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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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  2. Don't believe me, listen to Pacino: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z6bC9w9cH-M

  3. Law school is social control the goal to produce a social product. As such it began after the Revolution and has nearly ruined us to this day: "“Scarcely any political question arises in the United States which is not resolved, sooner or later, into a judicial question. Hence all parties are obliged to borrow, in their daily controversies, the ideas, and even the language, peculiar to judicial proceedings. As most public men [i.e., politicians] are, or have been, legal practitioners, they introduce the customs and technicalities of their profession into the management of public affairs. The jury extends this habitude to all classes. The language of the law thus becomes, in some measure, a vulgar tongue; the spirit of the law, which is produced in the schools and courts of justice, gradually penetrates beyond their walls into the bosom of society, where it descends to the lowest classes, so that at last the whole people contract the habits and the tastes of the judicial magistrate.” ? Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America

  4. Attorney? Really? Or is it former attorney? Status with the Ind St Ct? Status with federal court, with SCOTUS? This is a legal newspaper, or should I look elsewhere?

  5. Once again Indiana has not only shown what little respect it has for animals, but how little respect it has for the welfare of the citizens of the state. Dumping manure in a pond will most certainly pollute the environment and ground water. Who thought of this spiffy plan? No doubt the livestock industry. So all the citizens of Indiana have to suffer pollution for the gain of a few livestock producers who are only concerned about their own profits at the expense of everyone else who lives in this State. Shame on the Environmental Rules Board!

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