JoeSeperac wrote:anon sequitur wrote:A decrease in the overall gpa/LSAT of the population taking the test seems pretty significant, wouldn't you expect scores to go down when that happens? Especially if it's a sustained drop over 5+ years at his point?
Bar exam pass rates are tied to the MBE (e.g. if the MBE average for an administration goes up, the pass rates almost always go up) and MBE scores are correlated with LSAT scores. The 2013 Full-Time Law School Matriculants (who took the bar exam in 2016) had a 25th LSAT Percentile/75th LSAT Percentile average of 155.8. Meanwhile, the 2014 Full-Time Law School Matriculants (who took the bar exam in 2017) had a 25th LSAT Percentile/75th LSAT Percentile average of 155.6. This trend continued. The 2015 Full-Time Law School Matriculants (who take the bar exam in 2018) had a 25th LSAT Percentile/75th LSAT Percentile average of 155.4. The 2016 Full-Time Law School Matriculants (who take the bar exam in 2019) had a 25th LSAT Percentile/75th LSAT Percentile average of 154.2. If the Full-Time Law School Matriculants are becoming statistically less capable with each passing year, it is reasonable to presume that the bar pass rates will be lower. FYI, the LSAT percentiles for 2017 matriculants finally reversed their slide so I would expect 2020 pass rates to be better than 2019 pass rates.
To illustrate, below is a chart where I compare the CA pass rate over the past 20 years to the national mean MBE over the last 20 years and the LSAT Percentiles from 2010-2014 (to correspond with 2013-2017 pass rates).
This is pretty interesting. The issue relates to supply and demand. The California cut rate sets a limit and a higher bar than other states. The obvious effect of which is to limit the number of attorneys entering the market. Does performance on the Bar exam measure the qualities needed in a lawyer. Not really. It would be better to put a $100 bill on the floor to see what the proposed lawyer does. Does he pocket it, does he yell fire to clear the room then pocket it, does he try to find the real owner, or does he try to find the real owner but charge the real owner for his finder services . My point is integrity and the desire to truly help people is by far the most important trait for the profession, but not really measurable by test. Because we cannot measure "all things lawyer," the cut is made by measuring memorization skills, speed typing, and logic and analysis skills. In Texas about 80% of bar takers pass, but competition for good clients is fierce. I know a few competent (but not great) lawyers that charge clients (who can afford hirer rates) $300 a day (as opposed to per hour) because they need that business to feed their families. I cannot come close that rate and pay staff, rent and allow for pro bono services for those persons truly deserving of reduced/free rates. But I find myself competing with $300.00 a day lawyers for business. This may explain why LSAT scores are going down. The legal field is not a lucrative as it was years ago, especially in Texas, so highly intelligent and motivated persons choose a different career path. At this time, I am unaware of an experienced California attorney who will work for $300 a day. (Maybe if offered a full time job with guaranteed 5 days a week a few new attorneys may accept). This might change if the cut score is lowered.