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Inbox: Attorney proposes refund if student fails bar exam twice

January 15, 2014
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Letters to the Editor

To the editor of The Indiana Lawyer:

In response to Dean Klein’s article, “Law Schools can’t be good, fast and cheap,” I take exception to his premise. First, as the cost of legal education has grown dramatically, the quality of the education, as determined by Indiana Bar Exam pass rates, has declined.

In my discussions with representatives of the Board of Law Examiners, I was told the Bar Exam is “a test of minimum competency to practice law.” Please explain to me, Dean, why you believe the quality of the Law School has improved while failure rates of the Indiana Bar Exam from your school are 20% for first time takers. (Editor’s note: Those rates can be viewed at http://mckinneylaw.iu.edu/students/bar-exam/.)

Your institution has control over what students are admitted. You also control the professors who teach and what they teach. Your institution also certifies individuals for graduation, which makes them eligible to take the Indiana Bar exam. With all of this control, why is there a 20% failure rate?

If I spend $75,000.00 for a Cadillac and it failed to run 20% of the time, can you imagine how incensed I would be? One thing that Cadillac provides that you don’t is a warranty. If the Cadillac doesn’t run and can’t be fixed, I am entitled to a refund.

My Solution

If an individual applies to your law school and is accepted, and the individual is certified by the school by meeting all graduation requirements and the individual takes the bar exam twice and fails, the school should issue a refund for all monies paid by the individual to the school. This is my idea of fairness, which might lead law schools to be better, faster and cheaper.

Robert C. Thompson, Jr.

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