A Role for Law Schools in Bar Review?

A legal intern at my office recently told me that he had just paid $3,500 for his BarBri review course.

It strikes me as strange that law schools cannot teach their law students enough to pass the bar exam.  If you are spending $10k, $20k, even $40k per year to attend law school, shouldn't that be enough to equip you to pass the bar exam?

Even if law school is not enough to help you pass the bar exam, you would think that law schools could at least pay for the bar review course for you.  If they don't want to pay for the course, then they should offer one themselves.  It would not be that difficult to put one together.  BarBri fits everything you need to know in order to pass the bar exam into a single book (the Conviser Mini Review).  You would think that all these smart law professors could put something like that together.

The University of Virginia law school is paying for up to $1,500 for bar prep courses for their unemployed graduates.  Why not extend that to all graduates?

Here is how law schools could do it.  First, they pre-pay BarBri or some other prep course for each law student during their 1L year.  Due to the volume of students, you'd think the law schools could negotiate a pretty good deal . . . maybe even a 50% discount.  Then, the law school tells all the students that a free bar prep course is theirs when they graduate.  Sounds like good marketing to me.

Another way to do it is simply put together a book with all the black letter law and copies of the last 10 years of state essay and performance test questions.  (In some states, this information is available free; in others, it will cost the law school some money.)  In any event, the law school could distribute this material to its graduating 3Ls.  That way, law school graduates with limited resources will have access to the information they need to pass the bar exam, even if they cannot afford a full bar review course.

It should not cost an extra $3,500 on top of the outrageous cost of law school to become a lawyer.



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