Category Archives: Law Students

Dept of Ed Rescinding Some Public Service Loan Forgiveness Certifications

Are you one of the 550,000+ people who have registered for Public Service Loan Forgiveness?  This is the federal program that forgives the remaining balance on qualifying student loans after 10 years of payments while working full-time for a qualifying public service employer.

If so, you’ll likely want to read the article in yesterday’s New York Times which reports that “thousands of approval letters that have been sent by the administrator, FedLoan Servicing, are not binding and can be rescinded at any time,” per the Department of Education.

From the article:

Four borrowers and the American Bar Association have filed a suit in United States District Court in Washington against the department.

The plaintiffs held jobs that they initially were told qualified them for debt forgiveness, only to later have that decision reversed — with no evident way to appeal, they say. The suit seeks to have their eligibility for the forgiveness program restored….

The idea that approvals can be reversed at any time, with no explanation, is chilling for borrowers. Mr. Rudert [an attorney at a non profit legal aid group and one of the plaintiffs], who graduated from law school owing nearly $135,000 on student loans, said he would have picked a different employer if he had known that his work… would not qualify.

Although no explanation was given for the denial, it appears that the questions generally center around whether certain nonprofit organizations qualify as public service employers.

Hat tip to my colleague, Kris Turner, for alerting me to this story.

Khan Academy Announces Free LSAT Test Prep

This post was authored by Eric Taylor, Evening Reference Librarian at the UW Law Library.

Coming in 2018, all those aspiring to go to law school will be able to access online LSAT test prep for free!

In partnership with the Law School Admission Council (LSAC) creator of LSAT, the Khan Academy will bring unprecedented access to the testing portion of the law school admissions process.

Salman Khan, who founded the Khan Academy in 2006, says the partnership is meant to level the playing field to law school access for those who cannot afford the hundreds and even thousands of dollars it costs for professional test prep.

The planned test prep will work in graduated stages: testing basic knowledge to gauge a person’s strengths and weaknesses, suggesting practice options with quizzes, and full-blown practice exams.  Students will receive feedback at every stage along the way.  Solutions and videos will be offered to help explain items and concepts a student is having problems with.

The graphic below is from the Khan Academy’s Official SAT Practice page.  It is illustrative of what the LSAT test prep landing page might look like:

Khan Academy LSAT

The Khan Academy partnered with the College Board to become the official preparation for SAT in 2015.  The goal is the same.  Access to free SAT test prep levels the playing field to college access for those who cannot afford expensive professional test prep.  More than 3 million students have used the SAT program so far.

The idea of providing opportunity to everyone by putting testing materials online is at the core of the Khan Academy’s mission.  What’s the next frontier?  Bar exam prep?  Salman Khan said, in a recent interview with the online ABA Journal, “We would absolutely be open to conversations with people who administer those exams.”

Predicting Bar Exam Success Using LSAT Scores and Law School Performance

A team from Texas Tech University School of Law has recently released a very interesting study entitled, Will I Pass the Bar Exam?: Predicting Student Success Using LSAT Scores and Law School Performance.

Here’s the abstract:

Texas Tech University School of Law has undertaken a statistical analysis of its recent alumni, comparing their performance in law school with their success on the Texas bar exam. The authors conclude that LSAT predicts bar exam success while undergraduate GPA does not. The study also replicates findings in previous literature that both 1L and final law school GPA predict bar exam success.

Going beyond existing literature, this study also conducted more specific analysis of how student performance in specific courses can predict success on affiliated subcomponents of the bar exam; the Article identifies which courses have significant impact on bar exam performance and which do not.

Additionally, the Article reports a completely new analysis of whether student participation in curricular student engagement activities (such as journal, clinic, and advocacy competitions) predicts bar exam success.

Read more details at the Law School Academic Support Blog

Study Identifies Gaps in the Research Sources Being Taught in Law School

Rebecca S. Trammell, Law Library Director of Stetson University College of Law has recently completed a dissertation on Technology & Legal Research: What Is Taught & What Is Used in the Practice of Law.

Using data from three sources (the 2013 ALWD Survey; a review of syllabi; and the 2014 law school legal research survey), the study asks whether law schools are instructing students in the legal research resources used by attorneys in the practice of law.

According to Trammell, the answer is no.  Here’s an excerpt from page 79:

The results of the law school legal research survey indicate significant gaps in law school instruction in state administrative law for both the attorney’s home state and other states and for state case law research for states other than the attorney’s home state. In addition, law school instruction is not focused on several tools used in law practice, specifically legal forms, legal news sources, experts, information about judges, jury verdict information, and finding and using public records. Based on the use of these resources by practicing attorneys, instruction in these areas would result in law students’ gaining more practice-ready skills.

ABA Offers Free Membership for Law Students

The American Bar Association has announced that it will offer free membership to all students enrolled at ABA-approved law schools. The membership grants law students access to resources tailored to their interests and needs, opportunities to build their professional skills plus access to the ABA’s job listings, clerkships, internships and career events.

Law students can enroll online at www.americanbar.org/abalawstudents or by calling the ABA Service Center at 800-285-2221.

Hat tip to Ross-Blakley Law Library Blog

WI Supreme Court Petition Aims to Extend Diploma Privilege to Out-of-state Grads

From the State Bar of Wisconsin News:

A petition filed on Sept. 25 with the Wisconsin Supreme Court aims to extend the “diploma privilege” to graduates of all ABA-approved law schools or abolish it entirely.
Petitioner Steven Levine, a past State Bar of Wisconsin president, and 70 other State Bar members seek to amend SCR 40.03, which exempts from a bar examination requirement those graduates of an ABA-accredited law school whose curriculum includes the specific study of Wisconsin law.

Read the full article for more.
The Supreme Court has scheduled a public hearing and open administrative conference on the petition for 9:30 a.m. on September 30, 2010.

Free Amazon Shipping for College Students

Amazon is offering a free one year membership to Amazon Prime for college students ($79 value – must have a valid .edu email address).
Amazon Prime membership gives you free 2-day shipping on millions of items – including textbooks! I just successfully signed up as a a law student – I know where I’ll be ordering my books this fall.
For more information, see the Amazon Student help page.
Source: Freebies4Mom

Wisconsin Diploma Privilege Challenge Dismissed

From WKOW TV news:

State attorneys have settled a lawsuit challenging Wisconsin’s policy of allowing in-state law students to practice without passing the bar exam.
The state has agreed to pay Corrine Wiesmueller $7,500 to drop the lawsuit.
Wiesmueller and her husband, Christopher, alleged Wisconsin’s so-called diploma privilege violates the federal Commerce Clause by giving Wisconsin law students an unfair advantage over out-of-state students, who need to pass the bar before they can practice in Wisconsin.
U.S. District Judge Barbara Crabb has dismissed the lawsuit.

See the stipulation and order of dismissal.