The Legal Profession: A Mafia

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As many of you know, I recently graduated Law School and took the New York Bar exam.

The New York Bar Examiners, National Bar Examiners(NCBE), Law Schools, the Law School Admissions Council(LSAC), Lenders, as well as other state bars associations, have created a multi-layered, mostly arbitrary,  obstacle course for one to be able to become an attorney. Here are some select pieces of evidence that I have gleaned from my recent personal experience.

The Wait

In New York, the bar exam is in late July. We do not learn whether we pass until October or November. After that, it will take several more months to be admitted, including a rigorous ethical background check. Significantly, once law school ends, the students have a 6-month grace period to begin paying off student loans(100k+ for many).  Thus, the 6 month+ process to become licensed to practice puts many in law graduates in an impossible financial position: we cannot demand as much money because the State takes an unacceptably long time to process our application. Interest Accrues, Banks prosper,and the only individuals negatively affected are 1. law graduates and 2. the public, who could benefit from the services of many but are not able to due to the process of admission, yet again.

The above is just the surface. The test itself is nothing more than a market-control device poorly disguised as quality control. In other words, the bar examiners–in New York particularly–are disingenuous.

In the July New York Bar Exam of 2010, the examiners tested on an issue* so specific and irrelevant, so much that the great majority of attorneys will have never learned what was tested nor will see it again. The latter type of testing does nothing to test whether an a candidate to the bar will be an effective, competent attorney. It did test whether one picks up irrelevant tidbits of information.

The public expects that an attorney is licensed  because the regulatory authority has found that individual competent to practice as an attorney. The public does not expect that an attorney is licensed because that individual was able to slip under the bar associations quota of how many attorneys should be licensed. The latter is more the reality.

For example, the test does not even scratch the surface on two invaluable aspects that make up an effective attorney–research  and oral communication skills. And even the writing portions of the test do little to genuinely evaluate the ability to write.

It does test reading comprehension, but in an environment with highly unusual levels of time constraint and stress.

A Question For the Character and Fitness Committee

Who are you, in playing part to a flat-out disingenuous admission process, to determine whether a candidate is “ethical” enough to practice as an attorney? No one.

*I would cite to the specific question, but I do not want to incur any legal liability from the bar examiners.

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One Response to “The Legal Profession: A Mafia”

  1. Dan Coleman Says:

    The shell game starts early on, with the LSAT, which, if you examine it, screens out no one with the right connections, no matter his score, but controls access to the necessary training(the schools) from the get-go. The medical profession does the same. Anyone who can sit through a 3-year program, which these days almost always includes a practicum of some kind, and take what the profs throw at them, and survive, ought to be given a license to practice, at least on a probationary basis for, say, a year. No major screw-ups the first year, the license becomes permanent.

    The bar exam, itself, is a lot of bullshit. It proves nothing, is just another hoop to jump through in the dog and pony show.

    The LSAT, especially, is like trying to hit a moving target, particularly the time constraint of it. I’ve never seen a lawyer who had to think or work fast. They’re the slowest profession in the world, have whatever time they need to do what they do.

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