The Unz Review - Mobile
A Collection of Interesting, Important, and Controversial Perspectives Largely Excluded from the American Mainstream Media
 TeasersiSteve Blog
Lowering Standards for California Lawyers in the Name of Diversity
🔊 Listen RSS
Email This Page to Someone

 Remember My Information



=>

Bookmark Toggle AllToCAdd to LibraryRemove from Library • BShow CommentNext New CommentNext New Reply
Search Text Case Sensitive  Exact Words  Include Comments
List of Bookmarks

Screenshot 2017-08-22 17.00.24

Ben Kurtz writes about the push to lower standards on the California bar exam in the name of Diversity.

California has a relatively difficult bar exam to qualify to practice law in the Golden State.

And it has the usual racial gaps in achievement. (The data above comes from a California Bar PDF from February 2016. I had to rearrange it in Excel to make the numbers easier to understand at a glance.)

On the whole, blacks only pass it 2/5th as often as whites, Hispanics 2/3rds as often, and Asians 3/4th as often. The ratios for first time test-takers are a little more even, but since more nonwhites fail the test the first time and wind up retaking it, the total gaps are bigger than the first time ones.

There are three alternative policies in reaction to The Gaps:

- Don’t Do Anything. The system is working fine, producing the results that we more or less see everywhere else on most tests California has no shortage of lawyers. There are no cases rotting in the courts, so to continue to use an objective test to select better attorneys is a good idea.

- Impose Quotas: whites would need to score higher to pass than other groups.

- Lower Standards: Cut the cut score and call to the bar more semi-competent attorneys from each group, including whites.

The leaders of the California Bar Association want to Lower Standards, which would appear to be the worst of the three choices from a utilitarian standpoint.

Something that’s worth noting is that pros and cons of these three alternative policy responses to Gaps have been well understood by the tiny number of people who think hard and honestly about social policy for at least 45 years.

But there is little evidence that, even after a couple of generations, this awareness of trade-offs has penetrated into the consciousness of run of the mill American elites, such as leaders of the California Bar Association. Instead, everybody seems to think of themselves as confronting a unique situation, or at least one that nobody has ever approached before from a standpoint of non-racist goodwill.

The intellectual impoverishment of our discourse and policy-making is evident in a society where everybody is walking on eggshells fearing to be identified as a Badthinker.

Here’s a video preview of the typical incremental white lawyer California is in line for:

 
Hide 73 CommentsLeave a Comment
Commenters to Ignore...to FollowEndorsed Only
    []
  1. JosephB says:

    Unsurprisingly, the data are fairly well modeled with black performance being 1 SD below white performance (predicted black pass rate: 25%) and Hispanics being 0.5 SDs below whites (predicted Hispanic pass rate: 44%). I have no idea what “Asian” means so won’t try to model that.

    Read More
    • Replies: @utu
    How did you calculate it w/o knowing what is the minimum IQ threshold to pass the exam?
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
    AgreeDisagreeLOLTroll
    These buttons register your public Agreement, Disagreement, Troll, or LOL with the selected comment. They are ONLY available to recent, frequent commenters who have saved their Name+Email using the 'Remember My Information' checkbox, and may also ONLY be used once per hour.
    Ignore Commenter Follow Commenter
    Sharing Comment via Twitter
    /isteve/lowering-standards-for-california-lawyers-in-the-name-of-diversity/#comment-1979507
    More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  2. My guess for why Asians fair worse than whites is that a fair number of Asian-Asians (rather than Asian-Americans) are taking the test whose grasp of English leaves something to be desired.

    Read More
    • Agree: Triumph104
    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    Right.

    And I imagine Asians in California are more ambitious for a professional credential than are, say, Hispanics.

    , @Twinkie

    My guess for why Asians fair worse than whites is that a fair number of Asian-Asians (rather than Asian-Americans) are taking the test whose grasp of English leaves something to be desired.
     
    You mean "fare," not "fair."

    Don't forget that East Asian IQ is loaded toward quantitative and visuo-spatial (especially the latter), NOT verbal. The white-Asian gap in verbal is particularly pronounced at the lower and mid-tier levels (while parity occurs at high level).

    And, of course, the usual caveat about "Asians" applies - it's a rather nebulous category that includes very different peoples.

    Too bad we can't get Jewish vs. non-Jewish white breakdown.
    , @Yan Shen
    Echoing most of what Twinkie has already stated... Fare my friend, fare.

    I suspect that the delta has something to do with the math/verbal split more so than the Asian category containing a non-trivial number of FOBs. I mean if anything, why would you pursue a career as a lawyer, a profession that relies on possessing a fairly good command of the English language, if you were an immigrant lacking in English skills to begin with? (In reading some of the comments here, I get the impression that there are instances where immigrants may be ones attempting to practice law, but that seems to me more like an exception? But what would I know.)

    Of course it's also not clear generally to what extent East, Southeast, and South Asians are lumped together in the aggregate Asian categories that they typically trot out.

    In general from what I've seen, East Asians gravitate towards quantitative fields in STEM much more so than verbally loaded areas such as the humanities, social sciences, law, or to a lesser extent even the biological life sciences.

    , @Autochthon
    Please step away from the butterknife.

    Orientals as a race (regardless of their birthplaces) have poorer verbal intelligence and innovative creativity than Europeans; law has far fewer indisputably correct answers than, say, medicine, accounting, or electrical engineering. Bar exams require a much stronger understanding of nuance and persuasion than the kinds of things Orientals conventionally excel at: memorising and grinding regarding formulaic data.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  3. The leaders of the California Bar Association appear to want to Lower Standards, which would appear to be the worst of the three choices from a utilitarian standpoint.

    From a comedic standpoint, though, this approach is pure gold. Imagine how many real-life Lionel Hutzes we can look forward to!

    Read More
    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    Thanks, I'll post.
    , @Art Deco
    Law graduates are having trouble finding work as is and commonly fail at building a solo practice if they attempt that. Many give up in short order on a legal career and find work in some locus where general indicators of education are helpful in the hiring regime. One of the succession of deans where I used to work was a lapsed lawyer. Banks at one time hired people with law degrees for miscellaneous positions; not sure if that's still common.

    This'll just mean more lawyers who cannot find work.

    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  4. @Saint Louis
    My guess for why Asians fair worse than whites is that a fair number of Asian-Asians (rather than Asian-Americans) are taking the test whose grasp of English leaves something to be desired.

    Right.

    And I imagine Asians in California are more ambitious for a professional credential than are, say, Hispanics.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Stacy235l
    I think it's more likely that they just don't have good Cal. bar exam cheating rackets going yet. Give'em time.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  5. utu says:
    @JosephB
    Unsurprisingly, the data are fairly well modeled with black performance being 1 SD below white performance (predicted black pass rate: 25%) and Hispanics being 0.5 SDs below whites (predicted Hispanic pass rate: 44%). I have no idea what "Asian" means so won't try to model that.

    How did you calculate it w/o knowing what is the minimum IQ threshold to pass the exam?

    Read More
    • Replies: @JosephB
    We know the white pass rate is 63.6%. Given a normal distribution (assume mean of 0, SD of 1) we get a passing cutpoint of -0.35.

    Then model blacks as mean = -1, SD = 1, and 75% of the distribution is below the -0.35 passing cutoff.

    Of course, the assumption is that blacks taking the bar exam are also 1 SD below whites. I would expect some attenuation due to selection effects thus reducing the effect to less than 1 SD. In the absence of AA, I would expect a trivial difference in mean black/white scores, and consequently, pass rates.

    I get the assumption of a 1 SD difference in test takers is questionable, but it tends to work very well in real life. Take a look at teacher pass rates for certification tests and you see a similar ~1 SD difference.
    , @JosephB
    To give a bit more info about the 1 SD difference largely holding up, here are a few studies:

    https://www.nytimes.com/2015/06/18/nyregion/with-tougher-teacher-licensing-exams-a-question-of-racial-discrimination.html
    White pass rate: 55%
    Black pass rate: 21.5%
    Difference: 0.9 SD

    https://www.chalkbeat.org/posts/ny/2015/03/19/aspiring-black-and-hispanic-teaches-struggle-on-new-tests-data-show-prompting-new-debate/
    White: 75%
    Black: 48%
    Difference: 0.7 SD

    http://www.nationaljurist.com/content/diversity-challenge
    White: 95%
    Black: 61%
    Difference: 1.4 SD (high white pass rate may skew things)


    I did not cherry pick studies. These are the first examples I found with a few minutes of googling. If you find some good, large scale, counter examples, please share as I am curious.

    Dropping the last study gives an average of about 0.8 SD across candidates who should have been equalized due to completion of schooling. Personally I'm surprised at the remaining difference.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  6. anonymous says: • Disclaimer

    The desirable states have an advantage with the bar exam, as well as medical boards, in that they can screen for the best attorneys and physicians by having higher standards. Why give this up? I’ve known a few people in the past that had to settle on moving to less trendy states because they couldn’t pass the exam.

    We have fifty states. I am sure many of those who cannot pass CA’s test could pass on the first try in many other states.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    Ed Real speculates that in Mississippi it's easier to pass the bar exam than the high school math teacher exam.
    , @Polynikes
    I think you're right, but it may be exacerbated by the number of non accredited law schools in California,too.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  7. “The leaders of the California Bar Association appear to want to Lower Standards, which would appear to be the worst of the three choices from a utilitarian standpoint.”

    Remind me, how much do they charge for membership? Seems like more dollars from more lawyers, competent or otherwise, would be the best choice for them.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter Display All Comments
  8. Art Deco says:

    I think you’ve missed the problem here. Law schools are having trouble recruiting, so have lowered admissions standards to stay open. That, in turn means they grant diplomas to many more people who have trouble passing the bar, which in turn threatens their marketing and their accreditation.

    They should have trouble recruiting. The ratio of working practitioners to professional school graduation cohorts is variable but clusters these days around 22.5. That for the legal profession is 15. Its difficult to find a profession of any size where that ratio is lower. (That ratio for divinity schools and seminaries is quite low – around 3.5 – but it’s quite normal among divinity students to have no intention of seeking out a position as a f/t clergyman).

    The problem, really, is the bloat in law schools. What needs to happen to law faculties is what happened to Chrysler between 1979 and 1985: about 1/3 of the workforce needs to be cut. And, no, people with comfortable bourgeois jobs with a certain amount of cachet don’t want that to happen.

    Read More
    • Agree: Frau Katze
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter Display All Comments
  9. @Daniel Williams

    The leaders of the California Bar Association appear to want to Lower Standards, which would appear to be the worst of the three choices from a utilitarian standpoint.
     
    From a comedic standpoint, though, this approach is pure gold. Imagine how many real-life Lionel Hutzes we can look forward to!

    Thanks, I’ll post.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  10. @anonymous
    The desirable states have an advantage with the bar exam, as well as medical boards, in that they can screen for the best attorneys and physicians by having higher standards. Why give this up? I've known a few people in the past that had to settle on moving to less trendy states because they couldn't pass the exam.

    We have fifty states. I am sure many of those who cannot pass CA's test could pass on the first try in many other states.

    Ed Real speculates that in Mississippi it’s easier to pass the bar exam than the high school math teacher exam.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Art Deco
    Cue Mandy Rice-Davies.
    , @anonymouslee
    California's bar exam is notoriously difficult.

    The dean of Stanford's law school failed a few years ago.

    I know some brilliant lawyers who failed it while busy practicing law in another state and trying to study in their minimal spare time.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  11. AM says:

    The leaders of the California Bar Association want to Lower Standards, which would appear to be the worst of the three choices from a utilitarian standpoint.

    It’s really funny that the state that brought us warnings on rubber mallets (birth defects!) would decide that it’s really good idea to make sure professionals are less competent.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Ivy
    Too many California legislators and regulators in the Golden Deep State were called to the Bar by that song "If I had a hammer". Now their hammer is whatever tool they want it to be.
    , @lavoisier
    Protection of the public from poorly prepared professionals MUST not trump the pursuit of equality.
    , @StillCARealist
    nobody wants a lawyer without considerable gray hair. And lowering standards just means that this intensifies. People will quickly grasp that the older lawyers are not only more experienced, but more intelligent.

    As to Asian-Asians taking the CA bar, I doubt it. My personal experience hanging around a law school with an old boyfriend was that there were no non-native English speakers on campus. But maybe actual lawyers can comment on this.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  12. Art Deco says:
    @Daniel Williams

    The leaders of the California Bar Association appear to want to Lower Standards, which would appear to be the worst of the three choices from a utilitarian standpoint.
     
    From a comedic standpoint, though, this approach is pure gold. Imagine how many real-life Lionel Hutzes we can look forward to!

    Law graduates are having trouble finding work as is and commonly fail at building a solo practice if they attempt that. Many give up in short order on a legal career and find work in some locus where general indicators of education are helpful in the hiring regime. One of the succession of deans where I used to work was a lapsed lawyer. Banks at one time hired people with law degrees for miscellaneous positions; not sure if that’s still common.

    This’ll just mean more lawyers who cannot find work.

    Read More
    • Agree: Autochthon
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  13. Twinkie says:
    @Saint Louis
    My guess for why Asians fair worse than whites is that a fair number of Asian-Asians (rather than Asian-Americans) are taking the test whose grasp of English leaves something to be desired.

    My guess for why Asians fair worse than whites is that a fair number of Asian-Asians (rather than Asian-Americans) are taking the test whose grasp of English leaves something to be desired.

    You mean “fare,” not “fair.”

    Don’t forget that East Asian IQ is loaded toward quantitative and visuo-spatial (especially the latter), NOT verbal. The white-Asian gap in verbal is particularly pronounced at the lower and mid-tier levels (while parity occurs at high level).

    And, of course, the usual caveat about “Asians” applies – it’s a rather nebulous category that includes very different peoples.

    Too bad we can’t get Jewish vs. non-Jewish white breakdown.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Sunbeam
    Wonder if it is a class thing, or a gentile versus jew thing.

    Because I'm not jewish, and the idea of being a lawyer seems like a totally unattractive career choice.

    You eventually have to go to the courthouse. You have to read some of the dullest material known to man. The whole experience of having to be in court, with a dork at the other table, and another dork presiding over it all. In the end your life is producing reams of tedious drivel put on paper, all because your client had to have his own witch doctor so he could have his own juju. Because if you go into a courthouse without your own witch doctor, the head witch doctor says you automatically lose. It's a witch doctor thing.

    I guess it is worth it - if you are the biggest of big noises pulling down ridiculous money. Otherwise, eh can think of a lot of other things I'd rather do.

    And some of those are genuinely useful.
    , @415 reasons
    A Jewish lawyer in LA? Oy vey
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  14. Art Deco says:
    @Steve Sailer
    Ed Real speculates that in Mississippi it's easier to pass the bar exam than the high school math teacher exam.

    Cue Mandy Rice-Davies.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  15. California lawyers as a whole are no friends of ours so, whatever. Lower standards lower wages for lawyers, you could even say it’s a good thing. It’s not like anybody’s lives are at stake.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Lot
    The marginal bar taker who just barely passes due to the lower standard will probably never work a single day as a lawyer, so there will not be a real impact on wages.

    Like other prestige professions with high barriers such as journalism, what holds starting lawyer wages low is the willingness of lawyer parents and spouses to subsidize very low wages. So a place like the ACLU will require new lawyers to do a yearlong unpaid internship then start at $35,000.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  16. Thomas says:

    Here’s a perspective from a Los Angeles judge on lowering the pass score (tl; dr: his experience is that the standards are already too low): https://www.dailyjournal.com/articles/342590

    The California Bar already made the decision starting last month to cut the length of the exam by one day (from three days to two).

    Part of the issue I think is that law schools have increasingly been accepting and graduating marginal candidates. For a few years at the depth of the recession, there was a glut of law school applications and so schools were marginally more selective (to the extent that they weren’t practicing affirmative action under one name or another). There’s been a sharp crash since, leading to closures (e.g., Whittier Law School), and, presumably, a fall in the caliber of the candidate pool.

    One other background event that might be relevant as well is that California’s court system since the recession has been severely affected by budget cuts, leading to bureaucratic lassitude, significant delays in cases getting heard, and widespread adoption of poorly-documented and understood “local local” rules and policies in many counties and courthouses that nobody really knows how to navigate (and that can change from clerk to clerk). There actually are cases “rotting in the courts” as a result. That’s a budgeting and bureaucratic problem, not a problem caused by a shortage of (dumber) lawyers, but it can be blamed on the latter.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter Display All Comments
  17. Nobody can look on the bright side.

    California becomes a state with stupider lawyers. That’s great.

    Bonus-at least some of those stupider lawyers will be stupider immigation lawyers.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Father O'Hara
    Yeah but what if OJ goes a little crazy again?
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  18. The Asian vs White gap is bigger than I’d expect for a study-heavy verbal/written exam. I wonder if immigration student visas are a significant factor.

    California allows unaccredited for-profit law schools, some of which are basically scams where few students pass the bar. Are some of these particularly targeted at Asian immigrants?

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter Display All Comments
  19. @anony-mouse
    Nobody can look on the bright side.

    California becomes a state with stupider lawyers. That's great.

    Bonus-at least some of those stupider lawyers will be stupider immigation lawyers.

    Yeah but what if OJ goes a little crazy again?

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  20. res says:

    They don’t make that data easy to interpret. Why do they ignore what seems like the most relevant metric: What percentage who take the bar exam pass eventually? Or given the difficulties of knowing that at any moment, say pass within five years of their first test.

    The Asian performance seems oddly low to me. Is there an unusual mix of subgroups involved or is it just that law does not get the best Asians?

    Here is the Feburary 2017 version of your document: http://cbtronline.com/media/pdfs/22017barexamresultstats.pdf
    The first time/repeater results are very different in that one. Your <17% pass rate for repeaters look like a major anomaly (33% in 2/17) and the 56% pass rate for first time takers is on the high side (39% in 2/17).

    And an article talking about those results: http://abovethelaw.com/2017/05/californias-bar-exam-results-are-absolutely-abysmal/

    Here are pass rates for each offering of the CA bar exam from 1951 to date: http://www.calbar.ca.gov/Portals/0/documents/admissions/gbx/GBXpassratesummary_201702.pdf
    It looks to me like the pass rates were worse in the mid-1980s than they are today.
    But note the statistical finagling implied by the footnote: "* Total Number Examined Changed to Total Number Completing Exam 2/17"
    When you see things like that you can be sure there is a problem.

    NYT article from last month: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/13/business/dealbook/california-bar-exam.html

    If anyone wants to make national comparisons see the data by state in the 36 page PDF at http://www.ncbex.org/publications/statistics/

    Read More
    • Replies: @res
    I looked more closely at the historical data and there is a consistent difference between the February and July pass rates (from 3-20% higher in July for recent years). Unfortunately that data does not break out first time takers and repeaters.

    But if we compare the 7/16 and 2/17 detailed data there is a clear difference in the balance of first time test takers and repeaters. This appears to be part of why the pass rate is higher in July. But we also see that the first timer pass rate was lower and repeater pass rate was higher in February 2017 than in July 2016 (and large differences!). Can anyone who is a CA lawyer comment on the characteristics of who takes the test in February vs. July?

    One conclusion is to be cautious about concluding too much from any single test cycle.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  21. JosephB says:
    @utu
    How did you calculate it w/o knowing what is the minimum IQ threshold to pass the exam?

    We know the white pass rate is 63.6%. Given a normal distribution (assume mean of 0, SD of 1) we get a passing cutpoint of -0.35.

    Then model blacks as mean = -1, SD = 1, and 75% of the distribution is below the -0.35 passing cutoff.

    Of course, the assumption is that blacks taking the bar exam are also 1 SD below whites. I would expect some attenuation due to selection effects thus reducing the effect to less than 1 SD. In the absence of AA, I would expect a trivial difference in mean black/white scores, and consequently, pass rates.

    I get the assumption of a 1 SD difference in test takers is questionable, but it tends to work very well in real life. Take a look at teacher pass rates for certification tests and you see a similar ~1 SD difference.

    Read More
    • Agree: Lot
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  22. Sunbeam says:
    @Twinkie

    My guess for why Asians fair worse than whites is that a fair number of Asian-Asians (rather than Asian-Americans) are taking the test whose grasp of English leaves something to be desired.
     
    You mean "fare," not "fair."

    Don't forget that East Asian IQ is loaded toward quantitative and visuo-spatial (especially the latter), NOT verbal. The white-Asian gap in verbal is particularly pronounced at the lower and mid-tier levels (while parity occurs at high level).

    And, of course, the usual caveat about "Asians" applies - it's a rather nebulous category that includes very different peoples.

    Too bad we can't get Jewish vs. non-Jewish white breakdown.

    Wonder if it is a class thing, or a gentile versus jew thing.

    Because I’m not jewish, and the idea of being a lawyer seems like a totally unattractive career choice.

    You eventually have to go to the courthouse. You have to read some of the dullest material known to man. The whole experience of having to be in court, with a dork at the other table, and another dork presiding over it all. In the end your life is producing reams of tedious drivel put on paper, all because your client had to have his own witch doctor so he could have his own juju. Because if you go into a courthouse without your own witch doctor, the head witch doctor says you automatically lose. It’s a witch doctor thing.

    I guess it is worth it – if you are the biggest of big noises pulling down ridiculous money. Otherwise, eh can think of a lot of other things I’d rather do.

    And some of those are genuinely useful.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Alden
    The trial attorneys I have known like the contest of jury trials and winning. But attorneys seldom go to court. It's all about settle, settle settle.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  23. @Steve Sailer
    Ed Real speculates that in Mississippi it's easier to pass the bar exam than the high school math teacher exam.

    California’s bar exam is notoriously difficult.

    The dean of Stanford’s law school failed a few years ago.

    I know some brilliant lawyers who failed it while busy practicing law in another state and trying to study in their minimal spare time.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Alec Leamas

    California’s bar exam is notoriously difficult.

    The dean of Stanford’s law school failed a few years ago.

    I know some brilliant lawyers who failed it while busy practicing law in another state and trying to study in their minimal spare time.

     

    There are a few factors in determining how difficult the States make their Bar Examinations.

    One of the leading factors nowadays seems to be the desirability of the State as a retirement destination - lawyers don't want older lawyers from other States moving in later in life to dabble in semi-retirement and compete with resident attorneys for business. Florida is said to be one of the more difficult Bar Examinations for this reason.

    I would guess that California's pass rate is probably affected by the number of unaccredited Law Schools and California's permissive attitude in allowing graduates to take its Bar Examination. You're naturally going to get lots and lots of never-could-have-gone-to-a-legitimate-Law-School types taking and failing the California Bar Examination than in other States. Enough of these failing attempts and your pass rate will seem low.

    And it doesn't surprise that the Bar Examination is difficult for actual practitioners - the typical manner of preparation is a summer cram school style preparation through an outlet that prepares materials for Bar Examination preparation. If you're managing a practice you're not going to be able to do the cramming in a way that will yield effective results. And the Bar Examination isn't really a good approximation of what lawyers do anyway.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  24. Yan Shen says:
    @Saint Louis
    My guess for why Asians fair worse than whites is that a fair number of Asian-Asians (rather than Asian-Americans) are taking the test whose grasp of English leaves something to be desired.

    Echoing most of what Twinkie has already stated… Fare my friend, fare.

    I suspect that the delta has something to do with the math/verbal split more so than the Asian category containing a non-trivial number of FOBs. I mean if anything, why would you pursue a career as a lawyer, a profession that relies on possessing a fairly good command of the English language, if you were an immigrant lacking in English skills to begin with? (In reading some of the comments here, I get the impression that there are instances where immigrants may be ones attempting to practice law, but that seems to me more like an exception? But what would I know.)

    Of course it’s also not clear generally to what extent East, Southeast, and South Asians are lumped together in the aggregate Asian categories that they typically trot out.

    In general from what I’ve seen, East Asians gravitate towards quantitative fields in STEM much more so than verbally loaded areas such as the humanities, social sciences, law, or to a lesser extent even the biological life sciences.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Saint Louis
    Thanks for the spelling correction. I know the difference; not sure if autocorrect changed it on me and I missed it or I just goofed. At least you guys have me covfefed.

    And I tend to agree re: the math/verbal split that it's probably a bigger factor.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  25. @Twinkie

    My guess for why Asians fair worse than whites is that a fair number of Asian-Asians (rather than Asian-Americans) are taking the test whose grasp of English leaves something to be desired.
     
    You mean "fare," not "fair."

    Don't forget that East Asian IQ is loaded toward quantitative and visuo-spatial (especially the latter), NOT verbal. The white-Asian gap in verbal is particularly pronounced at the lower and mid-tier levels (while parity occurs at high level).

    And, of course, the usual caveat about "Asians" applies - it's a rather nebulous category that includes very different peoples.

    Too bad we can't get Jewish vs. non-Jewish white breakdown.

    A Jewish lawyer in LA? Oy vey

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  26. Cortes says:

    It has always been thus.

    When I studied Law at Glasgow University a well-connected guy caught cheating in an exam was exonerated. John or Jane Doe would’ve been toast. This was 1992. Guy is now a political consultant.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter Display All Comments
  27. res says:
    @res
    They don't make that data easy to interpret. Why do they ignore what seems like the most relevant metric: What percentage who take the bar exam pass eventually? Or given the difficulties of knowing that at any moment, say pass within five years of their first test.

    The Asian performance seems oddly low to me. Is there an unusual mix of subgroups involved or is it just that law does not get the best Asians?

    Here is the Feburary 2017 version of your document: http://cbtronline.com/media/pdfs/22017barexamresultstats.pdf
    The first time/repeater results are very different in that one. Your <17% pass rate for repeaters look like a major anomaly (33% in 2/17) and the 56% pass rate for first time takers is on the high side (39% in 2/17).

    And an article talking about those results: http://abovethelaw.com/2017/05/californias-bar-exam-results-are-absolutely-abysmal/

    Here are pass rates for each offering of the CA bar exam from 1951 to date: http://www.calbar.ca.gov/Portals/0/documents/admissions/gbx/GBXpassratesummary_201702.pdf
    It looks to me like the pass rates were worse in the mid-1980s than they are today.
    But note the statistical finagling implied by the footnote: "* Total Number Examined Changed to Total Number Completing Exam 2/17"
    When you see things like that you can be sure there is a problem.

    NYT article from last month: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/13/business/dealbook/california-bar-exam.html

    If anyone wants to make national comparisons see the data by state in the 36 page PDF at http://www.ncbex.org/publications/statistics/

    I looked more closely at the historical data and there is a consistent difference between the February and July pass rates (from 3-20% higher in July for recent years). Unfortunately that data does not break out first time takers and repeaters.

    But if we compare the 7/16 and 2/17 detailed data there is a clear difference in the balance of first time test takers and repeaters. This appears to be part of why the pass rate is higher in July. But we also see that the first timer pass rate was lower and repeater pass rate was higher in February 2017 than in July 2016 (and large differences!). Can anyone who is a CA lawyer comment on the characteristics of who takes the test in February vs. July?

    One conclusion is to be cautious about concluding too much from any single test cycle.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Maus
    Res, the quick answer to the discrepancy you note between July results and February results is based in the life cycle of law school graduates. They get their JD in May and take the July exam. Those who pass learn their fate in late November, get sworn in as attorneys in December and begin their professional lives. The smaller number of failing July takers, coupled with first time takers who may be adding a second license, take the February exam. The cohort as a whole is not as excellent as that from July.
    Those who fail on the second attempt may eventually pass, but the dilution of excellence continues. The significsnce of the Bar's decision to report those who completed versus those who registered to take is rooted in the number of February applicants who realize after the first day that they are doomed. Thus the reported failure rates exclude them and appear to less draconian. The advent of the two-day exam in July 2017 may curtail or reduce the drop out rate, since one more day of hell is easier to take than two.
    As an aside, the reason for the two-day exam in most members' minds is that it permits someone to take the exam in two jurisdictions in the single week, the Wednesday Multistate portion is applied to both exams. Lots of the big, white shoe firms want their associates licensed in several states so they can generate more billable hours at a higher hourly rate.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  28. JosephB says:
    @utu
    How did you calculate it w/o knowing what is the minimum IQ threshold to pass the exam?

    To give a bit more info about the 1 SD difference largely holding up, here are a few studies:

    https://www.nytimes.com/2015/06/18/nyregion/with-tougher-teacher-licensing-exams-a-question-of-racial-discrimination.html

    White pass rate: 55%
    Black pass rate: 21.5%
    Difference: 0.9 SD

    https://www.chalkbeat.org/posts/ny/2015/03/19/aspiring-black-and-hispanic-teaches-struggle-on-new-tests-data-show-prompting-new-debate/

    White: 75%
    Black: 48%
    Difference: 0.7 SD

    http://www.nationaljurist.com/content/diversity-challenge

    White: 95%
    Black: 61%
    Difference: 1.4 SD (high white pass rate may skew things)

    I did not cherry pick studies. These are the first examples I found with a few minutes of googling. If you find some good, large scale, counter examples, please share as I am curious.

    Dropping the last study gives an average of about 0.8 SD across candidates who should have been equalized due to completion of schooling. Personally I’m surprised at the remaining difference.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    The Gap is really amazingly pervasive. La Griffe du Lion calls it The Fundamental Constant of Sociology.
    , @utu
    You wrote: "1 SD below white performance (predicted black pass rate: 25%)" I took this statement as follows: from the fact that Black IQ_mean is 1SD less than White IQ_mean you can predict that black pass rate is 25% of the white pass rate.

    So I asked you to show me how did you calculate that it is specifically 25% and not, say 35% or 19%.

    I also pointed out that to make any prediction you need to know the threshold IQ_thr such that (IQ<Q_thr)=Fail and (IQ≥IQ_thr)=Pass. For different IQ_thr you will get different answers for the pass rate. I am sure there is IQ_thr for which the answer is 25%. But do you know which?

    This is not about empirical data one can find googling. This is about making mathematical statements that are either valid or not within the realm of mathematics. You said something about modeling, right? So show me your math and do not flood me with google search results.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  29. Maus says:

    Earlier this month the State Bar emailed a survey asking me, and I presume at least some statistically significant number of other California attorneys, to weigh in on the proposal to lower the so-called cut score (currently 144) to something in the low 130s, in line with the national average. Earlier, the CA Supreme Court had directed the Bar to study the issue and report. The Bar’s initial recommendation was to keep the cut at 144, or at most to lower it to 141. The goal is to make a decision that will impact the July 2017 exam, for which results are announced in late November.
    The day after the survey was sent by the Bar, I received an email from the Dean of Hastings imploring me to respond to the survey in favor of a much lower cut score. He has been the flag bearer amongst California’s ABA approved law schools for a cut score in the low 130s. Hastings is of course the one public law school which has a significant affirmative action cohort. It has also traditionally had very large classes, on the order of 600 students for each of the three years. Though this was reduced to around 450 in the last few years, I have no doubt that they are admitting a lower caliber student than was the case twenty years ago.
    Hastings in my time was a top-twenty nationally ranked and highly respected school. In the past five years, by contrast, Hastings has struggled to remain in the top fifty. It is nothing short of a disgrace. I completed the survey by expressing the preference that the cut score remain 144.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Alden
    I can remember when Hastings was as highly regarded as Boalt Hall. In some ways, native Bay Area Hastings grads had much more successful careers, Judgeships etc because of Bay Area native networking. Boalt hall attracted students from all over the country who had to start a career without connections.
    , @res

    Hastings is of course the one public law school which has a significant affirmative action cohort.
     
    Thanks for posting about this. I saw that Hastings had a low pass rate recently and was wondering if AA was the reason. I looked for data but was unable to find a racial breakdown for the graduating classes at Hastings. If anyone has data like that please post.

    It is interesting that they seem to be making this decision with the July results already in hand. I wonder how much those results will influence the final choice.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  30. @JosephB
    To give a bit more info about the 1 SD difference largely holding up, here are a few studies:

    https://www.nytimes.com/2015/06/18/nyregion/with-tougher-teacher-licensing-exams-a-question-of-racial-discrimination.html
    White pass rate: 55%
    Black pass rate: 21.5%
    Difference: 0.9 SD

    https://www.chalkbeat.org/posts/ny/2015/03/19/aspiring-black-and-hispanic-teaches-struggle-on-new-tests-data-show-prompting-new-debate/
    White: 75%
    Black: 48%
    Difference: 0.7 SD

    http://www.nationaljurist.com/content/diversity-challenge
    White: 95%
    Black: 61%
    Difference: 1.4 SD (high white pass rate may skew things)


    I did not cherry pick studies. These are the first examples I found with a few minutes of googling. If you find some good, large scale, counter examples, please share as I am curious.

    Dropping the last study gives an average of about 0.8 SD across candidates who should have been equalized due to completion of schooling. Personally I'm surprised at the remaining difference.

    The Gap is really amazingly pervasive. La Griffe du Lion calls it The Fundamental Constant of Sociology.

    Read More
    • Replies: @JosephB
    I've seen La Griffe's stuff, but I find it shocking that it persists after controlling for schooling, as both teaching and law typically require a degree to be a candidate. Selection *should* reduce the difference from a base rate of 1 SD to something smaller.

    As a thought experiment, if we administered a Raven's test and only admitted to law school those with an IQ above 120, there would be little difference in IQ between whites and blacks, with means of 127 and 125 in this population, respectively. Would we really expect a difference of 1 standard deviation in bar pass rates in this restricted population? Of course, the lower the cutoff, the larger the difference: a strict cutoff score of 100 would result in mean IQs of 112 and 107. That 5 point difference is about 0.6 SD difference (given the restricted range of the populations).

    I would not expect equating for schooling to result in as strong an effect as a strict IQ cutoff, but certainly expected more than reducing ~1 SD to 0.8 to 0.9 SD.

    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  31. Lot says:
    @27 year old
    California lawyers as a whole are no friends of ours so, whatever. Lower standards lower wages for lawyers, you could even say it's a good thing. It's not like anybody's lives are at stake.

    The marginal bar taker who just barely passes due to the lower standard will probably never work a single day as a lawyer, so there will not be a real impact on wages.

    Like other prestige professions with high barriers such as journalism, what holds starting lawyer wages low is the willingness of lawyer parents and spouses to subsidize very low wages. So a place like the ACLU will require new lawyers to do a yearlong unpaid internship then start at $35,000.

    Read More
    • Agree: Autochthon
    • Replies: @Ivy
    Barriers take many forms, whether normative or otherwise. Some extramural influences could stand greater scrutiny, such as via iSteve dissection, particularly in such alleged prestige professions.
    , @AB-
    "prestige professions with high barriers such as journalism"

    I don't think that has ever been true; only prestigious to others in the trade. Rest of the population sees them as the untalented hacks they are. Any English major can get a job as a 'journalist'; it's only those with connections that will get one of the few jobs that you hint at. Then it's the connections and not the training that are the important quality.

    I remember reading a Bureau of Labor report that 'journalists' had lower starting salaries than even liberal arts majors.....
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  32. gman says:

    Semi off-topic:

    Reuters had the following headline yesterday
    “U.S. funds get tougher on climate and diversity, but not CEO pay”

    http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-funds-compensation-idUSKCN1B121U

    So this system works well to reward someone like Sundar Pichai at Google, which doesn’t have a lot of carbon emissions, can spend money to make all of its buildings LEED, spends a ton on diversity initiatives and can have superficial diversity at the board level.

    It reminds me of what you wrote back in 2009
    “A common phenomenon that has emerged in recent decades in America, but remains so off-the-radar that I’ve never heard a name for it, is the business of setting up leftwing pressure groups that make their living by reaching mutually profitable agreements with regulated businesses so that the business can do what it wants.”

    https://isteve.blogspot.com/2009/03/hud-secretary-shaun-donovan.html

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter Display All Comments
  33. @anonymouslee
    California's bar exam is notoriously difficult.

    The dean of Stanford's law school failed a few years ago.

    I know some brilliant lawyers who failed it while busy practicing law in another state and trying to study in their minimal spare time.

    California’s bar exam is notoriously difficult.

    The dean of Stanford’s law school failed a few years ago.

    I know some brilliant lawyers who failed it while busy practicing law in another state and trying to study in their minimal spare time.

    There are a few factors in determining how difficult the States make their Bar Examinations.

    One of the leading factors nowadays seems to be the desirability of the State as a retirement destination – lawyers don’t want older lawyers from other States moving in later in life to dabble in semi-retirement and compete with resident attorneys for business. Florida is said to be one of the more difficult Bar Examinations for this reason.

    I would guess that California’s pass rate is probably affected by the number of unaccredited Law Schools and California’s permissive attitude in allowing graduates to take its Bar Examination. You’re naturally going to get lots and lots of never-could-have-gone-to-a-legitimate-Law-School types taking and failing the California Bar Examination than in other States. Enough of these failing attempts and your pass rate will seem low.

    And it doesn’t surprise that the Bar Examination is difficult for actual practitioners – the typical manner of preparation is a summer cram school style preparation through an outlet that prepares materials for Bar Examination preparation. If you’re managing a practice you’re not going to be able to do the cramming in a way that will yield effective results. And the Bar Examination isn’t really a good approximation of what lawyers do anyway.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Maus
    Two things to note:
    1. Florida discourages retired attorneys from out-of-state from hanging up their shingle by creating a tiered application fee/ first period of membership. It's a few hundred for new or young attorneys up to five figures for oldsters like me. I know of at least two guys who took a summer off when much younger to knock out the FL exam, which is much easier than CA, in anticipation of retiring there many years later.
    2. Many Californians don't realize that graduates of non-ABA law schools, of which CA has several, cannot take the exam in most (if not all) other jurisdictions. In the current climate, even those who pass the Bar are looking at government jobs at best or more likely grinding it out as a solo practitioner. All this while crushed by the burden of $100K+ in student loans. Not fun.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  34. Alden says:

    Wow, I wonder what happened to all those Asian geniuses. Is this one field in which Whites still surpass other races?

    The reason the law is so over filled is that when a liberal arts grad can’t find a job they go to law school. What with electronic data bases there is less and less use for entry level attorneys in the big law firms.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter Display All Comments
  35. Maus says:
    @res
    I looked more closely at the historical data and there is a consistent difference between the February and July pass rates (from 3-20% higher in July for recent years). Unfortunately that data does not break out first time takers and repeaters.

    But if we compare the 7/16 and 2/17 detailed data there is a clear difference in the balance of first time test takers and repeaters. This appears to be part of why the pass rate is higher in July. But we also see that the first timer pass rate was lower and repeater pass rate was higher in February 2017 than in July 2016 (and large differences!). Can anyone who is a CA lawyer comment on the characteristics of who takes the test in February vs. July?

    One conclusion is to be cautious about concluding too much from any single test cycle.

    Res, the quick answer to the discrepancy you note between July results and February results is based in the life cycle of law school graduates. They get their JD in May and take the July exam. Those who pass learn their fate in late November, get sworn in as attorneys in December and begin their professional lives. The smaller number of failing July takers, coupled with first time takers who may be adding a second license, take the February exam. The cohort as a whole is not as excellent as that from July.
    Those who fail on the second attempt may eventually pass, but the dilution of excellence continues. The significsnce of the Bar’s decision to report those who completed versus those who registered to take is rooted in the number of February applicants who realize after the first day that they are doomed. Thus the reported failure rates exclude them and appear to less draconian. The advent of the two-day exam in July 2017 may curtail or reduce the drop out rate, since one more day of hell is easier to take than two.
    As an aside, the reason for the two-day exam in most members’ minds is that it permits someone to take the exam in two jurisdictions in the single week, the Wednesday Multistate portion is applied to both exams. Lots of the big, white shoe firms want their associates licensed in several states so they can generate more billable hours at a higher hourly rate.

    Read More
    • Replies: @res
    Thank you! That is exactly what I was looking for. One further question. The repeater pass rate is much better (33% vs. 17%) in February 2017 (32% in 2/16) vs. July 2016. Is this just due to February repeaters being first time repeaters (with some who may have just underestimated how hard they had to study) while July repeaters are more likely to have failed multiple times? Or is something else going on there (that is a big difference, almost 2x!)?

    I downloaded the February 2016 detailed results (February test, pre completion stat change) for comparison: https://www.calbar.ca.gov/Portals/0/documents/admissions/Statistics/FEBRUARY2016STATS.0816_R.pdf
    and the pass rates for repeaters were similar to February 2017, and were actually better for first-timers.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  36. Alden says:
    @Maus
    Earlier this month the State Bar emailed a survey asking me, and I presume at least some statistically significant number of other California attorneys, to weigh in on the proposal to lower the so-called cut score (currently 144) to something in the low 130s, in line with the national average. Earlier, the CA Supreme Court had directed the Bar to study the issue and report. The Bar's initial recommendation was to keep the cut at 144, or at most to lower it to 141. The goal is to make a decision that will impact the July 2017 exam, for which results are announced in late November.
    The day after the survey was sent by the Bar, I received an email from the Dean of Hastings imploring me to respond to the survey in favor of a much lower cut score. He has been the flag bearer amongst California's ABA approved law schools for a cut score in the low 130s. Hastings is of course the one public law school which has a significant affirmative action cohort. It has also traditionally had very large classes, on the order of 600 students for each of the three years. Though this was reduced to around 450 in the last few years, I have no doubt that they are admitting a lower caliber student than was the case twenty years ago.
    Hastings in my time was a top-twenty nationally ranked and highly respected school. In the past five years, by contrast, Hastings has struggled to remain in the top fifty. It is nothing short of a disgrace. I completed the survey by expressing the preference that the cut score remain 144.

    I can remember when Hastings was as highly regarded as Boalt Hall. In some ways, native Bay Area Hastings grads had much more successful careers, Judgeships etc because of Bay Area native networking. Boalt hall attracted students from all over the country who had to start a career without connections.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  37. res says:
    @Maus
    Earlier this month the State Bar emailed a survey asking me, and I presume at least some statistically significant number of other California attorneys, to weigh in on the proposal to lower the so-called cut score (currently 144) to something in the low 130s, in line with the national average. Earlier, the CA Supreme Court had directed the Bar to study the issue and report. The Bar's initial recommendation was to keep the cut at 144, or at most to lower it to 141. The goal is to make a decision that will impact the July 2017 exam, for which results are announced in late November.
    The day after the survey was sent by the Bar, I received an email from the Dean of Hastings imploring me to respond to the survey in favor of a much lower cut score. He has been the flag bearer amongst California's ABA approved law schools for a cut score in the low 130s. Hastings is of course the one public law school which has a significant affirmative action cohort. It has also traditionally had very large classes, on the order of 600 students for each of the three years. Though this was reduced to around 450 in the last few years, I have no doubt that they are admitting a lower caliber student than was the case twenty years ago.
    Hastings in my time was a top-twenty nationally ranked and highly respected school. In the past five years, by contrast, Hastings has struggled to remain in the top fifty. It is nothing short of a disgrace. I completed the survey by expressing the preference that the cut score remain 144.

    Hastings is of course the one public law school which has a significant affirmative action cohort.

    Thanks for posting about this. I saw that Hastings had a low pass rate recently and was wondering if AA was the reason. I looked for data but was unable to find a racial breakdown for the graduating classes at Hastings. If anyone has data like that please post.

    It is interesting that they seem to be making this decision with the July results already in hand. I wonder how much those results will influence the final choice.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  38. Ivy says:
    @AM

    The leaders of the California Bar Association want to Lower Standards, which would appear to be the worst of the three choices from a utilitarian standpoint.
     
    It's really funny that the state that brought us warnings on rubber mallets (birth defects!) would decide that it's really good idea to make sure professionals are less competent.

    Too many California legislators and regulators in the Golden Deep State were called to the Bar by that song “If I had a hammer”. Now their hammer is whatever tool they want it to be.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  39. Alden says:
    @Sunbeam
    Wonder if it is a class thing, or a gentile versus jew thing.

    Because I'm not jewish, and the idea of being a lawyer seems like a totally unattractive career choice.

    You eventually have to go to the courthouse. You have to read some of the dullest material known to man. The whole experience of having to be in court, with a dork at the other table, and another dork presiding over it all. In the end your life is producing reams of tedious drivel put on paper, all because your client had to have his own witch doctor so he could have his own juju. Because if you go into a courthouse without your own witch doctor, the head witch doctor says you automatically lose. It's a witch doctor thing.

    I guess it is worth it - if you are the biggest of big noises pulling down ridiculous money. Otherwise, eh can think of a lot of other things I'd rather do.

    And some of those are genuinely useful.

    The trial attorneys I have known like the contest of jury trials and winning. But attorneys seldom go to court. It’s all about settle, settle settle.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Alec Leamas

    The trial attorneys I have known like the contest of jury trials and winning. But attorneys seldom go to court. It’s all about settle, settle settle.
     
    The overwhelming majority of cases settle because they should settle. Those "trial attorneys" settle cases every day. If every case tried they system would be sclerotic over night. Not to mention the fact that preparing for jury trials is immense work and high levels of unpredictability that no one "likes." You might like it when the case goes in well and the verdict comes back and it's favorable, but it's not fun. Also, what your trial attorney friends (I assume personal injury) probably never told you is that more often than not when a case goes to trial it has a predetermined "high/low" as a hedge so that a defense verdict doesn't wipe out the Plaintiff and a

    And if you've ever polled a jury after a complex commercial case and found out why they rendered the verdict that they did it'd turn your hair white.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  40. JosephB says:
    @Steve Sailer
    The Gap is really amazingly pervasive. La Griffe du Lion calls it The Fundamental Constant of Sociology.

    I’ve seen La Griffe’s stuff, but I find it shocking that it persists after controlling for schooling, as both teaching and law typically require a degree to be a candidate. Selection *should* reduce the difference from a base rate of 1 SD to something smaller.

    As a thought experiment, if we administered a Raven’s test and only admitted to law school those with an IQ above 120, there would be little difference in IQ between whites and blacks, with means of 127 and 125 in this population, respectively. Would we really expect a difference of 1 standard deviation in bar pass rates in this restricted population? Of course, the lower the cutoff, the larger the difference: a strict cutoff score of 100 would result in mean IQs of 112 and 107. That 5 point difference is about 0.6 SD difference (given the restricted range of the populations).

    I would not expect equating for schooling to result in as strong an effect as a strict IQ cutoff, but certainly expected more than reducing ~1 SD to 0.8 to 0.9 SD.

    Read More
    • Replies: @MSP
    How do you control for schooling? Not all degrees which are required to take the tests are equivalent. A Stanford grad is almost certainly significantly smarter than a CSU grad even if they have the "same" degree.
    , @Desiderius
    Likely the deleterious effect of mismatch.

    I.e. +1 SD blacks stuck in +2 SD schools where they don't get much benefit from their time there.
    , @Ben Kurtz
    In the case of California, I would guess that "schooling" exerts less of a selective effect than you would see in other states because California allows graduates of non-ABA accredited (read: very non-selective) law schools to sit the bar exam. While I don't put too much stock in ABA accreditation, what with rampant affirmative action, I think it has some effect of weeding out the absolute least qualified candidates.

    Still, your range restriction model doesn't seem to account for plain old double standards: If a certain law school only admitted black students with IQs above 100, while at the same time only admitting white students with IQs above 110, you lose a lot of the range restriction effect. And I take admissions as a proxy for graduation, because law schools don't filter by ability these days by flunking out poorly performing students -- though they used to do so in the past.

    Things like the bar exam are now the anomaly -- a blindly graded qualification with no good way to race discriminate and impose double standards politely out of view, as is done in university admissions. The problem, of course, is that when everything on a candidate's resume is known to be affected by race-based double standards, the only reliable way to select the best candidate is to discriminate systematically on the basis of race, by favoring the white (or, often, Asian) candidate whose qualifications appear equal to the black candidate's.

    But if you run a big company and do this, you get sued. If you don't due this, and hire deadwood, then you get sued when you fire said deadwood. And if you don't fire the deadwood, then the Chinese competition eats your lunch. It's really not good for the country.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  41. Maus says:
    @Alec Leamas

    California’s bar exam is notoriously difficult.

    The dean of Stanford’s law school failed a few years ago.

    I know some brilliant lawyers who failed it while busy practicing law in another state and trying to study in their minimal spare time.

     

    There are a few factors in determining how difficult the States make their Bar Examinations.

    One of the leading factors nowadays seems to be the desirability of the State as a retirement destination - lawyers don't want older lawyers from other States moving in later in life to dabble in semi-retirement and compete with resident attorneys for business. Florida is said to be one of the more difficult Bar Examinations for this reason.

    I would guess that California's pass rate is probably affected by the number of unaccredited Law Schools and California's permissive attitude in allowing graduates to take its Bar Examination. You're naturally going to get lots and lots of never-could-have-gone-to-a-legitimate-Law-School types taking and failing the California Bar Examination than in other States. Enough of these failing attempts and your pass rate will seem low.

    And it doesn't surprise that the Bar Examination is difficult for actual practitioners - the typical manner of preparation is a summer cram school style preparation through an outlet that prepares materials for Bar Examination preparation. If you're managing a practice you're not going to be able to do the cramming in a way that will yield effective results. And the Bar Examination isn't really a good approximation of what lawyers do anyway.

    Two things to note:
    1. Florida discourages retired attorneys from out-of-state from hanging up their shingle by creating a tiered application fee/ first period of membership. It’s a few hundred for new or young attorneys up to five figures for oldsters like me. I know of at least two guys who took a summer off when much younger to knock out the FL exam, which is much easier than CA, in anticipation of retiring there many years later.
    2. Many Californians don’t realize that graduates of non-ABA law schools, of which CA has several, cannot take the exam in most (if not all) other jurisdictions. In the current climate, even those who pass the Bar are looking at government jobs at best or more likely grinding it out as a solo practitioner. All this while crushed by the burden of $100K+ in student loans. Not fun.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  42. Ivy says:
    @Lot
    The marginal bar taker who just barely passes due to the lower standard will probably never work a single day as a lawyer, so there will not be a real impact on wages.

    Like other prestige professions with high barriers such as journalism, what holds starting lawyer wages low is the willingness of lawyer parents and spouses to subsidize very low wages. So a place like the ACLU will require new lawyers to do a yearlong unpaid internship then start at $35,000.

    Barriers take many forms, whether normative or otherwise. Some extramural influences could stand greater scrutiny, such as via iSteve dissection, particularly in such alleged prestige professions.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  43. Polynikes says:
    @anonymous
    The desirable states have an advantage with the bar exam, as well as medical boards, in that they can screen for the best attorneys and physicians by having higher standards. Why give this up? I've known a few people in the past that had to settle on moving to less trendy states because they couldn't pass the exam.

    We have fifty states. I am sure many of those who cannot pass CA's test could pass on the first try in many other states.

    I think you’re right, but it may be exacerbated by the number of non accredited law schools in California,too.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  44. res says:
    @Maus
    Res, the quick answer to the discrepancy you note between July results and February results is based in the life cycle of law school graduates. They get their JD in May and take the July exam. Those who pass learn their fate in late November, get sworn in as attorneys in December and begin their professional lives. The smaller number of failing July takers, coupled with first time takers who may be adding a second license, take the February exam. The cohort as a whole is not as excellent as that from July.
    Those who fail on the second attempt may eventually pass, but the dilution of excellence continues. The significsnce of the Bar's decision to report those who completed versus those who registered to take is rooted in the number of February applicants who realize after the first day that they are doomed. Thus the reported failure rates exclude them and appear to less draconian. The advent of the two-day exam in July 2017 may curtail or reduce the drop out rate, since one more day of hell is easier to take than two.
    As an aside, the reason for the two-day exam in most members' minds is that it permits someone to take the exam in two jurisdictions in the single week, the Wednesday Multistate portion is applied to both exams. Lots of the big, white shoe firms want their associates licensed in several states so they can generate more billable hours at a higher hourly rate.

    Thank you! That is exactly what I was looking for. One further question. The repeater pass rate is much better (33% vs. 17%) in February 2017 (32% in 2/16) vs. July 2016. Is this just due to February repeaters being first time repeaters (with some who may have just underestimated how hard they had to study) while July repeaters are more likely to have failed multiple times? Or is something else going on there (that is a big difference, almost 2x!)?

    I downloaded the February 2016 detailed results (February test, pre completion stat change) for comparison: https://www.calbar.ca.gov/Portals/0/documents/admissions/Statistics/FEBRUARY2016STATS.0816_R.pdf
    and the pass rates for repeaters were similar to February 2017, and were actually better for first-timers.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  45. utu says:
    @JosephB
    To give a bit more info about the 1 SD difference largely holding up, here are a few studies:

    https://www.nytimes.com/2015/06/18/nyregion/with-tougher-teacher-licensing-exams-a-question-of-racial-discrimination.html
    White pass rate: 55%
    Black pass rate: 21.5%
    Difference: 0.9 SD

    https://www.chalkbeat.org/posts/ny/2015/03/19/aspiring-black-and-hispanic-teaches-struggle-on-new-tests-data-show-prompting-new-debate/
    White: 75%
    Black: 48%
    Difference: 0.7 SD

    http://www.nationaljurist.com/content/diversity-challenge
    White: 95%
    Black: 61%
    Difference: 1.4 SD (high white pass rate may skew things)


    I did not cherry pick studies. These are the first examples I found with a few minutes of googling. If you find some good, large scale, counter examples, please share as I am curious.

    Dropping the last study gives an average of about 0.8 SD across candidates who should have been equalized due to completion of schooling. Personally I'm surprised at the remaining difference.

    You wrote: “1 SD below white performance (predicted black pass rate: 25%)” I took this statement as follows: from the fact that Black IQ_mean is 1SD less than White IQ_mean you can predict that black pass rate is 25% of the white pass rate.

    So I asked you to show me how did you calculate that it is specifically 25% and not, say 35% or 19%.

    I also pointed out that to make any prediction you need to know the threshold IQ_thr such that (IQ<Q_thr)=Fail and (IQ≥IQ_thr)=Pass. For different IQ_thr you will get different answers for the pass rate. I am sure there is IQ_thr for which the answer is 25%. But do you know which?

    This is not about empirical data one can find googling. This is about making mathematical statements that are either valid or not within the realm of mathematics. You said something about modeling, right? So show me your math and do not flood me with google search results.

    Read More
    • Replies: @JosephB
    I thought I did explain it. Let me try again.

    I cannot tell you the IQ cutpoint, nor is it necessary to know. I can tell you that if the ability of white test takers is modeled as a Gaussian (for convenience, mean of 0 and SD of 1), then a pass rate of 63.6% corresponds to a cutpoint -0.35 standard deviations below the white mean of test takers. In Excel or google spreadsheets, you can do:
    =norminv(1-0.636, 0, 1)
    to yield -0.34779.

    You cannot back convert this number to population IQ statistics, as I do not know the IQ distribution of those taking the bar exam. However, I am not trying to make claims about the population, just the distribution of those taking the exam.

    The next step is to solve for black_mean in:
    =normdist(-0.34779, black_mean, 0.9, true)
    (dropped in 0.9 for SD as, in most cognitive measures, blacks have a ~10% lower SD).

    I'm sure there are more clever ways of getting a spreadsheet to solve the equation. Some quick trial and error gives -0.7 as a good fit.

    Hopefully that makes it clear how to compute the difference for an arbitrary pair of pass rates:
    =normdist(norminv(1 - white_pass_rate, 0, 1), black_mean, 0.9, true)

    Solve for black_mean and you have your answer.

    The additional google searches were to show that the large difference wasn't specific to the California bar data from this year.

    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  46. Erik L says:

    Does it matter? Much of the legal system is adversarial, i.e. human lawyer against human lawyer. In medicine it matters because it’s human doctor against cancer cells. If all lawyers are a little stupider shouldn’t that just net out to the same level of justice? Or “justice”?

    Also, no way could they let blacks pass with a lower score. You think they’re going to spell it out like that? From then on everyone would have to think “so, is this a black lawyer level case or does it require a white lawyer?” Seems to me the Johnny Cochrans of the world would be pissed

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter Display All Comments
  47. MSP says:
    @JosephB
    I've seen La Griffe's stuff, but I find it shocking that it persists after controlling for schooling, as both teaching and law typically require a degree to be a candidate. Selection *should* reduce the difference from a base rate of 1 SD to something smaller.

    As a thought experiment, if we administered a Raven's test and only admitted to law school those with an IQ above 120, there would be little difference in IQ between whites and blacks, with means of 127 and 125 in this population, respectively. Would we really expect a difference of 1 standard deviation in bar pass rates in this restricted population? Of course, the lower the cutoff, the larger the difference: a strict cutoff score of 100 would result in mean IQs of 112 and 107. That 5 point difference is about 0.6 SD difference (given the restricted range of the populations).

    I would not expect equating for schooling to result in as strong an effect as a strict IQ cutoff, but certainly expected more than reducing ~1 SD to 0.8 to 0.9 SD.

    How do you control for schooling? Not all degrees which are required to take the tests are equivalent. A Stanford grad is almost certainly significantly smarter than a CSU grad even if they have the “same” degree.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  48. gruff says:

    Impoverishment, not impoverization. Or was that the joke and I’m slow?

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter Display All Comments
  49. @Saint Louis
    My guess for why Asians fair worse than whites is that a fair number of Asian-Asians (rather than Asian-Americans) are taking the test whose grasp of English leaves something to be desired.

    Please step away from the butterknife.

    Orientals as a race (regardless of their birthplaces) have poorer verbal intelligence and innovative creativity than Europeans; law has far fewer indisputably correct answers than, say, medicine, accounting, or electrical engineering. Bar exams require a much stronger understanding of nuance and persuasion than the kinds of things Orientals conventionally excel at: memorising and grinding regarding formulaic data.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  50. @JosephB
    I've seen La Griffe's stuff, but I find it shocking that it persists after controlling for schooling, as both teaching and law typically require a degree to be a candidate. Selection *should* reduce the difference from a base rate of 1 SD to something smaller.

    As a thought experiment, if we administered a Raven's test and only admitted to law school those with an IQ above 120, there would be little difference in IQ between whites and blacks, with means of 127 and 125 in this population, respectively. Would we really expect a difference of 1 standard deviation in bar pass rates in this restricted population? Of course, the lower the cutoff, the larger the difference: a strict cutoff score of 100 would result in mean IQs of 112 and 107. That 5 point difference is about 0.6 SD difference (given the restricted range of the populations).

    I would not expect equating for schooling to result in as strong an effect as a strict IQ cutoff, but certainly expected more than reducing ~1 SD to 0.8 to 0.9 SD.

    Likely the deleterious effect of mismatch.

    I.e. +1 SD blacks stuck in +2 SD schools where they don’t get much benefit from their time there.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  51. AB- says:
    @Lot
    The marginal bar taker who just barely passes due to the lower standard will probably never work a single day as a lawyer, so there will not be a real impact on wages.

    Like other prestige professions with high barriers such as journalism, what holds starting lawyer wages low is the willingness of lawyer parents and spouses to subsidize very low wages. So a place like the ACLU will require new lawyers to do a yearlong unpaid internship then start at $35,000.

    “prestige professions with high barriers such as journalism”

    I don’t think that has ever been true; only prestigious to others in the trade. Rest of the population sees them as the untalented hacks they are. Any English major can get a job as a ‘journalist’; it’s only those with connections that will get one of the few jobs that you hint at. Then it’s the connections and not the training that are the important quality.

    I remember reading a Bureau of Labor report that ‘journalists’ had lower starting salaries than even liberal arts majors…..

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  52. @Yan Shen
    Echoing most of what Twinkie has already stated... Fare my friend, fare.

    I suspect that the delta has something to do with the math/verbal split more so than the Asian category containing a non-trivial number of FOBs. I mean if anything, why would you pursue a career as a lawyer, a profession that relies on possessing a fairly good command of the English language, if you were an immigrant lacking in English skills to begin with? (In reading some of the comments here, I get the impression that there are instances where immigrants may be ones attempting to practice law, but that seems to me more like an exception? But what would I know.)

    Of course it's also not clear generally to what extent East, Southeast, and South Asians are lumped together in the aggregate Asian categories that they typically trot out.

    In general from what I've seen, East Asians gravitate towards quantitative fields in STEM much more so than verbally loaded areas such as the humanities, social sciences, law, or to a lesser extent even the biological life sciences.

    Thanks for the spelling correction. I know the difference; not sure if autocorrect changed it on me and I missed it or I just goofed. At least you guys have me covfefed.

    And I tend to agree re: the math/verbal split that it’s probably a bigger factor.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  53. JosephB says:
    @utu
    You wrote: "1 SD below white performance (predicted black pass rate: 25%)" I took this statement as follows: from the fact that Black IQ_mean is 1SD less than White IQ_mean you can predict that black pass rate is 25% of the white pass rate.

    So I asked you to show me how did you calculate that it is specifically 25% and not, say 35% or 19%.

    I also pointed out that to make any prediction you need to know the threshold IQ_thr such that (IQ<Q_thr)=Fail and (IQ≥IQ_thr)=Pass. For different IQ_thr you will get different answers for the pass rate. I am sure there is IQ_thr for which the answer is 25%. But do you know which?

    This is not about empirical data one can find googling. This is about making mathematical statements that are either valid or not within the realm of mathematics. You said something about modeling, right? So show me your math and do not flood me with google search results.

    I thought I did explain it. Let me try again.

    I cannot tell you the IQ cutpoint, nor is it necessary to know. I can tell you that if the ability of white test takers is modeled as a Gaussian (for convenience, mean of 0 and SD of 1), then a pass rate of 63.6% corresponds to a cutpoint -0.35 standard deviations below the white mean of test takers. In Excel or google spreadsheets, you can do:
    =norminv(1-0.636, 0, 1)
    to yield -0.34779.

    You cannot back convert this number to population IQ statistics, as I do not know the IQ distribution of those taking the bar exam. However, I am not trying to make claims about the population, just the distribution of those taking the exam.

    The next step is to solve for black_mean in:
    =normdist(-0.34779, black_mean, 0.9, true)
    (dropped in 0.9 for SD as, in most cognitive measures, blacks have a ~10% lower SD).

    I’m sure there are more clever ways of getting a spreadsheet to solve the equation. Some quick trial and error gives -0.7 as a good fit.

    Hopefully that makes it clear how to compute the difference for an arbitrary pair of pass rates:
    =normdist(norminv(1 – white_pass_rate, 0, 1), black_mean, 0.9, true)

    Solve for black_mean and you have your answer.

    The additional google searches were to show that the large difference wasn’t specific to the California bar data from this year.

    Read More
    • Replies: @utu
    Thanks. Now I understand what you are doing. It's not about prediction from IQs as I thought initially.

    You want to find how much the mean of Black scores is lower from the mean of White scores expressed in terms of standard deviation.

    You assume that White and Black scores have normal distributions N(0,1) and N(m,0.9), where you assumed that Black SD is 90% of White SD (I am not sure about this assumption) and m is unknown.

    From N(0,1) and the fact that 63.6% Whites passed you get the cut off point x=-0.35, i.e., 0.35 below the mean of 0.

    Then you ask a question: given the cut off point x=-0.35 what value is the mean m to produce 32.5% Blacks passed by the distribution N(m,0.9).

    And in your first comment you stated that the answer is about 1 (1 of White SD, right?)

    I did not verify your calculations but I think the scheme is sound. Basically from the pass rates you retrieve the difference between means expressed in terms of the standard deviation.

    The method will become iffy when the pass rate for Whites is close to 100% and for Blacks remain less than 50%.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  54. @Alden
    The trial attorneys I have known like the contest of jury trials and winning. But attorneys seldom go to court. It's all about settle, settle settle.

    The trial attorneys I have known like the contest of jury trials and winning. But attorneys seldom go to court. It’s all about settle, settle settle.

    The overwhelming majority of cases settle because they should settle. Those “trial attorneys” settle cases every day. If every case tried they system would be sclerotic over night. Not to mention the fact that preparing for jury trials is immense work and high levels of unpredictability that no one “likes.” You might like it when the case goes in well and the verdict comes back and it’s favorable, but it’s not fun. Also, what your trial attorney friends (I assume personal injury) probably never told you is that more often than not when a case goes to trial it has a predetermined “high/low” as a hedge so that a defense verdict doesn’t wipe out the Plaintiff and a

    And if you’ve ever polled a jury after a complex commercial case and found out why they rendered the verdict that they did it’d turn your hair white.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  55. MarkinLA says:

    Anybody who thinks we need to lower the bar exam standards should spend a Monday morning in the high grade misdemeanor arraignment hearing just to get a glimpse of how horrible and downright stupid some of these attorneys at the bottom of the barrel really are. Now imagine them with an even lower bar to practice law.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Ivy
    Another useful and eye-opening activity is to have your teenager visit the ER and stay there for a few hours on some Friday or Saturday night before starting to drive. Of course, now that would be cruel and unusual or a jailable offense.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  56. Ivy says:
    @MarkinLA
    Anybody who thinks we need to lower the bar exam standards should spend a Monday morning in the high grade misdemeanor arraignment hearing just to get a glimpse of how horrible and downright stupid some of these attorneys at the bottom of the barrel really are. Now imagine them with an even lower bar to practice law.

    Another useful and eye-opening activity is to have your teenager visit the ER and stay there for a few hours on some Friday or Saturday night before starting to drive. Of course, now that would be cruel and unusual or a jailable offense.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  57. anonn says:

    Having to work with other lawyers is the worst part about being one; this just makes it marginally worse. Having practiced in California for decades now, I can tell you there is no shortage of unethical shysters in every corner of and for every ethnic group in our fair state.

    Read More
    • Replies: @AB-
    'Having to work with other lawyers is the worst part about being one'



    I took some pre-legal courses in college. After only one hour among 'maybe' lawyers, I'd run back to my apartment and wipe a lacquer thinner soaked cloth over all my exposed flesh.

    Then I'd take a really hot shower for an hour....just to get the stench off....

    My mother wanted me to be an attorney, but she was only interested in bragging 'my son, the attorney'.

    She had no idea what that job was about....
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  58. utu says:
    @JosephB
    I thought I did explain it. Let me try again.

    I cannot tell you the IQ cutpoint, nor is it necessary to know. I can tell you that if the ability of white test takers is modeled as a Gaussian (for convenience, mean of 0 and SD of 1), then a pass rate of 63.6% corresponds to a cutpoint -0.35 standard deviations below the white mean of test takers. In Excel or google spreadsheets, you can do:
    =norminv(1-0.636, 0, 1)
    to yield -0.34779.

    You cannot back convert this number to population IQ statistics, as I do not know the IQ distribution of those taking the bar exam. However, I am not trying to make claims about the population, just the distribution of those taking the exam.

    The next step is to solve for black_mean in:
    =normdist(-0.34779, black_mean, 0.9, true)
    (dropped in 0.9 for SD as, in most cognitive measures, blacks have a ~10% lower SD).

    I'm sure there are more clever ways of getting a spreadsheet to solve the equation. Some quick trial and error gives -0.7 as a good fit.

    Hopefully that makes it clear how to compute the difference for an arbitrary pair of pass rates:
    =normdist(norminv(1 - white_pass_rate, 0, 1), black_mean, 0.9, true)

    Solve for black_mean and you have your answer.

    The additional google searches were to show that the large difference wasn't specific to the California bar data from this year.

    Thanks. Now I understand what you are doing. It’s not about prediction from IQs as I thought initially.

    You want to find how much the mean of Black scores is lower from the mean of White scores expressed in terms of standard deviation.

    You assume that White and Black scores have normal distributions N(0,1) and N(m,0.9), where you assumed that Black SD is 90% of White SD (I am not sure about this assumption) and m is unknown.

    From N(0,1) and the fact that 63.6% Whites passed you get the cut off point x=-0.35, i.e., 0.35 below the mean of 0.

    Then you ask a question: given the cut off point x=-0.35 what value is the mean m to produce 32.5% Blacks passed by the distribution N(m,0.9).

    And in your first comment you stated that the answer is about 1 (1 of White SD, right?)

    I did not verify your calculations but I think the scheme is sound. Basically from the pass rates you retrieve the difference between means expressed in terms of the standard deviation.

    The method will become iffy when the pass rate for Whites is close to 100% and for Blacks remain less than 50%.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  59. Stacy235l says:
    @Steve Sailer
    Right.

    And I imagine Asians in California are more ambitious for a professional credential than are, say, Hispanics.

    I think it’s more likely that they just don’t have good Cal. bar exam cheating rackets going yet. Give’em time.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  60. Realist says:

    I didn’t realize the ‘standards” could be lowered more.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter Display All Comments
  61. TheJester says:

    So, we are continuing to drag society down to the lowest common denominator in the interest of supporting diversity and closing the racial and gender gaps evident through disparate impacts. Nonetheless, the 1960s dream of racial and gender integration appears to be working … albeit with an unanticipated result. Instead of Blacks starting to think, behave, and perform like Whites, Whites are starting to think, behave, and perform like Blacks. Same for elevating women to think, behave, and perform like men. Men are starting to think, behave, and perform like women.

    But we are not supposed to notice these things, which is why as a society we are developing a strange new category of law that Criminalizes Noticing … so-called hate speech.

    In the interest of clarity, we should stop calling minorities and women “protected” classes. They are “sheltered” classes … sheltered from reality to avoid hurting their feelings.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter Display All Comments
  62. It depends which statistic you are trying to fix. If all you want to do is raise the pass rate of blacks on the bar exam, without lowering standard of the exam, then just raise the standards for blacks entering law school. In the long run, this might even increase the share of black laywers. You’d have to look at what percentage of blacks who pass the bar exam go on to work as lawyers. If that is low, then
    probably it could be increased by selecting blacks in such a way that those who pass the bar are more likely to find work as lawyers.

    At the end of the day, though, the fact that the conversation revolves around representation of group A in prestigious profession Z shows that people are not so much concerned with the well-being of group A as they are with virtue signaling. If you really cared about the well-being of group A, then you would try to make sure that members *within* a standard deviation of the mean were successful at their level of competence. This goes for any value of A.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter Display All Comments
  63. Ben Kurtz says: • Website
    @JosephB
    I've seen La Griffe's stuff, but I find it shocking that it persists after controlling for schooling, as both teaching and law typically require a degree to be a candidate. Selection *should* reduce the difference from a base rate of 1 SD to something smaller.

    As a thought experiment, if we administered a Raven's test and only admitted to law school those with an IQ above 120, there would be little difference in IQ between whites and blacks, with means of 127 and 125 in this population, respectively. Would we really expect a difference of 1 standard deviation in bar pass rates in this restricted population? Of course, the lower the cutoff, the larger the difference: a strict cutoff score of 100 would result in mean IQs of 112 and 107. That 5 point difference is about 0.6 SD difference (given the restricted range of the populations).

    I would not expect equating for schooling to result in as strong an effect as a strict IQ cutoff, but certainly expected more than reducing ~1 SD to 0.8 to 0.9 SD.

    In the case of California, I would guess that “schooling” exerts less of a selective effect than you would see in other states because California allows graduates of non-ABA accredited (read: very non-selective) law schools to sit the bar exam. While I don’t put too much stock in ABA accreditation, what with rampant affirmative action, I think it has some effect of weeding out the absolute least qualified candidates.

    Still, your range restriction model doesn’t seem to account for plain old double standards: If a certain law school only admitted black students with IQs above 100, while at the same time only admitting white students with IQs above 110, you lose a lot of the range restriction effect. And I take admissions as a proxy for graduation, because law schools don’t filter by ability these days by flunking out poorly performing students — though they used to do so in the past.

    Things like the bar exam are now the anomaly — a blindly graded qualification with no good way to race discriminate and impose double standards politely out of view, as is done in university admissions. The problem, of course, is that when everything on a candidate’s resume is known to be affected by race-based double standards, the only reliable way to select the best candidate is to discriminate systematically on the basis of race, by favoring the white (or, often, Asian) candidate whose qualifications appear equal to the black candidate’s.

    But if you run a big company and do this, you get sued. If you don’t due this, and hire deadwood, then you get sued when you fire said deadwood. And if you don’t fire the deadwood, then the Chinese competition eats your lunch. It’s really not good for the country.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  64. lavoisier says: • Website
    @AM

    The leaders of the California Bar Association want to Lower Standards, which would appear to be the worst of the three choices from a utilitarian standpoint.
     
    It's really funny that the state that brought us warnings on rubber mallets (birth defects!) would decide that it's really good idea to make sure professionals are less competent.

    Protection of the public from poorly prepared professionals MUST not trump the pursuit of equality.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  65. Apologies if someone has already made this point….

    This has been in the works for several years now, and not just in California. What’s really driving it are the desperate efforts of law schools (and the LSAC and other lampreys who live off the law-school industry) to get enrollment back up to pre-recession levels. The 2008+ recession was murder on the legal market — hiring levels plummeted — and the smarter and better-advised kids realized that law school was not a good investment. This, coupled with online reporting by the volunteer law-school-scam muckrakers, caused law-school application levels to drop precipitously, especially among those better qualified.

    Of course, the law-school industry was not going to take this lying down. Come hell or high water, they were going get tuition-paying asses in the seats. So the schools dropped their standards lower and lower, filling their classes with students who were farther and farther to the left on the bell curve. But this created a new problem — at some point, people are not intelligent enough to be able to pass a bar exam. And having a large percentage of graduates who can’t pass the bar makes a law school look bad and can lead to online exposes and embarrassing questions by legislators.

    Clearly, there’s only one solution. Cry “racism!” — while at the same time pressuring states to lower their admission standards. That way, no one need ever know that law schools are turning out ever-less-qualified JDs, and the discipline of the bar exam is replaced by (maybe) the discipline of the marketplace for legal services.

    One other important fact — law schools are regulated in the first instance by a committee of the American Bar Association. And membership on that committee is dominated by deans of bottom-tier law schools. iSteve readers can connect the dots.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter Display All Comments
  66. AB- says:
    @anonn
    Having to work with other lawyers is the worst part about being one; this just makes it marginally worse. Having practiced in California for decades now, I can tell you there is no shortage of unethical shysters in every corner of and for every ethnic group in our fair state.

    ‘Having to work with other lawyers is the worst part about being one’

    I took some pre-legal courses in college. After only one hour among ‘maybe’ lawyers, I’d run back to my apartment and wipe a lacquer thinner soaked cloth over all my exposed flesh.

    Then I’d take a really hot shower for an hour….just to get the stench off….

    My mother wanted me to be an attorney, but she was only interested in bragging ‘my son, the attorney’.

    She had no idea what that job was about….

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  67. @AM

    The leaders of the California Bar Association want to Lower Standards, which would appear to be the worst of the three choices from a utilitarian standpoint.
     
    It's really funny that the state that brought us warnings on rubber mallets (birth defects!) would decide that it's really good idea to make sure professionals are less competent.

    nobody wants a lawyer without considerable gray hair. And lowering standards just means that this intensifies. People will quickly grasp that the older lawyers are not only more experienced, but more intelligent.

    As to Asian-Asians taking the CA bar, I doubt it. My personal experience hanging around a law school with an old boyfriend was that there were no non-native English speakers on campus. But maybe actual lawyers can comment on this.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Clark Westwood

    As to Asian-Asians taking the CA bar, I doubt it. My personal experience hanging around a law school with an old boyfriend was that there were no non-native English speakers on campus. But maybe actual lawyers can comment on this.
     
    Every year, I do job interviews with more than a handful of law students of Asian background who are not native English speakers. (I'm on the east coast, if that matters.) Ninety-nine times out of a hundred, the applicant's lack of English fluency is a deal-breaker. I don't know where those applicants ultimately wind up working. But law schools gladly take their money.
    , @Ivy
    One of our best in-house attorneys was a Russian emigré. He was smart enough to succeed in any profession. Among law firm attorneys I worked with or engaged over three decades and in a dozen states, virtually all were native English speakers. Some were bilingual, such as in Texas or California, with English as the primary language.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  68. Art Deco says:

    Of course, the law-school industry was not going to take this lying down. Come hell or high water, they were going get tuition-paying asses in the seats. So the schools dropped their standards lower and lower,

    It’s time for the state legislatures to intervene by imposing enrollment cuts and school closures. Of course, they will do nothing.

    Read More
    • Replies: @MarkinLA
    The state has no control. The law schools at the UC are reasonably well regarded. Add in the few well regarded private schools and you still don't have that many students.

    You might still be OK with the lower tiered colleges like Whittier and the law school only places like Southwestern getting into the game if they are reasonably rigorous. However, here are plenty of places that any dufus can get into like the one that took Antonio Villaraigosa's money (flunked the bar exam 4 times). These are private and you cannot regulate them, no matter how bad they are.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antonio_Villaraigosa
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  69. @StillCARealist
    nobody wants a lawyer without considerable gray hair. And lowering standards just means that this intensifies. People will quickly grasp that the older lawyers are not only more experienced, but more intelligent.

    As to Asian-Asians taking the CA bar, I doubt it. My personal experience hanging around a law school with an old boyfriend was that there were no non-native English speakers on campus. But maybe actual lawyers can comment on this.

    As to Asian-Asians taking the CA bar, I doubt it. My personal experience hanging around a law school with an old boyfriend was that there were no non-native English speakers on campus. But maybe actual lawyers can comment on this.

    Every year, I do job interviews with more than a handful of law students of Asian background who are not native English speakers. (I’m on the east coast, if that matters.) Ninety-nine times out of a hundred, the applicant’s lack of English fluency is a deal-breaker. I don’t know where those applicants ultimately wind up working. But law schools gladly take their money.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  70. MEH 0910 says:

    Brownest of the brown liquors

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter Display All Comments
  71. One of the few good career decisions I made was dropping out of the 4-year evening program at New England School of Law after one year in 1987.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter Display All Comments
  72. Ivy says:
    @StillCARealist
    nobody wants a lawyer without considerable gray hair. And lowering standards just means that this intensifies. People will quickly grasp that the older lawyers are not only more experienced, but more intelligent.

    As to Asian-Asians taking the CA bar, I doubt it. My personal experience hanging around a law school with an old boyfriend was that there were no non-native English speakers on campus. But maybe actual lawyers can comment on this.

    One of our best in-house attorneys was a Russian emigré. He was smart enough to succeed in any profession. Among law firm attorneys I worked with or engaged over three decades and in a dozen states, virtually all were native English speakers. Some were bilingual, such as in Texas or California, with English as the primary language.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  73. MarkinLA says:
    @Art Deco
    Of course, the law-school industry was not going to take this lying down. Come hell or high water, they were going get tuition-paying asses in the seats. So the schools dropped their standards lower and lower,

    It's time for the state legislatures to intervene by imposing enrollment cuts and school closures. Of course, they will do nothing.

    The state has no control. The law schools at the UC are reasonably well regarded. Add in the few well regarded private schools and you still don’t have that many students.

    You might still be OK with the lower tiered colleges like Whittier and the law school only places like Southwestern getting into the game if they are reasonably rigorous. However, here are plenty of places that any dufus can get into like the one that took Antonio Villaraigosa’s money (flunked the bar exam 4 times). These are private and you cannot regulate them, no matter how bad they are.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antonio_Villaraigosa

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments

Comments are closed.

Subscribe to All Steve Sailer Comments via RSS
PastClassics
The “war hero” candidate buried information about POWs left behind in Vietnam.
What Was John McCain's True Wartime Record in Vietnam?
The evidence is clear — but often ignored
Are elite university admissions based on meritocracy and diversity as claimed?
A simple remedy for income stagnation