Now that the July 2014 California Bar examination results for individual schools are out I've been focusing a little on the schools that are not accredited by the ABA (or the California Bar). The odds for many of those graduates are long. And yet those who sit for the bar from that group of schools have already passed a significant hurdle. Even before they can sit for the California Bar examination, students at schools that are not accredited by either the ABA or the California Bar have to pass the California Bar's "first year law students' exam." So that set me to wonder what that exam involves. Cribbing now from the California Bar memo describing the grading of the First Year Law Students' Examination:
The examination includes both essay and multiple-choice questions and is administered in one day. Four hours is allocated for completing the four-essay question portion of the examination and three hours for one hundred multiple-choice questions. The subjects covered in this examination are: Contracts, Criminal Law, and Torts. An answer based upon legal theories and principles of general applicability is sufficient; detailed knowledge of California law is not required. The following provisions of the Uniform Commercial Code should be used where pertinent: a. All of Article l; b. All of Article 2.
For the June 2014 administration of the First Year Law Students' Examination (FYLSE), the first time pass rate was 27%. Here's something else I didn't realize -- that some ABA accredited schools require some students who have been disqualified for academic reasons to pass the FYLSE to gain re-admission. That explains why some students from ABA accredited schools are taking the FYLSE.
The California Bar has old essay questions (and selected answers) on the FYLSE, from June 2014 going back to October 2009. You might be interested, as I was, in seeing what they're asking.
Unsurprisingly the subjects that the California bar tests on the FYLSE have an effect on what's taught in the first year. Here is Concord Law School's explanation of the preparation for the FYLSE, along with some revealing data about how performance at Concord correlates with performance on the FYLSE.