Jefferson and the bar

Local law school last in state in students passing bar

Columnist Staci Zaretsky of the publication "Above the Law" has published a list of how the state's 21 American Bar Association-accredited law schools did in the July 2012 bar exams. In first place was Stanford, as 93.7% of its grads passed the bar. In last place was San Diego's Thomas Jefferson School of Law, with a pass rate of 52.33%. However, Zaretsky points out that Jefferson improved greatly from its 2011 percentage.

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Sounds like Jefferson Law should merge with Bridgepoint Education! Then when Randy “Duke” Cunningham gets out of the halfway house in June, he could become the new company president, with Carl DeMaio as executive VP.

dwbat: Great idea. This is called synergism on Wall Street. Best, Don Bauder

The fact is the grads from TJLS who pass the bar will not get jobs in Big Law firms, not even the top 5%. So it really doesn't matter. I Would suggest the TJLS grads who passed the exam to go into solo practice doing actions that provide for lawyer fees if you win. Those can be varied and pretty wide open, usually federal cases, but the fact is you learn 100 times faster on your own than in a big firm (but make much less $$ starting out) and the experience of a solo after 5 years to a Big law associated will be night and day in favor of the solo.

SurfPup: In other words, being a starving lawyer is good for you. Best, Don Bauder

You're not going to learn jack SH** at a White Shoe law firm your first 1-3 years. You will be working 80, 90 hours+ per week, including weekends, doing grunt legal work. As a solo you will be able to learn the ropes as you go, on the job training, including how to do appeals- which are very comlicated. You won't see the inside of a real court room in Big Law for 5 plus years......you would never work on an appeal at Big Law unless you were in that specific area within the firm......

SP: Yes, but at a white shoe law firm, you will get to socialize with well-heeled thieves, whom the big law firms love to represent. Best, Don Bauder

Don, do you have the link to the Bars pass reates?? How did Whittier and La Verne do?????

SP: La Verne was next to last with 53.3%. Whittier was fourth from the bottom at 69.7%. Best, Don Bauder

TJLS should be killing La Verne, and the same with Whittier. I will say this, Whittier has improved substantially if they are at 70%.........

SP: Historically, Whittier's record is not so hot. Best, Don Bauder

TJLS takes students who could not get accepted to the higher ranked schools, and those who live in the SD area and do not want to relocate to attend school. Maybe that LSAT really measures some skills and talents that are associated with success in the study of law and the ability to pass a Bar exam on the first try and even be a capable lawyer or attorney. If so, and if the schools really rely on that score in the acceptance process, then nothing will succeed like success. It was once said that the schools like Western State (which I think was the name of TJ when it started) actually didn't teach law as much as they taught the concepts and techniques that would pass the Bar exam. If that were the case, those lesser-ranked schools should have pass rates as good as, or better than, the other schools. But the rankings are closely correlated with the pass rates. Is it because they are better schools, or because they have their pick of the top candidates? I'm inclined to lean toward the latter.

Visduh: Teaching to get students to pass a test, rather than help them to absorb knowledge, is a problem throughout our educational system -- not just at certain law schools. Best, Don Bauder

Is it because they are better schools, or because they have their pick of the top candidates?

Books, classes and cases are all the same, at every law school. The difference is the $$$. People who are accepted at top 14 LS's have been taking LSAT prep course that can costs ten's of thousands of dollars, and usually do not have any work or family commitments to deal with, enjoying 100% of commitment time to taking the LSAT, the largest factor in getting into LS by far. Same with the bar exam, those who can study for 4 months w/o working or other commitments have a far better chance of passing. The ones who gets the higher LSAT and LS admits are the ones who have the most $$$$, that is a fact.

SP: "Books, classes and cases are all the same, at every law school." Really? I find that hard to swallow. Best, Don Bauder

SP: "Books, classes and cases are all the same, at every law school." Really? I find that hard to swallow.

100% true- the BOOKS may change, but only slightly as most LS use the the most common, time tested text book for a particular subject, for Torts it is William Prosser's textbook, for Property it is Jesse Dukeminier, and so forth, but the classes are essentially identical, and the cases ARE identical with minor variations. In LS you take 10 cores classes, all during the first year, and then, depending on the LS, everything after is electives. Some of the lower ranked schools might have 1.5, 2 or even 2.5 years of required classes, but not the top 100. You make it thru the first year you are 75% of the way home.

SP: I still find it hard to believe that Stanford's books, classes and cases are the same as Jefferson's. Best, Don Bauder

It is true, at least for the first year, all the same.

Its not about an education in law. Its about money. If you had money or could get Student Loans.... Western State University School of Law accepted you. Marginal LSAT score? No problem at Western State University School of Law. Finishing and passing the BAR is another story. How many law students didn't finish? Or couldn't pass the BAR? Or dropped out after a year or two at Western State? How many of us still have Student Loans hanging around our necks? And Debt Collectors harassing us? In hindsight I never would have enrolled at Western State University School of Law. It was a scam. They're a Corporation. Not about an education. All about money. That's the bottom line.

You summed it up better than anyone else could. You were there, you saw what they did and didn't do for you. But they did put you in debt, and there's no escaping that debt. You got screwed by a school that was there for the money and not the education.

Visduh: This is a big question throughout the U.S.: is a so-called educational institution about education, or is it about money? Best, Don Bauder

burned: There are others who feel as you do about Jefferson. In the bigger picture, there are lawyers who do pass the bar -- but later in life can't pass a bar. Best, Don Bauder

As bad as WSU is, they still have people, many, who are declined enrollement.

SP: Do you have any figures on what % are turned down for enrollment? Best, Don Bauder

55% acceptance rate, one of the highest I have ever seen, but that means 45% were denied admission; http://westernstate.lawschoolnumbers.com/

How many law students didn't finish? Or couldn't pass the BAR? Or dropped out after a year or two at Western State? How many of us still have Student Loans hanging around our necks? And Debt Collectors harassing us? In hindsight I never would have enrolled at Western State University School of Law. It was a scam. They're a Corporation. Not about an education. All about money. That's the bottom line.

What you didn't mention was that most, the majority of the ones who did finish and did pass the bar will still not work as attorneys, and the few that do will never make the money needed to service the $150K-$200K in student loan debt service.

The student loan system has turned into a major scam, where Big Business is fleecing the poor and middle class and then ultimately the tax payers who pay the costs of the scam....sort of like TARP...no exactly like TARP. The rich and well off make out like bandits-which they are- and the poor end up getting screwed.

SurfPup: There is no question that the student loan business has turned into a scam -- and, possibly, the cause of a financial tsunami. Best, Don Bauder

EXCELLENT commentary from Harvard Law Review. This guy was a student that wrote this piece and it is very comprehensive about the state of affairs of today's legal education, loans, job prospects and debt;

http://www.harvardlawreview.org/media/pdf/vol126_student_loan_exceptionalism.pdf

SurfPup: I believe I saw a comprehensive piece in the Wall Street Journal recently, too -- or was it the NY Times? Best, Don Bauder

If you read his research you will see that the student loan market is not a free market, it is rigged. He says for profits and other schools with LOW chances of repayment should pay much higher interest based on that risk, which would shut them down.

SP: That would be one way to shut down the for-profits colleges, including the for-profit law schools. However, some of them, such as the ones specializing in technical education, are reputable. Best, Don Bauder

SP: That would be one way to shut down the for-profits colleges, including the for-profit law schools

ALL law schools are problems today, including non profits.

Certain technical colleges are A-OK, but base the interest o the graduation and loan repayment rate, as that is free-market

SurfPup: The problem is that the for-profit institutions have such rich and powerful backing, along with a gaggle of lobbyists to line the pockets of ignorant/corrupt politicians. Best, Don Bauder

Some believe that deans of law schools who recruit students with deceptive practices should be disbarred. Law professors at such law schools should also be relieved of their law licenses due to guilt by association.

http://taxprof.typepad.com/taxprof_blog/2012/12/deborah-jones-merritt--1.html

Burwell: Interesting article, interesting concept. It raises the question about other academic disciplines: who would punish a dean of anthropology cooking the books to bring in students? Best, Don Bauder

Some believe that deans of law schools who recruit students with deceptive practices should be disbarred.

You would have to disbar the deans of HALF of the 200 accredited ABA law schools.

SurfPup: Disbar them -- or put them behind bars? Neither is going to happen, but it's something to think about. Best, Don Bauder

In a true society, law is unnecessary. Societies are cooperative; cultures are all about control, so they need laws to maintain the hierarchy. This means that the cooperative are controlled by the most asocial individuals and their goons. This drives the accumulation of excess and the exploitation of everything, even the resources that support the controllers. Ironic, eh?

Twister: I can't imagine a society in which law is unnecessary. In any society, there will be a certain percentage of people who are psychologically incapable of following rules of behavior. Anti-social behavior is ubiquitous, and a problem in any society in the world's history. Best, Don Bauder

Don,

On law and social mores. Some Polynesian societies, for example, had no word for "steal." Social (peer) pressure was enough to keep all but the truly sick (brain abnormalities) from doing damage to the social structure, when, in those rare cases, the community might decide (as "eskimos" are reported to have done) took the hopeless case for a one-way trip into the wilderness. In societies (cooperation, mentally oriented toward subsistence and what one can do FOR others rather than what one could do TO others), laws are not needed, but this is not to say that knowing right from wrong does not exist. The distinction is CRUCIAL!

I realize that this concept is difficult to understand--that is because most people have known only law, and have not experienced social mores in action enough to recognize the difference. You are guided by your own sense of right and wrong--to the point that you recognize more acutely than most, that laws are anti-social. You're just not aware of it, because it takes a different way of looking at reality to understand it (which you do, without even thinking about it). After all, you are in the middle of a subject that is all about controlling others. And, you don't like it a bit. GOOD FOR YOU!

Twister: I think many people would be happy with a world without lawyers, but I still can't envision a society without laws and people to enforce them. Best, Don Bauder

I grew up in a community where people settled their own affairs, and resorting to the law would be an embarrassment to any man. People were very nice to each other because they cared more about what they, themselves thought of them first, what others thought of them second, and where the feedback loop of consequences was swift, including ostracization, a punch in the nose, getting your ass kicked, and so forth. Every man had at least one gun, but nobody ever used one. I'm sorry if you missed growing up in such a community. I know that you have the capacity for imagining such a society, where cooperation beats competition because it works far better and one valued oneself enough to do what was right even if it hurt.

"Justice delayed is justice denied." -- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Justice_...

PS: For example, I scraped the plastic bumper of a car in a parking lot recently and left a note with my phone number. It cost me plenty, but that was better than dishonoring myself. In the community in which I grew up, such minor incidents were often settled by buying the other guy a drink, and most often the "offended" party would do the buying, and would drive off happily in a car with a minor scratch instead of requiring the replacement of the scratched part to the tune of about a thousand dollars. There was a strong sense of proportion--another social more that was not written into law because it didn't need to be. The social sense at the center of this community was to do things FOR others rather than TO others.

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