Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Lawsuit against St. Thomas School of Law: Bar Pass Rate and Grades

Just back from APSA--where I saw, among other stuff, an awesome panel on the Civil War and Constitutional Change chaired by Sanford Levinson--and returning to reading the blogs after a few days away.

I see that a former student's lawsuit against St. Thomas School of Law in Miami has generated some attention. The complaint alleges ( 25-26) that St. Thomas devised a plan to expell students in the bottom quarter of the class with the intention of boosting its low bar pass rate. (Not much chance for class certification on this one, I'd imagine.) Over at elsblog, the always thoughtful Bill Henderson is interested in how the lawsuit might lead to some reconsideration of strategies to improve the bar pass rate and asks for the ABA to collect and disclose data on student attrition. (It's been a while since I looked at the ABA take-offs, but I thought they already collect this data, though they may not disclose it). Orin Kerr also comments briefly on the suit at volokh. Over at overlawyered, they provide the complaint and laugh at the suit.

I agree this suit won't go far. And I agree with Henderson that we as educators need to make sure we're doing everything reasonably possible to make sure that our students pass the bar (and get a quality education). (Along those lines, Henderson links to an important essay by Linda Jellum and Emmeline Reeves on the University of Richmond's academic support program's effect on bar pass rates.)

But I think this raises some important issues for MoneyLaw. Bar pass rates tell us a lot about the output of law schools. Perhaps it's worth spending a little time with the old spreadsheet, comparing ranks of law schools' students with their bar pass rates....

Alfred L. Brophy

6 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Who’s to say that a student “A” with LSAT 148 (or even less) is less suitable student and less likely to succeed in law school than a student “B” with LSAT 165. I personally knew many students at St. Thomas who were admitted via so called “Summer Conditional Programs”, students whose LSAT scores were so poor that other school would not even consider reading their applications. The truth is that although some people who are not good in taking standardized tests (such as the LSAT) are otherwise extremely hard working people and anyone who went to law school knows that law school success is highly correlated with the amount of hard work one is willing to put in. Many students I personally knew, with very poor LSAT results, went on and through hard work not only graduated on top of their classes, but also passed the bar on the first try and went on to get their LLMs in the most prestigious legal institution in the country (NYU, Boston University etc.). Those students, with lower LSAT scores, who were given a chance to enter St. Thomas U. School of Law, should be GRATEFUL that they were given a chance and give it their best shot to succeed. Why do I say so? Well .. I was one of those students. This suit is nothing short of frivolous and should a federal judge even entertain to grant a “go” to proceed with discovery, he/she would demonstrate why our legal system is clogged and inefficient. The suing ex-student should take a good look into a mirror and ask himself what is it he did or did not do that made him the “expelled” and stop blaming others for his failure.

9/20/2006 5:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I highly agree. Standardized tests don't prove anything. I know people who had low LSATS and graduated with the highest honor in the legal profession Order of the Cuif. It meeans absolutely nothing. It is all about how bad you want it and how much work your willing to put in to be the best.

5/13/2008 12:56 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am very GRATEFUL to the opportunity St.Thomas has given me to be a part of their institution. The LSAT does not take into account other variables that affect one's ability to perform well. I worked full time, while I studied for the exam. I also worked full time through out undergrad. Due to the circumstances I'm obviously not going to have the best gpa nor LSAT score. St.Thomas gave me the opportunity to prove that I have the potential to be a successful attorney. I begin school in one month. I will value this opportunity/education more than those who had the luxury of not having to endure the hardships that I have had. I am the "underdog." I will work hard. I WILL SUCCEED! ~ESQUIRE TO BE~

6/19/2008 9:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi. I am also starting the summer program at St.Thomas. I would like to connect with any other students who are considering the summer program. Please contact me through e-mail. Absuloot0@aol.com Thanks

3/16/2009 5:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

worst law school ever

3/29/2009 5:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i went to st thomas, the entire law program is a complete raquet

3/29/2009 5:10 PM  

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