Friday, November 21, 2008

"Author Blames Yale and
‘Having a Good Time’ for Failing NY Bar"

An article by Debra Cassens Weiss in the online ABA Journal reports on a Yale law student's trouble with passing the New York State Bar Examination:

A famous Yale Law School graduate who has written books about her struggles with depression and addiction has failed the New York bar exam.

Elizabeth Wurtzel blamed the failure partly on Yale Law School and partly on her study habits, the New York Observer reports. Wurtzel has written the books Prozac Nation: Young and Depressed in America; Bitch: In Praise of Difficult Women; and More, Now, Again: A Memoir of Addiction.

The article reports that a New York Observer reporter informed Wurtzel about the Bar Exam results:

"Wow, really? I had no idea. I didn't even see that. That's interesting," she told the reporter. "It's a weird test. I think when you go to a different school than Yale you are better prepared for it. It was definitely hard. I guess when I should have been studying, I was kind of having a good time."

For the rest of the article, go here.


Barbara Burke said...

As a second-year student, I am a bit concerned about the extreme emphasis Touro Law School places on the bar exam. A law school education is so much more than "teaching to the test". I fear our school is losing sight of that.

Career Services Office said...

Barbara raises an issue that almost every law school in the country wrestles with: Whether to emphasize courses that are tested on the Bar and, if so, to what extend?

The answer to this question is often driven by two considerations: 1. The American Bar Association requires a certain Bar passage rate from law schools if a school is to maintain its ABA accreditation (something which is necessary nowadays); and 2. The US News & World Report rankings include a school's Bar passage rate as part of its (bogus, IMHO) evaluation system.

On the other hand, while the public in general wants some measure that an individual is qualified to be an attorney, passing a Bar Exam has little relevance to that goal.

I encourage all law students to continue to question their schools as to whether it is a good idea to teach to the Bar Exam.