Monday, April 15, 2019

The Big Fail: Why Bar Pass Rates Have Sunk to Record Lows

Law.Com, The Big Fail: Why Bar Pass Rates Have Sunk to Record Lows

"In this first installment of The Big Fail, a series focused on the high percentage of law graduates failing the bar and the impact on law schools and the legal profession, Law.com examines how far rates have dropped in recent years and the reasons for the decline."

A recent study commissioned by the State Bar of California concluded that the declining credentials of law students account for up to 50 percent of the state’s falling pass rates.

But Kellye Testy, president of the Law School Admission Council, said there’s much more at play. She suspects the falling pass rates are the results of a combination of factors, the most obvious being the lower credentials of incoming students. The declining quality of public education—meaning an erosion of the reading and writing foundations children develop in elementary and high schools—may also be a contributor, she said.

Moreover, the evolving way that law is taught may explain why today’s law graduates are struggling more on the bar exam, said Testy, whose organization develops the LSAT. Professors now put less emphasis on memorizing rules, and have backed off on some of the high-pressure tactics—like the Socratic method—that historically dominated the classroom.

“The way we used to teach wasn’t as good for caring for the student, but it made sure you could take a closed-book exam,” she said. “You knew the doctrine. It was much more like a bar exam, in some ways. Today, when you go into a classroom, it’s all PowerPoint. The teachers give them an outline, the students are on computers. There’s a different student approach and a different faculty approach.”

(Scott Fruehwald)

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/legal_skills/2019/04/the-big-fail-why-bar-pass-rates-have-sunk-to-record-lows.html

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