Wednesday, October 17, 2018
Following up on my previous post, WSJ: Deans Push To Lower California Bar Pass Score, But Lawyers With Lower Scores Are More Likely To Be Disciplined Or Disbarred: Jeffrey S. Kinsler (Founding Dean, Belmont), Is Bar Exam Failure a Harbinger of Professional Discipline?, 91 St. John's L. Rev. 883 (2017):
[T]his Article promised to substantiate two theses: (1) The more times it takes a lawyer to pass the bar exam the more likely that lawyer will be disciplined for ethical violations, particularly early in the lawyer’s career; and (2) The more times it takes a lawyer to pass the bar exam the more likely that lawyer will be disciplined for lack of diligence—including noncommunication—and/or incompetence. With regard to the first thesis, the evidence in this Article establishes a link between bar failure—particularly repeated failure—and subsequent professional discipline. As to the second thesis, the evidence in this Article shows that lawyers who fail the bar exam are not only more likely to be disciplined, but that they have an even greater likelihood of being disciplined for client neglect and/or incompetence. In addition, this Article demonstrates that lawyers who fail the bar exam are more likely to face severe discipline—disbarment or suspension—than lawyers who pass the bar exam on the first attempt.
As a consequence, the Article urges states to adopt one of the “absolute” limits proposed in Part V.