I have been reading with some morbid fascination about the California bar exam pass rates, as reported by Above the Law.
According to their report, the most recent overall test scores are pathetic. The latest pass rate was a lousy 34.5 percent, and for first time takers it was 39 percent!
Now, the whole process of going through with a bar exam is supposed to be brutal. I went through it myself in a jurisdiction where the vast majority of people passed the first time, including myself. But it was still a harrowing process for everyone involved, with everyone killing themselves studying for it. We had to write three exams over three days, if you can believe that. If that’s what goes on here in frozen Canada, where the bar exam is supposed to be semi-reasonable, then you cannot even imagine what people go through trying to pass California’s awful exam.
I almost wonder what these bar examiners are trying to prove! Couldn’t they come up with something that people are actually capable of passing the first time, without them having to waste their time and money retaking it over and over again? (Among other things, the bar-prep study courses alone cost something like $3,000.) Or maybe they simply want to keep the unwashed masses out of California and make them go to Montana or North Dakota instead.
What’s especially sad is that of all the jurisdictions where I personally would be the most interested in being admitted as a lawyer (if I ever decided to go back to it), California would rank right up there, simply because I’d want to live the “Entourage” lifestyle and enjoy the sunny weather and the beach.
Well, there’s that, plus there is the potential number of rich celebrities who might make up your clientele if you were to practice divorce law or something like that (ie. Laura Wasser).
Then again, I also hear practicing law in California is just as lousy and cutthroat as in any other jurisdiction, anyway. In fact, I know of a couple of people from my own law school class who, no joke, actually went down there and got admitted to the bar in the state of California! How they managed to get through that state’s lousy bar exam, I don’t know, because to me it sure looks like climbing Mt. Everest is easier.