Quote of the Day - A student who changes the course of history is probably taking an exam.
While big firms are paying big salaries, the cutoff minimums for passing bar exam are going up. With another bar exam under the belt of the most recent graduates of law schools across the country, many worry and wonder about the results. The troubling question for many graduates, however, is whether this bar exam will bring them one step closer to those big salaries.
For some, it will not, and also apparently for a few more this year. The cutoff line for passing the bar has risen another five points in most states. Law schools countered that move by offering bar review courses for credit. The ABA, on the other hand, countered by excluding those courses from the minimum hours required to obtain a law degree. Law firms are enacting the two-strikes rule: flunk twice, and you will not be hired.
Law graduates who flunk lament the exam. Some graduates studying for the exam stress themselves out to point that they can't even study.
It's been a long time since I took and passed the exams - two of them - and my perspective is expectedly different than the former and the latter. It was admittedly much the same as I stood staring down those exams. Now, however, I see the reasons. There are three main hurdles to a bar card: the LSAT, getting into and graduating from law school, and then passing the bar. Why?
Law is a service industry, and we are here to provide the service of justice both to those that can afford it and those that cannot. Practicing law is a difficult task that demands exactitude, creativity, respect for the past, a vision for the future, but most of all ... knowledge and the ability to apply it. The hurdles are in the way for a reason. As lawyers, we owe a fiduciary duty to our clients and duties both to the courts and our profession. The hurdles ensure that we meet those duties and provide that service in the finest tradition possible.
No, not everyone is going to pass the bar exam, and not everyone should, even after trying some 74 times (which I believe is the record). Meeting the first two hurdles is not enough. For those in practice, even having met the third hurdle is not enough. Lawyers have continuing education requirements and remain subject to the discipline of the bar. Most important, we continue to learn and service our clients in their best interests, honoring both the profession and the best traditions of the bar.
Yes, law school is hard, and so is passing the bar. When you do, give me a call so I can welcome you to the profession.