Can Law Schools Be Saved or Must They Die?

legal jobs in space law

The truth is out there…

Read today’s headlines—law school enrollment is plumetting, and has been for some time. Law school enrollments are down, alramingly so, and many bright students, the ones who would once have pined to enter law school, are electing to follow other career paths. Can law schools be saved?

Above the Law has an in-depth article proposing to put the blame for the downturn squarely on law schools, themselves. Is there hope? Can law schools be saved?

Above the Law has a lot to say in a December 19, 2014 opinion piece, 

Law schools have not taken responsibility for what is happening and are quick to cite reasons beyond their control. Their failure, however, to adapt to a changing landscape and refusal to let go of a time-dated model are primary reasons many are electing not to go to law school.

According to the American Bar Association, last year’s enrollment was less than law school enrollments have been since the early 1970s—keep in mind that college enrollments in general are also taking a dive, according to the Census Bureau, but not as steep a downturn.

Above the Law thinks reducing the length of time to get a JD and reducing the costs might have an impact. We think law schools need to take responsibility for quality of education and improve the user experience drastically. Yes, the law school powers-that-be must get their thinking out of the dark ages and work with students to prepare them for today’s market place, today’s careers, and today’s competition.

ReedBarReview agrees with such forward thinking, and rest assured that we’ve taken a stand with our courses for law students, from 1L to bar exam prep.  We strive to keep up with the world you face.

Can law schools be saved? We advocate for sub-par law schools to wake up and step up. Last fall we contacted hundreds of law firms in Alabama to make sure they were aware of the low quality of law education in some of that state’s schools. We’ll keep on advocating for you and we’ll always provide the strongest support possible for law students in this highly competitive world.

What’s your thought? Is your law school preparing you for a future? Are your ready to face the bar exam and pass it? We’d like to know what your experience has been.

 

 

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Internet News for 2015 Law Students

2014 bar exam updates

Welcome to the brave new world of a new year, 2015 to be exact. We browsed the ‘Net to find a few good sites for 2015 law students. Look over this list of links to save yourself a little time as you get back to your law school studies. You don’t want to miss the good stuff out there.

NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTIONS FOR LAW STUDENTSWilliam Peacock, Esq’s BLOG offers salient advice on beginning the new year properly. Find out why you might decide to drink less, or to drink more, improve your wardrobe, chill out, and other strategies. Mr. Peacock also offers an analysis of declining law school enrollments.

Five Resolutions 2015 Law Students Should NOT Make, from BitterLawyer.com. via the Northwest 3L blog. We especially like Suppress the urge to correct laypersons’ mistaken legal assertions  and Stop worrying about grades.

Weed Law—we knew it had to come eventually, and of course, it’s coming from University of Denver. Yes, friends, this well-respected school is teaching burgeoning lawyers to be prepared for representing clients in the new wolrd of legalized, partially legalized, and wishfully legalized marijuana, medical and otherwise. An interesting read about an interesting weed.

Rape and assault are topics too traumatic for 2015 law students to study. Read this article, then see if you can determine whether cases related to these topics are too tough for lawyers to litigate….

Most bar students who took the California bar exam in July 2014 FAILED. Are the tests harder, or the students less intelligent? Or less motivated? Or poorly prepared. Yep. That’s our vote. Read the piece, think about your strategy and register free with ReedBarReview.com—you have nothing to lose.

 

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General Testmanship Tips – Part 5

Here is another test taking tip from Colonel Hugh Reed‘s book Multistate Bar Exam (MBE) Primer. Check back weekly for new installments or register for a free account at ReedBarReview.com to get the entire PDF ebook free.

RULE 6

Beware of Terms of Art, Strange Facts, Statutes, and Quotation Marks

A term of art is a term that has a legal meaning different from its dictionary meaning.
a. Malice aforethought is a term of art
i. It has nothing to do with hatred or ill will beforehand.
ii. Its legal meaning is an intent to kill, or an intent to do grievous bodily harm or the knowing creation of a high risk of death or that grievous bodily harm will occur.
b. They love to test these, this is a legal test. So use the legal meaning, not the dictionary meaning.
c. When you see malice aforethought don’t think hatred beforehand. Think intent to kill, intent to do grievous bodily harm or the knowing creation of a high risk of death or that grievous bodily harm will occur.

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General Testmanship Tips – Part 4

Here is another test taking tip from Colonel Hugh Reed‘s book Multistate Bar Exam (MBE) Primer. Check back weekly for new installments or register for a free account at ReedBarReview.com to get the entire PDF ebook free.

RULE 5

When in Doubt, Stick to Basics and Majority Rules

Stick to the Basics. Always follow the majority view. Don’t worry about minority views, unless the question quotes a statute or tells you your jurisdiction follows a particular view. Remember, this is an objective test. They have to have one answer that everybody agrees is the best one. That means they have to test majority views, unless they tell you different. So if the question doesn’t quote any statutes or tell you your jurisdiction follows a particular view stick with the basics, the majority view.
Now, if on the other, the question does quote a statute or tells you your jurisdiction follows a particular view, forget what your bar review told you, forget what you learned in law school, and apply the statute or the law the question gives you. Read it carefully and apply it.

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General Testmanship Tips – Part 3

Here is another test taking tip from Colonel Hugh Reed‘s book Multistate Bar Exam (MBE) Primer. Check back weekly for new installments or register for a free account at ReedBarReview.com to get the entire PDF ebook free.

RULE 4

Test Each Answer Choice Factually, Legally, and Application Accuracy

You must first test each answer choice to see whether it is factually correct. If not, draw a line through it and you’re finished with this answer choice. If it is factually correct, then see if it is legally correct. If not, draw a line through it and you’re finished with this answer choice. If it is both factually and legally correct, then see if the answer choice is responsive to the call of the question (interrogatory). If not, draw a line through it and you’re finished with the answer choice. If it is responsive, it’s possibly the correct answer. You must follow this process for each of the four answer choices.

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Bar Exam Scores Drop, Students Risk MBE Fail

pass bar exam

You Will Succeed

As bar exam scores drop, it is crucial for law students approaching their bar exams to study with experienced tutors who take the MBE regularly and understand it’s workings. A recent Wall Street Journal posting says that 2014 bar exam pass rates fell dramatically across the nation. Can you afford to fail the bar exam?

If you research the Wall Street Journal article, and the resulting cyber furor about low scores, interesting ideas come to light. Law school deans suggest that NCBEX (the National Conference of Bar Examiners), which designs and administers the bar exam, has allowed test questions to become progressively less understandable and scoring may be flawed.

Erica Moser, NCBEX president, countered, “[W]e redoubled our efforts to satisfy ourselves that no error occurred in scoring the examination or in equating the test with its predecessors,” she wrote. “The results are correct. . . All point to the fact that the group that sat in July 2014 was less able than the group that sat in July 2013.”

Unattributed comments, as bar exam scores drop, fly back and forth in forums and social media:

  • “Students are presently more committed to devices, social media, and spare time activities.”
  • “Students who began studying in the recession were less motivated. Did it seem better to many to take on the burden of law school loans than to starve in another field where hiring was stagnant?”
  • “There was a major snafu with ExamSoft downloads, and that made everyone feel unprepared.”
  • “In Ohio, the bar exam venue was a convention center where a music convention took place down the hall, distracting test-takers and causing a lower pass rate.”
  • “Students are just not as smart as they once were. The best minds go into fields where jobs are more abundant, like engineering—the others go to law school.”
  • “Many students probably struggled with the exam because it does not contain sections on tweeting, Facebooking, and video gaming.”
  • “Decades of decline inculcating critical thinking skills and academic integrity; combined with twin entitlements of, on the one hand—tenure for the established, and on the other, instant rewards due the millennial.”

One responder put a fine point on the topic of bar exam effectiveness in general:

“The multi-state bar exam has been a crock for as long as it has been around. It does not and has never tested knowledge of legal study. It only creates an arbitrary bar to entry by using trick question based largely on grammar mixed in with some questions about law. The only part of the bar exam that has any merit is any written essay portion the individual states might impose. The question then becomes did the applicants fail the multi-state exam or essay component of the exams? If the essay questioning held true to past performance, but the multi-state dropped off, then I would be very, very wary of blaming the applicants, and I would blame the test makers and their grammar games.

Does the Bar Exam Pass Rate Problem Lie with Law Schools?

Some say yes, the quality of education has declined as costs escalate year-by-year and financial bottom lines become priorities.

Another reader agrees, “I’m not surprised by the Deans’ thin-skinned reaction(s). Each year’s crop of lawyers are indeed “less able” than the prior year’s crop. This has been trending since the middle of the last century when law schools began slowly but surely converting into profit centers for the universities to which they were attached. In my estimation, law schools today are only a quarter step above the for profits schools such as U of Phoenix. The revenue in tuition and alum donations that law school deans must generate to keep their jobs are strong incentive to bully the MBE folks.”

High-Quality Bar Exam Preparation Spells Success

If you page back through this blog, you’ll find a series of posts in which we debunk bar exam myths. Note, in particular, the one that wonders if students get dumber,  while the bar exam gets easier. The answer, on both fronts is no, and the question becomes—does it make any sense to revise bar exams to suit declining expectations of student preparedness?

We, at Reed Bar Review, again say no, and we dispute both allegations. Students are no dumber and the test is emphatically not getting easier. Here’s the problem, as we see it.

In any field where your career jumps off from passing a qualifying exam, those sitting for the exam absolutely must prepare effectively and thoroughly. Those types of exams, whether for burgeoning attorneys, architects, medical people, or any other specialized professional field, are long, intimidating, and difficult.

Cramming for a week, or trying to review years of lessons and texts just will not bring about successful results. No school curriculum offers the extensive preparation, drills, and personal one-on-one attention needed for the average student to be prepared for the MBE. Period.

Listen to what one graduate in particular, and many in general say about the bar exam experience:

“(I am) someone who did not pass the July 2014 California Bar Exam….My essays and performance tests were very good and despite the significant preparation I did for the MBEs, these questions were unlike anything I had prepared for. It was utterly confusing and unnecessarily complicated. The MBEs are always meant to be difficult (hence the significant preparation) but this was on another level.  I found, however, that to pass it requires nothing more then, as Richard Nixon would put it, an iron butt. Preparation is the key to the exam. Everyone who sits for the exam has already passed one or two exams within the tested subject matter to advance in school. I find it difficult to believe anyone who had a commercial preparation course and stuck to the guidelines of that course wouldn’t pass with flying colors. I don’t have much sympathy for people that failed this bar in part because it wasn’t like they were testing subjects way out of left field.”

Now you have to ask, what enables some groups of students, such as those who work with Reed Bar Review, to pass with high marks and in large numbers? Emphatically, we say, and we’ll back it up with real facts and numbers, that while scores and pass rates continue to decline across the nation, our students enjoy the highest pass rates in the country. Why?

Our founder and CEO, Hugh Reed, and his staff, know the inner workings of the MBE cold. They understand the language, the concepts, the twists, the red herrings, and the philosophy behind the makeup of those dreaded bar exams. There is one, single, indisputable reason this is true.

Hugh Reed sits for a bar exam twice each year, in different jurisdictions—so you only have to take it once! He takes the entire test—every six months—and passes it. Then he makes sure his tutoring and coaching curriculums, exercises, drills, counseling, and mentoring go hand-in-hand with the very most current iteration of the bar exam.

The MBE Truth Will Out

Here’s another truth—no one else makes a habit of taking a bar exam everytime they are offered. No one else understands the exam process in the same way Colonel Reed and his team do. No one else can give you the edge his students gain. Bottom line—it doesn’t matter what caused the recent decline in pass rates. Let others bicker about that. For the foreseeable future, the MBE is the only way to qualify for your law career.

If you don’t give yourself every edge, you may fail the bar exam, and you may fail it more than once. But—you can get a guarantee that you will pass. Is that a tough decision? Register for a free account at Reed Bar Review, or pick up the phone right now and call us to enroll before it’s too late. (312) 595-9601.

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General Testmanship Tips – Part 2

Here is another test taking tip from Colonel Hugh Reed‘s book Multistate Bar Exam (MBE) Primer. Check back weekly for new installments or register for a free account at ReedBarReview.com to get the entire PDF ebook free.

RULE 3

Never Look for Right Answers But ALWAYS Eliminate Worse Answer Choices

The MBE is like other standardized tests in one very important respect — the best, and sometimes only, way to arrive at the correct answer is to use a process of elimination. Simply put, you arrive at the correct answer by eliminating from contention answers that cannot be correct.
If you employ a process of elimination on every question, the result is a fascinating theoretical possibility. You will know three answers in each question are definitely wrong and get a perfect score on the MBE — without knowing any answer was definitely correct! Of course, this would never happen in reality, but it does indicate the value of knowing how to eliminate incorrect responses. Knowing how to recognize a bad response is your most valuable analytical skill on the MBE.

NEVER, EVER LOOK FOR THE RIGHT ANSWER BUT FORCE YOURSELF TO ELIMINATE ANSWER CHOICES THAT ARE BAD.

Most importantly — do not get bogged down with questions you do not know! Instead, eliminate answer choices that cannot be correct!

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General Testmanship Tips – Part 1

Here is a pair of test taking tips from Colonel Hugh Reed‘s book Multistate Bar Exam (MBE) Primer. Check back weekly for new installments or register for a free account at ReedBarReview.com to get the entire PDF ebook free.

RULE 1

Under the time constraints of the MBE, you will only have time to read a factual setting once, in detail. Make it count! You have to read carefully in order to answer correctly. Many wrong answers, or “distractors,” are for people who skipped over an important fact. As you read a question, you may want to highlight important points and read the question actively, i.e., underline, draw yourself timelines, circle dates, parties, events, etc.

Do not become lazy, particularly in the afternoon of the exam, and let your mind wander. YOU MUST FIGHT FOR EVERY POINT!

RULE 2

Focus on the Call of the Question (Interrogatory)
The call of the question is the last few lines of the question. You must read the call before you look at the fact pattern in order to find out what they are asking you. Read the question from the “bottom up.” Accept implausible results. E.g., If the question tells you “…the jury believes Macho the Pig….” accept the result and find him not guilty regardless of what you think the outcome ought to be.

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2015 Bar Exam—How to Score High on Contracts

By now, you should have your preparation strategy fully in place for the February 2015 bar exam (Multistate Bar Exam). If you don’t, visit ReedBarReview.com and browse our site for study aids, opportunities to win a free bar prep course, and free lectures.

While you get your strategy together, spend a few minutes with this video—you’ll see what you’ve been missing. Visit ReedBarReview.com today and give yourself the best possible tools to pass your bar exam.

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MBE Gets Easier, Applicants Dumber?

After all the hard work you’ve put into law school and your law career, how does it feel to think the MBE is getting easier while applicants are getting dumber? Well, it’s simply not true, and anyone who has taken the Multistate Bar Exam can attest to that.

Read on for the facts about whether the MBE gets easier every year.

Bar Exam Myth: The MBE is getting easier; scores keep increasing while applicants are getting less able.

The fact is short and sweet—the MBE is a reliable measure of applicant ability. If you need proof, ask Hugh Reed, our founder and CEO, who has prepared for, taken, and passed bar exams almost thirty times, in thiry jurisdictions. The MBR is no picnic. It’s far from easy for anyone, no matte rhow many times it is taken, and effective preparation, based on REAL bar exam content is EVERYTHING.

The average scaled score on the MBE has varied by less than two points from year to year, indicating that the ability level of the candidate pool has been fairly stable. Changes in MBE scores follow closely the variations in average scores on other measures of candidate ability, such as the LSAT. This correlation between changes in MBE and LSAT scores indicates that increases in the average score mirror increases in the general ability level of the group being tested rather than a decline in the difficulty of the test.  

Protect your future, your law career, and your sanity. Develop and implement a bar exam strategy that includes Reed Bar Review bar exam preparation. 

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