What percent of students flunk out of law schools like USC and UC Berkeley?

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BerkeleyLaw

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What percent of students flunk out of law schools like USC and UC Berkeley?

Postby BerkeleyLaw » Sat Mar 02, 2019 3:46 am

I've heard some bad stories and am worried I may fall into this category. While I will put 100% effort, having one final exam determining your grade makes it seem like flunking out/failing a course isn't all that rare. Anyone have any info about this?

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Re: What percent of students flunk out of law schools like USC and UC Berkeley?

Postby QContinuum » Sat Mar 02, 2019 10:19 pm

[redacted for accuracy - misread OP's post]

The general rule is that flunking out is only a major risk at low-ranked law schools. These schools would rather flunk students than have them graduate and then fail the bar (which would hurt the school).

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Re: What percent of students flunk out of law schools like USC and UC Berkeley?

Postby cavalier1138 » Sun Mar 03, 2019 8:15 am

QContinuum wrote:The general rule is that flunking out is only a major risk at low-ranked law schools.


This. My guess is that if you check the 509s, you won't see more than one or two academic dismissals at these schools. I'd also imagine that each of these schools require professors to ask permission before issuing a failing grade. That's standard policy at T13 schools that I'm guessing extends to a school like USC.

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Re: What percent of students flunk out of law schools like USC and UC Berkeley?

Postby Yulilo » Tue Mar 12, 2019 6:53 pm

BerkeleyLaw wrote:I've heard some bad stories and am worried I may fall into this category. While I will put 100% effort, having one final exam determining your grade makes it seem like flunking out/failing a course isn't all that rare. Anyone have any info about this?


The probability of flunking out of a school like Berkeley is ~0%. Barring serious misconduct, a T13 school will not dismiss a student for poor academic performance. A more realistic concern is finishing with a below median GPA and striking out at OCI.

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Re: What percent of students flunk out of law schools like USC and UC Berkeley?

Postby arose928 » Thu May 23, 2019 9:41 pm

Berkeley doesn't have standard grades, so it would be pretty hard to fail out. It'd have to almost be intentional.

The basic grades are a P, H, or HH (pass, honors, or high honors). 60% of the class gets Ps, the next 30% get Hs, and the top 10% get HH.

It is possible to get a 'sub P', but you still get credit for the course. It's basically like getting a D - you pass, but just barely. If you get a sub P in your first semester, it'll still go on your transcript as a P.

I think basically to fail a class and get no credit, you would have to not take the final, or not write anything.

I don't know anyone who flunked out, really; but a couple people realized law school was not for them.

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Jordan Catalano

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Re: What percent of students flunk out of law schools like USC and UC Berkeley?

Postby Jordan Catalano » Fri May 24, 2019 11:03 am

I want to add to this discussion that it is possible to fail classes at any school, including schools like HSY AND Berkeley that have a P/H/HH system. There are professors that will give a student something lower than a P that denotes the law student does not have a sufficient understanding of the course and has not passed the course.

Sometimes a non-passing grade is merited, other times it is not. At my law school, five students were “flunked” (received a grade less than a P) by a Civ Pro professor that was relatively knew to the academic world, and left the law school shortly thereafter. Knowing how to grade is a skill and some people are not good at it or aren’t aware of grading norms. Were those student exams less than stellar? Highly likely. Should they have failed the class? Probably not. Those students had non-passing grades on their transcripts and had to repeat the course.

I do think having mostly, or all, P grades makes OCI much harder. However, nearly every person I know who has mostly P grades is still working big law this summer, if that is what they wanted to do. The people I know who had mostly P grades and wanted big law and didn’t get it are people who made poor choices at OCI. For example, not appearing professional (wearing a lot of color, like a green suit jacket, or even keeping a nose ring in, or hair dyed unnatural colors) and who kind of shot themselves in the foot that way.

Lastly, I will say that every year, at certainly every top law school, there are people who “flunk out” but whose bad grades are due to life circumstances. In every year, we’ve had about five people who had to leave due to missing too much class because of a death in the family, an illness, surgery, etc. I know your question was more focused on how many students can pass their exams, but health plays into how successful students are, too.

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Re: What percent of students flunk out of law schools like USC and UC Berkeley?

Postby QContinuum » Fri May 24, 2019 2:48 pm

Jordan Catalano wrote:Sometimes a non-passing grade is merited, other times it is not. At my law school, five students were “flunked” (received a grade less than a P) by a Civ Pro professor that was relatively knew to the academic world, and left the law school shortly thereafter. Knowing how to grade is a skill and some people are not good at it or aren’t aware of grading norms. Were those student exams less than stellar? Highly likely. Should they have failed the class? Probably not. Those students had non-passing grades on their transcripts and had to repeat the course.

Pretty confident to say that, assuming the above was at a T13, a professor flunking multiple students is absolutely a rare, rare exception and not something the typical student ought to worry about.

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Re: What percent of students flunk out of law schools like USC and UC Berkeley?

Postby Wild Card » Fri May 24, 2019 2:53 pm

QContinuum wrote:
Jordan Catalano wrote:Sometimes a non-passing grade is merited, other times it is not. At my law school, five students were “flunked” (received a grade less than a P) by a Civ Pro professor that was relatively knew to the academic world, and left the law school shortly thereafter. Knowing how to grade is a skill and some people are not good at it or aren’t aware of grading norms. Were those student exams less than stellar? Highly likely. Should they have failed the class? Probably not. Those students had non-passing grades on their transcripts and had to repeat the course.

Pretty confident to say that, assuming the above was at a T13, a professor flunking multiple students is absolutely a rare, rare exception and not something the typical student ought to worry about.


Yes, I know only two professors at my law school who give below the discretionary B- to punish monstrous incompetence: and still the lowest grade that both give is a C+. Which is still petty, but at least it's not a D.

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Re: What percent of students flunk out of law schools like USC and UC Berkeley?

Postby Calibrazy » Sat May 25, 2019 2:08 pm

My torts professor at HYS gave the max number of low passes possible. While flunking at my school is unheard of, too many low passes can definitely sink someone’s career if they want big law

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Re: What percent of students flunk out of law schools like USC and UC Berkeley?

Postby Wild Card » Sat May 25, 2019 2:52 pm

Calibrazy wrote:My torts professor at HYS gave the max number of low passes possible. While flunking at my school is unheard of, too many low passes can definitely sink someone’s career if they want big law


I used to think this was cruel and petty, but it's absolutely true that not all passes are created equal. And there should be a a way to distinguish the real crap from the crap.

At my law school, 43% of each class gets a B (10% A, 20% A-, 27% B+). So WTF is a B supposed to signal to a student and to a prospective employer?

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Re: What percent of students flunk out of law schools like USC and UC Berkeley?

Postby Jordan Catalano » Sun May 26, 2019 12:17 am

QContinuum wrote:
Jordan Catalano wrote:Sometimes a non-passing grade is merited, other times it is not. At my law school, five students were “flunked” (received a grade less than a P) by a Civ Pro professor that was relatively knew to the academic world, and left the law school shortly thereafter. Knowing how to grade is a skill and some people are not good at it or aren’t aware of grading norms. Were those student exams less than stellar? Highly likely. Should they have failed the class? Probably not. Those students had non-passing grades on their transcripts and had to repeat the course.

Pretty confident to say that, assuming the above was at a T13, a professor flunking multiple students is absolutely a rare, rare exception and not something the typical student ought to worry about.


This was at a T14 (when did people start saying “T13”??) Anyways, it was possibly rare. That’s why everyone was talking about it. But it can still happen.

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Re: What percent of students flunk out of law schools like USC and UC Berkeley?

Postby cavalier1138 » Sun May 26, 2019 7:57 am

Jordan Catalano wrote:when did people start saying “T13”??


2018? 2017? Whenever Georgetown dropped to 15 in the rankings.

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Re: What percent of students flunk out of law schools like USC and UC Berkeley?

Postby Bingo_Bongo » Mon May 27, 2019 2:00 am

I think more people should probably be getting failing grades. Let's be real: just because everyone at the school received a high LSAT score doesn't mean everyone learned the basics of CivPro during the semester. The difference of bar passage rates between T13 schools and tier 2 schools probably isn't pronounced enough to declare that everyone attending a T13 is too good to fail. But that's just my opinion.

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Re: What percent of students flunk out of law schools like USC and UC Berkeley?

Postby Wubbles » Mon May 27, 2019 9:19 am

Bingo_Bongo wrote:I think more people should probably be getting failing grades. Let's be real: just because everyone at the school received a high LSAT score doesn't mean everyone learned the basics of CivPro during the semester. The difference of bar passage rates between T13 schools and tier 2 schools probably isn't pronounced enough to declare that everyone attending a T13 is too good to fail. But that's just my opinion.

Law school is a product for sale. They would be stupid to start failing people.

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Re: What percent of students flunk out of law schools like USC and UC Berkeley?

Postby Bingo_Bongo » Mon May 27, 2019 9:29 pm

Wubbles wrote:
Bingo_Bongo wrote:I think more people should probably be getting failing grades. Let's be real: just because everyone at the school received a high LSAT score doesn't mean everyone learned the basics of CivPro during the semester. The difference of bar passage rates between T13 schools and tier 2 schools probably isn't pronounced enough to declare that everyone attending a T13 is too good to fail. But that's just my opinion.

Law school is a product for sale. They would be stupid to start failing people.


Law schools should all be non-profits. Their mission shouldn't be to make money at all costs.

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Re: What percent of students flunk out of law schools like USC and UC Berkeley?

Postby nixy » Mon May 27, 2019 11:19 pm

Bingo_Bongo wrote:
Wubbles wrote:
Bingo_Bongo wrote:I think more people should probably be getting failing grades. Let's be real: just because everyone at the school received a high LSAT score doesn't mean everyone learned the basics of CivPro during the semester. The difference of bar passage rates between T13 schools and tier 2 schools probably isn't pronounced enough to declare that everyone attending a T13 is too good to fail. But that's just my opinion.

Law school is a product for sale. They would be stupid to start failing people.


Law schools should all be non-profits. Their mission shouldn't be to make money at all costs.

They are non-profits.

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Re: What percent of students flunk out of law schools like USC and UC Berkeley?

Postby Bingo_Bongo » Tue May 28, 2019 1:56 am

nixy wrote:
Bingo_Bongo wrote:
Wubbles wrote:
Bingo_Bongo wrote:I think more people should probably be getting failing grades. Let's be real: just because everyone at the school received a high LSAT score doesn't mean everyone learned the basics of CivPro during the semester. The difference of bar passage rates between T13 schools and tier 2 schools probably isn't pronounced enough to declare that everyone attending a T13 is too good to fail. But that's just my opinion.

Law school is a product for sale. They would be stupid to start failing people.


Law schools should all be non-profits. Their mission shouldn't be to make money at all costs.

They are non-profits.


Then it's not a "product for sale" now is it? Similar to a museum

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Re: What percent of students flunk out of law schools like USC and UC Berkeley?

Postby Wubbles » Tue May 28, 2019 6:26 am

Bingo_Bongo wrote:
nixy wrote:
Bingo_Bongo wrote:
Wubbles wrote:
Bingo_Bongo wrote:I think more people should probably be getting failing grades. Let's be real: just because everyone at the school received a high LSAT score doesn't mean everyone learned the basics of CivPro during the semester. The difference of bar passage rates between T13 schools and tier 2 schools probably isn't pronounced enough to declare that everyone attending a T13 is too good to fail. But that's just my opinion.

Law school is a product for sale. They would be stupid to start failing people.


Law schools should all be non-profits. Their mission shouldn't be to make money at all costs.

They are non-profits.


Then it's not a "product for sale" now is it? Similar to a museum

I don't think you know how non-profits work

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Re: What percent of students flunk out of law schools like USC and UC Berkeley?

Postby LSATWiz.com » Tue May 28, 2019 11:19 am

I'm not sure it's impossible to fail out of a t-14 or t-20 school. I had a classmate who faced potential expulsion for poor grades from a top school largely due to not studying and struggling to apply law to fact on any basic level. I don't know what happened to them beyond being forced to take time off, but the combination of both not studying and not being able to apply law to fact makes failing out possible.

I think the reason you don't see people failing out is because law school really is not that difficult for anyone who can break a 160 on the LSAT, and only becomes difficult because of the forced curve. Even weaker students will do a decent enough job that they won't fail out. It's true that even if you shit the bed on an exam to the extent you turn in truly awful work, the worst case scenario is like a C and you're still more likely than not to get a B-. The reason for this is because professors generally don't want to individually responsible for derailing someone's entire career. However, my guess is that professors do speak to each other and if someone shits the bed on every exam, they may wind up getting D's and fail out not because of a concern about bar passage stats so much as the obviousness that they just aren't cut out for this.

Lower tiered schools are different because a certain percentage of the class has to fail out so that they could keep their accreditation by not having 60% of grads fail the bar. It's not that it is impossible to fail out of a top school and possible to fail out of lower-tiered schools. It's that lower-tiered schools have to fail a large number of people out to stay in business whereas top schools don't.

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Re: What percent of students flunk out of law schools like USC and UC Berkeley?

Postby Bingo_Bongo » Tue May 28, 2019 4:35 pm

Wubbles wrote:
Bingo_Bongo wrote:
nixy wrote:
Bingo_Bongo wrote:
Wubbles wrote:
Bingo_Bongo wrote:I think more people should probably be getting failing grades. Let's be real: just because everyone at the school received a high LSAT score doesn't mean everyone learned the basics of CivPro during the semester. The difference of bar passage rates between T13 schools and tier 2 schools probably isn't pronounced enough to declare that everyone attending a T13 is too good to fail. But that's just my opinion.

Law school is a product for sale. They would be stupid to start failing people.


Law schools should all be non-profits. Their mission shouldn't be to make money at all costs.

They are non-profits.


Then it's not a "product for sale" now is it? Similar to a museum

I don't think you know how non-profits work


You don't know how they work, my friend. A non-profit's mission has to relate to benefiting society. It can't center around making money for the organization.

You saying that law schools shouldn't flunk students, because they are there to offer a service for money is completely contrary to the mission a non-profit is supposed to have. Their mission is train lawyers, and to provide education. Not to just give the "costumer" whatever they want.

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Re: What percent of students flunk out of law schools like USC and UC Berkeley?

Postby hlsperson1111 » Sun Jun 23, 2019 12:38 am

Truly flunk out? Close to zero. The wild card is whether your professors enforce ABA attendance rules - that is the most common reason that people at T14/T20 schools actually flunk classes (as opposed to getting C+/LP/RC type grades).

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Re: What percent of students flunk out of law schools like USC and UC Berkeley?

Postby TLSDookie » Sun Jun 23, 2019 6:36 am

Bingo_Bongo wrote:
Wubbles wrote:
Bingo_Bongo wrote:
nixy wrote:
Bingo_Bongo wrote:
Wubbles wrote:
Bingo_Bongo wrote:I think more people should probably be getting failing grades. Let's be real: just because everyone at the school received a high LSAT score doesn't mean everyone learned the basics of CivPro during the semester. The difference of bar passage rates between T13 schools and tier 2 schools probably isn't pronounced enough to declare that everyone attending a T13 is too good to fail. But that's just my opinion.

Law school is a product for sale. They would be stupid to start failing people.


Law schools should all be non-profits. Their mission shouldn't be to make money at all costs.

They are non-profits.


Then it's not a "product for sale" now is it? Similar to a museum

I don't think you know how non-profits work


You don't know how they work, my friend. A non-profit's mission has to relate to benefiting society. It can't center around making money for the organization.


I hesitate to jump in the middle of this inanity but it sounds like you can’t differentiate between a 501(c)(3), a b Corp, a benefit corporation (confusingly not the same thing), and a social welfare organization. To suggest all non-profits have a mission to “benefit society” is very overbroad and incorrect.

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Re: What percent of students flunk out of law schools like USC and UC Berkeley?

Postby Bingo_Bongo » Mon Jun 24, 2019 2:32 am

TLSDookie wrote:I hesitate to jump in the middle of this inanity but it sounds like you can’t differentiate between a 501(c)(3), a b Corp, a benefit corporation (confusingly not the same thing), and a social welfare organization. To suggest all non-profits have a mission to “benefit society” is very overbroad and incorrect.


And it sounds like you don't know what a "collateral matter" is. Jesus Christ. This is so far away from the issue...

Listen, the bottom line is students at a law school shouldn't be thought of as consumers buying a product, where customer is king. At least not in terms of them being able to demand that they get good grades because they pay tuition.

If you think law schools should operate that way, come visit me in California and I'll show you some of our great for-profit law schools that will take anybody with a few thousand dollars, give them a degree, and are responsible for our glorious 40% pass rate on the bar exam.

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Re: What percent of students flunk out of law schools like USC and UC Berkeley?

Postby Bingo_Bongo » Mon Jun 24, 2019 9:48 pm

Anyway, back on topic - I just want to point out that UC Berkley had a July 2018 first time bar passage rate of 86%. So, maybe 14% of the students there should have received a couple Ds and Fs during their time at the school? The whole "everyone here is excellent so nobody fails" mentality at a lot of the top schools is super elitist and not even remotely grounded in reality.

Heck, 9% of Stanford students didn't pass the bar. Yeah, the California bar is hard, but it's something 60+% of third-tier students can still do in the state. The grasp of basic legal concepts of close to to ten percent of students attending Stanford was actually worse than the vast majority of third-tier students who took the bar.

20% of USC students didn't pass the bar. That meant that at least 20% of students at USC had a worse grap of basic legal concepts than over 60% of students attending third tier schools. 1 in 5 students at USC were out-performed by the average third-tier student. Let that sink in.

My point here is acting like EVERYBODY who goes to a top school is too good to fail is just plain silly. I applaud whoever that professor was who failed 5 or so students. In all honestly, they probably deserved it. Students shouldn't rest on the laurels of a high LSAT score and prestige school name

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Re: What percent of students flunk out of law schools like USC and UC Berkeley?

Postby nixy » Mon Jun 24, 2019 11:04 pm

So I have to disagree with that b/c I just don't think the bar exam and law school are comparable. In my experience (coming from a law school with a 92-ish% pass rate if I remember correctly), everyone I know who failed the bar just plain didn't study enough, except one person. That person just really really struggles with multiple choice questions. That doesn't mean they're dumb or that they should have failed their law school classes, and they hadn't failed their law school classes, and they're gainfully employed and doing well and are a good lawyer. I suppose if you want to get realllly attenuated you could argue that people who didn't study enough for the bar clearly lacked work ethic so they couldn't have studied in school either and so the fact that they passed without studying shows they should have failed...or something convoluted like that.

But basically whether someone fails the bar tells you nothing about how they should have done in law school. Law school exams aren't exactly rocket science either. At TTTs people fail because schools impose a mandatory curve and the bottom (however many) have to get the Ds and Fs. But at schools in which students fall almost entirely within a very narrow band of high LSAT and high GPA? Everyone is absolutely smart enough not to fail. I'm not going to claim it's impossible to fuck around enough to fail, just that I don't think it is actually at all common.

And your comparison between different schools is weird, in part because third-tier schools teach differently from T14 (TTTs teach to the bar), and in part because it shouldn't actually be that shocking/embarrassing that a TTT student could out perform a USC or Stanford student. LSAT and GPA only have so much predictive power.

If you think that a true curve means that you should always ditch some of the people at the bottom, like the TTTs do, then fine, but that's not the same as saying that those students should objectively fail.



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