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Out-of-State Law Students Improve on Dreaded California Bar Exam

Perhaps it was the less-fatigue factor that helped test-takers improve on the California bar exam.

The exam -- once the toughest bar exam in the country with three days of sometimes impossible questions -- slimmed down to a two-day format last July. With that change, the overall pass rate climbed up 6 percent over the previous year.

It was a reprieve for students and California law schools, which were so desperate to improve pass rates they asked the state supreme court to lower the cut score. The latest results show, however, it's good to be an out-of-state law student.

For most law students, it is no surprise that the moral character and fitness examiners might take a look at their social media. And depending on what's found, it could actually matter significantly.

One prominent example involved a prospective Maryland lawyer who, in addition to having a criminal record, also had made numerous posts on social media that would make one wonder if he wasn't just some rude online teenage troll. However, one prospective lawyer's failure might just be what saves you from failing your moral character exam, if you heed the lesson here.

Not all lawyers take the same path to getting licensed. Fortunately for those that take the road less travelled, a decision from Supreme Court for the state of Washington might help to provide some clarity as to when the road less travelled becomes the road from which there's no coming back. In short, the court ruled that a former inmate, who is now a law grad and Skadden Fellow recipient, can actually sit for her state's bar exam.

Previously, the moral character and fitness review board had denied the accomplished grad the chance to sit for the bar exam. However, after appealing the decision, where over 100 individuals and organizations joined as amicus in support, the state's highest court reversed the review board's decision.

One Law School Drags Down Statewide Bar Pass Rate

There is a death spiral in the cosmos, when a black hole consumes a nearby star.

The black hole literally sucks the light out of existence. Law school can be like that, especially after three years and your eyes have gone dim from late-night reading.

But one law school is being blamed for bringing down an entire state. Charleston Law School tanked the South Carolina bar exam, pulling down the statewide pass rate to an increasingly dark place.

California Bar Passing Score Stays at 1440 for Now

If a high jumper lowers the bar to clear it, is that really an improvement?

Call it the way you see it, but not everybody sees a lower bar as upward movement. On the other hand, Nevada lowered its cut score and the bar pass rate jumped almost 20 percent.

"This shows significant improvement," said Dan Hamilton, dean of the state's only law school.

California, with one of the highest cut scores, doesn't necessarily see it that way.

To properly prepare for the bar exam requires more than just taking the right classes and locking yourself in a room for weeks on end with your books, notes, and practice exams. One often overlooked aspect of preparation is the financial aspect. If you can't afford to take the bar immediately after law school, you're taking a big risk that you'll retain enough information.

You not only need to pay for your post-graduation bar prep course and sitting for the bar exam itself, but you also need to pay all your living expenses. If you delay too long to financially prepare for the bar, you may find yourself looking at taking a private loan, which is not easy, nor advisable.

Below, you can read about how to financially plan for the bar exam study period.

Oregon Lowers Cut Score to 137, Bar Pass Rate Jumps

Do the math: lower the cut score and the bar pass rate goes up. So what's the problem?

For some, the problem is that Oregon suddenly became one of the easiest bars to pass in the country. Only Nebraska had an easier July exam, and who wants to practice law there?

Just kidding, Nebraska, but the average low temperature there is about 14 degrees Fahrenheit. The point is, how low can Oregon's cut score go before enough is enough?

To 3Ls across the country that will be graduating this spring: If you haven't enrolled in your bar prep course yet, now is the time to sign up.

While it is frustrating to have to choose so early and plop down a chunk of money on a deposit, future-you will thank you for doing it now. There are definitely advantages to signing up early, but if you've waited until your 3L fall semester to do it, those advantages will rapidly disappear if you wait any longer.

Here are three reasons why 3Ls shouldn't delay booking their bar prep course during their fall semester.

When it comes to selecting a bar exam prep course, many students will often default to taking the most popular course among their classmates. After all, it's the most popular for a reason, right?

Unfortunately, the reason that a specific bar course will be more popular is not always a result of quality. It can very well be the result of new, or budget, courses that can only compete with the larger, more established courses by cutting prices. Sadly, while a higher cost doesn't guarantee quality, when prices are too good to be true, you need to do some more research, particularly if high pressure sales tactics are being used by on campus representatives (who can sometimes be your own classmates).

Utah Law School's 100 Percent Pass-Rate Plan Is Working

Moving toward a goal of 100 percent bar pass rate, a Utah law school is bucking the national trend of declining bar exam scores.

The University of Utah S. J. Quinney College of Law pushed 87 percent of its graduates over the state bar exam hump this year, edging closer to its goal for the second straight year. Dean Robert Adler credited the students and faculty for committing to the "100/100 Initiative" launched in 2015.

"Improved performance on the bar exam shows how well prepared our students are at graduation, but it is also the last hurdle our students must overcome to use their law degrees for most of the jobs they seek," he said.