July 2011 California Bar Exam Pass Rate by Law School

Here is a list of the if the California law schools and the corresponding bar pass rates for each school for the July 2011 Bar Exam. To make it interesting, I also added the current (2011) USNWR rankings for each school and the July 2010 bar pass rate for each school for comparison.
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First, congratulation to the University of Southern California Law School for topping the list. Aside from USC topping the list, there were some other interesting movements as well.

It’s hard to miss Thomas Jefferson coming in at the bottom of the list and posting a mere 33%. I would assume there would be some investigating by the ABA or some sort of penalties. Aside from the 33%, they only posted a 58% the year prior. It will be interesting to see how the ABA responds. Check out the link below for how AboveTheLaw reacted to the 33%.

Chapman Law School also had a significant jump from their 69% pass rate in 2010 to 79% in 2011. While the jump is significant, when going back to 2009 when Chapman posted 81%, it seems more likely that 2010 was a fluke and Chapman will continue to be on the rise.

Lastly, Western State has done a good job of proving that 2010 wasn’t luck and posted a respectable 77% in July of 2011 to keep them above the California average.

July 2012 scores are highly anticipated with UC Irvine Law School, California’s new golden child law school, posting their first bar percentage since opening their doors in 2009. Will they live up to the hype?

Rankings Found at USNWR

July 2011 Bar Pass Results Found at CA Bar

Read about Thomas Jefferson School of Law and their underperformance at AboveTheLaw

What’s On Your Bucket List? Man Tries To Out Run Cops Just For The Fun Of It

A Montana man has been fined $1,000 for leading police on a high-speed chase, which reached speeds of up to 100 mph. Eventually police officers used a spike trip to end the man’s joy ride. When asked why he instigated the chase, the man replied that it was something he had always wanted to try. At least he was honest?

Do our readers have any similar odd-ball bucket list items? We’d love to hear them, as long as they are legal (note: we do not encourage any illegal activity, even for the sake of entertainment)!

For the full story, read here.

Gay Marriage Ruling Expected: Issue will eventually wind up at the Supreme Court

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals is expected to rule soon on the legality of California’s current ban of gay marriage, which was put into place after the successful passing of Proposition 8 by voters in 2008. Regardless of who wins this ruling, both sides have said they will appeal to the Supreme Court if they wind up on the losing end.

This highlights the social divide in America today over the issue of marriage, with the two sides deeply entrenched on their respective sides.

Proponents of traditional marriage view gay marriage as an assault of the institution of marriage, which was created by God, and fear it will result in further social engineering of public institutions, specifically within schools. In fact, many public schools today teach about homosexuality to children as young as five, and parents dislike the government preaching morality to their children, especially when it contradicts their religious beliefs.

Opponents of traditional marriage claim gender should not play a role in marriage and are working to provide “marriage equality” for all, regardless of sexual orientation. Movements across the country are underway to redefine marriage and the issues will not likely go away, but only become more salient of a topic.

For the full story, read here.

This Reflects Poorly on Society (Funny/Sad Google Search)

Really? When typing in “what’s the best way to ___________,” I came up with this gem. While I’m not going to divulge what I was looking for the best way to do, this was seriously disturbing. Quite honestly the most disturbing part was “how to kill a dragon in Skyirm.” I think the photo speaks for itself.

(Click Image to Enlarge)

Working with Senior Attorneys: Striking the Balance between Assertiveness and Deference

as·sertive·ness n. : a form of behavior characterized by a confident declaration or affirmation of a statement without need of proof; this affirms the person’s rights or point of view without either aggressively threatening the rights of another (assuming a position of dominance) or submissively permitting another to ignore or deny one’s rights or point of view. (Source: Wikipedia.)

def·er·ence n.:condition of submitting to the espoused, legitimate influence of one’s superior or superiors. Deference implies a yielding or submitting to the judgment of a recognized superior out of respect or reverence. (Source: also, Wikipedia.)

Enter the first year associate. She dresses and acts the part, but her youthful physique gives away her novice. The only time she might pass for a lawyer with any experience is when she is writing emails.

Have an unruly defendant? Tape his mouth shut.

A Pennsylvania judge recently went to great lengths to ensure his courtroom would be silent and free from unruly behavior. Defendant Erik Britt had his mouth taped shut after he repeatedly disrupted jury selection (one can imagine the judge ordering the defendant to shut his “pie hole!” But alas, there was no pie for Britt). Judge Timothy Creany would have none of these shenanigans in his courtroom and ordered sheriff’s deputies to restrain the man with handcuffs and tape his mouth shut. Unfortunately, the man continued to mutter noises and disrupt court proceedings anyway.

Britt was acting as his own lawyer; on charges he assaulted a prison guard. He was later ordered to undergo a mental health evaluation by the court.

For the full story, read here.


What Do Employers Prefer? Moot Court/Mock Trial or Law Review?

This is a debate that is relatively new to me so I’m looking for a little feedback (unlikely I know). To me, before a few weeks ago, there was a clear answer; Law Review was the premier achievement one could gain in law school. However, a meeting last week got me thinking that maybe it’s not so great; and quite frankly, I’m starting to agree. While the optimal answer is that you should have all three on your resume, the more likely answer involves a choice.

Think about it, what’s more useful in the real world? The ability to cite each and every sentence you write in perfect bluebook format? Or the ability to think on your feet and effectively argue in front of a judge and jury of your peers? Seems clear when stated like that. In truth, you’ll probably spend a good portion of the beginning of your career learning how to NOT write like you did on law review, at least that’s what I was told. It’s just not practical to write a motion or complaint in that manner. Yeah, you learn other things on law review and continually increase your ability to be a better writer, but it’s just not practical writing. What is practical is moot court and mock trial.

With moot court and mock trial you’re learning what it’s really like to be a lawyer, albeit in a more controlled setting. You’re gaining experience arguing before a panel, questioning witnesses, preparing briefs, adapting to opposing counsels arguments, answering questions on varying points of law, and proper conduct in a courtroom. These are all things you’re likely to encounter as a first year associate. How often are you going to be asked to write a note comparing the circuit split between the 4th and 9th circuits? Probably not often. So, while Law Review is great and still a significant achievement, consider moot court and mock trial as well if you want to gain some more practical experience. The attorney I spoke to actually valued moot court and mock trial substantially more than Law Review. I was told Law Review surely won’t hurt me, but it’s not going to help me as much as I once thought it would.

Any additional thoughts?

How Grades Ruin My Christmas

Grades are the worst best thing since high school. The ups and downs they can bring are monumental and quite honestly, not good for my health. This time of year I find myself checking for my grades online more than any reasonable person should. The below image is my Christmas Break in a nutshell.

Sample Thank You Note

So, you just had a meeting with a law firm and you think it went well. If you think you’re the only one they met with and you stood out enough to make a lasting impression, you may be right. But why risk it? It’s time to go a little old fashion: Handwritten thank you card.

Head to the store, buy a pen and a simple “Thank You” card. Nothing fancy, go as basic as possible. Here is an example of a basic thank you note after meeting with a law firm. The basics of the note are to thank them for their time and a quick note about the law firm. You don’t want to spend much time talking about how amazing the law firm is; they know how great it is, they work there. Lastly, mention something personal you talked about. Maybe you both enjoy a similar hobby, athletic team or went to the same undergrad, the more personal the better. The point is to keep it short and personal.

“Dear Mr./Ms.__________________ (Partner Name),

                Thank you very much for taking the time to meet with me this past week. It was a great opportunity to meet with such an established and well-respected law firm such as. I really appreciate the advice you shared regarding bar preparation, as well as the information regarding your firm. I hope to speak to you again soon.

Thank you again.



Millions “mourn” the death of Kim Jong Il: Man who single-handedly started gray jumpsuit trend among despots is dead

Today millions of North Koreans were forced to mourn the loss of their longtime leader, Kim Jong Il. North Korean state TV ran footage of sobbing citizens in the wake of Kim Jong Il’s long awaited sudden death at the age of 69. State TV said the images contained “indescribable sorrow.” I hate to break it to North Korea, but technically “indescribable” is still a description. I don’t mean to be too insensitive at the loss of human life, but let’s get one thing straight: the world is better off with this man dead. He was a tyrant whose own ego resulted in the starvation of untold numbers of his own people, who endure horrible, poverty-stricken lives on a day-to-day basis. Quite the legacy, isn’t it? Plus, the guy had no imagination when it came to personal attire. Somewhere, in a darkly lit (okay, probably not lit) room, his tailor (who probably believes the only fabric color in North Korea is gray) is rejoicing – well, after his completion of his mandatory public mourning of “Dear Leader” of course.

Unfortunately, the insane and nuclear obsessed acorn doesn’t bounce far from the fuel rods – err, tree.  Kim Jong Il’s son, (who is not ill – yuck, yuck) Kim Jong Un will now rule the country at the ripe age of 27. I am sure we’ll soon trade images of indescribable sorrow for indescribable joy, right, North Korea?


For the full story, please read here.


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