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There is something surprising about this story, and it is not that an adult film star passed the California bar exam.
Women go into porn for many reasons: empowerment, desperation, enjoyment, and everything in between. There are intelligent women in the adult film industry just as there are intelligent women in every industry.
No, what is surprising is that a for-profit, unranked law school has nearly the same bar passage rates as "superior" California state schools. Well done, Western State College of Law at Argosy University, and well done Heather Swift a.k.a. Holly Price.
About That Porn Star
Heather Swift is a 2013 graduate of the Western State University College of Law. She is also a former porn star (known professionally as Holly Price) who is currently employed as a stripper, reports Above the Law. In an email to Above the Law, she said that folks shouldn't be surprised by her success:
How did I do it? Because unbeknownst to many, women in the adult industry are intelligent and can matriculate through a cutthroat tier 3 law school, and pass the hardest bar exam in history. Unlike Miriam Weeks, I actually did graduate through law school, and I actually did pass the most difficult bar exam on my first attempt.
Perhaps society needs to relinquish stereotypes and overcome their jealousy.
Miriam Weeks, by the way, is the real-life name of the Duke University freshman-turned-porn star who made headlines last year (known professionally as Belle Knox). She has also expressed a desire to become a lawyer some day.
About That Law School
For-profit schools get a lot of crap. Unranked law schools get a lot of crap. And when I read Western State College of Law at Argosy University, my response was, "Huh? Is that one of those online correspondence schools?"
It turns out WSCLAU was known as Western State University College of Law until 2012. It may be unranked, but it is ABA-accredited. Another fun fact: According to Wikipedia, it used to be owned by the same folks as Thomas Jefferson School of Law in San Diego before the schools split while seeking accreditation from the ABA. It is not to be confused with California Western, an unranked non-profit law school in San Diego.
In any case, WSCLAU isn't doing too bad for itself: while its employment numbers are dismal (an affliction plaguing many California schools), and the tuition is sky-high (ditto), the bar passage rate is actually incredibly impressive, especially for an unranked institution: 89 percent of first-timers passed in February 2013 (compared to 60.6 percent of California ABA-accredited schools as a whole and 52.1 percent of first-timers generally) and 75 percent in July 2013 (compared to 75.9 percent for California ABA schools and 67.7 percent overall for first-timers).
Interestingly, both the bar passage rate and cost compare favorably with the 54th best school in the country, UC Hastings, while WSCLAU's employment numbers lag only slightly behind.