Its like purchasing a Chevrolet Malibu for 34K and then seeing the same car for 5K less across the street.

  17. Oklahoma is not OK.

  18. Here is another interesting segment from the Pickard piece in the Tulsa World:

    “What’s to blame for dropping scores?

    Oklahoma Supreme Court Chief Justice John F. Reif says the court’s decision came after meeting with examiners and educators and learning that several individuals who took the bar exam in July 2015 may have passed if it weren’t for the scaling system.

    “Once the scaling and adjustment took place, they no longer had a passing grade,” Reif said in a phone interview March 29. “And it didn’t have anything to do with what they had demonstrated in the way of knowledge on the essay portion. It happened to be the scaling of that score brought it below the passing grade.”

    The Oklahoma Board of Bar Examiners unanimously supports the scaling system, which is supposed to maintain consistency as the essay questions are state-specific and couldn’t be standardized, board member Donna Smith told the Tulsa World.

    Scaling was meant to “take out the bumps in the road” when the difficulty of essay questions or skill level of test-takers vary, Smith said.

    “If you have 10 really good papers and then a paper that’s more average, generally that average paper will get a lower score if it’s graded among really good papers, and vice-versa,” Smith said.

    When asked about the drop in bar exam scores last year, Smith pointed out disparities between the state’s three law schools — University of Oklahoma, University of Tulsa and Oklahoma City University.

    Smith said that while the change in 2013 didn’t appear to greatly affect OU or TU, “OCU on the other hand had a poor performance in 2015.”

    Data provided by the board shows that the bar exam pass rates at each school fluctuated between 2012 and 2015. OU had consistently higher pass rates, but OCU and TU saw declines after the 2013 change. OCU’s pass rate in 2015 was 21 points, or 39 percent, lower than in 2012. TU’s pass rate was down 12 points, or 17 percent.

    Smith referenced the national conversation regarding implications that the decline in bar exam pass rates has resulted from law schools lowering admission standards to boost enrollment as they receive fewer qualified applicants.

    Prior to admission, law schools review applicants’ LSAT scores and GPAs as indicators of their likelihood of passing the bar after graduation.

    Since 2010, each law school in Oklahoma has seen either a decline or stagnancy in the LSAT scores of entering classes placing at the 25th percentile — besides a slight increase at OCU in 2015 and at TU in 2012, according to the National Conference of Bar Examiners.

    OCU maintained lower scores than the other two schools each year during that time period until last year, when it was surpassed by TU.”

    Isn’t it nice that the cockroaches met with examiners and “educators,” before making this decision? The law school pigs WILLINGLY and KNOWINGLY admitted weaker-ass applicants, in order to keep up enrollment – and get their hooves on more federal student loan dollars! Now, the pieces of trash want to dumb down the bar exam, in order to mask that fact. How honorable, huh?!?!


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