Bored Law Prof Creates Bar Exam Difficulty Rankings - Greedy Associates
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Bored Law Prof Creates Bar Exam Difficulty Rankings

Jay-Z once said, "Moral victories is for minor league coaches." Grammatical issues aside, we couldn't agree more -- except we'd amend that to "Moral victories are for minor league coaches and blogger-lawyers."

I'll let you in on a little secret: In 2008, when I entered law school, I couldn't even fathom the concept of working as a law blogger. I wanted that BigLaw money -- $160K of pure, unadulterated happiness. Yes, money does buy happiness. Just ask the legions of unemployed lawyers with $100K in debt. And though I'm having a hell of a good time blogging, much like Allure, I'm slowly dying with every student loan bill.

Nonetheless, I can take solace in one simple fact: I passed the hardest bar exam in the country on my first try. Moral victory? Sure. Pathetic thing to brag about? You're damn right.

Prof. Robert Anderson of Pepperdine, in his end-of-school-year free time, took the ranking approach to rate and rank the difficulty levels of (nearly) every state bar exam. There's some mathematical mumbo-jumbo about regressions, LSAT scores, and passage rates, but let's just say that his method is probably more accurate than the traditional methods of comparing the length of the exams or passage rates.

As you might expect, the Golden State's bar exam came in at No. 1 in terms of difficulty. What was truly shocking, however, was that the states commonly discussed in the same worried bar-taker's breath, New York and Virginia, were ranked much lower, at No. 12 and No. 6, respectively.

Who was No. 2? That'd be Arkansas, believe it or not. Here are the rest of Prof. Anderson's Top 15:

Rank

State Bar Examination

Bonus Percent

Calculated Average LSAT

Calculated Passage Rate

Overall Passage Rate

1

California

0.00

160.92

75.69

72.22

2

Arkansas

1.43

155.21

72.75

73.35

3

Washington

3.29

158.45

76.52

72.82

4

Louisiana

3.78

154.86

73.09

70.00

5

Nevada

4.72

158.41

77.85

72.86

6

Virginia

5.10

163.10

83.43

77.61

7

Oregon

5.19

159.21

78.67

76.04

8

West Virginia

6.47

153.43

76.78

78.80

9

Vermont

7.87

155.04

77.78

81.18

10

Maryland

7.99

160.40

82.82

79.08

11

Florida

9.61

154.54

79.34

77.72

12

Rhode Island

9.77

151.00

77.38

78.44

13

New York

9.78

163.02

87.51

85.72

14

Indiana

10.02

156.85

83.39

81.84

15

Hawaii

10.37

155.97

82.19

81.49


So, should you hop on a plane now and take the easier bar exams?

Look, if you're choosing your future state based on its bar exam difficulty, that's kind of sad. You obviously don't have a job lined up (or you'd be taking the exam in that state). Study, pass where you want to live, and prepare for the inevitable few years months of unemployment. And if you fail, guess what? You likely wouldn't have had a job either way.

Plus, if you take the California bar and end up homeless, at least your refrigerator box/cardboard condo won't face the beatings of a Midwestern winter.

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