Law Religion Culture Review

Exploring the intersections of law, religion and culture. Copyright by Richard J. Radcliffe. All rights reserved.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Barred by the Bar.

She can argue before the United States Supreme Court, but she cannot prepare a simple will for a Californian.

Most people's failures on the California Bar exam are essentially private. Not so for Kathleen Sullivan.

"[Ms.] Sullivan is a noted constitutional scholar who has argued cases before the Supreme Court. Until recently, she was dean of Stanford Law School. In legal circles, she has been talked about as a potential Democratic nominee for the Supreme Court. But Ms. Sullivan recently became the latest prominent victim of California's notoriously difficult bar exam. Last month, the state sent out the results of its July test to 8,343 aspiring and already-practicing lawyers. More than half failed -- including Ms. Sullivan." (J. Bandler and N. Koppel, "Raising the Bar: Even Top Lawyers Fail California Exam", The Wall Street Journal, December 5, 2005, p. A1; here.)

Ms. Sullivan attempted the Bar because she needed to be licensed to practice with a California law firm. When she failed to surmount the Bar exam, one of the firm's named partners came to her defense. Check out his spin: "The problem is not with Kathleen Sullivan, it is with the person who drafted the exam or the person who graded it."

Those of you in college, high school or grade school, you too can use that tact if you fail an exam. Attack the teacher. Yeah, that'll work.