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Is a 6-Day Law Preview Course Worth $1095?

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By Robyn Hagan Cain on April 26, 2013 7:01 AM

After I passed the bar, I stopped pricing bar review classes because — frankly — I had better things to do. At least I did until today.

Do you have any idea how expensive bar prep is these days? More specifically, do you know how much BarBri costs? Law grads spend a hefty sum on bar review classes each year. BarBri’s Massachusetts bar review course costs $3525. In New York, it’s $3675. In California, it’s $4135. (Oh, but don’t worry: You get $250 of that back if you return your books and materials.)

BarBri is either good at what it does, or the people who flock to its courses are particularly smart; either way, the company boasts an impressive bar passage rate. And now it’s touting similar kick-ass-and-take-names results for a course geared toward incoming law students.

Last week, I received a message from a BarBri media rep regarding Law Preview, a BarBri company that teaches incoming students "what to expect and how to truly excel in law school." For only $1095 -- assuming you register before May 1 -- you get a six-day course that will CHANGE. YOUR. LIFE.

According to the press release:

In a recent survey, 69 percent of students who took Law Preview reported that the course improved their 1L performances. The median class rank of Law Preview students at the end of their first year was the top 16 percent of their classes. An impressive 39 percent of students who took Law Preview were in the top 10 percent of their 1L class, and 57 percent of students reporting their end-of-1L class rank enjoyed positions in the top 20 percent.

I'm not sure how these students concluded that summer gunner school "improved their 1L performances" since they took Law Preview before starting law school. (How do you measure a variable without a control?) The ranking statistics, on the other hand, are more promising. Considering how competitive the legal job market has become, it can't hurt to get a jump on crushing your classmates in the rankings, right?

Except those pesky numbers keep nagging at me.

If you sit through classroom lectures, most of the BarBri bar prep courses give you about 25-30 classroom days. That's over four times the classroom time that you get in Law Preview. Granted, the California bar review course costs almost four times as much as Law Preview, but it's the most expensive bar prep state. The New York bar prep course offers over 35 classroom and practice test days, which comes out to around $100 per day. The six-day Law Preview costs $182.50 per day.

If you're among the 57 percent who can internalize and implement the Law Preview tactics, clawing your way to the top 20 percent is probably worth the money. If you're in the remaining 43 percent, you might question whether your $1100 and six days of summer could be better used elsewhere.

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