Tuesday, January 22, 2019
Following up on my previous post, Deans, Law Profs Weigh In On The California Bar Exam: Robert Anderson (Pepperdine), Analysis of the California Bar Examination Report, Part 2:
Today's installment presents one of the most interesting charts in the [California State Bar] report, one that everyone connected with legal education should understand. Figure 2.3, pictured below, shows the relationship between LSAT, undergraduate GPA (UGPA), first year law school GPA (FYGPA), cumulative law school GPA (LSGPA), and bar exam scores. The data is derived from a large number of California law graduates for 2013, 2016, and 2017. ...
The first point to note is one that is fairly well known among those who study bar performance, which is that law school GPA (whether first year or cumulative) is much more predictive of bar performance than incoming predictors like UGPA or LSAT. For example, in 2013 the correlation of FYGPA to bar score was .582 and the correlation of LSGPA to bar score was .640, compared to LSAT's .424 and UGPA's .212.
I will make two related points here. The first is that if schools want to predict bar performance, incoming predictors like LSAT and UGPA are very weak compared to law school grades. The second, more speculative, point is that UGPA is likely diluted by the very high levels of noise from different types of classes.