Bar Exam Failures
Some observers point to higher pass scores required by some states as the culprit, others note a proliferation of new and unaccredited law schools, and still others blame a lack of preparation provided by all law schools. Indeed, the situation has become such a concern that law schools have begun implementing for-credit bar review courses into their curricula.Of the reasons listed, I tend to agree with Solove and place the blame on the higher scores required to pass. States like California have been doing everything possible to limit the amount of lawyers accepted to their bar. Even Kathleen Sullivan, sainted Constitutional law scholar of the Left, failed their bar exam.
Whatever the reason, the failure to get an attorney's license is creating a crisis situation for a growing number of graduates who sit for the exam, often burdened with crippling debt. . . .
The only answer that makes sense is that the states are making it harder to pass in order to protect their market from being filled with too many lawyers. I think that blaming the new and unaccredited law schools is a cheap shot. I get the sense that the same market share issue for lawyers in a state has spread to law schools and their cut of the students (and their tuition money). The new schools are just targets of the old ones, angry that the new schools are horning in on their action. I'm also not persuaded by the argument that law schools aren't preparing students for the exam. Have they ever? It's been common practice to spend a decent chunk of time post-graduation just studying, taking bar exam courses, etc. That's just the norm.
I think Solove is onto something with getting rid of the bar exam. Here in Wisconsin, we have the diploma privilege. If you graduate from one of our two excellent law schools (and take the required courses), you are admitted into the state bar. No exam necessary. Solove is especially critical of the exam...
It doesn't test the critical analytic abilities needed to practice law; instead, it is basically a memory test about a bunch of rules that are often obsolete. One has to suppress thinking on the Bar Exam.Lawyering is not about memorizing rules. It's about knowing how to research, think, and form an argument. The exam really just seems to be a means to control the amount of lawyers in a state's market.