Might SCOTUS Strike Down U.S. Bar Exams?

scotus ReedBar

With the U.S. Supreme Court making some highly touted and hotly debated decisions this week, they are, not surprisingly, a hot topic. A landmark decision like clearing the way for same sex marriage in all 50 states gets people’s attention. And with SCOTUS upholding the Affordable Care Act, some ask what they might focus on next.

Might SCOTUS strike down U.S. bar exams in the future? The American Thinker website considers the fate of bar exams if the Supreme Court turns a serious gander at current statistics. Is it inevitable that our bar exam will be challenged as having an unfair outcome and bite the dust?

Ponder this, then: A smaller percentage of blacks pass bar exams than do whites.

Stats from 2011 bar exam results in California, the state where the most bar exams are taken, clearly shows inequality in California pass rates.

  • White                          73.4%
  • Asian                          67.3%
  • Hispanic                    55.3%
  • Black                          45.7%
  • Other minorities      59.0%

and from a 2005 breakdown in New York, where the second highest number of bar exams are taken

  • Caucasian/White test-takers:                   86.8%
  • Asian/Pacific Islander test-takers:           80.1%
  • Hispanic/Latino test-takers:                    69.6%
  • Black/African American test-takers:      54.0%

A blog called, Inside The Law School Scam elaborates on those statistics—which have, no doubt, skewed even further against minorities in the past few years—and takes a look at how law school, in general, impacts minority students.

It seems that minority law school students come out of law school with more debt, lower grades, and poorer class standings than non-minority students. Then they may face a job market that is tough for everyone, but may be tougher on minorities.

A 2005 New York Times piece says, “About 88 percent of all law students (2005) pass a bar exam on the first attempt; 95 percent pass eventually. For blacks, the corresponding figures are 61 percent and 78 percent. (Black students’) … have overwhelmingly low GPAs. 52% of black law students are in the bottom 10% of their class. Only 8% are in the top half.”

So the question of disparity in the bar exam is a fair one, and could be carried further than the original pondering of whether the bar exam will not survive deep SCOTUS scrutiny. Does the entire law education process need tweaking? Tell us what you think.

 

 

 

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Hot Law Career—Environmental Law

environmental law

You’re busy preparing for your bar exam (you’ll do fine if you’re working with ReedBarReview.com, but in a month, you’ll be waiting for results. That’s a good time to ponder career direction, and a most promising up and coming law specialty is in the environment. Opportunities abound in the hot law career—environmental law.

Environmental law isn’t for everyone, since some cases require an incredible amount of dedication and passion in dealing with the spider web of laws, regulations, treaties, and customs that relate to this planet’s environment.

For those not up to speed on what that specialty involves, consider these important issues

Permits, leases, enforcement, and negotiations

Citizen suits about and environmental issues—community empowerment

Civil litigation related to the environment—access to justice

Compliance issues

Environmental justice

Often, such cases relate to non-profit grassroots groups working for environmental protection, neighborhood associations trying to protect their homes and communities, and people interested in health and quality of life issues that stem from environmental situations.

Environmental lawyers work with natural resource and mineral rights laws, water protection, and laws like endangered species acts, the Clean Water Act, national environmental policies, or public land management. The topics are diverse and complex, requiring dedication along with real legal talent.

If you’ve always seen yourself as an activist or a proponent of people’s rights—you’ll find yourself a good fit, in all likelihood. From time-to-time, the American Bar Association offers seminars and even a program fellowship in environmental law. To learn more about this career, you might visit the Fairshake firm’s blog. 

 

 

 

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Mnemonics for Passing the Bar Exam

mnemonics

Mnemonics are an age –old way of memorizing important information and concepts.  Nearly all students, including law students, understand that creating associations to jog your memory is a reliable method of remembering data that has to be regurgitated exactly as learned. If you haven’t been using mnemonics for passing your bar exam, you’d better start using them now!

What Kinds of Mnemonics Help Law Students?

  1. You can use a rhyme or poem that you make up or one that someone has shared with you. For example, nearly everyone knows this one

30 days hath September, April, June, and November.
All the rest have 31
Except February my dear son.
It has 28 and that is fine
But in Leap Year it has 29.

  1. You can organize your notes on a given topic, and that simple act is a memory device as well. You’ll be more likely to remember legal concepts if you rework your notes or simply read over your note cards regularly. If you need help, ReedBarReview has a set of flash cards that are unbeatable for efficiency and understandability.
  2. Music helps, too. You can put simple ideas into well-known tunes, and sing them to yourself when you need to conjure up the data on your bar exam.
  3. Try the most common mnemonic, the kind that assigns a word to each letter of the item to be remembered, then creates a silly sentence. A Rat In The House May Eat The Ice Cream. So what word did that spell? Read only the first letter if each word in our sentence.

Or try this one, from our study aids, “Six ways to impeach a witness: Peter Beat Paul Silly On Saturday, i.e., Prior inconsistent statements; Bias; Prior convictions; Specific bad acts; Opinion or reputation evidence as to veracity; and Sensory deficiencies. “

How Do Memory Tricks Help on the Bar Exam?

Our CEO/founder, Col. Hugh Reed says, “You need to compartmentalize information in order to recall under test anxiety moments.”

Storing info in your brain in an orderly way makes it easy to call up when needed. The bar exam is stressful—obviously, I don’t need to tell you that, especially those of you who have taken it before.  Think of using mnemonics this way. You’ll panic if you store all your clothes in a pile on the floor and are forced to find the perfect outfit when you have ten minutes to get ready for work. But it’s easy to find what you need if the clothes are sorted and put away. Same thing happens when you’re stressed at a test.

Many years ago, a study by Gerald Miller determined that students who regular used mnemonics increased their test scores by as much as 77%. Would that help you on your bar exam?  Take a moment to register at http://www.reedbarreview.com and browse the site. Let us know how we can help you as you prepare for the last bar exam you’ll need to take. We’ll get you there.

 

 

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New Ideas for a Law Degree Career Option

law degree career options

Your bar exam is fast approaching, but you’re suddenly unclear as to whether being an attorney is the right path for you. Well, that could be law graduate jitters, or it could mean you should explore a little before you nail a job. We offer you a list of other law degree career ideas for those holding a JD degree.

By all means, prep for your bar exam and pass it! We’ll help you, if you head over to ReedBarReview. Meanwhile, have a look at these ideas.

Counseling

You may need to think about a counseling degree or certification— not too tough to get. You’ll be skilled in understanding the stresses of any field, since you made it through one of the toughest processes, law school. School counselor, corporate training counselor, career counselor. Use your imagination.

Negotiation, Advocacy, and Conflict Resolution

Legal knowledge is a definite leg-up in these fields. You can read more here about careers in negotiation.

 

Development Aid Agencies

Here’s where you can begin to read about these jobs that help in emerging countries. Almost every nation has many such private agencies and opportunity is very real for someone with your education and qualifications.

Government and Politics

So you want to be a politician? You’d like a government job?  Ideas: special agent for departments like FBI, state bureaus of investigation, Homeland Security, and so forth. Foreign services officer? You’ll have to pass a background check, of course.

 

Almost anyone who’s anyone in government and politics is a lawyer. Pass your bar and aim high!

 

Finance, Banking, Economics

It goes without saying that this is a complicated and deeply layered field. If you like working with money and the concepts of finance, start here.

Entrepreneurial Start-up

By this time, you have all the needed characteristics and traits. Your network probably also includes people who could be of huge value to you. If you have the courage to go it alone, seek out a business you’re passionate about and, while you’re at it, consider crowd sourcing for funding it. Hey! You could even be an attorney!

 

Field of Education

You can teach, become a professor, a corporate trainer, professor, teacher, instructor, law coach, tutor, or focus on doing research to fix and improve existing laws.

Freelance or Staff Writing—Books, Articles, Papers

Many publications are leaning on freelancers since budgets for a huge staff are long gone. You can also get hired by various publishers to write a book series, edit legal books, or coach authors who don’t have the writing skills you have. You can ghost write books about law.

 

Why Are You Qualified?

By now, you have learned to do all this, or you wouldn’t have made it through law school:

  • Critical thinking/analytical writing
  • Organize thoughts and simplify complex ideas
  • Public and persuasive speaking, negotiation
  • Counsel, teach, work as part of a team
  • Compile and organize facts, data, and information
  • Highly effective research
  • Strategizing

By way of having learned all of those skills, you’ve acquired highly desirable traits like the ability to motivate and discipline yourself to remain organized and productive. You’re certainly goal-oriented and can focus on detail.  Your resume can encompass all of your past, related jobs prior to law school, your activities and successes in law school, and jobs you’ve held as you finished your law studies.

 

If you’re not sure being an attorney is the right path for you, study up on the ideas listed above, or use your imagination to find some more. Get professional help in writing a resume directed toward the career field you choose, and dive in. You can do anything you want, if you’re willing to struggle just a bit more to get there.

 

 

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BarBri Fails Bar Exam Candidates on Opening Day

barbri fails

Apparently, one of the largest, but not most reliable bar exam prep companies had a major SNAFU on opening day of July 2015 bar examination preparation. BarBri failed to even provide an opening day. A whole lot of candidates felt anxious and tremendously disappointed when that company’s failure to have a contingency plan left customers out in the cold.

BarBri’s website login failed Their data interface failed. Their notification of customers failed. We truly, truly hope all those poor bar exam candidates do not fail when the July bar exam comes around.

Here’s what the president of BarBri had to say in a letter to his customers. He fails to apologize, however, for the failed pedagogy that almost certainly has thousands failing the bar exam. (see ‪#‎ReedBarReviewTestimonials‬) and bar passage rates dropping at many schools across the country after most candidates take BarBri— hoping to pass the bar exam.

“OUR APOLOGIES, we plan to earn BACK YOUR TRUST
All of us at BARBRI would like to apologize for what was a rather unfortunate and untimely course of events regarding BARBRI Summer 2015 Opening Day. The technical obstacles with UStream and resulting issues caused you undue frustration. I am truly sorry and encourage you to remain confident that you are taking the best bar review available. For your convenience, a recorded playback of BARBRI Opening Day is now available to watch – click here to see it.Please know that this technical issue has strengthened our resolve. Everyone at BARBRI is working around the clock to make certain you have a completely satisfactory experience with our course going forward. You placed a great deal of trust in BARBRI and we are working hard to regain that trust.Customer service is a top priority for BARBRI. Please let me know if there is any additional support you need. —Mike Sims, BARBRI President, msims@barbri.com”

How can an apology possible help when your career depends upon outstanding quality preparation? It can’t.

Personal tutoring by attorney-instructors who regularly take the Multistate Bar Exam is your best bet to pass. Talk to someone who can teach you the exam, rather than some law professor who has no clue what’s been tested recently. We’ve got your covered. Now you have to take the step to call or contact us so we can get you ready to pass. Http://www.reedbarreview.com

Do it right now, July is very, very close.

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Cheap Law School Text Books Online

Here’s a solid gold list for the new crop of 1Ls at law schools across the U.S. We found five great resources for used and new law text books, all online. The cost of a legal education is a killer, and any help is worth a look—check out places to find cheap law school text books.

ReedBarReview.co doesn’t endorse or recommend any of these vendors. This list is a resource for you law students as you continue your law school careers. Vet them carefully.

 

So here we go. And our best wishes to you as you become a 1L. Or a 2L. Or a 3L.

Cheap Law School Text Books—Buy or Rent

AbeBooks.com —100% security and 30 day guarantee. Credit cards and Paypal.
campusbooks.com—Promises up to 90% off on new and used titles. Rental program available, Sell books back.
ecampus.comBuy or rent, buy in bulk, rewards program for frequent buyers.
mbsdirect.netClaims to partner with major schools so you get a better deal. Established 1994, claims 98% satisfaction.
ValoreBooks.com has a $500 drawing when you sign up for their mailing list. Claims the cheapest texts and best buy back prices. 30 day guar. Free return shipping.

 

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Are Computers Replacing Lawyers?

computers replace lawyers

Years ago, people with nonessential careers worried that their work could be taken over by computers. Should lawyers worry about being replaced by technology? A recent law conference, CodeX FutureLaw Conference at Stanford Law School, says software may well take over a surprising number of tasks that lawyers currently handle.

All that computer talk was the stuff of science fiction movies but, it became a sort of truth. We automate a lot of tasks that once required human intervention. Now, it’s becoming apparent that some lawyers, particularly those who refuse to keep themselves and their firms up-to-date in technological advances, may find software becoming a threat to revenue streams.

At the conference, University of Vermont law professor, Oliver Goodenough, said some things lawyers do in their heads, or dole out to associates, can be automated. He called law, “a computational exercise.”

If something is computational, then software can do it. Bloomberg takes a look at how legal offices will look five years from now. Pretty cool thoughts.

Think about it. Contracts are formulaic. The material that needs to be in  contract can be abstracted into a set of rules and necessary inclusions. That’s how lawyers know how to write a contract. That’s how computers will be able to do the same. A divorce is a series of specified variables. It’s even possible that a routine defense of a routine crime could be distilled down to a set of inclusions.

Does that mean all lawyers are doomed and that law students have wasted their law school time and will be searching for some other kinds of jobs before too long, while sophisticated learning-enabled software makes us all superfluous?

Not at all. But still, this trend is a warning to you all. The message is simple. In addition to law studies and Reed bar prep courses to prepare you for a successful future, you need to think about technology and how it meshes with your field’s very near future.

Learn all you can about coming and existing technology and software. What can be automated? What will be automated? How can you leverage that process to make your law practice efficient and valuable to your clients.

Are Computers Replacing Lawyers? There will always be functions that no computer or software can manage. Your best course is to figure out how you fit in to making technology enhance your career, not make you obsolete. You can begin today to reimagine yourself and your place in the legal system. It’s certainly an exercise worth your time.

Goodenough nailed it,

“Legacy processes don’t go away and the law is an immense legacy process.…once we get to the point where we can design contracts directly into the code…the people who are doing that will eat the lunch of the people who aren’t.”

 

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Facts About Law Careers

large law firm

Here are some interesting facts we accumulated about law and legal careers this year. We found that large law firms may not always be the best choice. We note that, while salaries for new lawyers are not skyrocketing, they are significant compared to other careers. We discovered that small firms can boast as much legal talent as a large firm might.

Small Law Firms Can Certainly Compete!

In February, the Above the Law blog looked at small and medium sized law firms. They concluded that big law layers are moving into their own firms and attracting great new legal talent to come along with them. firms not bloated with a huge staff and impersonal structure often have more efficient management practices. Smaller firms seem more up-to-date with adapting technology—a plus in today’s world.

Law School Graduates’ Salaries

Quartz explored law career salary trends and today’s pay rates for law graduates. They found that, across the board for 2015, new lawyers can expect to command a salary of about $135K. In larger firms, that can be as high as $160,000. Either way, not exactly poverty level for recent graduates, even though the school-related debt is a major factor. The piece pointed out that salaries haven’t risen much since 2009, but let’s keep in mind that most of those years encompassed one of the worst economies we’ve seen.

Should You Work for a Large Law Firm?

Here’s how many large law firms work— the leverage model—in which a steady stream of disposable associates rotate through the firm every couple of years.

The benefit to the law firm? Partners make a lot of money when they hire young lawyers to do a couple of thousand hours a year at a relatively low pay rate doing work that’s often tedious and repetitive. These rookies will soon leave voluntarily or will be told their is no long term prospect for them.

The key is, these firms are selective. They hire talented attorneys with a great school record and a strong resume. So, some of the associates will, ultimately be able to compete (rigorously) for a few key positions.

What’s the benefit to you? There could be several, including a cool resume hit when you’ve put in time at a firm with strong name recognition.

Don’t overlook the fact that larger firms invest a lot of time training associates and exposing them to work they simply wouldn’t have access to at a small firm—at least not in quantity. If you put yourself out there, demonstrate a willingness to work like a horse, and sucj up every bit of knowledge and exposure offered, you have the ability to build a solid basis of legal expertise in a relatively short time.

The glaring downside is working enough hours to effectively dampen your entire personal life. You’ll be tired, cranky, and disillusioned. But, you may gain insight and skills that you wouldn’t get elsewhere. We’ve all heard the old saw that what you’re willing to put into any endeavor is exactly what you’ll get out of it.

Career choices, in law or any other discipline, are very personal decisions. As you prepare for graduation this month, and you work to ensure your success on your bar exam, spend a bit of time considering what kind of law career you think you’d like. Then organize your strategy and tailor your resume to your dream job. Get out there.

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Will You Need Help Passing Your Bar Exam?

Do you need a tutor or bar prep course in order to succeed on your bar exam the first time you sit for that exam? There is mounting evidence that nearly every law student needs a formal bar preparation course or a  tutor.

Pass rates are plummeting, and traditional bar prep companies are just not delivering success to their customers. If you don’t want to become a failure statistic, proper preparation, keyed to your needs and study-style, is essential.

As graduation approaches, you have a lot on your plate. Maybe it feels like a survival technique to put off some decisions and to condense your thinking process in making others. Researching the myriad of options for bar exam prep may feel like one thing you can put off. Why not just register for whatever program some of your peers have talked up?

We advise you not to follow the herd—you’re not sheep. You’ve put years into your law school education, and jumping onboard a widely advertised commercial, traditional, cookie-cutter bar review can kill your dreams.

It’s entirely likely that you need exercises, study materials, practise, and personal attention that simply isn’t part of most courses.

Here are some things to consider:

  1. Have your grades been high average or above, consistently?
  2. Have you taken tests easily, without much stress, and found that self-preparation has gotten you a strong score on every test?
  3. Are you really good at tough multiple choice questions?
  4. Is reading a ton of material easy for you and do you retain information consistently?
  5. Do you write well on the fly, with good structure, excellent organization, and a skill for isolating key points?
  6. Is your school’s pass rate solidly high over the past three or four years?

If your answer to any of these questions is “No,” you’ll find the bar exam to be more than a little challenging, and without proper, personalized preparation, you stand a better than average chance of failure. Your stress level, alone, could scuttle you.

And What About the Law School You’re Graduating From?

There are a lot of personal factors that figure into your readiness for passing the bar exam, but some of the factors that impact success are critical issues that are beyond your control.

One expert says you should be concerned, “If you go to a law school that is unaccredited, ranked on the lower end of the spectrum, or in some way non-traditional, e.g. the school is brand new and there are no bar pass statistics, or the curriculum is entirely online, etc. or if the usual pass rates for the 3Ls who graduate from your school are below average for the state you’re in…”

Low pass rates could mean that a school is not adequately preparing its graduates to pass the bar exam on the first try, and that should always be the goal.  Study the success rate of your school, and the trend over a few recent years. If the student who sit for the bar exam are failing as often as passing, or worse, failing more often than passing, you have no choice but to seek extra help and support.

Keep in mind that Reed Bar Review thoroughly prepares you for the material you will  encounter on your bar exam. Founder/CEO Col. Hugh Reed has taken and passed more than two dozen bar exams in varying jurisdictions, and no one is better informed than he about what to expect on a bar exam.

Additionally, Col. Reed’s courses help you learn how to take and pass a bar exam. And a bar exam is not like any test you’ve taken. It’s tougher than a final exam, longer than any exam you’ve sat for, and constructed to cover a huge amount of detailed material that most preparation courses can only guess at.

Your Law School Faults Are Magnified at the Bar Exam

By now, as you approach graduation, you probably have a fair idea of what your personal challenges are in school. Maybe you don’t handle stress well, and anxiety can start to immobilize you. Maybe memorization is too challenging and you feel like you just don;t get the process. Maybe you’re disorganized and jump from item to item when you study or when you sit for a test.

No matter what the challenges are or have been, we promise they will be magnified when you’re in that large room, with other nervous students, and ready to put your new career on the line. You will walk out of their either as an attorney or as a person who failed the bar exam.

Reed Bar Review is a good choice for people who have experienced any of the above issues. We understand where you’re coming from and our tools address all of those issues—from poor law school preparation practises to high anxiety. We have tools to help you conquer all, and we guaranteed success…seriously…you get our guarantee.

Do your last bit of homework, look into the courses available, and pay close attention to what we offer you that no one else does. Consider costs, convenience, actual bar exam material and questions, skilled, professional tutors and Col. Reed himself.

Your success depends upon acting right now to engage the help you’ll need, and you will need help. Dont wait until you;re scared and desperate. Reach out for the help you’ll need, get your strategy in place, and take advantage of guaranteed success.

 

 

 

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What Comes After Your Bar Exam?

You passed!!

You passed!!

Now that you’re on your way to passing your bar exam, we can look at what comes next for the burgeoning lawyer about to embark on a legal career. The first task after your bar exam is to be formally inducted into the state bar in your jurisdiction. For many candidates, this ceremony is simple and private in a judge’s chambers; others choose to invite friends and family to a gathering in which you take your formal oath.

You’ve Passed the Bar—You’ve Taken Your Oath

Your years of study, preparation, lack of sleep, and intense expense have culminated in your becoming an official, fully cooked attorney and now your work is just beginning, believe it or not. You’ll face making career choices, interviewing for positions, maybe setting up your own practice or joining with others to create a firm. Whichever appeals to you, be aware that you can’t just sit back and expect that new license to maintain itself.

Each state license and bar membership comes with a mandate to do Mandatory Continuing Legal Education (MCLE) on a yearly basis. And you thought school was over! You’ll need to finish a set number of credits and courses each year.

Bookmark this American Bar Association (ABA) list of MCLE requirements by state. 

There are also a variety of certifications you can strive for. Yes, the certification initials look good after your name, but these specialty endorsements also provide a sense of your status and qualification in certain areas a legal practice like  civil trial law or, security disability  advocacies, and criminal, civil, or family law. To achieve such certifications, you’ll need to meet experience requirements and, of course, pass the ubiquitous examination. (Don’t worry, it’s nothing like a bar exam.)

Bookmark this National Board of Legal Specialty Certification page.

Browse the web for other organizations that certify law specialties. You’ll also find you can join local and specialty bar associations connected to such specialties. For example, the ABA offers a directory of local associations just for women attorneys. 

Bookmark this list of state court websites at the National Center for State Courts. You’ll have tons of interactions with the court system, of course, so it’s effective to become familiar with yours.

And one last resource, a list of career and education options. 

Now, take a deep breath after your bar exam, and we wish you the best of luck with your new career path. Please let your associates and friends know about ReedBarReview. Thanks!

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