Monday, June 5, 2017

California Bar Passage Rates Continue Descent Into the Toilet, in February 2017: Overall Pass Rate of 34.5 Percent

Flush!: On June 1, 2017, Above the Law featured a Staci Zaretsky piece entitled “California Bar Exam Results By Law School (February 2017).” Look at this prelude:

“Shocking results from the February 2017 administration of the California bar exam were released on May 12, 2017. Given the disappointing overall pass rate, people have been wondering about the pass rates by law school ever since. 

The only information we’ve had until now has been the frighteningly low overall, first-time taker, and repeat taker pass rates of 34.5 percent, 39 percent, and 33 percent, respectively. We also knew the overall pass rates for first-time takers who attended ABA-accredited law schools, both in-state (45 percent) and out-of-state (39 percent). Granted, February pass rates are generally lower than July pass rates due to the number of repeat takers, but here at Above the Law, we are focused on first-time takers, and these pass rates are very, very low.” [Emphasis mine]

Two paragraphs later, ATL gets down to assessing the performance for each ABA-accredited diploma mill: 

“Which in-state law schools did the best on the test, and which schools did the worst? We now pass that information along to our readers, with the caveat that it only includes California law schools that had at least 11 first-time and repeat takers, or no first-time takers and at least 11 repeat takers. The Bar disseminates information in this manner to help shield the identities of graduates of law schools that had fewer test-takers during each administration of the bar exam. 

Here’s a list we’ve created of pass rates for first-time takers on the February 2017 administration of the exam for all ABA-accredited California law schools that had 11 or more test-takers for the exam. Take a look:

• Santa Clara: 69 percent 
• Loyola (LA): 67 percent
• Western State: 67 percent 
• UCLA: 64 percent 
• Pepperdine: 59 percent 
• U. San Diego: 53 percent 
• McGeorge: 50 percent 
• California Western: 45 percent 
• Golden Gate: 33 percent 
• U. San Francisco: 31 percent 
• UC Hastings: 27 percent 
• Southwestern: 24 percent 
• Thomas Jefferson: 24 percent” [Emphasis mine]

In a just world, anyone who attends the worst toilets on this list would not be eligible for federal student loans – and would instead need to come up with collateral and obtain private funding for their garbage “legal education.” Then again, “higher education” is a financial windfall – for the institutions.

Other Coverage: On May 15, 2017, JD Journal published a Teresa Lo piece, under the headline “February 2017 California Bar Exam Results – Almost 2/3 of Applicants Failed.” Enjoy this opening:

“On Friday, the California State Bar released its official test results, and only an abysmal 34.5% of test takers were able to pass the notoriously difficult exam. The passage rate for first-timers was slightly better, but it was still an unimpressive 39%. These rates were a decline from last year where the overall passage rate was 35.7 percent, and the first-time takers’ passage rate was 45 percent. In California’s press release, Elizabeth Rindskopf Parker, the Executive Director of the State Bar of California, acknowledged the decline and the Board stated it was conducting an investigation, which will begin May 15. “I’d like to congratulate the applicants who passed the Bar Exam,” Parker said. “Regrettably the pass rate shows a continuing decline, a trend happening nationally. The State Bar is committed to a better understanding of the problem to determine how to address it.” [Emphasis mine]

Still want to take the plunge, Dumbass?!?! You can already see that the law school pigs will make a major push to have the state bar exam simplified, for their cretinous students and graduates. Hell, why not make it as difficult as a Driver’s License test, right?!?! After all, California already has an incredible GLUT of attorneys. This has been well-documented for years.

Conclusion: Do you see what the weak performing trash pits have in common, genius?!?! Yes, they are rated in THE FOURTH TIER – by US “News” & World Report. Somehow, special snowflakes/waterheads will continue to ignore all the warning signs – and they will enroll in these foul piles of excrement. Remember, idiots have dreams too. However, seeing that you are essentially required to incur an additional $175K+ in NON-DISCHARGEABLE debt – for a chance to enter a ridiculously oversaturated lawyer job market – should at least make you reconsider. 

The plain truth is that you are MUCH better off remaining in your current job, work your ass off, make real connections with those in your field, and try to separate yourself from the pack. That does not require you to piss away three years of your life, or to accumulate outrageous sums of student debt in the process. However, if you had such insight, then you would not even think of going to law school in the first place. Enjoy trying to repay those massive loans on a paltry $41K annual salary, Bitch.


  1. That asshat Frank Wu has the audacity to accuse law school critics of hyperbole, but his toilet school can't top 30 percent in bar passage rates....

    In other news, entry-level law professor hiring has collapsed:

  2. My sexy Latina girlfriend talked me out of going to law telling me she wasn't following me out there. Am I stupid or what? Already sent in my seat deposit too.

    1. Might as well go, she will probably be deported soon.

    2. Nando:

      Delete @ 1:08am.

    3. It's okay to leave it up. Looks like we found a Trump supporter. Unlike him my lady was born in this country. Although her parents are from Colombia. So no deportation concerns there, you piece of shit.

      I had a tough year in sales last year meaning I only made $92k before taxes. Two years ago it was $120k. My boss also told me I'd be dumb to give up this job to go to a crappy law school. His words. I got no student debt as it is. And it jsut wouldn't be worth taking out a bunch of student loans and likely make less than what I do now. I guess I feel like I let a woman make my decision for me. hence the question about me being stupid. The seat deposit's no big deal. I make that in one day's work.

  3. Let's keep it simple-the overall unemployment rate is at a 16 year low, around 2.5%. Any guess what the rate will be for 75% of TJ grads who flunked? And don't forget the mountain of debt...

  4. That pic is so disgusting it's almost as offensive as those bar results.

  5. Throwaway AttorneyJune 5, 2017 at 4:33 PM

    Anytime I reflect on how miserable my journey into this God-forseken profession has been, I think about the poor schmuck who graduated from some joke of a law school in excess of six figures in student loan debt, took three attempts to finally pass the California bar exam, and then found himself jobless and hopelessly unemployable in a completely glutted legal job market. I know it's a shitty thing to say, but I try to stay thankful that I don't have it nearly as bad as numerous other law scam victims.

    1. But he probably still gets laid more than you.

  6. Interesting game. The only way to win is NOT TO PLAY.

  7. Those bar passage rates are shit.

    Just like the schools listed. Which take in shitty students. Funny how that happens.

  8. Oh, the vaunted UCLA.. "Smarter students" bullshit disproven. A 64% Bar passage rate.

    Fuck you.

    Law isn't about IQ. It's all about PPC. I guarantee that the PPC in the class had jobs lined up, good jobs, pass or fail a Bar.

    People will never learn.

    This society is all about connections and class. Those from the school with connections won the Game before they ever played it. The rest were just gambling which at 2-300K combined ls/UG debt is ... expensive.

  9. One thing to keep in mind, there typically are not a lot of first time takers when it comes to the February bar exam. This is especially true for schools that don’t have part time programs or are otherwise legitimate schools like UCLA. For example, according to Above the Law, there were only 14 first time takers from UCLA for this exam. Given the small sample size, I don’t know how many conclusions we can draw from the UCLA pass rate here. Also, it seems to me that a UCLA grad who does not take the exam in July may have “personal issues” which makes bar passage less likely than the typical grad. Finally, notice how there are no stats for Stanford, UCLA, and Berkeley. That’s because less than 10 grads from these schools were first time takers on the February exam.

    1. Edit. I meant there were no stats for Standord, USC and Berkely

  10. Wow. The 27% passage rate for UC Hastings should be the final element of proof needed to illustrate just how low law schools have dipped in the applicant pool, and how far law schools have fallen as professional education of choice among the cognoscente.


    On June 5, 2017 8:27 am, JDU stalwart “6figuremistake” started a thread labeled “TJ Law - Less than a quarter of students can pass the bar.” Here is the original post:

    “Thomas Jefferson Law was able to withstand a lawsuit, but they can't withstand reality. I wonder how long before they take the Whittier express to defunct law school land...

    Santa Clara: 69 percent
    Loyola (LA): 67 percent
    Western State: 67 percent
    UCLA: 64 percent
    Pepperdine: 59 percent
    U. San Diego: 53 percent
    McGeorge: 50 percent
    California Western: 45 percent
    Golden Gate: 33 percent
    U. San Francisco: 31 percent
    UC Hastings: 27 percent
    Southwestern: 24 percent
    Thomas Jefferson: 24 percent”

    User “sjlawyer” provided this observation on June 5, 2017 at 9:26 am:

    “64 percent at UCLA? wow”

    Accountholder “flharfh” furnished this comment on June 5, 2017 10:12 am:

    “Those numbers are only first time takers. Imagine what TJSL's pass rate is once you take them into account?”

    And then provided this clarification on June 5, 2017 at 11:20 am:

    “*take re-takers into account”

    But those idiots enrolled at TTTThoma$ Jeffer$on Sewer of Law are “sophisticated consumers,” right?!?! Yes, they are about as intelligent as a half-filled litter box. Yet, they are permitted to incur $150K+ in federal student loans - for a worthless-ass TTTT law degree. What a great $y$tem, huh?!

    1. The dolts that sued Thomas Jefferson posed as sophisticated consumers. They argued that Thomas Jefferson misled them, and that they would have been able to make a sensible decision with proper information.

      Well, they can't have it both ways. They can't be both sophisticated consumers and dolts.

      The court issued a sound decision on the facts presented. Now, had the plaintiffs argued that Thomas Jefferson should have fingered them for the dolts that they are and rejected them accordingly, I might have been sympathetic to their position. But they didn't: they said that they were cheated out of accurate information. Bullshit. They would have gone to that toilet no matter what.

    2. I wouldn't say that this is an entirely accurate or fair assessment.

      As I understand it, the decision was issued by a jury not by the court. The jury was split, but a majority were not persuaded that the plaintiff relied on the phony stats in deciding to attend to TJSL. This does not mean that TJSL wasn't abusing the employment data; it just means the jury didn't believe the plaintiff relied upon it.

      It should also be noted that it was only one plaintiff (not a class). She actually received an offer for $60k, which is more than most of the "dolts" can say, so she probably was one of the more qualified graduates from the school. Given that she most likely had a stronger profile than most other TJSL grads, its reasonable to think she was induced to enroll because she anticipated receiving a salary closer to what TJ had conveyed in their marketing materials. (Before the transparency movement, it was common for even the worst schools to trumpet six figure starting salaries based upon limited data in their marketing materials.)

      Moreover, I don't think she ever presented herself as a "sophisticated consumer". This term originated (in this context) from a ruling by a NY judge to dismiss an action against a NY law school because law students are "sophisticated consumers". In essence, he said law schools can lie about likely outcomes because recent college graduates should be so sophisticated that they should understand that non-profit institutions of higher learning are lying to them.

      This is far from a compelling argument. Financial institutions can't produce phony numbers in their prospectus materials to induce borrowers to invest. Food and beverage companies can get into trouble for artfully mislabeling their products. Even sleazy late night infomercials have to disclaim that the advertised results produced by their products aren't typical.

      Nonetheless, regardless of whether the courts give the toilets of the law school world cover to lie with impunity, the market will eventually deliver the final verdict.

    3. Esquire Never,
      You are correct. The "sophisticated consumer" rational was contained in a New York County judge's order dismissing a suit against NYLS. This was on a motion to dismiss, not a summary judgment motion. The case went up on appeal and was affirmed by the Appellate Division, First Dept. and the Court of Appeals subsequently denied leave. It should be noted that, although the AD affirmed the lower court ruling, it specifically stated that it did not agree with the lower court's finding that all college graduates are sophisticated. There was also a Federal Court ruling out of Michigan in a case against Cooley where the court stated that they did not agree with the sophisticated consumer rational in the New York County lower court ruling.

    4. No court has said that "law schools can lie" because their marks are "sophisticated consumers". See what the court actually said (at 13 ff):

      I endorse the court's view, although I would stop well short of calling university graduates sophisticated. If those data were materially misleading, the plaintiffs did not make their case out prima facie. Instead, it appears that they either disregarded the data or read more into them than was reasonably there, all the while ignoring other sources that, even on the face of their own pleadings, were readily available to them.

  12. You don't see Stanford, Cal, or USC on that list. That oughtta tell you something.


    On June 5, 2017, the San Jose Mercury-News published an excellent piece from Scott Herhold, under the headline "Make California's bar exam easier? No way." Look at this portion:

    "Should California’s tough state bar exam — the entry test for lawyers — be dumbed down? A lot of law schools think so. They’re asking that the State Bar change the standards so more people pass.

    Let us cut to the quick. This is a bad idea, driven by the self-interest of law schools, which are finding that many of the best and smartest students are doing something else with their lives.

    A state exam has always been one way of regulating the number of people in a profession. And as it happens, California has no shortage of lawyers. You could safely say it has closer to a surplus.

    With nearly 170,000 lawyers in a state with a population close to 40 million, California ranks eighth in the nation in the number of lawyers per 1,000 people. It doesn’t need to climb any higher than that. It has plenty of frivolous lawsuits.

    And yes, I know there is much wailing and rending of garments over this issue. Only 35 percent of test takers passed the exam given in February. Only 43 percent passed the exam in July.

    The Wall Street Journal recently noted that the declining bar passage rate in California reflects a nationwide trend that has happened at the same time as a sharp drop in the number of law school applicants.

    Between 2010 and 2016, the number of students enrolled at law schools accredited by the American Bar Association fell by 29 percent nationally.

    What’s happening here is that law schools are finding it increasingly hard to justify their existence. If they’re going to persuade students to go deeply into debt for a legal education, they have to offer some light at the end of the tunnel. The quick answer? Make the exam easier.

    “California is infamous for its “puppy mill” approach to law graduates and lawyers,” one commenter wrote to the Journal. “There are too many poor quality law schools producing low quality graduates who cannot pass the bar even after four or five attempts.”

    As you can see, the law school bitches and hags are now trying to water down the bar exam. They want to charge outrageous sums in tuition, and they figure that more of their grads need licenses in order to maintain that $y$tem. How "honorable," huh?!?!

  14. Man, I almost forgot there were so many shitholes in California. And so many in the SF area. A word to the wise: if you live in that area and you don't get into Berkeley or Stanford, don't even consider another law school. If you do you're a simp.

  15. This comment has been removed by the author.


    On June 05, 2017, the ABA Journal featured a Debra Cassens Weiss article entitled "Does California make it too difficult to pass the bar? Two profs link low scores to ethics issues." Enjoy this opening:

    "In California, would-be lawyers have to receive a score of 144 on the multistate portion of the bar exam to pass. That’s a higher threshold than in every other state except Delaware.

    Law schools in California say the state’s so-called “cut score” is too high, the Wall Street Journal (sub. req.) reports. If California had used New York’s passing score of 133 for the exam last July, 87 percent of graduates from ABA-accredited law schools in the state would have passed, compared with 62 percent who actually did.

    Among all test takers, 43 percent passed last July’s exam, and only 35 percent passed in February.

    “One camp of law-industry watchers blames the drop in passing rates on the declining credentials of incoming classes.” the Wall Street Journal reports. “Others point to changing study habits of millennials, who grew up with the ability to find information at their fingertips and aren’t accustomed to the intensive memorization and writing skills needed to pass a bar exam. Law schools point to the test’s required score as the problem.”

    Twenty law deans at ABA-accredited law schools in California asked that state’s supreme court earlier this year to lower the grade required for bar passage, according to the Wall Street Journal and a story published in February by the Recorder (sub. req.). The court is considering the issue.

    To help guide the court, the state bar is working on a series of studies. Two Pepperdine University law professors, meanwhile, released their own study this week concluding that California lawyers with lower bar exam scores were more likely to face disciplinary action by the state bar."

    Yet, the cockroaches want to lower the passing bar exam score so that more idiots get licensed in California. Again, the law school pigs DO NOT GIVE A DAMN about their graduates, potential clients, or the gutter "profession." They simply want to keep enrollment up, in their respective commodes - and they recognize that if passage rates remain low, then even many dolts will decide to do something else. Perhaps, they will try culinary school - or obtain a Master's degree in French Literature.

    1. I don't have a master's degree in French literature, but the law-school scam combines Tartuffe, Les Liaisons Dangereuses, and Les Misérables.

  17. Seton Hall Law school....

    Still placing Grads into solid NY jobs!



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