Monday, October 3, 2016

New Mexico’s Bar Passage Rates Continue to Drop, Even After Adoption of UBE

The News: On September 29, 2016, Staci Zaretsky posted an ATL entry labeled “Bar Exam Passage Rates Plummet After Adoption of Uniform Bar Exam.” Check out this opening:

“Citing the need for keeping costs down in light of law school graduates’ heavy debt burdens and the need for the portability of law licenses considering the state of the still recovering job market, many jurisdictions adopted the Uniform Bar Exam (UBE) in the past few years. The thought was that with a national exam, a passing score would make it easier for graduates to find work and practice law in other states without having to pay exorbitant testing fees. Going a step further, with state bar exam passage rates plummeting across the nation, the hope was that perhaps a national exam would enable a greater number of law school graduates to actually pass the test and put their law degrees to use. 

New Mexico is one of the states that recently adopted the UBE, starting with the February 2016 exam. On that administration of the exam, the passage rate fell to 69 percent, an 11 percent decline from February 2015, when the passage rate was 80 percent. This summer, the results were even worse, with the overall passage rate falling to 64 percent, an 8 percent decline from July 2015, when the New Mexico bar exam was last administered and the passage rate was 72 percent. 

New Mexico’s only law school, the New Mexico University School of Law, was hit particularly hard by the state’s adoption of the UBE. In February 2016, the school’s passage rate for first-time takers was 71 percent (down from 88 percent in February 2015 when the New Mexico bar exam was administered). In July 2016, the school’s passage rate for first-time takers was 68 percent (down from 81 percent in July 2015 when the New Mexico bar exam was administered). This is the worst UNM Law graduates have performed on the bar exam since July 2008, across 16 other administrations of the test. 

According to the Albuquerque Journal, graduates of the school who failed the exam were “disproportionately minorities and women,” and although 14 Native American UNM Law graduates took the July 2016 exam, none of them passed.” [Emphasis mine]

It would be interesting to see the LSAT scores and undergraduate GPAs of the students who failed the New Mexico state bar exam. There may be a correlation between those numbers. Then again, the real figures of concern to the ABA-accredited stench pit are the total asses in seats – along with the amount of federal student loan money pouring into the school’s coffers.

Other Coverage: On September 28, 2016, the Albuquerque Journal featured an editorial board piece that was entitled “Uniform bar exam is not the problem, is law school?” Take a look at the following portion:

“The law school’s two deans – another arrangement rather unique to New Mexico – said, in a letter to alumni and other people associated with the school, that some other states that adopted the test also saw pass rates drop as well. But Arizona, which adopted the test in 2012, was not one of them. And Colorado’s pass rate dropped slightly from 2012 to 2015.

In their letter, co-deans Sergio Pareja and Alfred Mathewson said the new exam will be studied to see what changes the school needs to make to boost the first-time pass rate to 80 percent by 2018. They also set a goal of having 85 percent of students pass within 18 months. 

In the previous test, half of the essay questions were about New Mexico law. They are not in the new test, and subjects like Indian law and administrative law are not included in the test. There already are cries to abandon the uniform exam. That would be the wrong thing to do and an admission that we just can’t compete. 

The question is not whether the test is too hard, but whether the law school needs to adapt to prepare its students with the uniform exam in mind. 

It’s a competitive world, and passing a uniform bar exam better positions UNM law students as they enter the practice of law. The deans are right to take this approach, and the suggestion by Regents president Rob Doughty, also a UNM law grad, that the school should refocus its efforts on fundamentals is a good one. 

Figure out what’s missing and fill in the holes. 

That also means paying special attention to minority students and working with the legal community to prepare them.” [Emphasis mine]

Don’t be surprised if this toilet includes more bar prep courses in its TT curriculum. Expect the pigs to lobby for inclusion of Indian Law in the next test. You can also count on this dung heap to keep admitting dumber applicants.

The Commode’s Ranking: As you can see, the Univer$iTTy of New Mexico Sewer of Law is rated as the 60th greatest, most amazing, and marvelous law school in the entire damn country. In fact, it only shares this distinct honor with the following four cesspits: Cincinnati, Kentucky, Miami, and Oklahoma. 

Conclusion: Avoid this pile of trash UNLESS all of the following factors apply: (a) you are a New Mexico resident; (b) you truly wish to practice law in the State of New Mexico; (c) you can live at home for the full three years; and (d) you don’t mind that your best outcome will be as a prosecutor, in state government, or as a small law practitioner. Otherwise, you are making a terrible financial decision. If your “dream” is to be a lawyer, then I suggest you grow up – and quit relying on unrealistic attorney portrays in movies, TV, and books. You cannot represent broke-ass losers and deadbeats, and still drive a new Jaguar or Porsche. Hell, you will be lucky to eat halfway decent or to afford rent, with that garbage clientele. This is especially the case if you incur an additional $120K+ in NON-DISCHARGEABLE debt.


  1. We should advocate to abolish the Bar exam!

    The good old "forward thinking" state of Wisconsin :-) ... is taking the lead on this front!

    If you graduate from Marquette or UW Madison Law School then the bar is not needed. Just graduate with your JD, and pass the character and fitness and your licensed in WI.

    All this blah, blah, blah over high enough LSAT scores and Bar passage rates is mute. Especially when plenty of good lawyers now a days bypass the LSAT scoring requirement through backdoor law school admissions programs.
    And they may take an extra swing at the Bar exam, but at least they do not give up.

    As to the over saturation of grads.... Let's let Darwinism takes its course.

    1. Captain Hruska Carswell, Continuance KingOctober 3, 2016 at 7:10 PM

      And that serves the public how? Remember, law is a public trust with ethical standards. If you take that course, we'll see how long before your ticket is punched. What you are talking about is desperate attorneys undercutting each other. A Walmartization of the profession. Walmart recently learned that a race to the bottom with simply low prices doesn't work. They actually lost sales and profits. They improved quality, raised wages and volia, profits returned.

    2. I have a different idea: abolish law school and keep the bar, that is real Darwinism.

    3. Captain, Undercutting of legal services is already occurring.
      Consumers are aware that most lawyers "Pad" their time and over charge.

      Plus a lot of criminal defense lawyers are con artist.

      Shopping around for the best price / deal is a result of capitalism. This is why it will take more than a high LSAT and "first time" bar passage to thrive.

      Example: 90% of criminal cases never see trial, knowing this, what do you think most lawyer's do...wink, wink....


    4. @4:05,

      So let's get rid of law school and have bar bri type courses to prepare people for the bar, which has at least some relevancy on law.

      Or, even better, let's just let anyone that can pass the character and fitness portion become a lawyer.

      I think that's much more capitalist and free market than requiring people to spend three years of law school and a couple of 100k in tax payer money before they can practice. It will also let the market sort out quality and what not.

      Curiously though, all of the critics of the system are willing to suspend all levels of quality control, except for the most expensive, time consuming, and tax siphoning requirement of all, namely law school.

      I wonder why that is... I also wonder why the professors at these lower ranked schools are almost exclusively from top schools and come from privileged backgrounds... I also wonder why, since they are willing to get rid of all barriers to practice, except the most expensive and time consuming one, i.e. Law school, they so adamantly resist having professors that can teach the hustle and practical aspects of law to students... I also wonder why all of your posts keep referencing competition and openness, but yet you are also open to keeping the most expensive and time consuming barrier to becoming a lawyer, namely law school, yet you are willing to suspend any and all other forms of quality control...

      Surely, if the bar and LSAT are poor measures of success in the practice of law, then so is sitting one's ass in a classroom for three years listening to theoretical drivel (of course, there are some serious profits to be had from the latter, not so much for the former). Now surely, I assume, you would agree that if we also get rid of law school, we will be able to ensure that every single person with unidentified potential for success can become a lawyer and prove his or her skills in the market. Yet, for some reason, you concentrate on the LSAT and Bar, I wonder why...

      I am curious about these things...

    5. 8:01-you make a very good point. Let's stop quibbling-and stop wasting taxpayer money-and end the law school requirement. Actually, end any and all requirements for law practice. An individual can present him/herself to the public as a lawyer, and represent clients, whenever s/he wants. It will then be up to the "educated consumer" to make a wise selection. The market will prevail! Adam Smith lives! No barriers to entry!
      We'll save taxpayer money, make many of the deans/profs actually practice law, and allow every American their Constitutional right to be a lawyer(that is in the Constitution, isn't it?).

  2. CLEARLY, the UBE is the problem here. And we'll just keep bouncing around until we find a test that does accurately reflect the skills required to be a practicing lawyer...!!!

    Oh, who am I kidding? I can't keep a straight face long enough to be a scamster. That must be what certain lawdeans and lawprofs are paid for...

  3. Changing the curriculum of this dump into 3 years of bar preparation would be a significant improvement over what they teach now. Listening to a fat pig, who graduated Harvard Law and practiced big law for 2 years, use the Socratic method to grill fellow classmates on the legal reasoning behind cases like Pennoyer v. Neff, Pierson v. Post, and Palsgraf v. Long Island Railroad, is absolutely worthless. The Team AAMPLE/Seton Hall idiot may actually know a little more about practicing law than the ass clowns that call themselves law “professors.”

  4. Out near the West Texas town of El Paso
    I fell in love with a New Mexican law school
    Nighttime would find me in the library
    Music would play and I thought I was cool

    Blacker than night were the eyes of the Deans
    Wicked and evil while casting a spell
    My love was deep for this New Mexican law school
    I was in love but in vain, I could tell

    One night the Truth came in
    Wild as the West Texas wind
    Dashing and daring, an evil laugh he was sharing
    With wicked the Deans of the School that I loved

    So in anger I
    Challenged his right for the love of this school
    Down went his hand for the career data and more
    My challenge was answered in less than a heartbeat
    My career lay dead on the floor

    Something is dreadfully wrong for I feel
    A deep burning pain in my bank account
    Though I am trying to stay in the school
    But I'm getting weary, and I’m down for the count

    From out of nowhere my law school has found me
    Kissing my cheek as she kneels by my side
    Cradled by two loving arms that I'll die for
    One little kiss and my life, my career, my future, well, heck, freakin’ everything, goodbye

  5. Even if you get licensed, what's there to do in New Mexico? Cases where livestock is hit by trains?

    1. I hear Santa Fe has a bit of an art scene. You can probably represent a similarly broke artist suing a more successful artist on a bullshit copyright infringement claim.

    2. You'll need an inflatable Statue of Liberty for your office, and lots of disposable cell phones....

  6. It's not cheap to live down in the decent sized cities of NM. But I guess you could set up shop in the dirt farm areas...if you don't mind representing dirt poor people that is.


    On September 25, 2016, the Albuquerque Journal published a piece from staff write Chris Quintana, under the headline "New bar exam takes toll on UNM law grads." Look at the segment below:

    "More University of New Mexico law graduates are failing a new national bar exam designed to prove their competence as attorneys – a 13 percentage point drop from last year – and among them is a disproportionate number of minority students and women.

    A UNM School of Law administrator said the adoption of a new test, the uniform bar exam now given in about half the states and first used in New Mexico in 2016, accounts for the lower test scores.

    But Erica Moeser, president of the National Conference of Bar Examiners, said the new test, which makes it easier to practice in other states that use the exam, isn’t to blame. She noted that UNM has been using topics in the new exam in its courses.

    New Mexico adopted the new test in November and started using it this year.

    In February, 71 percent of first-time UNM grads taking the exam passed; in July, that number had fallen to 68 percent. That’s a 13 percentage point drop compared with UNM’s July 2015 rate of 81 percent for first-time test takers.

    The overall pass rate for everyone taking the bar exam here in July 2016 – including graduates from other law schools – was 64 percent, according to the New Mexico Board of Bar Examiners.

    In February 2015, nearly 90 percent of first-time test takers passed the test, as did 80 percent overall. By July 2015, the first-time test-taker rate had fallen to 76 percent, while the overall rate had dropped to 72 percent.

    New Mexico’s pass rates are generally in the low 80s.

    Howard Thomas, chairman of the New Mexico Board of Bar Examiners, said it’s not clear yet why the pass rate for UNM students dropped so much.

    “As always the Board continues to analyze the exam and engage in dialogue with the UNM School of Law and the larger New Mexico legal community,” Thomas said in an email to the Journal.

    While UNM does offer assistance with the bar exam, it’s incumbent on students to take private courses to prep for the exam."

    It's nice to see the pigs admit that after shelling out $100K+ and pissing away three years of your life, the graduates still need to take private bar prep courses. How "honorable," huh?!?!

  8. * ALERT ALERT*:
    @ Nando - thought you might want to know about this!

    Growing Number of South Dakota law Graduates Fail Bar Exam

    * The percentage of University of South Dakota School of Law graduates who fail to pass the state bar exam has increased from about 10 percent in 2013 to about 50 percent this year.

    * According to Law School Transparency, the demand for law schools declined nationally during the Great Recession. In order to keep the schools running, administrators began accepting “higher risk students,” students with lower grade point averages or LSAT scores

  9. The spinning never stops!

    Key point:

    "The trend is prompting fears that a shortage of lawyers in rural South Dakota could get worse. Most lawyers in the South Dakota hail from the university, which is the state’s only law school."

    The problem/fact check: No one can produce proof that a. there is a shortage and b. even if you assume there is a shortage, however defined, that rural communities are willing to actually pay for legal service-in other words, can a lawyer make a living in these rural areas?

  10. VERMILLION, S.D. ― The percentage of University of South Dakota School of Law graduates who fail to pass the state bar exam has increased from about 10 percent in 2013 to about 50 percent this year. The trend is prompting fears that a shortage of lawyers in rural South Dakota could get worse.

    1. Captain Hruska Carswell, Continuance KingOctober 6, 2016 at 4:09 PM

      Did I read the magic words "SHORTAGE OF LAWYERS????????????" Were packing up the LeSabre and U-Haul. Here we come million dollar degree!!!!! I will be able to put Mrs. Carswell in that 2010 Camry she has her eye on. Pay off the Sears card. Go from 98,000 Illinois lawyers to a SHORTAGE. Nothing short of a miracle.

  11. NM has a "gross receipts tax." Lawyers pay a tax on their gross fees received. From the NM Revenue Dept. website:

    Gross receipts means the total amount of money or other consideration received from the above activities. Although the gross receipts tax is imposed on businesses, it is common for a business to pass the gross receipts tax on to the purchaser either by separately stating it on the invoice or by combining the tax with the selling price.

    The gross receipts tax rate varies throughout the state from 5.125% to 8.6875% depending on the location of the business. It varies because the total rate combines rates imposed by the state, counties, and, if applicable, municipalities where the businesses are located. The business pays the total gross receipts tax to the state, which then distributes the counties' and municipalities' portions to them.

    Changes to the tax rates may occur twice a year in January or July. We post new tax rate schedules online and in the CRS-1 Filer's Kit. Always check the current Gross Receipts Tax Rate Schedule to see if the rate for your business location(s) has changed.

    How can you make a living there?


    Paul Caron covered this developmenTT, in a September 29, 2016 entry labeled "University Of New Mexico Bar Pass Rate Drops 13 Percentage Points After Adoption Of UBE; Law School Urged To 'Refocus On Fundamentals.'" Scroll down to the Comments section, to see the following remarks:

    "Minority students can do better if law schools use better teaching techniques. See my article, How to Help Students from Disadvantaged Backgrounds Succeed in Law School, 1 Texas A & M Law Review 83 (2013)

    Posted by: Scott Fruehwald | Sep 29, 2016 10:50:00 AM

    "This year, the University of New Mexico School of Law started giving the national exam"

    Say what now?

    Posted by: Unemployed Northeastern | Sep 29, 2016 12:51:41 PM

    Are you kidding me, UNM? Scores dropped because they're dropping everywhere. NM law showed up on maybe three essays out of six, the other three were MEE's, and then they tested the MPT and MBE. In other words, it was almost all UBE already. Why does UNM think it's managed to duck what is clearly a nationwide trend of dropping pass rates?

    Posted by: Scorpio | Sep 29, 2016 9:17:27 PM"

    By the way, check out the bar graph, "University of New Mexico Law School Bar Passage Rates, First Time Takers, July Test." Here are the rates:

    2008: 94%
    2009: 96%
    2010: 88%
    2011: 86%
    2012: 92%
    2013: 87%
    2014: 89%
    2015: 81%
    2016: 68%

    There couldn't possibly be any relation between the law school pigs admitting dumber applicants, right?!?! The academic swine pass the buck, and place blame on the bar exam. What beacons of integrity!

  13. The law schools are taking a lot of heat for the poor bar passage rates. But remember, Oregon law “professor” Rob Illig claimed, “I was all but certain to be earning more than $1 million annually. No one can tell me I’m not on the students’ side.” See, these scam deans and “professors” really do care about student outcomes! They gave up $1 million a year for us! Not only that, unlike at med schools where MDs teach and see patients, or other professional programs where PhDs teach and conduct research, the law “professors” and scam deans completely gave up practicing law so they could focus more energy on helping us! I wouldn’t want my law professor to be distracted with helping a client and prepping to teach me archaic 1800s case law at the same time.

    What must really concern these scam deans and law “professors” about the low bar passage rates, is that this is finally the year that there will be a shortage of law grads! Loyola law “professor” Ted Seto said “beginning in fall 2015 and intensifying into 2016 employers are likely to experience an undersupply of law grads.” In 2014, Western New England law “professor” Rene Reich-Graefe said “current and future law students are standing at the threshold of the most robust legal market that ever existed in this country.” The lemmings who failed the bar this year are missing out on the most amazing, magnificent, legal market in the history of law.

    These scam deans could have said, who cares that so many lemmings failed the bar. It’s been proven that a JD alone is worth ONE MILLION DOLLARS! (Why is it always $1 million with these pigs?) But having already sacrificed making a cool $1 million a year to teach lemmings, these scam deans and law “professors” are stepping up to help their students yet again! They are challenging the evil bar examiners who would dare suggest that recent graduates are less qualified than in years past. Way to go!

    Seriously though, I have a message to the recent graduates. You listened to all the garbage spouted by these pigs and enrolled in law school, despite all of the warnings. Many of you failed the bar this year and graduated with massive amounts of non-dischargeable debt. If it hasn’t sunk into your brain that the pigs don’t give one damn about you, consider this. Law “professor” Paul Teich writes to the new crop of lemmings considering law school, that they should enroll in law school despite the legions of unemployed recent grads because “recent graduates are preferred by employers over their unemployed competitors.” The pigs are already throwing your ass under the bus to attract the next crop of lemmings.

  14. Congratulations to you(again), Nando-you predicted this years ago.
    So what needs to be done to get the federal government to get out of the loan business? The money wasted per year has to be in the tens of millions of dollars, maybe more.


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