Friday, October 7, 2016

Plug Your Nose: South Dakota Bar Passage Rates Continue to Plummet

Power Flush: On October 1, 2016, the Argus Leader published a Jonathan Ellis piece that was entitled “Growing number of law school grads unable to pass bar exam.” Look at this beautiful opening:

“In the summer of 2014, officials at the University of South Dakota School of Law got startling news: One in four of the school’s most recent graduates who had taken the state bar exam failed to pass. 

Just a year earlier, more than 90 percent in the previous class had passed the bar, which determines whether a law school grad can practice law in the state. Passage rates with percentages in the 90s and 80s were the norm. 

But that was before 2014. Last summer the passage rate sunk to 63 percent. And this year, for first-time test takers who took the bar in July, the unofficial passage rate is closer to 50 percent. 

The sudden collapse in graduates who can pass the bar exam is prompting fears that a shortage of lawyers in rural South Dakota could get worse. Although graduates from other states do end up practicing law in South Dakota, the vast majority of lawyers hail from the University of South Dakota, home to the state’s lone law school. USD is what’s known as an “infrastructure law school,” which provides a homegrown supply of lawyers needed for the state’s law firms, businesses and governments. 

The decline in bar passage rates isn’t unique to South Dakota. Nationally, pass rates had been falling for several years. But the rapid decline in South Dakota has prompted officials to take action at USD in order to reverse the trend. 

“Frankly, USD has been a bit behind in that, in part, up until 2014, we had no problem with the bar exam,” said Thomas Geu, dean of the law school. “When you’re hitting in the high 80s or 90s, you don’t worry about much.” [Emphasis mine]

You also don’t worry about whether your students and graduates can land decent employment – legal or non-law – upon earning their TTT law degree, greedy pig. Of course, that makes you no different from any other “legal educator” in the country. I guess those who fail the bar exam can now land one of those coveted “JD Advantage” jobs, i.e. positions that they could have earned without a goddamn JD. For $ome rea$on, these rodents conveniently forget to mention this fact when proclaiming the falsehood that “One can anything with a law degree!”

Other Coverage: On October 4, 2016, Diverse Issues in Higher Education featured an Associated Press article labeled “Growing Number of South Dakota [L]aw Graduates Fail Bar Exam.” Read the following portion:

“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. Most lawyers in the South Dakota hail from the university, which is the state’s only law school.

The Argus Leader reported the South Dakota Board of Bar Examiners’ decision to increase the minimum core needed in order to pass the bar contributed to the failure rate. South Dakota’s minimum score is equal to or greater than the score required by 30 other states.

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. 

The group published a report last year that stated 30 law schools in 2010 admitted classes with at least 25 percent “higher risk” and by 2014 the number rose to 74 law schools and 37 law schools had admitted at least 50 percent of classes with students considered high risk. 

“I think law schools need to take a look at their decisions to take these risks and ask why they’re doing it,” said Kyle McEntee, the executive director of Law School Transparency.” [Emphasis mine]

There is no shortage of lawyers in South Dakota or any other state, including Alaska, Maine, Alabama, New Hampshire, Wyoming, Missouri, etc. In those counties and rural areas that have few attorneys, there is a good reason for that, moron. Those locales are sparsely populated, and often filled with broke-ass yokels who don’t have two dimes to rub together. Good luck trying to support yourself with that clientele, genius.

Entering Class Info: Head to the LST profile for the Univer$iTTTy of $ouTTTh Dakota Sewer of Law. On the right hand side of this page, you will see the Entering Class Admissions Data Chart. Here are the rancid figures for the cretins who started in Fall 2013, which is the cohort that took the July 2016 for the first time:

25th percentile LSAT: 144 
50th percentile LSAT: 147 
75th percentile LSAT: 150 
25th percentile UGPA: 2.93 
50th percentile UGPA: 3.15 
75th percentile UGPA: 3.56 [Emphasis mine]

Conclusion: Avoid this steaming waste pile at all costs. As you can see, the commode admits applicants with pathetic numbers. Then again, what the hell do you expect from the 143rd “best” law school in the country?!?! In an age of grade inflation, this ABA-accredited toilet admitted waterheads who graduated from college with a 2.93 undergraduate GPAs – and that was good enough for the the 25th percentile of their class! Remember, MOST law students majored in garbage such as Philosophy, History, and Political “Science.” It seems that the bar exam has become sufficiently difficult so that such dunces cannot become licensed to practice law. Have fun managing a small motel, with your TTT law degree.


  1. Nothing wrong with taking the bar twice!

    Come on! I seriously hope that not all T1 grads look down on T4 grads. A JD IS A JD....

    I personally graduated from a T4 law school (in south Florida) and was talented enough to get into and graduate from the JD/MBA program.
    Anything is possible if you work

    I met a few AAMPLE grads along the way and they are a shining example that test scores do NOT define the lawyer you will become.

    Hard work, networking, and choosing the right life partner are the key's to success. I do not of a struggling lawyer. Even Florida Costal grads are making a decent living.

    1. A JD may be a JD, but if there are no jobs, it's a waste of time and money. Take a look at SD's bleak employment figures.

    2. 7:23, please describe your area of law practice.


  2. Someone who graduates in this day and age with a liberal arts GPA of less than a 3.0 is probably functionally illiterate. It should be no surprise that such students can't pass the bar (or any other uniform exam).

  3. As usual, the claims by these pigs are absolutely false. There is no critical shortage of rural South Dakota attorneys. Notice how they never cite any statistics to show the demand for rural attorneys. Check out the job statistics from this dump. 15% of graduates from the class of 2015 were unemployed/status unknown 10 months after graduation. For comparison purposes, the South Dakota unemployment rate in May 2015 was 3.2%, January 2016 was 2.9%, February 2016 was 2.7%, and March 2016 was 2.5%. They claim there is such a huge demand for attorneys in rural areas, but the school has an unemployment rate of 6 TIMES the state unemployment rate!

    Moreover, check out where the employed graduates from the class of 2015 ended up working. If there really was a shortage of rural attorneys, we should see the vast majority of them working for law firms. But that is not the case at all. Only 28% of graduates obtained full time, long term jobs with law firms (including solos). No graduates obtained employment with large law firms. One graduate obtained employment with a firm of 11-25 attorneys. Strange that their graduates aren’t going out and meeting the legal demands of the rural South Dakota communities.

    18% of the graduates obtained employment in state clerkships. Luckily for the school, they get to count these jobs as full time/long term. 23% of the graduates obtained JD “advantage”/professional jobs (including part time and short term jobs). How in the hell can these pigs claim there is a shortage of rural attorneys, when almost a quarter of the class is taking jobs that do not require bar passage?

    If there really was a shortage of rural attorneys, why isn’t the dean of this dump upset that these graduates are taking JD “advantage” / professional jobs, instead of serving the unmet legal needs of rural communities? Some members of the medical profession have become upset that graduates in recent years have been skipping residency and joining Silicon Valley startups and other businesses. Doctors that run medical schools know there is a real shortage of physicians in this country, there are a limited number of slots for students, and competition is fierce for these slots. So when MD graduates choose lucrative careers in health related businesses instead, the deans and faculty at these schools get a little peeved that the students didn’t pursue an alternative path such as business school. There is a reason that this pig is not upset about the paucity of graduates practicing law in rural areas. The pig is lying and only cares about filling his classrooms student loan conduits.

    Plus, if there was really a shortage of rural lawyers that could not be met because graduates were taking glamorous JD “advantage”/professional jobs and urban law firm jobs, why isn’t the state stepping in and offering full scholarships to JD students that promise to work in rural areas. Why aren’t rural law firms offering bonuses and student loan repayment to recent graduates? These are the perks offered to doctors to meet the shortage of rural physicians. The perks are not being offered because there is not a shortage of rural lawyers.

    Lemmings, if you want a career and want to make money, get an engineering degree or an MBA and join one of the oil companies or other businesses in the state. If you want to serve the rural community, get an MD in primary care. You don’t need to waste 3 years of your life in an intellectual ghetto, fattening the bank accounts of law “professors.”

    1. 10:22a-great post.

      I agree-but you gotta give the scammers credit. Rather than rely on the old diversity canard-which is pretty surprising, in light of the relatively high percentage(9%) of Native Americans in SD-they go with the rural shortage canard. There's no proof there's a shortage, of course, and no proof that anyone out in rural SD is actually willing to pay for legal services anyway. What is so brilliant-and so exasperating-is that lazy "journalists" buy it hook, line, and sinker-after all, there's a shortage of primary care doctors in rural America, so there has to be a shortage of lawyers, right?-without doing any research of any type at all. So while the scammers gotta scam-otherwise they'd have to actually practice law-in more cases than not lazy journalists are complicit in furthering the scam.

  4. Captain Hruska Carswell, Continuance KingOctober 7, 2016 at 12:50 PM

    Did I read the magic words "SHORTAGE OF LAWYERS????????" Holy crap Batman. Mrs. Carswell and I are loading up the LaSabre and a U-Haul and were trucking on over from Illinois with 98,000 lawyers to the land of plenty---South Dakota! Shortage and Lawyers. I think I have died and gone to heaven. WORK! CLIENTS1 FEES! Don't tell my unemployed and underemployed Illinois law buddies. Pretty soon Mrs. Carsell will be riding along in the sweet 2010 Camry she has her eye own. Trump is not even president yet and he is creating JOBS!!!!

  5. Broke-ass yokels my foot! Farmland in neighboring Iowa averages about $8,000 per acre. Average farm about 500 acres. Do you really think a farm - that is, a business - with nearly $4million in land alone is going to trust a dumb newbie shingle hanger with the legal affairs of their farm? All the business is taken; it is a saturated market.

  6. Is South Dakota a reciprocity State? I-90 and 29 will be clogged with refugee unemployed lawyers from New York, Illinois, Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania. We can create law towns....Serve up the law to them rich rural farmers in desperate need of our services........There are a lot of lawyers with 200K in school loan debt waiting to represent the UNDERSERVED.....This is just like the 1849 Gold Rush. There's money in them South Dakota hills.....

  7. A few years ago, South Dakota was paying lawyers $12k per year for five years if they set up shop in a rural area. Not many people took the offer: even that subsidy would have left them with an inadequate income, particularly if they owed money for law school.

  8. Look up Widener's PA bar passage for this past July. It was 45%.

  9. Look up Widener's PA bar passage rate for July. It was something like 45%. You can find it on the PA Bar website under disclosures.

  10. Look up Widener's PA bar passage for this past July. It was 45%.


    From the commode known as $ouTTTh DakoTTTa Sewer of Law:

    "Gain the tools necessary to be successful in a culturally diverse and global environment.

    The University of South Dakota School of Law seeks to attract graduates of approved colleges and universities who have made a commitment to study law. Ideal candidates possess superior intelligence, sound judgment, good moral character and a willingness to devote themselves to the service of others and the improvement of the legal profession.

    The Law School recommends that students contemplating a career in law take courses which require them to develop conscientious study habits, analytical skills and critical thinking. The applicant should be highly literate and have developed a discriminating regard for facts, a capacity to make critical judgments and the ability to engage in inductive and deductive reasoning.

    Evidence of an applicant’s intellectual maturity is more important in making admission decisions than his or her major in undergraduate or graduate school as there is no prescribed or recommended pre-law curriculum. Undergraduate majors in entering classes range from political science to English to foreign languages, sciences, engineering, mathematics and the arts."

    Look at the entering class profile data contained in the main entry - courtesy of LST. A 144 LSAT and 2.93 UGPA is good enough to place one in the 25th percentile of admitted students, at this filth pit.

    By the way, no one in the real world gives a damn about diversity. Notice that the pigs posted a picture of a young black lady, on the Law Admi$$ion$ page. If you cannot pass the bar, then you will not diversify the legal "profession."

    1. A state that's 85% white, 9% American Indian, and only 2% African American, and they use a young black woman as marketing bait. But, they're Democratizing the Profession with Diversity!

    2. If ideal candidates possess those things, the Univershitty of South Dakota is falling far below the ideal. Intellect and literacy won't be found in abundance at a toilet with a median LSAT score of 147.

      This law skule should stop flattering itself. Its target population is intellectually undistinguished, if not stunted.

  12. The shortage of lawyers in South Dakota is going to produce a modern day Gold Rush to the West. I see too many lawyers stuck waiting tables and moonlighting as doc reviewers for $23/hr in NYC. South Dakota is about to become a high lawyer per capita state as I see a massive migration of unemployed lawyers to this land of open and plenty of lawyer opportunities.

    1. Great Faces, Great Places.... Do they have BMW dealers there? Big Fees!!!!Million dollar degree pay off. Those Prawfs and Deans were right. Scam Bloggers wrong. South Dakota. Who would have thought!


    Back on April 4, 2013, Above the Law featured a Staci Zaretsky piece that was entitled "Which State Has the Most Difficult Bar Exam?" Check out this portion:

    "This ranking of the most difficult bar exams in the country comes to us courtesy of Robert Anderson, a professor at Pepperdine School of Law. While most people measure bar exam difficulty by comparing state-by-state passage rates, evaluating the test takers themselves is useful because it allows you to size up your competition. Here’s the methodology that Anderson used to come up with this list:

    To develop a slightly more accurate assessment of relative bar difficulty, I ran a regression of the bar passage rate for each ABA-accredited school for 2010 and 2011 on the school’s median undergraduate GPA and LSAT, with an indicator variable for each state, weighted by the number of takers at each school. I collected this information from the LSAC Official Guide to ABA-Approved Law Schools (Alaska, Delaware, and the DC bars were omitted because of too few observations).

    The table below sets out the resulting ranking of state bar exams in order from most difficult to least difficult. For each state, the weighted average LSAT score and the calculated (in the data) and overall (reported by the state) bar passage rates for 2010-2011 is set forth, along with the “bonus percent” relative to the California bar. The “bonus percent” is, roughly speaking, the percentage point bonus for a school’s bar passage rate relative to the California bar (with predictors held at their averages)."

    South Dakota is not on the list of difficult state bar exams. Scroll down to find out where it placed back then:

    "In terms of the “easier” bar exams on this list, Illinois, which just made its bar exam harder, is currently ranked at No. 32 (and is quite close to No. 37, a state which shall forever be known as “Passachusetts”). The prize for the least difficult bar exam in the nation goes to South Dakota, so if you’re willing to brave the wilderness and share your home with a buffalo, go West, young law grads."

    This makes sense, since a 154 LSAT score would have placed one in the 75th percentile of the toilet's entering class in 2010. Yet, about 90% of first time takers were passing the test. Now, the bitches and hags at $ouTTTh DakoTTTa Sewer of Law are butt-hurt over the fact that the exam is a little more difficult. I suppose they want a coloring book portion to be included as part of the licensing process.

  14. A huge shortage in rural areas, lol. More like there is a shortage of applicants giving us that tasty tuition money$$$. Law schools pigs trying to hang on to their unjustified six-figure, part-time, tenured, student debt fueled, pig trough. Why don't the law faculty leave the comfort of academia and go serve rural areas? I am tired of these sacred cow law faculty, sending law students to the slaughter house of debt and poor job prospects, so they can sit back in the pasture. Fuck Them!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  15. There are plenty of destitute areas in S.D. Piss poor Indian tribes. Poor rednecks. Retirees. There's just not much of a need for lawyers in a small state with these demographics.

    1. Nearly a third of the population of South Dakota lives in Sioux Falls; the rest is widely scattered. There can't be much demand for lawyers, nor much money to pay them, in sparsely populated areas.

  16. Law school's a sucker's bet. And it's worse than that 'cause you're gambling with non dischargeable loans.

  17. There actually are places that temporarily experience a shortage of lawyers. The westernmost part of North Dakota is one of them, or was until recently. A sudden infusion of workers led to more criminal charges than the handful of lawyers in the region could handle. This was the case a couple of years ago; perhaps it still is.

    1. Not so much; with the sharp drop in oil prices the past two years, things have slowed down quite a bit in ND.
      And don't pack the U-Haul and head to SD yet; in addition to the fabricated shortage of lawyers, it can be tough to waive-in(and sadly, Captain, can't waive in from Illinois).

    2. Captain Hruska Carswell, Continuance KingOctober 11, 2016 at 1:45 PM

      I think you are just trying to "hide the ball" from us under employed Illinois attorneys. Were not buying it. The Adams (90) is jammed wall to wall with lawyers in their Pontiacs, Saturns, and Mercury's heading North to claim our piece of the Million Dollar degree pie. I want a penthouse in the sky where the beans don't burn on the grill. It will be like the old days...1990....5k DUI's and Misdemeanors and that's just for a PLEA!!!! State Farm settling low speed soft tissue cases for 15K. I will have a pipeline of least three a month stretching into eternity......I am wetting my pants just thinking about South Dakota....

  18. With those low lsat scores, you should expect low bar passage rates. Garbage in = garbage out.


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