Bar pass rate v. US News rank

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bizjunkie4
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Bar pass rate v. US News rank

Postby bizjunkie4 » Mon Oct 18, 2010 5:48 pm

When I decided to go to law school two years ago, I put a lot of weight on the US News rank of the schools to which I applied. I eventually picked Louisville, a school that has since fallen out of the Top 100. But then a few weeks ago I received the below list of bar pass rates, which made me wonder: if my law school has a higher pass rate (at least this year) than schools such as Indiana and UK, do the rankings really matter that much?

July 2010 bar passage rate for first time test takers
Louisville (Brandeis): 92 percent
University of Kentucky: 84 percent
Northern Kentucky (Chase): 77 percent

Your thoughts?

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Veyron
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Re: Bar pass rate v. US News rank

Postby Veyron » Mon Oct 18, 2010 5:52 pm

bizjunkie4 wrote:When I decided to go to law school two years ago, I put a lot of weight on the US News rank of the schools to which I applied. I eventually picked Louisville, a school that has since fallen out of the Top 100. But then a few weeks ago I received the below list of bar pass rates, which made me wonder: if my law school has a higher pass rate (at least this year) than schools such as Indiana and UK, do the rankings really matter that much?

July 2010 bar passage rate for first time test takers
Louisville (Brandeis): 92 percent
University of Kentucky: 84 percent
Northern Kentucky (Chase): 77 percent

Your thoughts?


Absolutely not! (as long as you're going to law school to pass the bar, not get a job)

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bk1
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Re: Bar pass rate v. US News rank

Postby bk1 » Mon Oct 18, 2010 5:55 pm

I'd go to Yale over any of those even if their bar passage rate was 5%.

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CGI Fridays
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Re: Bar pass rate v. US News rank

Postby CGI Fridays » Mon Oct 18, 2010 5:58 pm

Different bar difficulties in different states.
Within any given state, I agree that this should be big.

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CGI Fridays
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Re: Bar pass rate v. US News rank

Postby CGI Fridays » Mon Oct 18, 2010 6:00 pm

bk1 wrote:I'd go to Yale over any of those even if their bar passage rate was 5%.


I'm assuming you're joking, but it brings up an interesting point: how low would Yale have to drop before you'd take another school over it, even if it maintained USNWR's #1 spot?

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bizjunkie4
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Re: Bar pass rate v. US News rank

Postby bizjunkie4 » Mon Oct 18, 2010 6:00 pm

bk1 wrote:I'd go to Yale over any of those even if their bar passage rate was 5%.


That's a bold claim. I wonder if you would repeat it after, say, two years of law school. At the same time, perhaps you are right. I have heard many posters on this site make the assertion that rankings are valid for T14, but after that they are much less meaningful. My LSAT score was not good enough to even apply to Yale.

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CGI Fridays
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Re: Bar pass rate v. US News rank

Postby CGI Fridays » Mon Oct 18, 2010 6:02 pm

bizjunkie4 wrote:At the same time, perhaps you are right.

In the extremely unlikely event that he was being serious, he wouldn't be right unless those schools all have real law job employment rates of 5% or lower.

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nealric
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Re: Bar pass rate v. US News rank

Postby nealric » Mon Oct 18, 2010 6:07 pm

Bar pass rates are more of a function of how well people pay attention in barbri (or whether they even take barbri) than anything else. The bar exam had very little to do with what I did in law school.

Besides, at just about every school outside the fourth tier (or perhaps a few California schools), just about everyone passes the bar by their second try. It's not really an issue.


I'd go to Yale over any of those even if their bar passage rate was 5%.


Yale's bar passage rate will never be that low as long as it attracts the caliber the students it does. I'm pretty certain that most Yale students could pass the bar with 2 months of barrbri and no law school. Frankly, I think most students at any first tier school could do it. All that's required to pass the bar is the ability to memorize a massive amount of black letter law and a rudimentary understanding of legal writing.

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bizjunkie4
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Re: Bar pass rate v. US News rank

Postby bizjunkie4 » Mon Oct 18, 2010 6:11 pm

nealric wrote:Bar pass rates are more of a function of how well people pay attention in barbri (or whether they even take barbri) than anything else. The bar exam had very little to do with what I did in law school.

Besides, at just about every school outside the fourth tier (or perhaps a few California schools), just about everyone passes the bar by their second try. It's not really an issue.


I'd go to Yale over any of those even if their bar passage rate was 5%.


Yale's bar passage rate will never be that low as long as it attracts the caliber the students it does. I'm pretty certain that most Yale students could pass the bar with 2 months of barrbri and no law school. Frankly, I think most students at any first tier school could do it.


Typical 0L attitude. But we digress. And the Yale issue is a red herring. The real question: for law schools outside the T14, what should matter more: bar passage, or US News? Or a mix with other factors?

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Re: Bar pass rate v. US News rank

Postby bk1 » Mon Oct 18, 2010 6:13 pm

It was clearly hyperbolic, but I think bar passage rate is more spurious than anything.

I could go into a large diatribe about how bar passage rate is probably a function of what percentage of graduates have jobs (at least that's my thought) and how people say that law school doesn't really teach you to take the bar (which is why you study hardcore and take prep courses for it, or so I'm told), but that doesn't even matter.

At good/decent schools where there is a difference in employment prospects, the difference in bar passage rate isn't enough to even matter. However at TTT's the difference in job prospects isn't large enough to make bar passage rate even matter when compared to something more important, like cost or the region it places in.

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Re: Bar pass rate v. US News rank

Postby bizjunkie4 » Mon Oct 18, 2010 6:23 pm

bk1 wrote:It was clearly hyperbolic, but I think bar passage rate is more spurious than anything.

I could go into a large diatribe about how bar passage rate is probably a function of what percentage of graduates have jobs (at least that's my thought) and how people say that law school doesn't really teach you to take the bar (which is why you study hardcore and take prep courses for it, or so I'm told), but that doesn't even matter.

At good/decent schools where there is a difference in employment prospects, the difference in bar passage rate isn't enough to even matter. However at TTT's the difference in job prospects isn't large enough to make bar passage rate even matter when compared to something more important, like cost or the region it places in.


So your theory is that graduates with jobs try harder to pass the bar because they fear losing their position? I suppose that could be a factor, but I wonder if the answer is simpler -- the atmosphere of the school. For example, the folks at Barbri will tell you that the easiest way to fail the bar is by not taking it seriously, regardless of your intellect. Therefore, it's crucial to select a school that will support you academically, and promote hard work, humility, and deference to how difficult the bar really is.

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Re: Bar pass rate v. US News rank

Postby bk1 » Mon Oct 18, 2010 6:26 pm

bizjunkie4 wrote:So your theory is that graduates with jobs try harder to pass the bar because they fear losing their position? I suppose that could be a factor, I wonder if the answer is simpler. The atmosphere of the school. The folks at Barbri will tell you that the easiest way to fail the bar is by not taking it seriously, regardless of your intellect. But that's just me.


Those from better schools put more effort because they have a job or feel like they will find a job. If you graduate without a job and feel like you have little chance of getting a job, I can see that as quite the demoralizer when trying to study for the bar or even fork up the cash for BarBri.

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bizjunkie4
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Re: Bar pass rate v. US News rank

Postby bizjunkie4 » Mon Oct 18, 2010 6:33 pm

bk1 wrote:
bizjunkie4 wrote:So your theory is that graduates with jobs try harder to pass the bar because they fear losing their position? I suppose that could be a factor, I wonder if the answer is simpler. The atmosphere of the school. The folks at Barbri will tell you that the easiest way to fail the bar is by not taking it seriously, regardless of your intellect. But that's just me.


Those from better schools put more effort because they have a job or feel like they will find a job. If you graduate without a job and feel like you have little chance of getting a job, I can see that as quite the demoralizer when trying to study for the bar or even fork up the cash for BarBri.


Most law students sign up for Barbri in the first semester of their 1L year, before they know anything about grades or job prospects (this allows 1Ls to "lock in" their price. Also, it is not at all uncommon for students who have landed jobs at medium or big firms, at least in the Louisville market, to remain in their current position and take the February exam if they fail the first time in July. It doesn't happen all the time, but I know of two students in this position from July.

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Re: Bar pass rate v. US News rank

Postby sophia.olive » Mon Oct 18, 2010 6:34 pm

bizjunkie4 wrote:
bk1 wrote:It was clearly hyperbolic, but I think bar passage rate is more spurious than anything.

I could go into a large diatribe about how bar passage rate is probably a function of what percentage of graduates have jobs (at least that's my thought) and how people say that law school doesn't really teach you to take the bar (which is why you study hardcore and take prep courses for it, or so I'm told), but that doesn't even matter.

At good/decent schools where there is a difference in employment prospects, the difference in bar passage rate isn't enough to even matter. However at TTT's the difference in job prospects isn't large enough to make bar passage rate even matter when compared to something more important, like cost or the region it places in.


So your theory is that graduates with jobs try harder to pass the bar because they fear losing their position? I suppose that could be a factor, but I wonder if the answer is simpler -- the atmosphere of the school. For example, the folks at Barbri will tell you that the easiest way to fail the bar is by not taking it seriously, regardless of your intellect. Therefore, it's crucial to select a school that will support you academically, and promote hard work, humility, and deference to how difficult the bar really is.


Or you can just take it seriously.

These numbers require factoring in a bunch of other things. Different states. Wether you are unemployed studying for the test all day or working a nice legal gig studying in your free time. A school that cant get you a job outside of the state may stress the test where as a school next door may have the top of the class going to california for jobs while the lower half take the test in the state.

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Re: Bar pass rate v. US News rank

Postby bk1 » Mon Oct 18, 2010 6:35 pm

bizjunkie4 wrote:Most law students sign up for Barbri in the first semester of their 1L year, before they know anything about grades or job prospects (this allows 1Ls to "lock in" their price. Also, it is not at all uncommon for students who have landed jobs at medium or big firms, at least in the Louisville market, to remain in their current position and take the February exam if they fail the first time in July. It doesn't happen all the time, but I know of two students in this position from July.


Okay, but I would still think that bar passage rate is more a function of having/expecting a job. Also possibly dedication as people with lower GPA's/LSAT's are often, though not always, those who put in less effort.

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Re: Bar pass rate v. US News rank

Postby Barbie » Mon Oct 18, 2010 6:40 pm

bk1 wrote:
bizjunkie4 wrote:Most law students sign up for Barbri in the first semester of their 1L year, before they know anything about grades or job prospects (this allows 1Ls to "lock in" their price. Also, it is not at all uncommon for students who have landed jobs at medium or big firms, at least in the Louisville market, to remain in their current position and take the February exam if they fail the first time in July. It doesn't happen all the time, but I know of two students in this position from July.


Okay, but I would still think that bar passage rate is more a function of having/expecting a job. Also possibly dedication as people with lower GPA's/LSAT's are often, though not always, those who put in less effort.


bk I'm surprised you didn't put the famous "... I'm just waiting for the parenthesis to end" haha

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Re: Bar pass rate v. US News rank

Postby bk1 » Mon Oct 18, 2010 6:44 pm

Barbie wrote:bk I'm surprised you didn't put the famous "... I'm just waiting for the parenthesis to end" haha


Haha I didn't even see it. Things are less noticeable on a phone. :(

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Re: Bar pass rate v. US News rank

Postby bizjunkie4 » Mon Oct 18, 2010 6:53 pm

bk1 wrote:
Barbie wrote:bk I'm surprised you didn't put the famous "... I'm just waiting for the parenthesis to end" haha


Haha I didn't even see it. Things are less noticeable on a phone. :(



Fifty lashes with a wet noodle for me. You will both make good lawyers!

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Re: Bar pass rate v. US News rank

Postby 20160810 » Mon Oct 18, 2010 7:10 pm

Passing the Bar is of paramount importance, but (1.) there really isn't a single good law school with a BP rate low enough that one ought to be concerned about it and (2.) A good BP rate at a low-ranked school is nice, but it isn't actually all that important. Pepperdine is always bragging about their 90%+ BP rate, but since all their graduates have $200,000 in debt and no jobs, I'm inclined to ask Who cares?

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Re: Bar pass rate v. US News rank

Postby nealric » Mon Oct 18, 2010 7:12 pm

Typical 0L attitude. But we digress.


Lol, I'm done with law school. I've actually taken the bar. Thought my post made that point clear.

The real question: for law schools outside the T14, what should matter more: bar passage, or US News? Or a mix with other factors?


The only thing that matters is job placement. The correlation between placement and USNEWS gets weaker as you goes down the rankings. Some T3s place fine in their home markets, others don't place well anywhere. With school-supplied numbers as bad as they are, all a prospective law student can do is talk to a lot of alums (especially RECENT alums) of the school.
Last edited by nealric on Mon Oct 18, 2010 7:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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bizjunkie4
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Re: Bar pass rate v. US News rank

Postby bizjunkie4 » Mon Oct 18, 2010 7:16 pm

nealric wrote:
Typical 0L attitude. But we digress.


Lol, I'm done with law school. I've actually taken the bar.


Ha ha. Congrats. Do you really mean that about taking the bar after two months of prep courses? I certainly agree with you that law school doesn't prepare one for the bar. Heck, law school doesn't even prepare students for law school exams.

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Re: Bar pass rate v. US News rank

Postby 20160810 » Mon Oct 18, 2010 7:19 pm

bizjunkie4 wrote:
nealric wrote:
Typical 0L attitude. But we digress.


Lol, I'm done with law school. I've actually taken the bar.


Ha ha. Congrats. Do you really mean that about taking the bar after two months of prep courses? I certainly agree with you that law school doesn't prepare one for the bar. Heck, law school doesn't even prepare students for law school exams.

I knew several people who used Barbri materials to study for their 1L courses. I would be surprised if a large number of people couldn't pass the bar after just Barbri.

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Re: Bar pass rate v. US News rank

Postby nealric » Mon Oct 18, 2010 7:22 pm

Ha ha. Congrats. Do you really mean that about taking the bar after two months of prep courses?


Yeah, I really mean that. I had only taken around 7 of the 21 subjects on the bar in law school. Even for many classes I did take, my law school classwork often had little to do with what the bar tested. The only exceptions were Torts and Evidence. Bar studying was basically a two-month cram session.

We will see if I passed in November, but if I failed It was only because I didn't cram hard enough or because I misbubbled or something- not because my law school experience wasn't up to snuff.

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Re: Bar pass rate v. US News rank

Postby bizjunkie4 » Tue Oct 19, 2010 9:27 am

SBL wrote:Passing the Bar is of paramount importance, but (1.) there really isn't a single good law school with a BP rate low enough that one ought to be concerned about it and (2.) A good BP rate at a low-ranked school is nice, but it isn't actually all that important. Pepperdine is always bragging about their 90%+ BP rate, but since all their graduates have $200,000 in debt and no jobs, I'm inclined to ask Who cares?


Pepperdine, at least according to TLS, has a 77 percent pass rate, and 92 percent of its graduates are employed within 9 months of graduation.

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Re: Bar pass rate v. US News rank

Postby bizjunkie4 » Tue Oct 19, 2010 9:33 am

nealric wrote:
Typical 0L attitude. But we digress.


Lol, I'm done with law school. I've actually taken the bar. Thought my post made that point clear.

The real question: for law schools outside the T14, what should matter more: bar passage, or US News? Or a mix with other factors?


The only thing that matters is job placement. The correlation between placement and USNEWS gets weaker as you goes down the rankings. Some T3s place fine in their home markets, others don't place well anywhere. With school-supplied numbers as bad as they are, all a prospective law student can do is talk to a lot of alums (especially RECENT alums) of the school.



I think this is a fair analysis. For example, I know that Louisville places very well in Kentucky, and has some reach into surrounding markets such as Cincinnati and Nashville. Outside those areas, you probably need terrific grades, a personal connection, or both. Or have your sights set on smaller firms in smaller markets. It's troubling, in my opinion, that prospective law students (including myself two years ago) spend so much time looking at rankings and prestige when other factors such as job placement, bar passage, and local market conditions are probably just as important.




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