Scott Limmer

This episode focuses on what law schools do to manipulate their rankings and appear more worthy to incoming law students.  Scott and Oscar talk about schools who pay for high rankings in “Best of” lists that may appear on internet searches but have no true substance behind them.  Some lower tier schools are not allowing their students at the bottom of the class to even take the Bar exam to hopefully inflate their Bar passing rates as well.  The hosts point out that many of these tools, trick and tips are also used by legal marketers to try and convince lawyers to engage in their marketing systems.  Law students and lawyers alike should take care to look behind the phony statistics and promises (which are usually easily identified) and do your homework.  In both legal education and the practice of law there are few shortcuts.  Nice shiny objects that may look good at the start soon wear off and leave you out in the cold.  Make sure what you are doing and investing in has value and is genuine.

23 Responses to “Episode 65 “Caveat legem Disciplus!” (Law Students Beware!) and Lawyers too!”

  1. Ken says:

    Passing this remedial course is not required to graduate.

    Disclaimer: I have no affiliation with Touro law school.

    http://www.tourolaw.edu/Academics/coursedetails.aspx?id=953

    • Scott Limmer says:

      Hi Ken, Thanks for listening and commenting. The course summary for the class does in fact state that “The course is graded pass/fail and a passing grade is not required for graduation.” I’m not sure how that statements reconciles with the actions they took. I’m going to try and get a clarification.

      • Touro Anonymous says:

        I go to this school and took this course.

        The class is mandatory for all students that are outside of the top 25% of the class. Part 1 is offered in the Fall, and Part 2 in the Spring. You get a pass/fail grade for each.

        Both are styled the same; MBE Kaplan question on various subjects. There is a mid term and final, each with 50 questions. You need to receive a combined score of 60/100 to pass.

        Technically, you do not need to pass this class in order to meet the requirements for graduation. However, for many students, they end up needing all of the credits they are taking in their last semester in order to graduate. This especially applies to evening students, who are already taking a reduced course load. If you take the recommended course load that the school outlines for you, you end up with exactly (I believe, anyway) 88 credits.

        I can’t tell you how much unnecessary stress this caused students in their last semester of school. Not only are they fighting for jobs in the most crowded legal market in the country (as the worst ranked school in the NY metro area), they are forced to go above and beyond to pass this class. It truly does violate the student handbooks section on curving required classes, but knowing Touro they probably found some way around that.

        Luckily, I (barely) passed this class. But I can’t say the same for a decent number of students. I get the scheme involved in this class with regard to getting our atrocious bar passage rate up, but this was an all time low for the school.

    • Sam says:

      This class may not be required to graduate however the students need the credits in order to graduate. So for all the students who didn’t take extra courses (because why would you in law school) they all were prevented from taking the bar.

    • Anonymous says:

      Hi Ken,

      Touro was required to curve the class in an effort to afford the students a fair and reasonable opportunity to graduate on time according to their own standards and policies set forth by THEIR STUDENT HANDBOOK.

      “There is a mandatory grade curve for all required courses (except Legal Process I-II and Enhanced Contracts II). There is a mandatory grade curve for all elective courses with 30 or more students. The curves are designed primarily to promote fairness and normalize grading among different sections.”

      Yes, this course was not required for the students to graduate. However, those students who were unable to graduate, were unable to graduate because they needed 2 credits in order to meet the requirements by the school to receive a JD.

      The school did not follow their own duly stated grading criteria. Instead the institution decided to disregard their own duly written policy in an effort to up the schools ratings in a bad faith manner.

      Thank you.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Hi Scott and Oscar

    I am among one of the failing 3Ls you have discussed during this podcast. I have a 3.0 GPA. I would like to mention a very important factor regarding this issue. They did not curve the class in an effort to make the exam fair. The course was pass/fail. It required us to get a specific number of multiple choice Kaplan bar exam questions correct. I failed by a mere two questions. The student handbook SPECIFICALLY stated that there is a mandatory grade curve for all courses and then goes on to exempt specific courses from this requirement. This course was not one of them. I asked the deans why it wasn’t curved and their response was ” curving a class is impossible in pass fail courses.” We all know that this is an untrue statement considering you can opt for a pass fail grade in letter graded classes.

    Unfortunetly, this was the school I decided to go to. I am terribly disappointed in how they treated us and the uneducated answers I was given when I asked questions. More so, I was only contacted by the assistant dean after calling and sending emails to ALL OF THE DEANS including the president of touro. None of which responded.

    This is a very important topic and I want to thank the two of you for bringing this out to the public.unfortunetly after paying over one hundred thousand dollars for a tier 3 law school, being put off another year before I start my career, and being unable to currently find a job that values my education for more than 12$ an hour … It is impossible for me to hire a lawyer to challenge this.

    The school is not only a disappointment. They aren’t giving us a fair opportunity to graduate and they are in complete violation of their own student handbook.

    I hope that you continue to make people aware of this situation and the bad faith behavior of this “fine” institution.

    Thank you.

    • D in CA says:

      Go them sue them yourself, in pro per. Get a bunch of your similarly-screwed classmates to do the same thing. (Pick ones that would’ve passed if curved.) Pool your resources.

  3. K says:

    I was a student in the class. Most of the information that was given to you is not correct or at best incomplete. The Students who did not graduate was due to the fact that they did not have the necessary credits to graduate. While the course may have been mandated for those in the bottom half the class, the majority of the entire class took it due to the fact that it was a bar preparation class based on the MBE. There was no curve in the class, it was a pass/fail class that required students to get 60% of the multiple questions correct on two separate 50 questions tests (60/100). All the relevant law and materials, including extensive practice materials, were provided by the Kaplan instructors. The students who failed fell into one of two categories: The first being those who did not prepare as they should have, in which case they only have themselves to blame. The second, is those who did prepare and simply could not get 60% of questions correct that were based on a very limited closed universe of material, in which case they would were not prepared to take on the Bar exam anyway. The very same class was offered the first semester of 3rd year as well, and everyone knew what was required of them in order to pass. If they had doubts, they could have simply took an extra class which would have nullified the situation that they are in. That being said, the Touro Student handbook does state that classes with a certain amount of students in them are required to be curved, in which part I agree with the unfairness to some of those people who would have passed had the curve been applied. But I do not think that this was by any means a ploy by the school to inflate their bar passage rate.

    • Anonymous says:

      Hi K,

      All of which you said is correct. I clarified the fact that it was due to the amount of credits (not only the course) is why students were unable to graduate. However, the ALA I class offered in the Fall semester of 3L year was 50 questions between both the midterm and the final to pass. The Spring semester was changed to 60 questions to pass.

      Further, for you to say statements such as “…for which you were not prepared to take on the bar exam anyway” is very undermining. I, along with many others, found that the final was completely unfair as to the material covered in class. This is evidenced by the ongoing forum on Facebook, the numerous emails to both the assistant dean and the professor of the course from multiple students, after the final was given and BEFORE the grades were received.

      This being said, I would not say that the students who failed would have been unprepared on the bar exam “anyway” considering we had 8 weeks of intense bar prep ahead of us by taking the bar review course of our choice. Needless to say, maybe some of these students aren’t viable to Kaplan ways.

      Moreover, as I am aware some of these “failing” students received an “A” in the American Legal Studies course which mirrors the essay portion of the bar (taught by Pieper), as well as some of them were told their essays were amongst the best in the class. As you know, most topics covered in ALA were also topics covered in ALS.

      So, again, to say that these students would have been unprepared for the bar “anyway” is an unfair statement.

      Regardless, the curve was mandatory and should have been applied. I do think that this was a ploy by the school because why else wouldn’t they follow their own student handbook?

      More so, why did was an emergency meeting held amongst the faculty after the final exam to possibly lower the limit of questions that were needed to get correct, of which was voted not to?

      I think we all know the answer.

      Thank you.

    • Anonymous Touro Student says:

      As a Touro student, who actually passed this class, I would like to address some of the things you said…

      “…in which case they would were not prepared to take on the Bar exam anyway”
      -I think the “Anonymous” poster before me nailed it on the head, and I completely agree with him on all counts.

      “The very same class was offered the first semester of 3rd year as well, and everyone knew what was required of them in order to pass. If they had doubts, they could have simply took an extra class which would have nullified the situation that they are in.”
      -No, this was not the same as the first class. The passing score threshold was raised by 10 points, which was not announced ahead of time. Some people failed the ALA II class by a point or less. This is a big deal.
      -Along with this, taking an extra class is not that simple. Putting aside the extra tuition cost for each student ($1600 a credit), some people were already maxed out with regard to the amount of credits you can take in a given semester. This is not as simple as you are making it sound.

  4. Anonymous says:

    I, too, am one of the failing 3L’s. Touro’s actions are an absolute disgrace. I would reccomend anyone considering Touro Law Center to RUN! This school is only concerned with their miserable rankings and getting the most amount of tuition from students that they can. Their non-willingness to adhere to THEIR OWN handbook rules, is simply done in bad faith. I am embarrassed to even say I attended this law school.

  5. Claudette Lemettur says:

    You can’t even get 60 questions right out of two 50-question exams the whole semester?? Really, people?? I mean, what were you doing all semester long? Netflix and chilling? If you can’t pass that test at NYU, Columbia or Yale, why should you pass it at Touro because it was made easy for you? Quit trashing the school simply because you’re incompetent and lazy. Someone argued that you have three months for bar prep to counter what K said, but please, people had a WHOLE semester to learn this material. The Bar won’t be made easy for anybody. You’re shooting yourselves on the foot by speaking so ill about the school you attended.

    • Anonymous says:

      Excuse me Claudette Lemettur but you have absolutely no idea what you are saying so please keep your rude comments to yourself. I am an extremely hard working student not lazy and incompetent. I failed by a mere 6 points because this course was not taught properly. Nothing has been made easy for me in this school, I work hard for my grades as do many of the students who failed. Also I did very well in my other bar prep courses, in fact Pieper said my my essays were among the best in the class. So before you go name calling know your damn facts.

  6. Anonymous says:

    I’m sorry, but someone must call it like it is. As a person who took the class and passed, not one person can deny the fact that there was a powerpoint published a week before the exam laying out EACH AND EVERY QUESTION that was on the final exam WITH the applicable rule stated in a short sentence (we were spoon fed the answers). Even my 12 year old brother who did not go to law school could have studied that powerpoint for 2 hours and passed the final with flying colors. I think the truth of the matter is that a group of students did not think the ALA final would require much study time or effort which is a horrible way to start off your legal career. The real world is not curved and Touro was generous enough for even allowing it to be a pass/fail course. And as for the person who claimed some of these people got an A on ALS, that is just further proof that if a person was able to put the time in and receive an A in ALS, they could have easily put at least half the effort into ALA and done just as well. Yes, I do think Touro does many things wrong and by no means would I ever defend the school, but this is straight up lies that everyone is claiming in order to make themselves feel better for failing the easiest law school exam.

    And for those of you who think you did put in the time and STILL failed, well then maybe you need this time during the summer to regroup because you need to figure out HOW you failed that.

    And another thing, all you people can sit here trashing your own degree yet you’re only hurting yourself in the long run. Stop pointing fingers, and admit you did not put the time or effort into an exam because you were expecting it to be a joke. And for every person you tell your sob story to, make sure you also show them the powerpoint we were sent the week before the exam. Time to join the real world.

    • Anonymous says:

      I bet I studied more than most students including you. I watched the review videos, I made an outline, did all practice questions, and spoke to the professor about some questions I had. So do not say we didn’t all study. And that review video were crap, so maybe you think it all was sooooo helpful but to some it wasn’t. Get off your damn high horse, if you failed you would be exactly where your fellow classmates are.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Call it what you want but their OWN handbook says it was a mandated curve.

    Clearly Kaplan doesn’t work for some students. Maybe it does for you which is why you are sitting here writing on a high horse.

    if the final exam was so fair then why was their a forum and multiple emails to the professor and the deans about the exam PRIOR TO grades ? ( from people who found out they passed and failed)

    ALS and ALA covered the same topics. The person(s) who got an A in a pieper course should have gotten an A in Kaplan Unless Kaplan exam was the problem…

    Need I not mention that “some” students spoke to the professor regularly, had his cell phone number and even texted him?

    Maybe that’s why they passed.

    Addressing the fact that you said people are “shooting themselves in the foot” by talking ill about a school they attended…. Cute analogy. However, I’m pretty sure there’s nothing that can be said about this institution that will make employers eyes light up when they see TTTOURO on their students resumes and there’s nothing that can be said here that will make them think something that they don’t already think.

    Hence why their own class orators speech had to include what someone said on a job interview when asked why they should be hired … If you don’t know that pretty much began with the answer was ….. Well I know I went to touro BUT.. LOL

    My intentions weren’t to “bash” touro considering there are a lot of intelligent professors there. However, a curve is mandated in an effort to help students where there are poorly written exams or instructors. Where 30 students in a class fail clearly it wasn’t the students. The school should have implemented their pendulum stated mandatory curve. This is the main issue. How about we act like attorneys and stick to it instead of name calling and acting like touros finest ?

  8. Anonymous says:

    Bottom line is that majority of the class passed.

    • Anonymous says:

      Bottom line, if you failed you’d be right here with us. Don’t act like you wouldn’t be, get off your damn high horse!

  9. Anonymous says:

    Actually the bottom line is that the school didn’t implement their own duly stated grading criteria for which most of the people who failed may have passed…. If that was done then there would be no argument.

    But it seems like everyone commenting is disregarding that factor. I’m sure the curve has helped you or some of the other students in other courses..

    .. But in those courses it was okay to implement the grading criteria CREATED BY THE SCHOOL right ?

  10. Anil Singh says:

    ALA was pointless.

    I hope everyone who failed, enjoys their summer, and works hard in the fall and passes the bar in February.

    Best.

  11. SMH says:

    I am also a Touro student. This episode is totally inaccurate. There was no curve which mandated a third of the class fail. Totally false. With no curve, as a pass fail course, 100% of the class had the potential to pass this class. I will say that there were many in my classes who I look at and ask myself, “how are they this close to graduation?”. Many are totally unqualified to be graduating with a JD degree. If 1/3 of the people who took this class failed, the only blame I can give Touro is that they should have failed many of these people out after the 1st year and not given theses “students” a sense that social promotion will continue to occur. Real life doesn’t work like that.

  12. Jaime says:

    It is pretty horrifying that these schools exist. If you don’t agree with me, read the grammar in the student’s postings. Even if these students manage to memorize enough to pass the MC of the bar, many of them will never be able to pass the writing component. I have a friend at a similar law school in Boston – he has failed the bar 3X – because he can’t write. The schools shouldn’t be able to profit off of students for three years, knowing the bar will never admit them.

  13. SMH says:

    Jaime, that analysis is an unfair and uninformed jab, and you should know better. People will quickly reply to these board topics and the last thing they worry about is grammar and punctuation on such a trivial post. To judge a law school based upon how they post on here is in no way an accurate indication of anything you imply. If you can’t see that, I then shudder to think about what you may have learned in your “prestigious” law school.

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