Sunday, October 17, 2010

Scholarship alert: What happens to the law grads who fail the bar?

Professor Jane Yakowitz's article, Marooned: An Empirical Investigation of Law School Graduates Who Fail the Bar Exam, found at 60 J. Legal Edu. 3 (2010) asks what are the personal and financial consequences to these students.  Here's an excerpt:

This article attempts to answer a question that legal academia has been reluctant to even ask: What happens to law school graduates who fail the bar exam? What do they do and how do their lives differ from the lives of their lawyer-classmates? Would their careers have fared any better if they had not gone to law school?

. . . .

Law school graduates who never pass a bar exam have a very difficult “first term.” Five to ten-years out of law school, they lag well behind lawyers on every measure—earnings, employment stability, even marriage and divorce rates. Moreover, as a group, they fare worse than college graduates, despite their better-than-average undergraduate grades. But after an adjustment period, they spring back and out-perform the average college graduate in the latter half of their careers. Though they never catch up with their lawyer peers, the earnings of the median individual who fails the bar does catch up to the 25th percentile lawyer, which might have been about the center of their distribution, if the group had passed the bar exam. This could be as much an exhortation on the humble earnings of non-BigLaw lawyers as it is a testament to the resilience of those who fail the bar. But in any event, the consequences of bar failure appear to dissipate around age thirty-five.

Please read the rest here.


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