In 2005, Condoleezza Rice was sworn in as the U.S. Secretary of State. Steve Fossett became the first person to fly all the way around the world with zero stops or refueling. Tiger Woods won the Masters. And Lance Armstrong notched his seventh Tour de France title. It was also the last time more than half of law students in California failed the July bar—until this past July.
Scores dropped nearly seven percentage points to a pass rate of 48.6% in the state that is known for having the toughest bar. Almost 8,500 law school graduates sat for the exam. The February bar (the only other time the bar is offered during the year) yielded a 45% pass rate.
Many law professors and deans do not think the drop should be a concern (yet). Nevertheless, the results will not ease the minds of already hesitant law school applicants. The results add fuel to the fire that Erica Moeser, director of the National Conference for Board Examiners, started with a letter to all deans across the country that this year’s cohort was “less able” than last year.
Some professors are concerned the drop in applications and enrollment numbers has led to decrease in quality of students. “You have to dig deeper into a smaller pool,” said Brian Z. Tamanaha, law professor at the Washington University School of Law in St. Louis. Tamanaha went on to say that, “We’ve (Washington University) accepted many students at high risk of failing the bar.”
Some schools have reduced the amount of students they accept to ensure the quality stays the same. They simply don’t go out and try to fill seats—they try to maintain the integrity of their admissions standards. Others maintain since the drop was significant across many states, it has less to do with the students and more to do with the actual bar.
Source: The L.A. Times
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