Decrease bar examination passing rating a disserve to minority legal professionals

Lower bar exam passing score a disserve to minority lawyers

To the editor: It is one thing to consider changes to the administration of the bar exam in California during this pandemic, but a permanent drop in scores in the hope that the change would "increase the number of blacks and latinos." Legal Practice "only gives way to current political pressure. ("California Lowers Bar Exam Rating Critics Say They Can't Measure Skill," July 26)

Lowering the standards is bad service for the public, for practicing lawyers (especially those recently admitted in 2019), and for students of color. It is simply human nature to achieve your greatest potential if the standards are kept high.

As a retired lawyer, I can say from experience that exercising the law is a very difficult business and that this group of lawyers will face an even bigger struggle to survive in 2020.

Barbara Janas, Huntington Beach


To the editor: I completed my law studies in 2019. After graduating, I studied for 10 to 12 hours a day and could not see any friends or family. I even had to leave my father's wedding early because I had to study again.

I graduated from many Latino and Black students who were smart, motivated and extremely talented. All of these young men and women have worked very hard to pass the bar exam in California, and I think lowering the score will do poorly for future lawyers in that state.

I support efforts to improve diversity, but I know many minority lawyers who have studied very hard to pass an extremely difficult exam and their academic achievements should not go unnoticed.

Audrey Beck, Costa Mesa


To the editor: It is worthwhile to increase the diversity of prosecutor members, although merely increasing the number of lawyers in California by lowering the bar exam score is not a guarantee that social justice in general or minority access legal representation in particular is improved.

Programs that offer relief to student loans to lawyers who work in specific areas of need could be effective.

Michael E. Mahler, Los Angeles


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