Lawyers in the News

     Oh, lawyers. Why are you so fascinating?
     I’ve been wondering about this since spotting this headline on the top story of the “California” section of the Los Angeles Times last week: “47% in state pass bar exam.”
     Why is this a news story?
     Does anyone except the tiny percentage of the population taking the bar exam care about this?
     Are the masses wringing their hands, despairing at the thought that there may be not enough new lawyers in the state?
     Now try substituting almost anything else for the word “bar” in the headline.
     Say, “47% in state pass barbering exam.”
     Is that a news story?
     If not, why is the exam for lawyers a major news story? Wouldn’t a shortage of people taking and passing exams to become doctors or engineers be a trifle more significant?
     Before I go any further, I want to assure you that I’m not nitpicking. If I were nitpicking, I’d be wondering why 47% of the state of California took and passed the bar exam.
     Then I wouldn’t be wondering why this was a news story, because that would be incredible. Half the state could represent the other half.
     But I’m pretty sure they meant to say that 47% of the people who took the bar exam passed.
     Now let’s look at the numbers. Apparently, a total of 13,000 people took the two bar exams this year (although a bunch of them may be repeaters who took both). Forty-seven percent of that number is 6,110.
     Last year, according to the news report, the pass rate was 48.6%. Assuming the same number of test-takers, that would mean 6,318 passed.
     So, in theory, about 208 fewer people passed the bar this year – and it’s probably less because of the repeaters.
     Stop the presses!
     There’s more important information in the story. For example, in paragraph six – in one long sentence – we learn that LSAT scores, “according to research,” predict bar performance but “some school administrators” say they don’t.
     It’s a mystery.
     Also, if you read far enough, you find out that the pass rate for students from nationally accredited schools actually went up.
     So the real story is that a lot of schools are signing up students who have little chance of passing the bar exam or getting a law job.
     Maybe that is something we should know about.
     
     Child loses inheritance. Before I go any further, I admit that I feel guilty about what I’m about to write. In fact, I recommend you stop reading right now. What I’m going to say is terrible.
     Giving large amounts of money to charity is a really good thing. I wish more people would do it. I know that I don’t give enough.
     So I shouldn’t say anything bad about Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and his wife publicly pledging to give 99% of their Facebook stock to charity – sometime in their lifetimes.
     It’s a bit vague, but according to news reports, the Zuckerbergs are planning to unload about $1 billion of stock each year for the next three years. They’ve reportedly got about $45 billion, so it’s not even a tithe yet.
     It’s still a good thing, though. It really is. It’s just not that huge a sacrifice if you’re that rich.
     The weird part, though, is that this was announced in a letter to their new baby, published on Facebook.
     As far as I know, the baby can’t read.
     The letter explains why she’s being disinherited. She may be very depressed once she does learn to read.
     So, obviously, the letter is meant for the rest of us, so that we can be impressed.
     Again, I’m fine with that. Nothing wrong with a little ego feed for charity.
     But take a look at that Facebook page. Can you spot anything a tad unusual?
     Take your time. Think about it.
     It’s the comments section – a complete lack of snark!
     This is the Internet! You can’t have the Internet without mean messages and sarcasm. Where are the disinherited baby tantrum GIFs?
     Something is clearly wrong here.
     It’s good to own your own social media platform.

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