Do Current Law Students Need: Remedial Study – And Different External Bar Preparation?

The short answers are: it depends; and probably. Why? Because, students, circumstances, and bar results have changed in the last decade.

Traditionally, because of the general difficulty of state bar exams, a majority of law school graduates had chosen to take some form of external bar preparation course. Despite the rigors of law school and the emphasis on legal analysis, culminating in writing essay exams, state bar exams were found to be difficult to pass.

Within the traditional setting, law schools had emphasized the precepts of IRAC (Issue, Rule, Analysis, Conclusion), and thus concentrated their classes on these precepts to culminate in training students to be very adept at approaching, analyzing, and writing essay exams. For bar exam takers, this left a gap – the dreaded multiple choice questions called the MBE.

As a result, commercial companies targeted law graduates with bar preparation courses. Although most companies advertised overall bar preparation courses, the courses emphasized how students could approach and answer the MBE questions. Obviously, this was the logical extension for these bar preparation courses since those students were already well immersed in essay writing from their three years in law school.

With regard to teaching how to master the MBE, some of these companies were good, and others not so much. However, because of these courses, many students were able to successfully navigate the morass of those dreaded MBE questions. To this day, those companies who continue to offer external bar preparation courses have remained true to their original academic/business plan. Thus, their course emphasis remains with the MBE questions.

During the past decade, circumstances have changed. First, as widely reported in publications such as the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, the ABA Journal and others, law school enrollment has been on a steady decline. As a result, many law schools have lowered entrance requirements. This change, coupled with other academic and societal changes have helped create a different environment for the law student today.

As a consequence, bar pass rates in many states (e.g. California, New York and several others) have been on a steady decline. As reported in the JD Journal in October 2015, “law schools have lowered their admission standards. Fewer people are applying to law school. In order to keep up enrollment numbers, schools are admitting students with low LSAT scores they previously would have rejected. In 2014, schools saw the result of their action – bar pass rates were the lowest in decades.”

The trend of lower pass rates continues, and law school deans are concerned for a couple of reasons. First, a published high pass rate is a marketing incentive to attract new students to their school, and if it is declining, students will look elsewhere. In addition, for those schools accredited by the ABA, there lurks a proposal to increase the accreditation standards for a school to maintain a 75 percent pass rate – a rate in which not many schools currently enjoy.

In California, the second largest state in terms of bar examination takers, law school deans have a solution. They have come together and proposed to the State Bar to lower California’s bar pass cut line from its current of 1440 to anywhere from 1350 to 1390. This proposal has created quite a controversy and consequently the State Bar commissioned several studies and conducted opinion polls of lawyers, students and the general public.

A detailed report was developed and recently forwarded to the State Supreme Court for their decision. In the report, the State Bar recommends keeping the cut pass line at 1440 and commission more studies, while the committee of law school deans recommends reducing the cut pass line. As for the public opinion polls, more than 80 percent of current attorneys support keeping the current cut line or increasing it, while almost 55 percent of the general public are in accord, with only about 20 percent of current law students wishing to keep the current cut line.

In addition, the California State Bar Board of Trustees has recently declared “public protection” as one of the most important missions of the State Bar, and “public protection” was also at the forefront of the discussion concerning lowering the bar examination pass cut line. Given the “public protection” issue, coupled with the State Bar recommendation, and the public opinion polls, I will go out on a limb and predict that the California Supreme Court will not lower the cut line.

However, an interesting fact did emerge from all of this analysis – generally the decline in the bar pass rate is not due to lower scores on the MBE. In fact, the pass rate for just the MBE questions have remained relatively steady over the last twenty years. It was determined that the lower bar pass rates were due to a higher failure rate on the essay questions.

This revelation started the blame game. As discussed in recently published periodicals, some authors attribute poor essay writing to the lowered standards in law schools. Others point the finger at the general knowledge and writing skills of “those Millennials.” And others say it is a combination of both.

Frankly, I do not see any positive outcome in expending energy on pointing fingers. Time would be better spent on finding a solution. From my point of view, the best solution would be one which both resolves the problem of the lower bar pass rate, and preserves “public protection.”

In examining the problem a little closer, what has surfaced are four factors which are causing the lower essay scores: Students are having difficulty following the call of the question; they are not spotting a sufficient number of issues in the fact patterns; they are having trouble applying the law to the facts and analyzing them; and their grammar and spelling is not up to par.

The last factor, some call the “millennial” factor. This is because, today texting, tweeting, instagraming and emailing are the major form of writing. As a result, good composition writing is rapidly becoming a lost art, especially the ability to express logically and critically what’s at issue. Concerning the first three factors, they are skills which traditionally were developed in law school.

The merging of these events has demonstrated a need for remedial law school tutoring, but most importantly better and different bar preparation courses which stand on their own, separate from the law school academic work and provide all the skills necessary to pass the bar examination. This is a solution which would satisfy both the lower pass rate and the public protection aspects of the problem.

As a result, a new company has recently emerged to address these new issues. The company, Side-Bar, has introduced both a remedial law school program and a bar examination preparation program based upon new principals never before offered to the law student. Each of the programs are separate, and all inclusive. They are 100% on-line, self-paced, and contain no lectures to attend or listen to.

According to the company, their programs include new methods for learning and retaining the law, while teaching new methods of how to master: writing essay exams; performance exams; and the MBE multiple choice questions, including tips never before released.

Their bar preparation course, in addition to having a comprehensive MBE program, delves deeply into the art of essay writing, and walks students through a step by step process broken down by subject, giving the students the requisite skills to write quality essays and ultimately pass the bar examination.

How Home Insurance Lawyers Can Help Resolve Your Case

Terri-Lynn Robinson’s entire life was turned upside down when a dispute with her ex-husband went disastrously wrong. As he packed to move out, he decided to take revenge. He retrieved a BBQ lighter and lit the entire length of their bed skirt on fire. With her in the room. Within minutes, her bedroom went up in flames. While Terri was able to escape, her home and life were in shambles. Her house, an object of arson, was uninhabitable. She turned to her insurance company, who responded by denying her claim. Their reason was that, since her ex-husband was on title, the damage was caused by the home-owner and thus was not covered. Terri is a victim of spousal abuse; she lost her home during the dissolvement of her marriage. When things couldn’t get worse, she was told that she was on her own. Insurance that she had paid for would not be stepping in. Terri was left to pay the mortgage on a “rotting shell” while she lived in a shelter. She could not afford the repairs on her income, and she now faces the very real possibility of bankruptcy and the loss of the rest of her possessions. If you’ve found yourself in a similar situation, a home insurance lawyer can help.

This Happens More than you Think

Terri-Lynn is not the first woman to be a victim of spousal abuse and arson. She is definitely not the first to have claims wrongfully denied. The tragic outcome of these denials can be complete loss of quality of life and home. Home insurance lawyers are the connecting link between these horrible tragedies and a successful outcome. Lawyers fight for your rights and your insurance claims. Insurance is paid so that it is there when you need it the most. It is a tragedy that this money is lost, leaving you out of pocket for additional expenses that you cannot afford during the worst periods in your life.

Lawyers get Results

Insurance companies are just that: companies. Companies exist to make money. In addition to this, there is a lot of scrutiny over insurance claims to insure that a claim is not fraud. Unfortunately, this type of scrutiny often leaves the homeowners on the short end, with their claims denied. Home insurance lawyers are familiar with the laws and regulations surrounding insurance and claims. If your claim is denied, your next best move is to call for help.

Most home insurance lawyers work on a commission basis. This means that they do not get paid until you do. They understand that your current situation has already created financial strain. Hiring a lawyer should not add more stress to your current situation. If you can get the help you need to fight a claim that should be paid. To get the money needed to repair your home and life without the out-of-pocket expenses, make the call. Home insurance lawyers are there to fight for you. They are the middle liaison that understands your situation while having the legal knowledge to work in your favor. You paid for your insurance to be there for you. A home insurance lawyer will take the time needed to make sure that this is exactly what happens.

Probate Attorney – What You Should Know

This is the attorney that you would hire to administer the last will and testament of a deceased person. They will also help to guide the heirs through the probate process in court, which is when a person files a petition for probate. This is the process to determine if the will the deceased left behind is valid. In the probate process the assets that the deceased left behind are distributed to pay any bills and what is left is divided among the heirs as the will states. The probate attorney will assist the heirs during the legal process, including filing any necessary pleadings and motions. If the will is contested by the heirs they will make arguments to the court as to why it is being contested. It the court has any questions about the will’s validity he will answer their questions.

Although this is not required for them to do so sometimes they will be the executor of the will, especially if the deceased has named them as the executor of their estate. When they are the executor of the will they will manage the distribution of any assets the deceased has left behind. Some of his duties can be helping to change the title on some property. It can also be helping to move assets into the person’s name who inherited the items. The probate attorney is also responsible to make sure that all of the funds are accounted for along with the taxation aspect of the will and estate. When the probate attorney is the executor of a will they are generally paid a nominal fee, which could be a percentage based on a percentage of the estate or a flat fee. It is a fee that is separate from the one for preparing the will.

To become a probate attorney you will first have to have a bachelor’s degree and graduate from law school, which can take up to ten years. Before you can apply to take the bar exam you will have to have acquired a specific number of hours work experience for a law firm. Each state has a specific number of hours. Once you have met this requirement you can take the bar exam.

As an added bonus you should have good interview skills. When discussing any requests to change a will or when creating a will having persuasion and oral communication skills can be very helpful. When starting work as a probate attorney many will work as a junior attorney for a law firm that deals with probate work. They will be the ones that review wills, doing paperwork that involves the execution of an estate, and fulfilling change requests. They will also learn how surrogate court works.