Which bar to take when going to the Big 4?

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BarBound

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Which bar to take when going to the Big 4?

Postby BarBound » Tue Jan 08, 2019 3:31 am

I am going to be working for a Big 4 firm in San Francisco after graduating and taking the bar. I do like California a lot, but I do not like that California has not adopted the UBE, and the exam is notoriously difficult.

I have the blessing of the firm to take the bar anywhere. I understand I am most likely to make strong connections in the Bay Area, but it is hard to say the best opportunities will emerge in California over the 34 other jurisdictions that have adopted the UBE--especially given that I am not from California.

I'm hoping someone can present a convincing argument for whether I should commit to the California dream or maximize my options across the nation. It is important to note that, at this point, I am exclusively interested in international law--particularly international trade.

Lancair

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Re: Which bar to take when going to the Big 4?

Postby Lancair » Wed Jan 09, 2019 9:21 pm

BarBound wrote:I am going to be working for a Big 4 firm in San Francisco after graduating and taking the bar. I do like California a lot, but I do not like that California has not adopted the UBE, and the exam is notoriously difficult.

I have the blessing of the firm to take the bar anywhere. I understand I am most likely to make strong connections in the Bay Area, but it is hard to say the best opportunities will emerge in California over the 34 other jurisdictions that have adopted the UBE--especially given that I am not from California.

I'm hoping someone can present a convincing argument for whether I should commit to the California dream or maximize my options across the nation. It is important to note that, at this point, I am exclusively interested in international law--particularly international trade.


I guess it's a balancing act. The benefit of taking the CA bar is that if you wanted to move to a law firm in CA, you'd presumably need the CA bar. If that is on the radar, makes sense to suck it up and get the CA bar over with. On the other hand, if no such move was on the radar, or also on the radar is a move to the east coast, the more conservative approach might be to take NY or DC (both 266 UBE jurisdictions). Easy to justify that as having a potentially greater link to international/trade law than CA. If later down the line you want to move to a CA firm, do the CA bar then.

QContinuum

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Re: Which bar to take when going to the Big 4?

Postby QContinuum » Wed Jan 09, 2019 10:54 pm

BarBound wrote:I have the blessing of the firm to take the bar anywhere. I understand I am most likely to make strong connections in the Bay Area, but it is hard to say the best opportunities will emerge in California over the 34 other jurisdictions that have adopted the UBE--especially given that I am not from California.

I disagree with the reasoning above. You're not presently in California, but you'll be living and working in SF for at least the next few years (presumably) at your Big4. By that time you will be a Californian. Your fledgling professional network will be Bay Area-based. Add in the fact that California has the second-biggest legal market in the States (after New York), and I think the CA bar is well worth the investment. 34 jurisdictions sounds impressive but the vast majority of the 34 UBE jurisdictions have tiny legal markets. Heck, you might even acquire a SO while in San Fran who may not wish to leave the state.

All that said, if you have reason to genuinely fear not passing the CA bar (e.g., you've never been good at standardized tests, including the LSAT), and you're committed to moving out of CA in a few years (though in that case, why move to CA to begin with? I know the Big4 have non-CA offices), then there's a decent argument for taking the UBE instead.

The CA bar's pass rate is scary, no question. But part of the reason it's so low is because of an abundance of takers who are less qualified than takers in other states. Recall that in addition to ABA-accredited law schools, CA also has CA-accredited law schools, and even completely unaccredited law schools. Those non-ABA-accredited schools contribute toward depressing the CA bar passage rate.

dabigchina

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Re: Which bar to take when going to the Big 4?

Postby dabigchina » Wed Jan 09, 2019 11:02 pm

When is your start date? Are they giving you time off to study?

Npret

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Re: Which bar to take when going to the Big 4?

Postby Npret » Wed Jan 09, 2019 11:05 pm

Take whichever will be easier for you to study for and to pass. Get a license and go from there.

FinallyPassedTheBar

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Re: Which bar to take when going to the Big 4?

Postby FinallyPassedTheBar » Thu Jan 10, 2019 12:28 am

The pass rate for bar examinees from ABA schools still hovers below 50%

Image

psg190

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Re: Which bar to take when going to the Big 4?

Postby psg190 » Thu Jan 10, 2019 3:54 pm

BarBound wrote:I am going to be working for a Big 4 firm in San Francisco after graduating and taking the bar. I do like California a lot, but I do not like that California has not adopted the UBE, and the exam is notoriously difficult.

I have the blessing of the firm to take the bar anywhere. I understand I am most likely to make strong connections in the Bay Area, but it is hard to say the best opportunities will emerge in California over the 34 other jurisdictions that have adopted the UBE--especially given that I am not from California.

I'm hoping someone can present a convincing argument for whether I should commit to the California dream or maximize my options across the nation. It is important to note that, at this point, I am exclusively interested in international law--particularly international trade.

What practice area are you going into? Feel free to PM me. Currently in M&A tax in the bay area and just took and passed the CA bar exam.

QContinuum

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Re: Which bar to take when going to the Big 4?

Postby QContinuum » Thu Jan 10, 2019 11:23 pm

FinallyPassedTheBar wrote:The pass rate for bar examinees from ABA schools still hovers below 50%

The graph you cited indicated that first-time takers from ABA law schools had a ~60% pass rate (63.8% for ABA law schools in CA, and 58.2% for out-of-state ABA law schools). That's the relevant statistic for OP, who'll be a first-time taker.

I believe the July 2018 pass rate was also unprecedentedly low. The July 2017 pass rate was something like 70%. The July 2018 pass rate was low enough to cause substantial concern on the part of the CA bar examiners. While speculative, I think there's a good chance the July 2019 pass rate will more closely resemble historical (pre-2018) pass rates.

I think to a large extent the risk depends on whether OP has reason to genuinely fear not passing the CA bar. If OP is bad at standardized tests, particularly the LSAT, I would say they should probably not risk the CA bar. You can also consider, to some extent, the ranking of OP's law school. If OP's law school is the equivalent of Thomas Jefferson, probably don't risk the CA bar. If OP's law school is more like UC Davis or Santa Clara, I don't think the risk is that great.

BarBound

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Re: Which bar to take when going to the Big 4?

Postby BarBound » Mon Jan 14, 2019 2:46 pm

Lancair wrote:
BarBound wrote:I am going to be working for a Big 4 firm in San Francisco after graduating and taking the bar. I do like California a lot, but I do not like that California has not adopted the UBE, and the exam is notoriously difficult.

I have the blessing of the firm to take the bar anywhere. I understand I am most likely to make strong connections in the Bay Area, but it is hard to say the best opportunities will emerge in California over the 34 other jurisdictions that have adopted the UBE--especially given that I am not from California.

I'm hoping someone can present a convincing argument for whether I should commit to the California dream or maximize my options across the nation. It is important to note that, at this point, I am exclusively interested in international law--particularly international trade.


I guess it's a balancing act. The benefit of taking the CA bar is that if you wanted to move to a law firm in CA, you'd presumably need the CA bar. If that is on the radar, makes sense to suck it up and get the CA bar over with. On the other hand, if no such move was on the radar, or also on the radar is a move to the east coast, the more conservative approach might be to take NY or DC (both 266 UBE jurisdictions). Easy to justify that as having a potentially greater link to international/trade law than CA. If later down the line you want to move to a CA firm, do the CA bar then.


As of right now, I definitely do not have anything against staying at the Big 4 firm for my entire career, but I am aware that the turnover rate suggests staying there for my whole career is unlikely. Do you know how the international trade groups within law firms on the east coast and northwest coast compare to those in California?

BarBound

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Re: Which bar to take when going to the Big 4?

Postby BarBound » Mon Jan 14, 2019 2:54 pm

QContinuum wrote:
BarBound wrote:I have the blessing of the firm to take the bar anywhere. I understand I am most likely to make strong connections in the Bay Area, but it is hard to say the best opportunities will emerge in California over the 34 other jurisdictions that have adopted the UBE--especially given that I am not from California.

I disagree with the reasoning above. You're not presently in California, but you'll be living and working in SF for at least the next few years (presumably) at your Big4. By that time you will be a Californian. Your fledgling professional network will be Bay Area-based. Add in the fact that California has the second-biggest legal market in the States (after New York), and I think the CA bar is well worth the investment. 34 jurisdictions sounds impressive but the vast majority of the 34 UBE jurisdictions have tiny legal markets. Heck, you might even acquire a SO while in San Fran who may not wish to leave the state.

All that said, if you have reason to genuinely fear not passing the CA bar (e.g., you've never been good at standardized tests, including the LSAT), and you're committed to moving out of CA in a few years (though in that case, why move to CA to begin with? I know the Big4 have non-CA offices), then there's a decent argument for taking the UBE instead.

The CA bar's pass rate is scary, no question. But part of the reason it's so low is because of an abundance of takers who are less qualified than takers in other states. Recall that in addition to ABA-accredited law schools, CA also has CA-accredited law schools, and even completely unaccredited law schools. Those non-ABA-accredited schools contribute toward depressing the CA bar passage rate.


I do think it's fair to say only around 5 of the 34 jurisdictions are actually relevant, and only two have a possibility of exceeding California's career potential, but none offer better opportunities for lifestyle, which is definitely important to keep in mind for the analysis.

BarBound

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Re: Which bar to take when going to the Big 4?

Postby BarBound » Mon Jan 14, 2019 2:56 pm

dabigchina wrote:When is your start date? Are they giving you time off to study?


I will start in August or September. Yes, I have the summer off to study.

BarBound

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Re: Which bar to take when going to the Big 4?

Postby BarBound » Mon Jan 14, 2019 3:00 pm

psg190 wrote:
BarBound wrote:I am going to be working for a Big 4 firm in San Francisco after graduating and taking the bar. I do like California a lot, but I do not like that California has not adopted the UBE, and the exam is notoriously difficult.

I have the blessing of the firm to take the bar anywhere. I understand I am most likely to make strong connections in the Bay Area, but it is hard to say the best opportunities will emerge in California over the 34 other jurisdictions that have adopted the UBE--especially given that I am not from California.

I'm hoping someone can present a convincing argument for whether I should commit to the California dream or maximize my options across the nation. It is important to note that, at this point, I am exclusively interested in international law--particularly international trade.

What practice area are you going into? Feel free to PM me. Currently in M&A tax in the bay area and just took and passed the CA bar exam.


I tried to message you, but it says I need to participate more to compose messages because I'm new. Would you mind sending me a message?

BarBound

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Re: Which bar to take when going to the Big 4?

Postby BarBound » Mon Jan 14, 2019 3:06 pm

QContinuum wrote:
FinallyPassedTheBar wrote:The pass rate for bar examinees from ABA schools still hovers below 50%

The graph you cited indicated that first-time takers from ABA law schools had a ~60% pass rate (63.8% for ABA law schools in CA, and 58.2% for out-of-state ABA law schools). That's the relevant statistic for OP, who'll be a first-time taker.

I believe the July 2018 pass rate was also unprecedentedly low. The July 2017 pass rate was something like 70%. The July 2018 pass rate was low enough to cause substantial concern on the part of the CA bar examiners. While speculative, I think there's a good chance the July 2019 pass rate will more closely resemble historical (pre-2018) pass rates.

I think to a large extent the risk depends on whether OP has reason to genuinely fear not passing the CA bar. If OP is bad at standardized tests, particularly the LSAT, I would say they should probably not risk the CA bar. You can also consider, to some extent, the ranking of OP's law school. If OP's law school is the equivalent of Thomas Jefferson, probably don't risk the CA bar. If OP's law school is more like UC Davis or Santa Clara, I don't think the risk is that great.


I go to a T20, which I understand to be considerably higher than all of those schools. Nevertheless, I still fear failing the Bar. I'm not, however, sure whether that is a rational fear.

While we're speculating about the California Bar, what's your expected probability of CA adopting the UBE within the next four years?



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