Monday, September 25, 2017
Derek Muller (Pepperdine), How a Change in the Bar Exam Cut Score Could Alter California Legal Education:
Virtually all the deans of law schools in California, of ABA-accredited and California-accredited schools, have come out in favor, at multiple stages, of lowering the cut score for the California bar exam. The score, 144, is the second-highest in the country and has long been this high. ...
The State Bar, in a narrowly-divided 6-5 vote, recommended three options to the California Supreme Court: keep the score; lower it to 141.1; or lower it to 139. ... The Court could adopt none of these options, but I imagine it would be inclined to adopt a recommended standard, and probably the lowest standard at that, 139. ...
The chart below illustrates a very rough projection of the improvement in performance of each school from the July 2016 bar exam if the score had been lowered to 139. ...
As you can see, in that middle band of 12 schools, those between Cal Western and Whittier, we would expect to see gains ranging from 14 to 21 points. The 11 schools at the top of the chart would generally see more modest gains of around 8 to 12 points. The 10 schools at the bottom of the chart would also see more modest improvement, typically 6 to 11 points. (The asterisks on the chart are notations for California schools that are not accredited by the American Bar Association.) There are over 50 law schools in California, but not all had sufficient test-takers to be reported in the California data.
What might these factors do to legal education in California? Potentially, quite a bit. I sketch out some possible outcomes—with an emphasis on their potentiality. A change from 144 to 139 is somewhat modest but, in a state as large as California with as many law schools and lawyers, could have significant effects. Here are a few possible things that could occur: ...
Prior TaxProf Blog coverage:
- July 2016 California Bar Exam (Nov. 22, 2016)
- More On The California Bar Exam (Dec. 5, 2016)
- Who Is To Blame For UC-Hastings 'Horrific' 51% Bar Pass Rate? (Dec. 7, 2016)
- Anderson On The California Bar Exam Carnage: Law Schools Need To 'Cull The Herd Of Bloated Tenured Faculties' (Dec. 8, 2016)
- July 2016 California Bar Exam Results: Nine Law Schools (Including UC-Hastings) Are At Risk Of Failing ABA's Proposed New Bar Passage Accreditation Standard (Dec. 13, 2016)
- Anderson: The Top Ten Myths About the Bar Exam (Dec. 15, 2016)
- California Law School Deans Blast State Bar's Historically Low Pass Rate On July 2016 Exam (Dec. 16, 2016)
- Muller: The Complete Collapse Of Bar Passage Rates In California (Dec. 16, 2016)
- Boise & Morriss: The Shameful Truth Is That Many Law Schools Have Admitted Students With Low LSAT Scores To Prop Up Tuition Revenue And Now Seek To Avoid Accountability For The Ensuing Poor Bar Passage Results(Dec. 19, 2016)
- Anderson: Deans, Denial, And The California Bar Exam (Dec. 20, 2016)
- Despite 'Horrific' 51% Bar Passage Rate, New UC-Hastings Dean Says School Is Poised To 'Catapult Into National Preeminence' Using NYU As A Model (Dec. 21, 2016)
- California Law School Bar Pass Rates Recalculated For New York: Stanford, UCB, USC > NYU; UCI, UCLA > Columbia; Chapman, Loyola, McGeorge, Pepperdine, Santa Clara, UCD, USD > Fordham (Dec. 22, 2016)
- More On The July 2016 California Bar Exam (Dec. 26, 2016)
- California’s New Bar Exam Format And ABA’s Proposed 75% Bar Passage Requirement Will Adversely Impact Diversity, Women, And Access To The Legal Profession (Jan. 30, 2017)
- Deans Of 20 Of California's 21 ABA-Accredited Law Schools Ask State Supreme Court To Lower Bar Exam Pass Score (Feb. 2, 2017)
- ABA 'Overwhelmingly' Rejects 75% Bar Passage Requirement (Feb. 7, 2017)
- California Law Deans Take Bar Exam Complaints To Lawmakers; State Bar Director Admits There Is 'No Good Answer' For High MBE Pass Score (Feb. 15, 2017)
- Beyond The Cut Score: Piercing The Veil Of The California Bar Exam's Validity (Mar. 2, 2017)
- Lawmakers Ask Calif. Chief Justice To Cut State Bar Exam Score (Mar. 9, 2017)
- UC-Hastings Dean: The California Bar Exam Flunks Too Many Law School Graduates (Mar. 27, 2017)
- Anderson, Merritt & Muller Debate: Is The Bar Exam Broken? (May 30, 2017)
- Deans Push To Lower California Bar Pass Score, But Lawyers With Lower Scores Are More Likely To Be Disciplined Or Disbarred (May 31, 2017)
- Anderson, Merritt & Muller On The Push To Lower California's Bar Pass Score (June 4, 2017)
- California Supreme Court Strips Authority Of Bar Examiners To Set Cut Score; Lower Cut Score May Apply Retroactively To July Test-Takers (July 12, 2017)
- NY Times: California Supreme Court Moves To Make Bar Exam Easier To Pass (July 14, 2017)
- Allard: The California Bar Exam Is The Tip Of The Lawyer Licensing Iceberg (July 20, 2017)
- California Bar Cut Score, Lawyer Salaries Are Second Highest In Country: Anti-Competitive Or Pro-Consumer Protectionism? (July 24, 2017)
- Anderson, Faigman Debate: Should California Lower Its Bar Exam Cut Score? (July 31, 2017)
- California Considers Lowering Passing Score On July Bar Exam (Aug. 1, 2017)
- More Law School Deans Call For Lowering California Bar Exam Cut Score (Aug. 21, 2017)
- 19 Of 21 California Law School Deans Urge State Bar To Reduce Cut Score From 144 To 133-139 (Aug. 28, 2017)
- California Bar Law School Council Recommends Lowering Cut Score to 135-139; Bar Examiners Recommend Keeping It At 144 (Sept. 1, 2017)
- State Bar Releases California Bar Exam Cut Score Study (Sept. 14, 2017)