NewsOK: Oklahoma law students are setting benchmarks

Would-be lawyers in Oklahoma pass the bar exam at a nearly unparalleled rate, but no one really knows why.

Some point to the caliber of students admitted into law school these days, while others note schools have shifted their focus toward preparing students for the bar exam.

Whatever the reason, those who have taken the test during the past couple of years have not been having much trouble.

Eight-two percent of the 519 test-takers passed Oklahoma’s bar exam in 2005, putting the state behind only four others nationwide, according to statistics from the National Conference of Bar Examiners.

During the most-recent session, in July, 88 percent of the 380 people who took the exam earned the right to practice law in Oklahoma, according to the Oklahoma Bar Association. . .

I’m not sure what the deal is. I think one big factor is that there is more of an emphasis in the law schools of passing the bar exam from the get go (this is certainly the case at my alma mater, OCU Law School).

That said, I’m not convinced that the bar exam is that helpful of a tool in measuring the abilities of future lawyers. I know some really sharp, hardworking law school grads who have flunked the exam multiple times, while I know some absolute deadbeats who passed on the first try. Half of passing the exam is knowledge-based, but the other half is test-taking technique and pschology.

I will say what I will not credit with the high bar passage rates is BARBRI. BARBRI is a joke and is waste of money and time. I guess it is almost impossible to tackle a bohemoth like that outfit, but I really wish there was a competing provider in Oklahoma of bar exam prep. Most of our lectures were poorly recorded video-tape presentations, and a good part of the time the “teachers” (I use that term loosely for some of the clowns we had presenting the material) used sexist and offensive hypotheticals I guess to make us laugh, but I wasn’t laughing.

Anyway thank God those days are over.