Earlier this year, I wrote several posts based on the 2009 Minnesota Lawyer interview with Minnesota TTT grads who were planning to take the bar exam.
This is what I had to say about the 2009 interview in April of this year:
None of the graduates in the video seemed to have a job lined up at the time of the bar exam. I hope the guy who failed the bar exam twice passed the third time around if only to save himself from wasting more money on test prep courses. But Ms. Guertin from William Mitchell School of Law nails it when she says at 1:02 that passing the bar exam doesn't necessarily mean you're guaranteed a job.
The bar exam will not guarantee anyone a job right now. The only thing that will be easier is finding doc review work and you can make more money than a law graduate who isn't admitted to the bar. That's it. I hear and read about law school graduates who think passing the bar is the golden key to a great legal job. It isn't. Wiser graduates like Mike at Barely Legal (btw, he started blogging again last month after a long hiatus. Welcome back!) decided to save his money and not take the exam.
People will have different opinions on this but I think the bar exam in this economy is a waste of money and time, especially for third tier graduates who never had a chance at finding a good job in a recession. If you end up finding a great law firm job, let them pay for the exam instead. Don't take out another loan from Sallie Mae or Access Group to take the exam. If you fail, consider it a blessing or buy used Barbri books off of Craigslist if you decide to take it again. You have to ask yourself whether more torture and money down the drain is worth it if you're in a state that has a high unemployment rate and little opportunity to find a good paying legal job. I'm curious to know if any of the graduates in the video found jobs after passing the bar.
What I said in April about last year's bar exam takers remains true today for this year's bar exam takers. Here are some important additional thoughts and statistics provided by Scammed Hard who first reported on the 2010 Minnesota Lawyer's "special report" covering the Minnesota bar exam:
Given that the four law schools in this small market spew out 1,000 new grads every year, things must be especially tough for TTT grads trying to find work. Despite its relatively small population, Minnesota boasts the 12th highest lawyer per capita ratio in the Union, with 11.2 lawyers for every 10,000 people. When even your local T-25, the University of Minnesota, graduates more than half of its Class of 2010 without jobs, one can only imagine how much more awful thing must be down in the TTTs, or especially at the local TTTT, Hambone University School of Law.Yes, how long will thousands of students in over-saturated legal markets allow themselves to be scammed out of thousands of dollars for nothing more than the illusion of prestige of having a JD and passing the bar exam? And why aren't mainstream legal news publications like the Minnesota Lawyer asking serious questions about the employment rates of these recent graduates instead of vapid questions like what they had for breakfast or what time they went to bed the night before? What?!? The real question everyone is dying to know is, have you found a job yet? And, how much money in student loans did you borrow on top of the $150k you borrowed for three years of law school to take the BARBRI course?!? If Minnesota Lawyer actually did their job, maybe more 0Ls and law students would think twice before plopping down another $5,000 for no good reason whatsoever. Or they would start asking their law schools questions as to why three years and $150k still isn't enough to prepare students for the bar exam.
How long are these people going to allow themselves to be scammed? After suffering through three years and tens of thousands of dollars' worth of hell, just to end up unemployed, it must feel great to be plunking down for bar review and the exam without having the slightest idea about where you will eventually find work. These folks from the lower tiers are, sadly, especially likely to never find work as lawyers. Nando has already given us a trio of excellent exposés about the dismal employment prospects offered by these law school puppy mills. I must grudgingly admire the irrational optimism that these grads display in continuing on the road toward lawyerdom, but as a scamblogger, I know what awaits them. We've had a smattering of commenters from these schools show up on the scamblogs in the past few months, and none of them paints a rosy picture of their class' employment. In fact, they all agree that most of their former classmates are unemployed, indebted, and desperate. Yet the charlatans and book-cookers who run these institutions are still busy tallying the seat deposits and packing the next 1L class in time for the fall semester.