Wednesday, November 23, 2016

California’s Bar Passage Rate Hits 32 Year Low on July 2016 Exam

Ouch!: On November 21, 2016, Staci Zaretsky posted an ATL entry labeled “California’s Bar Passage Rate Reaches 32 Year Low.” Take a look at this opening:

“All bar exam results from the July 2016 administration of the test have officially been released, and in California’s case, it seems that the absolute worst may have been saved for last. The results of the state’s exam were scheduled for mailing on Friday, and test-takers were able to see whether their names were on the pass list on Friday evening. 

Save for a few states, bar passage rates have continued to decline nationwide, and many have been waiting to see if California’s passage rates for the July 2016 exam would tank as badly as they did in July 2015, which were the worst the state had seen in nearly three decades. If you thought last year was bad, just wait until you see this year’s results.

According to a press release from the State Bar of California, the overall pass rate for the July 2016 exam was 43 percent, while the pass rate for first-time takers was 56 percent. In July 2015, the overall pass rate was 46.6 percent, and the pass rate for first-time takers was 60 percent. Although California’s overall pass rate dropped by 3.6 percentage points, its examinees seemed to be more able than test-takers in other states. The state’s mean scaled MBE score was 1421 compared with the national average of 1403. 

Perhaps that bright spot ought to be taken with a grain of salt, because this is the lowest overall pass rate California has seen for the July administration of the bar since results were released in the fall of 1986, when only 44.4 percent of all test-takers passed the exam. The state hasn’t seen an overall pass rate this low in 32 years. In fact, this passage rate is historically mediocre — it’s actually the third-lowest summer passage rate the state has seen since 1951, when the July passage rate was just 37.6 percent.” [Emphasis mine]

Imagine incurring outrageous amounts of NON-DISCHARGEABLE debt for a law degree, only to then fail the bar exam. That is a waste of three years of time, money, energy. This represents a loss of significant loss of income as well. But at least the law school pigs were paid up front, in full, right?!?! While this pass rate also includes graduates of out of state ABA commodes, California-accredited schools, and non-accredited cesspits, these results are pathetic.

Press Release: On November 18, 2016, the state bar issued a release entitled “State Bar Announces Results for July 2016 California Bar Examination.” Read the portion below:

“The State Bar of California's Committee of Bar Examiners reported today that 43 percent of the applicants passed the July 2016 General Bar Examination (GBX). If the 3,332 people who passed the July 2016 exam satisfy other requirements for admission, they will become members of the State Bar, and therefore licensed to practice law in California. 

Preliminary statistical analyses show that of the 7,737 applicants who took the GBX, 66.7 percent were first-time takers. The passing rate for the 5,164 first-time applicants was 56 percent overall. The passing rate for the 2,573 applicants repeating the examination was 17 percent overall.” [Emphasis mine]

Of note, at the end of the page, you will see the following: Membership now stands at more than a quarter-million. That figure pertains to active lawyers in the state of California. Still want to join this GLUTTED field, Dumbass?!?!

According to this Sacramento Bee story from December 16, 2015, the state’s population exceeded 39 million. If we go with a conservative estimate, and divide 39 million by 250,000 attorneys, then that means there is a lawyer for every 156 people in California.

Other Commentary: JDU denizen “cocolawyer” started a thread labeled “California Bar Passage Rates…” on November 22, 2016. Check out the following remarks:

"cocolawyer (Nov 22, 2016 - 1:56 pm)

Well if you look at overall pass rate it's 43%. This is the lowest pass rate for the July Exam in California in over 30 years. 

Basically, the exam is getting easier, but the students are stupider. I hope firms are paying attention. You may want to pay your 3-6 years even more because they will be having to babysit brain dead mouth breathers.  

jcad (Nov 22, 2016 - 2:09 pm)

“The trend in California is similar to the trend in New York and perhaps we should extrapolate from that to have such trend apply nationwide. 

[T]he number of passers who are ABA approved California school grads (who are also first takers) was about 66% of those who passed the July 2012 exam. 

July 2012 = 3157 passers 
July 2016 = about 2100 passers 

This reduction in ABA California school grads who are first takers and who passed is similar to the reduction seen in New York.”

Conclusion: Don’t put it past the law school cockroaches to point to the continuing decline in bar passage rates nationally – and resultant drop in recently licensed attorneys – as proof that we need more law students and graduates. After all, low-income families need representation in legal matters. Of course, if you owe $160K+ in NON-DISCHARGEABLE debt, but do not have a law license, then you are not in a position to help those broke bastards. For $ome rea$on, the “professors” and deans conveniently “forget” to mention that fact.


  1. Those results are sad. But idiots keep enrolling in these schools.

  2. Captain Hruska Carswell, Continuance KingNovember 23, 2016 at 10:05 AM

    What the Deans and Prawfs forget is that low income individuals are represented by neighborhood, store front lawyers and Solos. However, we can't do it FREE. Many of the so called "indigent" can afford to pay if they are pushed against a wall. However, they choose not to because we live in a Walmart world of everyday low prices. What Prawf or Dean earning six figures for teaching Palsgraff over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and hefty benefits and summers off wants to compete with those Chicago billboards offering $49.00 traffic ticket defense. Do the math. So they have to come up with a sales pitch to fill law school seats.

  3. CA is now the toughest Bar Exam in the nation since NY is switching to the UBE.

    Those pass rates..

    Those are like NY Winter Bar pass rates except it's the June/July Bar in CA.

    That's bad, man. No question. Extremely bad.

  4. former admissions guyNovember 23, 2016 at 11:16 AM

    At my TTT we were letting in kids with 145 LSATs on a regular basis. And the thing is those boys and girls have little shot at passing a bar exam. But the scam goes on.

    1. Hell, 145 is higher than the median at several law schools. It's higher than the 75th percentile at the Charlotte School of Law.

  5. I don't understand how law school works????

    My freind graduated from Boston College law school (ranked 22 a while back), graduted bottom half of the class and could not find a job and had to move back home with his parents.

    After failing the bar twice he ended up working as a ADA with over $150,000 in student loans to payback.

    I never understood how his experience would differ from a tier 4 grads experience?

    **I wonder if a tier 4 grad was in the top 10% of his class would he have better job prospects than the bottom half of BC grads - outside of connections?

    I met another grad from the bottom half of the Univeristy of Miami law school. Same thing happened to him.... it almost seems like if your not within the top half then you will struggle to finds job???

    Can anyone confirm this ?

    If dismal job opportunities await them both?

    1. At my law school in the late 1970's the very top students got jobs in BigLaw at salaries 7 TO 8 TIMES the starting salaries offered to small law employees.

    2. Dude, it sounds that your friend got a raw deal. Owing north of $150k in student loans and end up as an ADA....ouch.

      The smart thing to do was for your friend to minimize his debt by attending an HBCU like FAMU law.

      Then he would be in a better position by going to a cheaper law school, having less student debt to service, and have a better chance at employment in criminal law. (Legal intern, etc.)

      oh well let this be a lesson for you guys, bottom half at any law school will slow down your employment prospects if no connections exist. Minimize your debt law school is truly a gamble.

    3. ADA is actually one of the best outcomes. It's not the 1970s anymore, those positions are highly competitive and coveted.

      And why wouldn't they be?

      Those are government positions, with job security, guarantees raises, plenty of benefits and great work schedules. The first few years might be a bit of work, but after that the vast majority of ADAs sit around doing nothing all day. They take a ton of days off and usually stroll in late and leave early, barely 5 days a week since everyone is out early afternoon on a Friday.

      And with PSLF, the loans are not a problem either.

      The real raw deal is the doc review schlubs, working crappy temp gigs being treated badly, with no loan forgiveness, for more hours and less pay typically. These doc reviewers get screwed every which way, while the "public servants" are similar to the law school pigs---insisting they are underpaid and are giving up more lucrative positions elsewhere that never actually materialized.

  6. No surprise here. This is the state that allows:

    - Non accredited law schools to take the baby bar then upon passing sit for the bar.

    - you to bypass law school and "READ the Law" in an apprentice program and take the baby bar and then sit for the bar

    So passrate is going to be different compared to other states , but you have to admit.... even if it takes multiple times to sit for the bar, the 2 above:

    - took options that were way cheaper than bowing down to the ABA law schools( ever notice how when a law school first starts out, tuition is usually cheap, then upon ABA accredidation, tuition jumps through the roof)

    - have no to little student loans to repay

    This state has options better than implementing AAMPLE. The average annual tuition of law school in Cali. is like $50k a year!!

    Lawyers that Read the law have a better chance at landing jobs in this legal market, and some have gone on to do great things.... I tip my hat to you Mr. Abe Lincoln!!!!!

    PS - Old Guy - hope your not one of the succkers that atended LS in Cali!

    1. i graduated from wnec with a law degree in 2002. i am homeless in brookline and live on the streets. I want help. i will not have thanksgiving. I have nowhere to go. i am tired of sleeping on the cold floor. I am so cold. Help me.

  7. For the sake of fairness, please consider that California unconscionably allows graduates of its dozens of unaccredited law skules to write the bar exams. These people, in the main, are even worse than the graduates of the many accredited toilets.

    1. @ Old Fart

      I take offence to your comment. As an unaccredited law school grad I am just as smart as any lawyer in the state of California. (My bar passing score proves it).

      The ABA is just a bunch of crooks that took over accreditation which in the end means next to nothing.

      All law schools start off (non ABA accredited). Once the ABA gets involved tuition prices become unaffordable and the ABA is the reason why the whole system is screwed up the way it is.

      The ABA wants and needs to keep it this way in order to feed the machine. And they persuade old farts like yourself they are doing the right thing.


      - Record all law classes, then post on line

      - allow law schools to operate on line and lower operating cost, then pass the savings to the consumers, via reduces tuition.

      Bar/Bri already does this...


    2. @ 1:22,

      You might be trolling, but this is a better solution than allowing fourth tier trash pits charge 200k. If we want to let the market sort it out, this is the best way. Let anyone take the bar exam and have cheap online courses to prepare for it.

      The profession is in the toilet, better for it to be saturated with debt free idiots than indentured servant idiots.

      I think the scam blogs should start endorsing this position. The pigs are willing to abandon all forms of quality control, except for the most burdensome, costly, time consuming, and absuive of the public trust, namely law school.

      If we are going to call their bluff, this is the way. The profession is already in the shitter.

    3. PART ONE

      And so, where do we begin @1:22?

      As a Queen in Alice in Wonderland said, "Well, begin at the beginning, go to the end, and then STOP."

      "Offence" is a breach of a criminal statute.

      "Offense" is to have one's sensibilities perturbed.

      Oh, the difference a “c” or an “s” makes.

      Winston Churchill, in a memorandum during WWII, noted that Iran and Iraq differed by only one letter and that if a single letter were confused, it might have drastic, adverse consequences. So Churchill decreed that “Persia,” its ancient name would be used in all future military references for “Iran.”

      So, you are as smart as any lawyer in California? All of them?

      I will tell you what "SMART" really is.

      I was admitted to my undergraduate university and placed on a dormitory floor reserved for the brightest incoming Freshman-of about 8,000 incoming freshmen.

      There were 80 incoming freshman students on that floor. (8,000/80 = ??? %) Tiny. (I can do the math, with a minor in mathematics in college-5 years of math in 4 years of high school.)

      It was the only such floor at the university. I have NO idea why I was on that floor. It was a land grant university with about 34,000 students at the time.

      After the end of the first semester, the average grade point of all 80 (some smart kid calculated it) was an A.

      I had 3 roommates during my residency there. Two of them wanted to be physicians, the other a computer scientist (as we called it then).

      The three of them enrolled in a biology 2 semester course-10 hours of credit, 5 hours each semester. This is a heavy duty course. It was a "pre-med, flunk-out course." The lecture size was about 200.

      At the first lecture, the professor asked if anyone had enrolled as an elective, that is, not a pre-med student-enrolled for curiosity or fun. The computer science roommate raised his hand along with a few other folks. The professor said, "Come see me after the lecture as we will need to find something else for you."

      The computer science student insisted on staying in the course. He did.

      My three roommates thereafter traded first, second, and third places on the exams, and the other 197 students were behind them-both semesters.

      The computer science student, my last roommate during my dormitory life, and my only apartment roommate after my dormitory life, graduated with straight A's, except for 1 credit hour of B.

      In graduate school in computer science, the computer science student not only had straight A's but also had the highest total of points on the exams taken. So, keeping track of exam scores was like a tie-breaker. My roommate was the best of the best of the straight A students.

      So what?

    4. PART 2

      I will tell you.

      One day, toward the end of my dormitory living career, I asked to see my computer science roommate's lecture notes as I was curious what they looked like and how my roommate thought-clearly being brilliant. Maybe I could learn something.

      I was handed his spiral notebook. You know, with heavy-duty covers, and white, blue-ruled, "loose leaf" like pages. It wasn't like what you may be familiar with, however, a spiral cornucopia of multiple sections and dividers of several hundred pages.

      No, it was a thin, spiral notebook of about 50 sheets of paper or so.

      I thumbed through it. There were notes on nearly 15 pages. “Nearly,” well, let’s say, “barely.”

      I said, “There aren't many notes here, where are your other notebooks?”


      (This was about my first semester of senior year.)

      I was told that THAT was ALL the notes my roommate had taken during the prior 6+ semesters! And carried an A average!

      My computer science roommate and I once discussed the stock market. Over a weekend, my roommate withdrew 9 books from the university library, read all of them, and when we talked next, would espouse a particular author's opinion, and could open that author's book and point to the page with that argument.

      I STILL know what I had for lunch yesterday, so strike a blow for "average."

      So, my computer science roommate's father was a professor of accountancy at a state university. They got into an academic argument one day over the importance of an efficient method of notation.

      The dad thought it did not make any difference.

      My roommate said, "OK, multiply 10,857 times 4, 396."

      And with a delay, added "In Roman Numerals."

      (I have done that calculation in Roman Numerals-try it, and you will quickly realize that Arabic/Phoenician notation is much better.)

      So, there, Argument over. Q.E.D.

      (QED = quod est demonstrandum = "because it is shown.")

      I am not in the business of diminishing or criticizing you, the poster, or anyone. The world is a hard, unforgiving, and sometimes cruel place-I don’t care to add to that record.

      My philosophy is "whatever my skills, there are folks more, or much more, capable than me."

      So, to the poster, in my first semester of law school, I submitted a required writing, don’t recall the legal format. I used the word “defence.” The professor made a note that he preferred that I use the American form “defense” and not the “European” “defence.”

      So, you and I stand corrected.

      (But you sound like a troll, which I don't mind, as I am delighted to have a chance to warn undergraduates of the nightmare of becoming a lawyer.)

  8. With more than 250,000 lawyers don't look for California to make it easier to pass the bar exam. Tough luck for the suckers trying to crack the exam.

    1. California is a One-Party crony socialist hellhole funded by beatnik code monkeys. A bunch of Cali's ended up at my factory in the midwest. The pay is low but the housing is a fraction of what it is in California.

  9. I met a girl who attended one of these unranked Southern California legal toilets/diploma mills. She had AD/HD and spent her student loan money drinking a bottle of wine every night, taking amphetamines, texting, videoconferencing and listening to Taylor Swift. She took the bar test in July but most likely failed because the last time I saw her she was waiting tables for a living. I really feel sorry for her and hope she gets professional help, everything works out and she's able to pay back over $150,000 in student debt.


    Paul Caron covered this development in his November 22, 2016 blog piece, “July 2016 California Bar Exam Carnage.” Check out the following insights in the comments section:

    From poster “JM” on November 22, 2016 7:39:25 am:

    “If the new ABA 75% rule passes this February, it will absolutely wreak havoc on California Law Schools. At least half the ABA schools - and perhaps up to 66% - will be out of compliance. The question is, do any of these actors actually recognize the writing on the wall, or are they just bulldozing ahead with business as usual?”

    Courtesy of an anonymous user on Nov 23, 2016 at 7:46:10 am, responding to an idiot’s earlier remarks:

    "This implies that after 3 tries, close to 90 percent will have passed."

    Lawyer math at work folks.

    This stat would imply that if people passing or failing the bar was completely random, like the outcome of a coin flip, so that everybody had the same chance to pass every time they took it.”

    Followed up by “Unemployed Northeastern” on November 23, 2016 10:18:23 am:


    It's also law professor time accounting and money management: the assumption that everyone has nearly two years and several thousand dollars lying around to take the bar exam three times.”

    As you can see, the pigs do not give a damn about their graduates. To the schools, the students are easy marks. That is why these in$titution$ of “higher education” market themselves as having top environmental law programs or contributing to the Innocence Project. Honestly, who in the hell decides to incur outrageous sums of NON-DISCHARGEABLE debt – with the intent to go into “public service” or legal aid?!?! The law school scum see YOU, the student, as expendable. You do not need to ruin yourself financially, to support these overpaid cockroaches. Consider a different route, such as kicking ass at your current job, making real connections, and working your way up or obtaining bonuses or raises.

  11. Captain Hruska Carswell, Continuance KingNovember 24, 2016 at 12:49 PM

    Load up the '02 LeSabre and come to Illinois! Land of Lincoln! The weather isn't good, however, Sears still sells snow throwers. There are only 98,000 lawyers here and plenty of work, especially with all those billboards offering $49.00 traffic defense. Were the big rock candy mountain compared to California.

  12. I'm thankful I didn't go to law school. Thank goodness for these blogs.


    On November 24, 2016, JD Journal published a Teresa Lo article that was entitled "Who’s to Blame for July 2016’s Bar Exam Results?" Read the following:

    "Now that the state results for the July 2016 bar exam have been released, it’s time to step away from today’s turkey and process what we’ve learned. Nationally, there has been a slight uptick in scores, which is counter to what was expected so that’s a plus. New York, which is notorious for its difficult exam, saw an increase in its passage rate. Texas and Washington, DC also saw a rise. However, there have been drops in some states like California, which have been a cause of concern. This year, their overall pass rate was 43%, compared to last year’s rate of 46.6%. New Mexico, which recently adopted the Uniform Bar Exam, saw an even more dramatic dip from last year’s 81% pass rate to 68%.

    To add more perspective, the average score for test takers is still lower than the past, even if the pass rates are improving.

    “But there is an important matter of perspective: a 140.3 is still near all-time lows. The July 2016 score is the second-lowest since 1988 (the lowest being July 2015),” Pepperdine University School of Law professor Derek T. Muller wrote on Excess of Democracy. “In an absolute sense, the score is not good. Indeed, while modest improvements in the bar passage rates in most jurisdictions will be good news for those passing students and for law schools looking for any positive signs, they will not approach the pass rates of three or four years ago.”

    So who’s to blame for the disappointing July 2016 bar exam results? Right now, there are two theories floating around.

    The UBE helped some states and hurt others...

    Certain law schools are bringing the numbers down."

  14. Here is Lo's explanation for the second - and more apt - cause of the big-ass drop in bar passage rates around the country:

    "It has become an alarming trend for some law schools to lower their admission standards. The number of potential qualified applicants have decreased over the years, so to meet student quotas, law schools have let in students with low LSAT scores or bad grades. This has resulted in a correlation between low LSAT scores and low bar exam results.

    “Given that the LSAT profiles of matriculants and of law schools for fall 2013, fall 2014 and fall 2015 are less robust than those for fall 2011 and fall 2012 (the classes that graduated in 2014 and 2015, respectively), one can anticipate that the declines in median MBE scaled scores and corresponding bar passage rates in 2014 and 2015 will continue in July 2016, 2017 and 2018 absent increases in attrition, significant improvement in academic support programs at law schools, or improved bar preparation efforts on the part of graduates,” Jerry Organ wrote on the Law Professors Blog Network.

    State bars released passage rates on individual schools, and this information shows how some schools can drag down the state bar passage rate average. For instance, Pennsylvania saw its lowest bar passage rate (69.3%) since 2003, according to The Legal Intelligencer, but there were clearly highs and lows. Top tier school University of Pennsylvania had a bar passage rate of 98% for first time takers, for example, while Widener University Delaware Law School had only 48% of its first timers pass. Dean Rodney Smolla of Widener said that this drop was surprising, considering the school had a 74.5% pass rate last year, and that the school was taking steps to determine what caused the change."

    Anyone with a brain stem understands the simple concept of "Garbage in, garbage out." And that is exactly what the bottom-feeding law schools have done, for several years. This has been well documented. You think these academic thieves give a damn about you, lemming?!?!

  15. As much as a number of these bottom feeder law schools need to close, the "special snowflake" syndrome is really ingrained with younger people today.

    Still, keep holding the scammers feet to the fire, and at least get those class sizes down enough so the esteemed institutions have to run a skeleton crew to stay alive!

  16. can't save them all


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