August 12, 2005
Update on Bar/Bri Antitrust Litigation
An American Lawyer story recaps the lawsuit and some of the developments. Lawschool.com reports that a motion to change venue was denied.
UPDATE: The Daily Journal ran an article as well.
Posted by Eric at August 12, 2005 09:13 AM | Legal Education Industry
Having paid thousands of dollars for a BAR/BRI course that added some value, but not thousands of dollars, and allowed me to pass the Bar, which is now a self-perpetuating meaningless mindless juggernaut akin to Hell Week in the Marines or the SAT for colleges (challenge it, and you'll find few serious defenders; ask what will replace it, and you'll hear tumbleweeds in the distance), I can say this:
If the allegations are true, particularly the slimy ones about LSU being bought out of the competitive market, whereupon BAR/BRI increased its price by 57%, then I want some money back.
Yes, I know it's already spent. Yes, I know that I'm just robbing myself to pay me. But I don't think I was paying a fair price; there were competitors out there (weak, starved, hard-to-find and less-likely to provide success) but the price itself was not competitive. The confident BAR/BRI charged what it wanted, knowing that many students were simply having a BigLaw firm pay for the class, presumably not a deductible expense ("training which enables you to enter a new field" rather than to enable you to better carry out your existing field) but a commonly accepted cost of doing business.
But some of us couldn't do that. We weren't signed up for a BigLaw firm. And so a few, a lucky few were BAR/BRI reps, and got the class for free. A few others bravely took a cheaper course, or tried to teach themselves. And most of us swallowed a bitter pill and paid, in cash, sometimes by taking on additional debt.
The lecturers were fine. I have almost no complaints about the lectures. The materials provided what was necessary. But the whole thing was overdone, overpriced, overwhelming, and it's not even necessary. The Bar is a test of minimum competence, and while a prep-free test could be both easier to prepare for and harder to pass (thus winnowing the field of lawyers), I don't think we should be doing that. I want tougher Professional Responsibility requirements, not for entry but for _remaining in_ the field of law (not for lawprofs; you folks can regulate yourselves).
But we should be _lowering_ the bar, so to speak, so that anyone really can become a good lawyer, even as we raise the bar on the advocacy that we expect.
An educated society is, I continue to believe, more likely to be an active and invigorated and fiercely jealous of its rights society. Also skeptical of bull. Compare the 1960s, with many educated and active young people, with today, with increasing availability of higher "education" along with decreasing skills, substantive teaching, struggling schools, diminishing scientific and historical and geographical and mathematical literacy, and the march of Stupidity. Faith is on the March! Reason had better run!
I'll save the rest of that particular rant for another time and place: on my Blawg, of course.
Posted by: Eh Nonymous at August 16, 2005 08:55 AM