California Bar Exam, Law School Dean Fights For Harsh Pass Rate Issue
Mar 22, 2017 11:38 AM EDT
The California bar exam was previously forcing applicants to sit through a three-day exam for no valid reason except to torture them. Although the three-day provision has been dismissed, the state continues to take pride on the difficulty level of the test it entails to.
According to Above The Law, most law schools and legal educators in the state has written to the state Supreme Court to protest against the California bar exam. Dean David Faigman of Hastings is one of them, and he has now moved the fight from the court to the court of public opinion.
He told the Los Angeles Times that the California bar exam has historically had the highest cut score of any state, consistently resulting in the nation's lowest pass rates. In July 2016, California's pass rate reached an outcry in Jul. 2016 as the record declined to 62% for graduates of law schools accredited by the American Bar Association, compared to New York's pass rate of 83%.
California State Bar's ethical obligation should be protecting the citizens of California from bad lawyers instead of protecting the market share of people who already passed the test. The role of the California bar exam is to set the floor for certification, and the market will do its job in deciding how many practicing lawyers the state actually needs.
Dean Faigman who thinks something is absolutely wrong with the California bar exam, suggests that the state Supreme Court should call for a study. Although the "wait and see" approach would be a practical solution to the problem, that keeps thousands of students in an ongoing professional peril.
While California thinks its standards are right and everyone else's is wrong, the state refuses to defend much of itself and remains quiet on the issue. The harsh cut score of the California bar exam is not only hurting the future of perfectly competent law graduates but is also bringing a major disservice to society.