failing the bar

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Anonymous User
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failing the bar

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Aug 02, 2012 1:41 pm

i am pretty sure i just failed the bar. my firm's offer letter says that the offer is contingent on passing the bar. i know most biglaw firms give second chances - but are there any that don't? and even if i got a second chance, are people who fail typically stealthed/not given work etc.? how big is the reputational impact?

EDIT: At at V10 in a major market so i think it won't be too hard (hopefully) to lateral after i (hopefully) pass in february. should i start looking pretty soon after i start so i can start fresh at a new firm (don't mind going to a nlj250 firm or a secondary market, as long as i won't be stealthed in a year or two)?

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Re: failing the bar

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Aug 02, 2012 1:49 pm

Anonymous User wrote:i am pretty sure i just failed the bar. my firm's offer letter says that the offer is contingent on passing the bar. i know most biglaw firms give second chances - but are there any that don't? and even if i got a second chance, are people who fail typically stealthed/not given work etc.? how big is the reputational impact?

EDIT: At at V10 in a major market so i think it won't be too hard (hopefully) to lateral after i (hopefully) pass in february. should i start looking pretty soon after i start so i can start fresh at a new firm (don't mind going to a nlj250 firm or a secondary market, as long as i won't be stealthed in a year or two)?


Unless you had a laptop crash or simply did not writing anything on an essay, you never know for sure you would fail. Given your credentials, it's really hard to fail the essays (not sure about your MBE).

Don't worry now.

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Re: failing the bar

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Aug 02, 2012 1:57 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:i am pretty sure i just failed the bar. my firm's offer letter says that the offer is contingent on passing the bar. i know most biglaw firms give second chances - but are there any that don't? and even if i got a second chance, are people who fail typically stealthed/not given work etc.? how big is the reputational impact?

EDIT: At at V10 in a major market so i think it won't be too hard (hopefully) to lateral after i (hopefully) pass in february. should i start looking pretty soon after i start so i can start fresh at a new firm (don't mind going to a nlj250 firm or a secondary market, as long as i won't be stealthed in a year or two)?


Unless you had a laptop crash or simply did not writing anything on an essay, you never know for sure you would fail. Given your credentials, it's really hard to fail the essays (not sure about your MBE).

Don't worry now.


thanks. id feel much better if i took any other state, but unfortunately took california. i studied pretty hard (1500 MBEs, outlined/wrote all of the essays in the bank) but on test day just choked. lots of flat out wrong law and missed issues. also, i thought the performance tests would provide a nice cushion because i am (or at least thought) i was a decent writer, but the first performance test was impossible - i'm not even sure if i answered what was asked.

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Re: failing the bar

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Aug 02, 2012 2:06 pm

If you're worried about the bar, this should cheer you up: --LinkRemoved--

(plenty of idiots took the bar with you)

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Re: failing the bar

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Aug 02, 2012 2:08 pm

stopping thinking about it and enjoy your break before the start date. If you look at what it takes to pass in California, you only need an average MBE and an average of 62 on the essays/PTs. That means you can miss major issues on 3 of the exams and still pass. And a 65 is basically issue spotting the major issues with some form a of rule statement that does not even require all the elements. It is a very low threshold, as long as you wrote on the correct topic and spit something out, you have a good chance at a 60 or 65s.

As for the PTs, well nobody I know liked PT1. It sucked, it was weird because the analysis was the same thing over and over and over again. I would not freak about it...it is about passing not about actually writing a good answer.


tl;dr. as the other poster said, unless you had a laptop crash or just did not answer an essay, you are just as likely to have passed as anyone else. Stop being neurotic.

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Re: failing the bar

Postby anxiousbarapplicant » Thu Aug 02, 2012 2:30 pm

I completely disagree with how everyone says that scoring a 62 or 65 is a "low" standard. I bought into the whole "I did well at a T14 and thus will most likely pass the bar if I keep pace with Barbri." I think that is true for most bars, but have you guys actually seen how difficult it is to get a 60+ on an essay?

Just take a quick look at http://www.baressays.com and you can see that a 60+ requires spotting all issues, very, very very few errors in blackletter law, and solid analysis. This makes sense because the California bar is NOT graded like a typical law school exam. For example, on the first problem, if you missed supplemental jurisdiction but had a PERFECT analysis of the rest of SMJ and PJ, in law school you'd get a B+ or, at worst, B (i.e., clearly passing). On the bar, however, examiners will be reading and as soon as they see that you missed an issue, 55 is the highest score you can hope to get. They're not going to "pass" (i.e., score above a 65) an essay unless it is beyond reproach.

I think a lot of people underestimate the difficulty of this bar and will likely be retaking in Feb.

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Re: failing the bar

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Aug 02, 2012 2:34 pm

Anonymous User wrote:If you're worried about the bar, this should cheer you up: --LinkRemoved--

(plenty of idiots took the bar with you)


Of course, testifying in court requires Miranda warnings because it is a "custodial interrogation"! fuck how could i have missed that??! haha, thank you for that.

to anxiousbarapplicant: i did look at baressays.com, which is why i am so worried. it does seem extremely difficult to break a 60 on the essays, and i know i missed issues in at least 3 or 4 of the essays so the highest i can expect on those is likely 50-55.

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Re: failing the bar

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Aug 02, 2012 2:42 pm

My firm also said that our employment is conditional on passing the bar exam. Doesn't sound like they allow for second chances. I hope they aren't serious though. I have no idea if I passed or not -- it wasn't smooth sailing.

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Re: failing the bar

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Aug 02, 2012 2:47 pm

Anonymous User wrote:My firm also said that our employment is conditional on passing the bar exam. Doesn't sound like they allow for second chances. I hope they aren't serious though. I have no idea if I passed or not -- it wasn't smooth sailing.


Vault range? Does anyone know any V10s that do not allow retakes?

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Re: failing the bar

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Aug 02, 2012 2:51 pm

I think people are in one of two camps re: the CA bar. I don't think anyone doubts that the exam is a difficult one, and the most difficult one in the country. However, the two camps are: 1) miss any issue and you're down to a sub-55 and 2) if you hit most of the major issues and have delivered proper rule statements, etc., you will be OK.

I missed what I'd consider to be a major issue on one essay (though not sure given how much there was to cover for that particular essay), and thought the sky was falling. I don't know if the sky is going to fall, but honestly I think the truth of it is somewhere in the middle of the two camps. I think, despite the Bar's best efforts to ensure calibration across the board, who you have as a grader will matter a lot.

Between BarBri's essay grading scale (one missed issue will get you below 65) and the almost impossible perfection of BarEssays, we're inclined to think that we're doomed. But I don't think either service does a very good job explaining variance of scores, etc. So I would just hang in there and see how the results pan out. It's going to be a long wait until November 16th; thankfully, I have a clerkship to soften the blow w/r/t the firm in the meantime.

Moreover, PT-A and PT-B were difficult by most accounts, so you are not alone.

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Re: failing the bar

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Aug 02, 2012 2:54 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I think people are in one of two camps re: the CA bar. I don't think anyone doubts that the exam is a difficult one, and the most difficult one in the country. However, the two camps are: 1) miss any issue and you're down to a sub-55 and 2) if you hit most of the major issues and have delivered proper rule statements, etc., you will be OK.

I missed what I'd consider to be a major issue on one essay (though not sure given how much there was to cover for that particular essay), and thought the sky was falling. I don't know if the sky is going to fall, but honestly I think the truth of it is somewhere in the middle of the two camps. I think, despite the Bar's best efforts to ensure calibration across the board, who you have as a grader will matter a lot.

Between BarBri's essay grading scale (one missed issue will get you below 65) and the almost impossible perfection of BarEssays, we're inclined to think that we're doomed. But I don't think either service does a very good job explaining variance of scores, etc. So I would just hang in there and see how the results pan out. It's going to be a long wait until November 16th; thankfully, I have a clerkship to soften the blow w/r/t the firm in the meantime.

Moreover, PT-A and PT-B were difficult by most accounts, so you are not alone.


Thank you for this. I completely agree with the grader variability (which seems arbitrary at best). I just wish my classmates/friends etc. would quit saying "If you did well well at a good school and you study hard, you're definitely going to pass." This just isn't the case with California!!

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Re: failing the bar

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Aug 02, 2012 2:58 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I think people are in one of two camps re: the CA bar. I don't think anyone doubts that the exam is a difficult one, and the most difficult one in the country. However, the two camps are: 1) miss any issue and you're down to a sub-55 and 2) if you hit most of the major issues and have delivered proper rule statements, etc., you will be OK.

I missed what I'd consider to be a major issue on one essay (though not sure given how much there was to cover for that particular essay), and thought the sky was falling. I don't know if the sky is going to fall, but honestly I think the truth of it is somewhere in the middle of the two camps. I think, despite the Bar's best efforts to ensure calibration across the board, who you have as a grader will matter a lot.

Between BarBri's essay grading scale (one missed issue will get you below 65) and the almost impossible perfection of BarEssays, we're inclined to think that we're doomed. But I don't think either service does a very good job explaining variance of scores, etc. So I would just hang in there and see how the results pan out. It's going to be a long wait until November 16th; thankfully, I have a clerkship to soften the blow w/r/t the firm in the meantime.

Moreover, PT-A and PT-B were difficult by most accounts, so you are not alone.


Thank you for this. I completely agree with the grader variability (which seems arbitrary at best). I just wish my classmates/friends etc. would quit saying "If you did well well at a good school and you study hard, you're definitely going to pass." This just isn't the case with California!!


No worries. If it helps, I think my V50 also said something about "contingent on bar passage" but gave us a lengthy memo on the firm's two-strikes-and-you're-out policy.

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Re: failing the bar

Postby anxiousbarapplicant » Thu Aug 02, 2012 3:02 pm

Baressays has a good sample size and they are real grades on real essays so I think its pretty accurate. So, while it may not be good news to most, to achieve that 60+ on an essays probably will require getting all the issues, good rule statements/analysis. Essays that have great analysis, rules etc. but miss even 1 minor issue generally get 50-55 on baressays. I agree that there is variability, but baressays has a large enough sample size that it provides good insight to what the CA bar graders want.

The reason that students from low-ranked California schools still pass is because they are basically enrolled in a 3 year bar review course. If you compare CA bar pass rates at top schools with other "hard" bars (NY/Virginia), CA is consistently (and significantly) lower.

The biggest (and arguably most successful) bar flame is that California has a low pass rate because of examinees from unaccredited schools.

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Re: failing the bar

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Aug 02, 2012 3:21 pm

anxiousbarapplicant wrote:Baressays has a good sample size and they are real grades on real essays so I think its pretty accurate. So, while it may not be good news to most, to achieve that 60+ on an essays probably will require getting all the issues, good rule statements/analysis. Essays that have great analysis, rules etc. but miss even 1 minor issue generally get 50-55 on baressays. I agree that there is variability, but baressays has a large enough sample size that it provides good insight to what the CA bar graders want.

The reason that students from low-ranked California schools still pass is because they are basically enrolled in a 3 year bar review course. If you compare CA bar pass rates at top schools with other "hard" bars (NY/Virginia), CA is consistently (and significantly) lower.

The biggest (and arguably most successful) bar flame is that California has a low pass rate because of examinees from unaccredited schools.


yup i think you are right on. the essays really were not that bad (in they were not hiding the ball on issues). the issues i missed were obvious (e.g., supplemental jx, waiver by taking stand); i don't know how i missed them but i did. many, many, many people from both highly ranked and lower ranked schools will have easily spotted all the issues to hit that 65. i have never heard anyone say "i missed a major issue, but still pass the California bar" because it just doesn't happen.

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vamedic03
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Re: failing the bar

Postby vamedic03 » Thu Aug 02, 2012 10:35 pm

Something about all the CA bar talk doesn't add up.

Looking at the 2010 July exam stats, for 1st time exam takers:

Yale - 100%
Harvard - 94%
Stanford - 98%
Columbia - 93%
Chicago - 100%
NYU - 84%
Berkeley - 91%
Virginia - 96%
Michigan - 86%
Penn - 85%

I'm too lazy to go any further on the stats, but you can't tell me that all these people performed 'perfectly' on the bar. Heck, looking at these pass rates, CA looks about like any other state.

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Re: failing the bar

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Aug 02, 2012 10:37 pm

anon above: that's exactly what makes the california bar hard. the essays themselves are not objectively difficult - the issues are not hidden like they are in a law school exam and the rules are generally straightforward (at least compared to the rules you need to know for the MBE). however, examiners expect perfection in terms of hitting the issues and reciting the rules, which is a difficult thing to do consistently, especially under timed/test conditions. i know barbri emphasizes the "minimal competency" thing, but that just is simply not true for the california bar.

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Re: failing the bar

Postby vamedic03 » Thu Aug 02, 2012 10:40 pm

Anonymous User wrote:anon above: that's exactly what makes the california bar hard. the essays themselves are not objectively difficult - the issues are not hidden like they are in a law school exam and the rules are generally straightforward (at least compared to the rules you need to know for the MBE). however, examiners expect perfection in terms of hitting the issues and reciting the rules, which is a difficult thing to do consistently, especially under timed/test conditions. i know barbri emphasizes the "minimal competency" thing, but that just is simply not true for the california bar.


But the pass rates for the California bar, when looked at by school, are no different than other states. Heck, UVA has a better pass rate in California than in VA (91.37% for 1st time).

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Re: failing the bar

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Aug 02, 2012 10:44 pm

under 40 take it each year from uva. small sample size skews things.

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Re: failing the bar

Postby sbalive » Thu Aug 02, 2012 11:19 pm

Anonymous User wrote:under 40 take it each year from uva. small sample size skews things.


but not such a small sample size if you combine everyone from all the T14 schools. And

I don't really know what to do with all the negativity in this thread. Probably worth considering that Cal essay scores are "calibrated" based on a random sample of the answers, and the essay scores are also scaled by the MBE to ensure uniformity from year to year. It's not really possible to translate raw performance in terms of issues spotted & analyzed to a scaled score.

Everyone should just chill & wait for scores. I understand that some people want to obsess on the negative so as to be ready for bad news; I have a similar personality & I can't help but occasionally recall issues that I missed or rules that I got wrong on the exam. But a lot of what's in this thread is really overblown.

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Re: failing the bar

Postby Julio_El_Chavo » Thu Aug 02, 2012 11:37 pm

vamedic03 wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:anon above: that's exactly what makes the california bar hard. the essays themselves are not objectively difficult - the issues are not hidden like they are in a law school exam and the rules are generally straightforward (at least compared to the rules you need to know for the MBE). however, examiners expect perfection in terms of hitting the issues and reciting the rules, which is a difficult thing to do consistently, especially under timed/test conditions. i know barbri emphasizes the "minimal competency" thing, but that just is simply not true for the california bar.


But the pass rates for the California bar, when looked at by school, are no different than other states. Heck, UVA has a better pass rate in California than in VA (91.37% for 1st time).


The only people who take the CA bar from these top schools have biglaw gigs and, especially from schools like UVA, usually have good grades; so the CA bar passage rate from UVA is not very representative of how an average UVA student would do on the CA bar. Then again, if you're from one of these schools and you have a biglaw job lined up (like the OP), you should bank on your chances being close to 91 percent or whatever.

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Re: failing the bar

Postby thesealocust » Fri Aug 03, 2012 12:17 am

If it be not now, it is to come. If it is not to come, then it must be now. The readiness is all.

You tried, you gave it a solid effort. Let go of the anxiety. Cross the bridge of bar failure when and if it comes.

The nightmare scenario is unlikely. You probably passed. And if you didn't, your firm will probably just let you take it again and not give a shit. Law school is over- how you perform as a lawyer will determine your future, not people talking about your test performance behind your back. The bar is tough and shit happens.

But if everything conspires against you... you'll still find something to do. And no matter what, time spent worrying about it now won't help. Get off TLS. Get away from other people being anxious about the issues on the bar.

Let go of the things you have no control over. Take up exercise, read some books, get ready for your job or your job hunt. Spend time with friends and family. Adopt a puppy.

Law school and the legal industry try their damndest to crowd out everything good in life and leave you with artificial hurdles, anxiety, and dick measuring contests. Don't let that bullshit determine how you feel about yourself.

Don't let them win.

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barestin
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Re: failing the bar

Postby barestin » Fri Aug 03, 2012 12:34 am

.

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Re: failing the bar

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Aug 03, 2012 2:08 am

The school pass rate statistics aren't reliable because, as mentioned above, the small sample size and the self-selection of people who take the California bar from t-14 schools. Everyone at my law school taking California has a job at a bigfirm - most at very selective firms like Gibson Dunn, Latham, OMM, and MoFo. This is certainly not true of other "difficult" states like NY and Virginia where many people who do not have jobs yet sit for the bar.

The majority of people who got good grades in law school are able to spot and properly analyze the issues on the California essays. These students are also unlikely to blow off studying for the bar. However, there will always be people who studied hard and have the ability to spot/analyze all the issues (like OP) but for whatever reason, fail to do so on game day. Could be test nerves, misreading one question, or whatever. This is why the pass rate is not 100%; for any other state, if you took people from T-14 schools at the top of the class, the pass rate will be 100% (at least much, much closer to 100%).

Bottom line: baressays.com has real essays with real scores and its clear that a "passing" California essay requires spotting every issue, knowing the rules and not misstating the law, and good analysis. This is why California is the hardest bar in the country.

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Re: failing the bar

Postby hiima3L » Fri Aug 03, 2012 2:44 am

From what I've been told, the best predictor of passing the bar is a combination of school quality and class rank.

My school (Hastings) has had an ~80-85% passage rate the past decade. A prof of mine explained that those who don't pass are almost invariably in the bottom of the class. The top 1/2, for instance, has had a ~95% historical pass rate. Given Hastings's pooping out hundreds of grads every year, I'd say those are some reliable statistics.

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Mick Haller
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Re: failing the bar

Postby Mick Haller » Fri Aug 03, 2012 2:55 am

I'll believe these doomsayers when I see it. I don't believe 75% of McGeorge people got 100% of the issues on 5/6 essays. I feel I did above average and I missed many of the issues mentioned in this thread.

Baressays.com? I know they are allegedly "real scores," but I've seen enough of how Barbri and Kaplan grade practice essays to know that 2/3 of what bar prep companies do is scare the bejeesus out of their students. They need you to be scared to sell you their product.




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