NC Law school is doubling down on teaching the the bar exam

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jdcumlaude
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Joined: Wed Jun 03, 2015 9:44 am

NC Law school is doubling down on teaching the the bar exam

Postby jdcumlaude » Fri May 05, 2017 8:56 am

It is always fun to watch law schools put a positive spin on poor results. However, this time around Campbell’s Dean, Rich Leonard, has denied me this bit of enjoyment. In Campbell’s most recent Law Brief (a monthly mailer sent to alums and others detailing events in the school) Dean Leonard opted to take the results on the chin.

A complete PDF copy of the document can be found here:

http://alumni.campbell.edu/s/881/images ... 71f2a382dc

I find the solutions offered by Dean Leonard a bit perplexing. Campbell for years (decades even) has had a reputation for high bar passage rates, often greater than 90%. This statistic has waned over the past few years. Along with Campbell’s reputation as “that school with the high bar passage” it also gained a reputation for teaching to the bar. This is where I find Dean Leonard’s proposed solution to be strange. In the brief Dean Leonard informs readers that:

“We are just completing a new course, Applied Legal Analysis (team-taught by the faculty here as an overload for everyone) that has focused on the seven topics tested on the MBE, the multiple choice portion of the bar exam”

This seems like a decent plan, except for the fact that when I attended Campbell (class of 2013) all MBE course were required curriculum. Hence the reputation for being a school that “teaches to the bar.” It seems that Campbell’s solution to its poor bar passage rate is to double down on the same curriculum. This is not an issue of flawed methodology, but rather an issue of misdiagnosis. Looking back at the various ABA data on school admission one can easily see a decline in the quality of students admitted to Campbell (please feel free to send me hate-mail via LinkedIn if that will make you feel better). This loss in student quality combined with increasing difficulty of the bar exam will naturally result in poor performance on the NCBE.

Dean Leonard then goes on to address the most frightful issue as it relates to Campbell’s poor performance, poverty after the fact.

“And finally, I will ask your help. Recalling that I was completely broke and almost starved the summer I took the bar exam, I am putting together a financial support program for our students. The Student Bar Association has saved and contributed an initial $15K and I will soon ask alumni and friends to match that. Stay tuned for details”

30k seems to be a modest goal considering sticker at Campbell Law is $39,000.00 per year. By Dean Leonard’s own admission this program would be in its infancy, but I would hope that the purpose is more than just financially floating students between bar exam failures (again please send hate-mail via LinkedIn direct messaging service). I fear that Campbell may try to pay a pittance to men and women who the school has helped make paupers.

Altruism is not the only motive here. It never is, nor can it ever be when tuition subsidizes where prestige and real results are lacking. Without improvements to Campbell’s bar passage rate their employment statistics will remain stagnant (best case scenario). The class of 2016 had underwhelming results with less than 50% of graduates finding full-time long-term employment as attorneys. Campbell’s administration knows full well that the current legal market in the region is horribly glutted. Opportunity is lacking, the only thing Campbell can do at this point is at least try to ensure that more of their graduates are eligible for the aforementioned “gold standard” for post-graduate employment. Campbell is not in a position to reduce tuition. Property in downtown Raleigh is not cheap. Keeping up appearances is also a rather expensive task. Finally, the cost of employing Campbell’s leadership is also an issue that needs to be dealt with.

Lest you think my last argument is petty and unsupported, Campbell University’s 990 from 2014 can be found here:

http://990s.foundationcenter.org/990_pd ... 05_990.pdf

You will find the relevant information on page 15, but if you trust me, the top two wage earners at Campbell’s Law school make $480,000.00 per year.



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