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From The Bar November 16, 2007

Posted by fitsnews in SC Politics.
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ASSOCIATION WEIGHS IN ON SUPREME COURT SCANDAL

FITSNews – November 16, 2007 – We’re not sure what it is with judges and lawyers, but they sure as hell take forever figuring out what to say about current events. For example, it took the S.C. Supreme Court two full days to respond to our original story detailing the questionable revision of South Carolina’s bar exam results. But we gave them a hall pass because everybody knows it’s hard to find a pen in robes that don’t have pockets, which makes them sort of like Sic Willie‘s favorite pair of sweat pants, except not quite as dignified.

Of course, the Court’s “rapid response” was a new land speed record compared to the tortoises over at the S.C. Bar Association, who distrubuted the following statement about the flap yesterday evening – which might as well have been about the last time this same thing happened twenty years ago:

The South Carolina Bar regrets that recent events involving the bar examination have resulted in criticism of the legal profession. The South Carolina Bar has no role in any aspect of the bar examination process and has no information other than what has been stated by the Supreme Court. The South Carolina Bar encourages those charged with responsibility for the bar examination to further explain what happened and take steps to avoid a recurrence of these events.

We’re not trying to sound too Tyler Durden-y here, but it probably shouldn’t take so long to come up with something that says so little. We actually showed the Bar’s statement to our attorneys, who were vehemently criticizing it until one of them reminded the others that they were all members of the association that put it out. That’s when they stopped laughing, billed us for eleventy kabillion dollars and headed off to an actual bar, where we hear they got drunk and hit on college girls before dropping by the local strip club for a nitecap. True American heroes? You better believe it!

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Comments»

1. b - November 16, 2007

Your stories on the bar scandal get more and more “good ol’ boy”. SHOCKER!!! Distracting with lame lawyer jokes is pretty amateur.

(That’s when they stopped laughing, billed us for eleventy kabillion dollars and headed off to an actual bar. Where they got drunk and hit on college girls before heading out to the local strip club for a nitecap. True American heroes? You better believe it!)

Thanks for keeping us abreast with the “real issues”.

Maybe you should go back to what you are best at…..
Beating women!!!!

Oh and the people you defend are lawyers too….Maybe they will let you back in the club one day….

2. FITSNews - November 16, 2007

B-

You know what really hurts us about your comment is the eight exclamation points.

Really, why’d you have to go there with the excessive punctuation?

At least you didn’t bust the brackets and braces out on us – that would’ve really hurt our feelings!

-FITSNews

3. The Bar Speaks Out « Not Very Bright - November 16, 2007

[…] This interpretation is consistent with what I said yesterday: That lawyers in this state remain very concerned about what happened here, and that the concern is not dissipating with the passage of time.  It’s a serious issue to them, as opposed to others for whom this is a big look-at-me exercise in irreverence. […]

4. Bring It - November 16, 2007

This will keep this thing alive. I challenge anyone to find a time when the Bar gone after the SC SC. Something like this might not have happened in any state ever. Very very serious.

I hope Toal has an early tee time today so she has a chance to hop back in her mini and make it back to the office to figure out her next move.

5. Susie Q - November 16, 2007

Okay, well now what is going to happen? Someone MUST explain. Pretty soon the whole lawyer world is going to come out and risk it all on this one. There is no excuse and someone needs to explain.

6. Where are the Answers? - November 16, 2007

b – quit being a bitch and attacking the messenger. I assume you are a Toal apologist and hope you never get in a position of power as there is little doubt how you will conduct yourself.

While I disagree with almost every other posting on his site, I commend Sic Willie for staying on top of this story. I hope that 1) the facts will come out and 2) no wrongdoing took place, but every day that seems less likely on both counts.

Toal is an embarrassment to this state and should have stepped down after her last two “incidents.” She is making a mockery of the South Carolina legal community and has done irreparable damage by her unwillingness to face the public on this issue.

7. Bar Member - November 16, 2007

b:

Q: What do you call a group of lawyers laid end-to-end around the equator?
A: A good start.

Q: What’s the difference between God and a lawyer?
A: God knows he’s not a lawyer.

Q: What do you do if you are locked in a cage with a lion, a tiger, and a lawyer…and you have a pistol with only two bullets?
A: Shoot the lawyer twice.

Those were taught to me by my tax law professor over two decades ago. In addition to being a tremendous legal mind, he also had the foresight to teach his students to have a sense of humor about their future profession.

I wish more of my fellow members would have taken that class.

8. SC atty - November 16, 2007

b:

Your comments justified Sic’s lawyer jokes. Everybody knows lawyers are assholes and you just proved it.

I’ve been practicing for 11 years and I keep a file of lawyer jokes. Sorry, but for the most part, lawyers have earned their reputations.

If we don’t want to be criticized, we ought to stop being jerks.

9. The Observer - November 16, 2007

word

10. Will Folks is a Hypocrite - November 16, 2007

I agree with b. I mean you hypocritically step over the line all the time but now its just getting annoying. Maybe lawyers like to drink statistically but so do you. And given all the T and A that’s on this blog, its comical that you feel like you can point your finger at stripclub patrons. And don’t start with some bullshit about how you really do believe that lawyers are “American heroes.” And that you’re not judging the profession as a whole by overgeneralizations and all that crap. Maybe most lawyers are scum but Will so are you, so quit acting like you possess the integrity to morally judge anyone, especially an entire profession. And another thing, you talk about how slow the court and the bar was to react to your original story. Well aren’t we mighty full of ourselves. What makes you think that you really have any true bearing on anything Will. You’re just a crappy bass player that was lucky enough to land a job in politics. If Mark Sanford weren’t an idiot you’d be bussing tables right now.

11. Ticked Off attorney - November 16, 2007

Did anyone notice that this saga has been mentioned in the ABA Journal twice? Way to go South Carolina… as if the rest of the country didn’t already think you were lagging way behind in terms of getting rid of your good ole boy system.

12. FITSNews - November 16, 2007

#10-

What’s wrong w/ busing tables? Or strip clubs? And you obviously need to dust off your crystal ball as far as predicting our response … because frankly we never would have said any of that crap you suggested, we probably would’ve just apologized for being so much smarter, funnier, more successful and better looking than you are and moved on.

-FITSNews

P.S. – You’re welcome to take another shot, just remember “chalk is free.”

13. atliens - November 16, 2007

http://www.abajournal.com/weekly/july_ny_bar_answers_lost_for_47_officials_estimate_scores

This article seems to imply that some NY Bar examinees failed the Bar after their tests were lost and the officials “estimated” their scores. I think this is drastically worse than any alleged impropriety in SC. Just thought it was interesting.

14. Will Folks is a Hypocrite - November 16, 2007

Wll shoots and BRICK! You lose. No additional shot necessary.

15. Will Folks - November 16, 2007

Dude, You’re ripping my three-point shooting now? I’ll have you know I hit 52.5% from behind the arc during my high school career. Stick to calling me a hypocrite scum and a shitty bass player, I can live with that. But shooting bricks? Please. Get some balls (pun intended) and name your gym. The only sound you’ll hear is leather ripping twine, my friend. I figure a good half-hour at twenty bucks a shot and I’ll own your mobile home, and possibly your recalled Pinto as well.

Peace, W

16. BAD SC! - November 16, 2007

ATLien,
I don’t think the NY Bar issue is worse than this one at all. At least there’s was unintentional, no matter how irresponsible it was to allow the computer glitch to lose some answers.

In our situation you have legislators and judges abusing power in the name of nepotism. This involves knowing bad faith and the intent to get the scores changed in the face of a recent statute that expressly says this conduct is unethical and illegal – not unintentional by any standard.

17. Will Folks is a Hypocrite - November 16, 2007

Irrelevant and self absorbant basketball statistics from the “L” column. Nice. Quit now and maybe the hole you’re digging will remain as shallow as your wit. This is too easy. What else you got Sparky?

18. disappointed - November 16, 2007

I must say that the NY situation is not worse… because they came out and explained what happened, and it was done before the names of people were attached to the numbers. no home cooking involved. just a case of technology screwing up. clearly not the case in good old SC.

19. Joe Public - November 16, 2007

Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz. Don’t we have more important things to talk about in this world?

Let’s see. In one story we have a) lawyers, b) politicians, and c) liberal judges being reported on by d) journalists. There are very few groups in this world the public already has a lower opinion of.

Throw in some used car salesmen and we’ll have a real party!

20. Silence Dogood - November 16, 2007

Joe P., did you read all of this stuff just to chime in on how unimportant you think it is? Interesting. There are couple of other articles on this blog, and like 2 or 3 other blogs out there with news stories…now I realize this is not as interesting as B. Spears lack of panties or the Helmsly’s dog, but it might actually be of slightly more importance.

21. Scared - November 16, 2007

There are other “big names” within the Bar and some even high up on Queen Jean’s committees who made calls to get their babies and friends’ children by the bar exam. Notice Harrison and Burch are the only two taking all the heat publically. What’s up with that? Has some inside deal already been cut?

22. Believe It Not - November 16, 2007

Gee, sic(k) willie. There’s nothing for us here. This post is full of posts that recognize that you’re a fake.

So, how are your legal problems going?

23. Anonymous - November 17, 2007

Someone ought to send a request for an opinion to the SC Bar Ethics Advisory Board. I would love to see how they would respond. I expect they would want to give an opinion, but would decide to bow out due to the fear of retribution.

Unfortunately non lawyers are talking about this now, and it’s not good. Just last night I was hearing questions like, “is what they say about the good ol’ boy system true?” “Does the Judge’s familiarity with certain lawyers (fraternity brothers, hunting buddlies, golf foursomes, etc.) really make a difference in the outcome of a case?”

How do you answer these questions?

24. Southern Lawyer - November 17, 2007

I hope the Supreme Court will speak and explain why their decision to throw out the T&E section was proper. Otherwise I fear the ripple effect from Daddygate is going to spread and the SC legal community is going to get all wet.

Better to stop it sooner rather than later, right?

25. Blue Bird - November 17, 2007

This is one the greatest scandals of all time in SC. Toal is in utter and arogant denial and it is going to cost her a job.

it come down to making the showing that the Daddy’s call got the pressure turned up to find a way to change the girls grades.

They would have all gotten away with it save for the girls’ exploits on Facebook and email.

26. Law - November 17, 2007

It was one thing when the ABA Journal picked it up. Now the Associated Press (AP) has the story:

http://www.journalgazette.net/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20071116/APN/711160957&template=apart

27. Math is Fun! - November 17, 2007

If we never get any answers, at least some valuable information can be drawn from the data they have released. Using some basic statistics, I have come up with the following:

RESULTS:
South Carolina Bar Exam Historical Statistics (2002-2006):
Avg. pass rate = 77.2%
Max pass rate = 80%
Min pass rate = 75%

July 2007 South Carolina Bar Exam Results (before change):
Total pass rate = 77.5%
Pass rate excluding CSOL scores = 82.9% (estimated)

July 2007 South Carolina Bar Exam Results (after change):
Total pass rate = 81.2%
Pass rate excluding CSOL scores = 86.0%

CONCLUSIONS:
1. The total pass rate before the change was right at the historical average. 77.5% vs. 77.2%

2. The estimated pass rate before the change and excluding CSOL scores, a better indication of exam results compared with the historical results, was very high compared with historical results. 82.9% vs. 77.2%

3. The pass rate after the change and excluding CSOL scores was extremely high compared to historical results. 86% vs. 77.2%

SUMMARY: Without getting overly technical, the above data gives a good indication that the exam results before the change were not out of the ordinary. In fact, the true results were likely higher than in the previous 5 years. This would further imply that the failure rate on the T&E section was not out of the ordinary but likely was on average with the rest of the sections. So what is the reason for throwing out the T&E section?

SOURCES:
http://www.judicial.state.sc.us/bar/
http://www.adaptibar.com/states/South-Carolina-Bar-Exam-Results.asp

NOTE: The CSOL scores have the effect of skewing the data because the pass rates are statistically much lower compared with USC and other schools. If their scores are removed, a very different picture emerges. I would acknowledge that if no CSOL existed, some of their lower scores would have been included anyways because they would have gone to other schools and then come back to take the SC bar, resulting in a lower “other school” passage rate. However, this effect would be minimal at best and would not alter these conclusions in a meaningful way. Coincidently, the lower CSOL pass rates might benefit USC students in the grading process. I would bet that the bar examiners “grade to the mean” and therefore inadvertently gave USC an extra “bump” in passage rate in order to hit the historical average.

28. Math is Fun! - November 17, 2007

Also, Below are the results of modeling based upon different scores on the T&E section and the subsequent results it would have on the final pass rate. It would seem to be very likely that the T&E pass rate was not not out of the ordinary.

As you can see, 95% would result in the test average before the changes. Note that 95% is the likely average on each section to result in an average pass rate of 77%. This is calculated by: .95^5 = .77.

Avg. Pass Rate for each section = 95%

T&E Pass Rate Est. Total Pass Rate (before changes)
100% 77.4%
95% 77.2%
90% 77.0%
80% 76.6%
70% 76.2%
60% 75.8%
50% 75.4%
40% 75.1%
30% 74.7%
20% 74.3%
10% 73.9%
0% 73.5%

29. Mens Rea - November 17, 2007

The most annoying thing about all this is the oh-so–notreally-clever allusions to Will’s CDV and Justice Toal’s fender benders. WE GET IT, ok? OMG you genius that never crossed anyone’s mind! Please start your own blog so I can not read it.

To the issue itself–I am almost completely certain that Toal would not allow the section to be thrown out without a reason. She is huge (HUGE) on ethics, the practice of law, and the reputation of the legal profession (which, kooks aside, is at an all-time high–witness the forty legal dramas on tv these days. To paraphrase Paul Mooney, ‘everybody wanta be a lawyer, but don’t nobody wanta BE a lawyer’). Like most judges, she is real big on playing-up the system that makes her special. This is probably simply an epic PR failure–she dealt with it just before leaving for, and while preparing to lead, this year’s national state supreme court justices’ meeting, i.e. her big moment in the sun.

I think if Catherine hadn’t posted about it on Facebook, no one would have know who made the call. Bar exam results aside, should she be a lawyer if she’s stupid enough to post about this on the internet, as if it were last night’s mixer? I mean, come on. Come on! If you are under 30 that’s the first place a reporter will look for damning admissions.

I wonder what it would have felt like had this happened to me last year. People say they’d rather have failed, but the sheer trauma of not knowing and waiting to see if I passed, if I had what it took, if I’d be sworn-in with (90% of) my friends–that was bad enough when I PASSED the damn thing. To fail, and then to be a part of this scandal, would have sent me back home to the plow.

30. Anon - November 17, 2007

I too would love to believe that there is an easy explanation behind all of this, but it is getting harder and harder to believe. What explanation explains all of the following facts:

1. A “scoring error” which was not recognized until five days after the posting of the names of the passing students.
2. A “scoring error” which was discovered after the posting of the names of the passers even though no one could have asked for a reconsideration of his or her test answers.
3. Justice Toal is indebted to Rep. Harrison for not pulling the plug on her career when up for re-election over DUI allegations.
4. Rep. Harrison admits calling the Court about the test.
5. Justice Toal refuses to offer what should be an easy explanation in response to growing public disbelief.
6. Chief Bar Examiner George Hearn publicly denies having any notice of any supposed “scoring error” before the Court threw out a section of the test which he is responsible for.
7. Catherine Harrison posts messages on Facebook suggesting that there was a real push to get the section thrown out.
8. The number of new passers suggests that the failure rate on the T&E section was not abnormal in any way.

I really, really want to believe. I do. But, it is getting pretty damn hard.

31. just sayin - November 17, 2007

Judge Toad does NOT care about ethics.

She only cares about power.

32. Anon - November 17, 2007

#29, I do not know why you are saying that Toal is HUGE on ethics. I see no basis whatsoever for your saying this. I would think that the majority of people would agree that she is not HUGE on ethics. She has committed enough unethical acts for 10 justices combined.

Queen Jean may be smart in the worst possible kind of way, but ethical she ain’t.

33. NCLawyer - November 17, 2007

To Mens Rea,

You make two very interesting statements:

1. “The most annoying thing about all this is the oh-so–notreally-clever allusions to . . . Justice Toal’s fender benders. WE GET IT, ok?”

and

2. “She is huge (HUGE) on ethics . . . and the reputation of the legal profession.”

34. SC Atty - November 18, 2007

Mens Rea, Is that you Jean?

Can’t think of anyone else who would argue that drunken hit and runs are ethical acts.

35. Scandal #2 - November 18, 2007

At some point this “investigation” should turn its focus on the bar examiners grading process and the CSOL takers. The facts are clear that the CSOL takers, almost a 1/3 of the total, faired significantly worse on the exam than USC and the other schools. How could it be that the July 2007 pass rate was almost exactly the average from 2002-2006 even before the T&E question was thrown out?

If the grading were strictly objective without using a grading curve, the pass rate should have been much lower and the CSOL pass rate could possibly have dipped below 50%, a magic number I am told in the eyes of the ABA. It is rumored that only 2/6 CSOL takers passed the NC bar.

Whether done intentionally or not, there appears to have been a “fix” even before the T&E question was dropped. It is simply impossible to have a large dump of lower scoring takers and still end up at the magic number of 77% total pass rate.

I do not mean to disparage CSOL students as I know many of them personally and they are very capable and bright. However, there is no doubt that CSOL has been admitting students with rock bottom LSAT’s, a good indicator of performance on the bar. This clearly showed up in the 2007 bar results.

This all raises very serious questions about CSOL and their accreditation. It is becoming ever more obvious that CSOL has been admitting students who probably shouldn’t be in law school. It truly saddens me to think that many of these students paid an outrageous amount of money to go to law school only later to discover they couldn’t pass the bar.

There are also serious issues about the quality of lawyers being admitted to practice in this state. If the effect of CSOL is simply to lower the “bar”, pardon the pun, then there might be serious down stream effects from this practice.

36. 2255 - November 18, 2007

I really think this story is going to end up bring down some of the folks involved. Everytime I thunk it is done some great new morsel comes out. The non-lawyer public has now joined the outrage and will not stop.

The story will also flesh the horrible rip-off that CSOL is. It is so sad to see people I know spend so much money and time for a useless degree and a remote chance at any kind of decemt job.

37. Silence Dogood - November 18, 2007

“She is huge (HUGE) on ethics, the practice of law, and the reputation of the legal profession.”

Mens Rea, I don’t know the Chief Justice, however if the quote you state above is true, and realizing the hemorage of public confidence in the legal profession that has arisen from this, you would think she would be the first to come out and explain it in toto, rather than snipping to the paper that she doesn’t just have time to sit around and call you people back. She has found time to go golfing during the bar swearing in ceremony, so apparently she hasn’t been so busy that she could just give us, the general public, the valid and simple explanation that is supposedly out there that none of us can think of? If it were a simple explanation with nothing rotten to it, it would not take much time to explain at tall, one might imagine, and therefore would not take a long time to do?

38. Anon - November 18, 2007

Jean should have been disciplined by ODC after her first hit and run. Removedfrom office on here SECOND! The fact that she has committed 2 crimes of moral turpitude while on the SC is outrageous.

Leaving the scene is a crime of moral turpitude! See State v. Horton, State v. Horton, 271 S.C. 413, 248 S.E.2d 263 (1978) holding that leaving the scene of an accident is a crime of moral turpitude. South Carolina courts have defined moral turpitude as “an act of baseness, vileness, or depravity in the private and social duties which a man owes to his fellow man, or to society in general, contrary to the accepted and customary rule of right and duty between a man and man.” State v. Horton,271 S.C. 413, 414, 248 S.E.2d 263, 263 (1978). Further, “[a]n act in which fraud is an ingredient involves moral turpitude.” Id. In determining whether a crime is one involving moral turpitude, courts focus primarily on the duty to society and fellow man that is breached by the commission of the crime. Alex Sanders et. al., Trial Handbook for South Carolina Lawyers § 13:13 at484 (2000).

Also, see this link that indicates the Gov. has the power to remove an official that has committed a crime of moral turpitude:

http://www.scattorneygeneral.org/newsroom/pdf/campbell2.pdf

39. Scared - November 18, 2007

#38 – You said, “Jean should have been disciplined by the ODC after her first hit and run.” Jean IS the ODC. In South Carolina, all action within the attorney discipline system is entirely discretionary by the Supreme Court. You think this bar exam fiasco is political! Check out the inner workings of the ODC. There is nothing the ODC or Commission on Judicial Conduct/Commission on Lawyer Conduct can do but make recommendations to the Supreme Court. And these recommendations carry no weight. The five justices only discipline each other and themselves. See IN RE: Dennis Rhoad, November, 2007. That’s the reason CJ Jean Toal isn’t worried about Jim Harrison. She is in charge of issuing any discipline that may be recommended to her on his actions. She owns him now.

40. NCLawyer - November 18, 2007

I read recently were someone was advocating an independent SC Bar Association, similar to the one we have in NC (we have two bar associations). One that can speak for the good of the citizens and is controlled by the profession and not the government. Any thoughts?

41. Anon - November 18, 2007

#40

Has it made a difference to have both in NC?

42. Scared - November 18, 2007

#40 – Talk about putting yourself on a target list…. sign up to be a charter member of the SC Independent Bar Association. Oh, yeah, that’ll work here. I noticed in the Nifong hearings in NC, there was actually due process, open hearings and procedural rules which were somewhat fair in the attorney process system. We don’t have any of that in the SC attorney discipine system. It’s all de novo discretionary with the SC SC. See South Carolina Appellate Court Rule 413, Rules 1-34. (Rule 27 c 2).

43. Charleston Lawyer - November 18, 2007

The postings about the CSOL are totally inaccurate. Justice Toal has a well-known distain for one of the Founders of the CSOL, and there is absolutely no conceivable reason to think that she did anything at all to help the graduates from the CSOL. That opinion is completely ill-informed.

As for the pass rate of the CSOL, the ABA says that a law school is PRESUMPTIVELY doing a good job if its pass rate is within 10% of the state average. The CSOL’s full time students are already within that span. Moreover, compared to other first graduating classes, the CSOL’s number are considered pretty damn good. Lastly, the CSOL has a far higher placement rate for grads in the Charleston market (which has historically been the toughest market to break into in SC).

44. Charleston Lawyer - November 18, 2007

The postings about the CSOL are totally inaccurate. Justice Toal has a well-known distain for one of the Founders of the CSOL, and there is absolutely no conceivable reason to think that she did anything at all to help the graduates from the CSOL. That opinion is completely ill-informed.

As for the pass rate of the CSOL, the ABA says that a law school is PRESUMPTIVELY doing a good job if its pass rate is within 10% of the state average. The CSOL’s full time students are already within that span. Moreover, compared to other first graduating classes, the CSOL’s number are considered pretty damn good. Lastly, the CSOL has a far higher placement rate for grads in the Charleston market (which has historically been the toughest market to break into in SC) than USC.

45. Anon - November 18, 2007

Sorry about that double post.

46. Anon - November 18, 2007

.

47. just sayin - November 18, 2007

The Independent Bar should not only be in charge of all lawyer discipline, with open fair hearings & due process, but the Independent Bar should also appoint judges!

Then maybe the S.Ct. would actually consist of the five smartest lawyers in the state, and not the five most adept hacks.

48. NCLawyer - November 18, 2007

#42:

How do you envision SC handling a Nifong situation under the current system? I think NC handled it well.

49. Unknown - November 18, 2007

I think some of the 20 must be members of the generation previewed in this 60 minutes segment:

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2007/11/08/60minutes/main3475200.shtml

50. CSOL Dreams - November 18, 2007

I do not know who is in worse denial:

(1) Judge Toal and the Court; or

(2) All of the CSOL defenders out there.

Recall:

A – Everyone that goes to CSOL did get into any other decent LS in the whole country.

B – You pay WAY to much to go law that is basically as set of a few big rooms in office buildings. (Easily $150k for some)

C – Your school and classmates did a horrible job preparing and taking the SC Bar. 69% is dismissal. For all of that money CSOL kids pay they should beat USC.

D – CSOL are having an ordeal finding any jobs. It is so funny to see a set of people so excited that they and their classmates are state court clerks. What is so awesome about a $35k/yr long-term temp that you do not learn anything at.

CSOL considers it a “success” if you take 3 years, $150k, pass the bar and get a $35k temp job. Entry-level teachers with just a BS start out at $33k in Charleston County schools.

All of the CSOL students should stop complaining about being unemployed/failing the bar and instead figure out how to sue their school ans its Owners for duping them.

51. NCLawyer - November 18, 2007

#41,

Let me put it this way, we have a properly funded indigent representation system, so court appointments are not overwhelming.

I understand in SC that if you don’t have your Rule 403s (ex. tax atty, RE, general transactional lawyer), you are NOT excused from your court appointments and actually have to come out of pocket to hire a lawyer to represent the indigent person you got appointed to represent. An independent Bar might have something to say about that.

52. SCAnon - November 18, 2007

Anyone up for a class action against the queen bee? The value of all of our law degrees and SC bar membership is steadily eroding due to this continued stonewalling.

53. Mens Rea - November 18, 2007

I stand by my opinion that Toal’s vehicle offenses were not that big a deal in the scheme of things–she didn’t leave the scene of an accident where someone was hurt. When I say she is ‘huge on ethics,’ I mean ethics involving the practice of law. She is a true believer in the law and in being a lawyer.

I think that she found a legitimate problem with the bar exam, and fixed it fairly. Then, I think she was so wrapped-up in the big conference and her role as president that she did not stay on top of the PR situation.

54. SC Atty - November 18, 2007

#35,
Just as an earlier post said, Queen Jean HATES CSOL. She would do nothing to help CSOL… she and one of the main founders (who is also very political, hint, hint) do not get along at all and she has taken her aggression out on the school for her dislike of this founder since the school’s inception. Your comments are so far from the truth… you need to look into this matter more.

IMO, the reason she got the Bar Admission website to list pass rates for each school was to make CSOL look bad and to take the focus off of her in the midst of her ridiculous statement on the “scoring error”, which was no explanation and made the SC look on worse. And btw, that passage rate included part-time students. Sorry but part time students typically don’t score the highest compared to full-time and USC doesn’t even have a part time program, so you need to do your research and make more accurate statements regarding such.

55. Bar Taker - November 18, 2007

I agree. A more accurate bar passage rate and comparison of CSOL and USC would be to compare the full time CSOL students with the USC students… the Supreme Court’s stats on this that they put on the website do not differentiate CSOL full-time and part-time students.

56. Scared - November 18, 2007

I want to answer your question and actually drafted a great response with humor, irony and specific anecdotes and rules for verification. But, as my name implies, unless one has been there, one has no comprehension of the vengeance, violence and voracity of a Supreme Court managed retaliation. Just imagine a system with convoluted, conflicting rules, no due process, secret hearings and unbelievable discovery methods. It’s all discretionary. Just like their decision to
decide who passes the Bar exam. All they have to do is say, we passed them because we wanted to do so. Under our system , they can do that. The only thing that would have mattered for
Nifong in South Carolina would have been how well did he know a member of the Supreme Court.

57. Anon - November 18, 2007

43/44-

“Toal has a well-known distain for one of the Founders of the CSOL”

Which one? (Sanders, Carr, Kosko, McCullough, Westbrook) Why?

58. Just Another Embarassed SC Lawyer - November 19, 2007

has anyone considered putting pressure on Sanford (asking for a comment, his opinion about this mess, SOMETHING) if he possesses the power to suspend Man Hands? Does anyone know if he has gone on record to say anything at all about it?

Also, for you daddy apologists, let me just remind you that most of these bar takers are at least 25 years old. I can assure you my daddy called no one on my behalf after the age of 18 or so. And if the question Harrison asked of the Supreme Court was only if the failure rate of the T&E section was abnormally high, is that not a question that his daughter, a law school graduate, could have (and should have) asked? Of course it was, but would her phone call (or the phone call of a no name graduate) have resulted in the tossing of the T&E section?

59. Response to #44 - November 19, 2007

#44

I never implied that Toal was involved with curving the bar results, nor did I imply that there was intentional misconduct on the part of the bar examiners. I simply stated a fact that it would be impossible for the pass rate before the change to be right at the historical average when the CSOL score were so much lower. Whether intentional or not, the results were curved to the advantage of all takers, but the CSOL takers benefited more proportionally.

As to the ABA presumption, after the change CSOL was not with 10% of the average. 69.9% vs. 81.2%. Before the change, the spread was even greater. 63.9%(est.) vs. 77.5%. If the exams were graded on the same scale as previsous exams, the spread would be even more drastic and the CSOL could have likely been below 50%.

60. just sayin - November 19, 2007

Mens Rea is a plant

I hope they are paying you well.

61. Questions about CSOL - November 19, 2007

Toal’s feelings about CSOL and CSOL’s job placement in Charleston are totally irrelevant. As to the “night school” argument, how can you argue that the night schoolers should be separated out from the rest of the CSOL takers? Perhaps USC should just dump its bottom 20% in to “night school” and then USC’s pass rate would be 99%.

From the facts at hand, It appears that the bar examiners “grade to the mean.” See post #35. For an extreme example, you could have a bunch of third graders take the exam and the average pass rate will likely fall at around 77%. Because CSOL makes up almost 1/3 of the bar takers, their lower performance drags down the total average and has the effect of hiding their actual performance. If it was a truly objective exam without a curve, CSOL pass rates would be far lower. Thus, the effect of CSOL taking the bar exam is to “lower the bar” for everyone.

I am not against CSOL, in fact, I have been very supportive. As a USC grad, I welcome the competition as it will only make USC stronger. I am simply saying that the CSOL administration should seriously review their admissions policies and the effect they will have on the quality of lawyers in this state. If they continue to admit a large amount of students with dangerously low LSATs, the negative downstream effects on the SC legal industry will be profound. #44, congratulations for CSOL getting all the jobs in Charleston and clerkships with judges. These will be the first places to look for a drop in quality of the legal work.

62. Attorney - November 19, 2007

#59, as someone stated earlier… the ABA will not view CSOL with the 69.9% rate. That includes part-time students, who typically work full time jobs during the day and go to school at night. The ABA understands that part timers don’t fare as well on the Bar.

The ABA will look at CSOL’s full-timers who took the Bar and compare those to the previous pass % for the state. Many law schools all over the country have part time programs, it just so happens that USC does not, so I guess this is a new concept for some of you.

Regardless, CSOL is not the issue of this blog. USC is not the issue of this blog. The acts of those changing test scores is. If you want to argue the merits of how great USC is and crappy CSOL is, then please do so elsewhere because we have some real issues going on in our state and the fact that you think CSOL students spend too much money on school is not one of them.

And, yes, Alex Sanders and Jean Toal supposedly do not get along one bit and Queen Jean has had it out for CSOL from the get-go.

63. Questions about CSOL - November 19, 2007

Toal is a crook and midly retarded, we all agree on that.

64. Questions about CSOL - November 19, 2007

#62

Toal’s actions are deplorable and she should be escorted to the state line.

However, her actions were a one time occurrence that changed the grades of 20 students. The effect of CSOL lowering the bar will have a much bigger impact on this state over a longer period of time. I agree, this post is reserved for discussing Toalgate, so I will stop with the CSOL discussion.

Releasing the school-by-school data may have been an ill-fated attempt by Toal to divert attention away from her indiscretions. Interestingly though, the CSOL issue will now never be fleshed out in full, at least until February.

65. Attorney - November 19, 2007

#61, the reason there should be a distinction between CSOL part-timers and full-timers is that they are totally separate programs. Coming from USC, you may not understand the concept of part-time law school because you guys did not have a part-time program. A lot of schools have them, a lot of schools do not. It is a separate program completely. You may not understand this but the ABA does, and at the end of the day, that’s all that matters.

As far as “you should consider the bottom 20% of USC students separately”… no, you should not. That argument has no merit. Does USC have the top 80% program and the bottom 20% program? I am unaware of it if they do. The part and full time programs at CSOL are completely distinct and any CSOL student or grad could tell you this. Part-time students are accepted only to the part-time program and they cannot just choose to be part of the full-time program by getting into the part-time program. The full-time program has its own mean LSAT acceptance rate (which is very comparable to USC’s) and the part-time has its own mean LSAT acceptance rate (which is lower than the full-times, substantially). The part-time students have their own class rank of just part timers, the full time students have their own class rank consisting of just full timers. They typically don’t attend classes with full-time students. Their LSAT scores are almost always lower than full-timers.

When you have separate programs, you do need to consider them separately. Again, though, if you want to hate on CSOL, then do so elsewhere. I don’t know why you have such aggression for the school… if USC is so great and you know they are so great, then you should just be content that you went to the better school… why do you feel so threatened that you need to try to bash CSOL? Just be content that your school is the best if you feel that way. No one on here is arguing that CSOL is better than USC.

Again you are straying from the point of this blog. If you are doing so because you are a Harrison-supporter and are trying to change the subject of this blog and detract from the true issues at hand, then just say so and we will all ignore your posts and comments. Just keep in mind, Ms. Harrison went to USC, not CSOL, so you can’t use CSOL as the scapegoat in this one.

66. Just Another Embarassed SC Lawyer - November 19, 2007

I may be wrong here, but wasn’t this the first bar exam opportunity for a graduate of CSOL? Wasn’t 2007 the first graduating class? Then tell me exactly how all of the part-timers could be dragging down the scores of CSOL when no part-timer has graduated yet?

I point this out not to continue this inane line of blogging, but to hopefully end it as the pass rate of CSOL vs. USC is irrelevant in this discussion about corruption in our court system.

Focus, folks, Focus!

67. Attorney - November 19, 2007

#66, the vast majority of part-timers did in fact graduate last May and did in fact take the Bar. I believe only a few will graduate in December. This is because most of them took summer school classes to graduate with the full-timers.

68. Questions about CSOL - November 19, 2007

#65

You are starting to piss me off, so I will not drop this issue. Your jabs at me not understanding what a “part time” program is childish. The distinction between the two is irrelevant to my point. At the end of the day, they both get a JD diploma, whether its says on its face part-time, full-time, or circus monkey, it doesn’t make a lick of difference.

This “part-time” program is just another way for CSOL to generate more revenue while pumping out less than stellar JDs, which they are already doing in the “full time” program. Everyone knows that people go to “part time” programs because they couldn’t get in to the “full time” program, and don’t try and tell us about the plight of working people trying to get their JD, its rubbish.

I couldn’t give a lick what the ABA, Toal, Charleston lawyers, or “full timers” with a complex think. The facts are facts. CSOL is dragging down the quality of lawyers licensed to practice in this state. If you can dispute that with hard evidence, by all means do so.

69. Questions about CSOL - November 19, 2007

I don’t appreciate being painted as some rabid USC fan or a Harrison shill. Facts be known, I graduated from Clemson and would have loved nothing more than to get my JD in Charleston if I thought it would have served me as well as going to USC. I despise the Gamecocks and think that the USC law school is poorly run. I have a good job far from Charleston and do not feel threatened by CSOL students entering the job market. In fact, my firm has been very active in supporting CSOL students. I do not know, nor do I care about Harrison, Toal, or anyone else involved in this scandal.

I am simply a proud resident of this state and a member of the SC bar and am only giving my opinion on this issue because I think it is an important issue to everyone, not just to me or my school. If you had any sense, you would want the same things that I do: RAISE THE STANDARDS FOR ADMISSION TO CSOL. You degree won’t be worth a dime if CSOL continues to pump out sub-par JDs.

70. Attorney - November 19, 2007

#68 and #69,

The standards for admission to CSOL’s full time program is very close to that of USC, so as far as you asking that CSOL raise the standards… not necessary. If you think that CSOL is putting incompetent people into SC’s legal arena, then I would suggest that you look again at the bar passage rate. USC’s passage rate was higher – before and after the changes were made. If the Board of Examiners was compensating for CSOL’s bad performance I would think the that the percentages would have been more on par with one another. They were not on par.

SC has had only one law school until a few years ago. Almost every other state in the country has more than one law school. Some of those other schools in some states are the underdog… Georgia = Mercer, NC = Campbell, FL = Florida Coastal, TN = Memphis, Alabama = Cumberland, VA = Regent. Those underdogs do tend to not score as well on the Bar as some of the other schools in those states. Does this mean that those schools don’t put out competent students? No. Does this mean that they should raise the bar on admissions? No, it just means that perhaps not as many of their students will pass the Bar. I am not saying that CSOL is SC’s underdog. There are only two law schools here and, again, CSOL’s full time admissions criteria is just a tad below what USC’s is (LSAT score/GPA).

If what you say is correct, then let the Bar exam weed out the competent from the incompetent. Apparently it did this in July, at least on some level (i.e. 69.9% CSOL pass rate and 91% USC pass rate). Again those %’s include part time CSOL. Funny thing is the admissions criteria for CSOL are much higher than those of those other underdog law schools in our surrounding states.

71. Attorney - November 19, 2007

And, #68 & #69,

If you don’t give a “rip about Toal or Harrison” or this bar score change issue then why are you wasting your time and effort reading this blog and posting on it?

72. Sad Day for SC - November 19, 2007

I don’t know who told you guys that USC is that great of a law school. It’s freaking 3rd tier. Geez, get off of your high horse, it’s not Emory or Duke or Vanderbilt. You should be glad that CSOL is making USC try harder.

73. Questions about CSOL - November 19, 2007

Attorney,

You need to check your facts. Last time I checked, CSOL’s avg. LSAT was below the 25th percentile of USC students. 159 vs. 155.

As stated and restated several times in this posting, the reason CSOL’s pass rate is half-way respectable is because the examiners apparently curved up the scores. Which in turn benefited ALL takers of the test, but especially CSOL because they were at the bottom of the pack.

As far as other states, I really don’t care. The education and practice of law in this state is very localized and # and quality of law schools in other states doesn’t show much unless many other factors are taken in to consideration.

And again, the whole point of my argument has fallen on deaf ears. My point was that CSOL has had the effect of lowering the quality of lawyers being admitted to practice in this state by: 1) admitting students who otherwise would not be able to go to law school and 2) causing the bar exam to be curved upwards despite the fact that actual performance on the bar was lower than in the past.

I have never said that the bar allowed “incompetent” people to pass the bar. I simply said that they are likely not as competent as previous bar takers. Take from that what you will. Just look at the Harrison and Burch for an idea of who is at the bottom of the pile.

FYI: I am having Thanksgiving dinner with Toal and Harrison this week at a secret location deep below the statehouse complex. However, this does not affect my judgment on this matter.

SOURCES:
http://law.sc.edu/future_students/profile.shtml
http://www.charlestonlaw.org/admissions/2009.classprofile.htm

74. Shep - November 19, 2007

Question about CSOL –

Me hope me never have to argue biggum case or point of law against you. You see, me go Charleston Law. Me learn read and write, and draw picture of mastadon on classroom wall. Me so scared me sub-par JD might no be good. How can me possibly win against man who go to school and learnum be good lawyer at USC? How I ever win case when me learn in trial ad to no use evidence or rule of civil procedure. Me learn instead to find big stick and beat other lawyer. Then me drag him back to Charleston and eat if me no findum enough nuts and berry because no can buy food because to dumb for own job.

Me glad I talk with you. I guess me should no have passed bar exam on first try? If ever you need good lawyer, no call me. You much better than me ever be. You go many public schools in South Carolina, so you are smarter then me ever be… but, you no draw mastadon better than me.

75. StanD828 - November 19, 2007

This state needs two law schools. When Columbia wanted a medical school you heard the same kind of arguments and they eventually died down.

Charleston has always had an impressive legal community, and it finally has a school that allows the excellent legal talent here to participate in educating the future lawyers of our state. CSOL is just taking a little time to get on its feet, but it has a very competent administration and excellent professors, many who came from USC, and we need to give it a chance. USC supporters are probably just worried that students will choose CSOL because they don’t want to spend three years in Columbia. I mean really, who wants to live in Columbia?

Seriously, though, I went to USC and it was a good school, but because of family obligations in Charleston I had to come back every weekend. I hardly got to participate in anything other than classes and ran myself ragged driving back and forth to Columbia several times a week. I know that is just my situation, but a part time option would have been a real benefit in my case, as it is in many others I’m sure.

USC would have been kicking and screaming before they enacted such a program to meet such a need which may have been shared by many, but the short sightedness of those entrenched in the way things used to be just because they have always been that way are finally getting dragged into the present, and that can’t be a bad thing.

76. Questions about CSOL - November 19, 2007

#72

Emory, Duke, and Vanderbilt are not Harvard and Yale. And the “full timers” on this post make take the extra effort to distance themselves from the “part timers.” Maybe CSOL can create an online JD program so that the part timers don’t feel left out. I am sure there are a few more persons with means and low LSATs who would like to join the fun. Screw it, why not just let everyone practice law?

Interestingly, you are the very people who are taking issue with favoritism for the aristocracy in the Toal scandal but also see no problem with letting people buy a JD. Frankly, I don’t see the difference. WOW! Now I actually do sound like a Toal apologist!

77. State of Denmark - November 19, 2007

Y’all have hijacked a discussion about a huge issue into your own little petty argument about law schools. Perhaps you need to look up “relevance” in the rules of evidence.

78. Anon - November 19, 2007

“I don’t know who told you guys that USC is that great of a law school. It’s freaking 3rd tier. Geez, get off of your high horse, it’s not Emory or Duke or Vanderbilt. You should be glad that CSOL is making USC try harder.”

I don’t remember anyone comparing USC Law to Duke, Vandy or Emory? I wonder what percent of Duke, Vandy or Emory grads stay in NC, TN, or GA to practice? Probably not a very high percentage. I would venture to bet that a far higher percentage of USC grads stay in SC to practice

We are very fortunate in SC to have a very low number of lawyers relative to population. There is a reason that lawyers in SC can charge $2000-5000 for a 1st offense DUI, but lawyers in Charlotte do them for $750-$1000. There is a reason that if you get a ticket in Charlotte you get 20-30 letters from lawyers begging you for your business. Fortunately, SC lawyers do not have to resort to those measures. It’s very simple…there are too many damn lawyers in Charlotte and in most places. The profession should worry when there are too many lawyers because people stoop lower and lower to do more for less. Unfortunately, this often means pushing the envelope further and further. Have you ever driven through a huge city like Houston or St. Louis? There are more lawyer billboards than you can imagine. It’s embarassing. The professional environment, the courtesy and civility are also sorely lacking in larger markets. Is that what we want here? The whole Bar tripping all over each other and cutting each other’s throats to make a buck because as a group we didn’t want to disappoint little Catherine or little Kendall or little “my daddy is really important” that maybe practicing law just wasn’t what they were capable of doing? The great thing about having one law school was that there was a valve that limited the number of lawyers coming into the profession. Oh, I know, there were always those that went of to Campbell or Samford or Florida Coastal and came back to practice here. Now we have our very own “can’t get into to anywhere else” law school. Yeah for us.

As to how USC is nationally ranked, no one in SC cares. Most of the folks I was in school with at USC didn’t go there because it was the highest ranked place they got into, they went because of their ties to the state. As to how SC lawyers perform against the rest of the nation, I bet more than a few Ivy Leaguers went down at the hands of Ness Motley (now split into “Motley Rice” and “Richardson, Westbrook, Patrick and Brickman”). SC lawyers do very well, thank you very much and I’d like to keep it that way.

79. Questions about CSOL - November 19, 2007

Stan

I agree with your sentiment 100%. Competition in the marketplace makes everyone stronger. USC is sluggish and entrenched and needs a good prodding in many areas. However, we must recognize that the supply of qualified applicants to law school in this state is a limited.

At this point in time, it appears that CSOL has essentially increased the supply by lowering the standards for admission. It is also now evident that the bar exam, intended to be a filter for unqualified applicants, has simply lowered the standard for admission. see post #35. Thus, as long as CSOL has lower admission standards and the bar exam is simply graded to the mean, the quality of lawyers entering the SC legal market will continue to decline.

There are two solutions to this problem: 1) raise the admissions standards for CSOL, 2) or lower the bar passage rate.

80. Anon - November 19, 2007

Hey, Mens Rea-

You said that: “I stand by my opinion that Toal’s vehicle offenses were not that big a deal in the scheme of things–she didn’t leave the scene of an accident where someone was hurt. When I say she is ‘huge on ethics,’ I mean ethics involving the practice of law. She is a true believer in the law and in being a lawyer.”

Not that big of a deal because no one was hurt? So, if no one is there to see you hit a parked car, and you can act really quickly and get away before anyone sees you, then it’s no big deal? You’ve got to be kidding me?!? She didn’t leave a note either time. She didn’t do what she was supposed to do because she thought she could get away with it. She got caught trying to evade responsibility. Would you let someone babysit your children that committed such an act? What about if they did it twice in a short period of time? Me neither. And I sure wouldn’t want someone like that to be the head of the state court system.

81. Questions about CSOL - November 19, 2007

Note that both of the solutions listed above would likely cause major problems for CSOL. Raising admissions standards would simply cut their applicant pool drastically. Lowering the bar pass rate would cause CSOL’s bar pass rate to plummet further and consequently hurt their future admissions.

So thanks to the profit driven social experiment that is CSOL we must all sit and wait for CSOL to magically “climb up the rankings” and deal with an ever increasing pool of under qualified attorneys practicing in SC.

82. Anon - November 19, 2007

Mens Rea,

“When I say she is ‘huge on ethics,’ I mean ethics involving the practice of law. She is a true believer in the law and in being a lawyer.”

Oh, okay, so there is a difference between the ethical dilemmas that face lawyers and the ethical dilemma that someone faces when they hit a parked car? No, actually it is a no-brainer on the car. Very simple: you stay at the scene or, at the very least, leave your contact info as required by law. The ethical dilemmas that face lawyers are much more complicated and there are so many more gray areas. If someone can’t handle the little, easy tosort through NON-dilemmas and they show no regard for the rule of law , what makes you think they should be at the forefront of deciding the most complicated matters that face the citizens of our state?

She didn’t believe in the part of the law (Sec. 56-5-2930) that says not to operate a motor vehicle when her faculties to drive were materially and appreciably impaired. She’s a true believer, alright …in trying to save face and avoid being charged with DUI by leaving the scene of an accident after she had been drinking. No one believes her BS excuse about listening to a book on tape, but not having her hearing aid in, blah, blah blah. Have you ever run over something in the road? Iti sn’t exactly something you don’t notice. You can feel the whole car move when you hit a speedbump, much less a parked motor vehicle. She’s a disgrace and every time she gets in front of a group of lawyers and plays Queen it makes my stomach turn.

83. Protest too much? - November 19, 2007

As a recent CSOL graduate who has listened, heard and forgotten over three years of being told (1) our school would never be accredited, (2) my class would never be allowed to take the SC Bar, (3) that I’d never get a job at any self-respecting SC firm, (4) that I’d fail the Bar due to my poor legal education, and (5) blah, blah, blah this and that I say only this – GET OVER YOURSELF.

We’ve heard it all and we really don’t care what you think, we’ve got jobs to do – but thanks for your concern…..

84. Questions about CSOL - November 19, 2007

I do not mean to detract from the issue at hand. Toal should step down and all other parties involved should be brought up on ethics violations. PERIOD. Anyone who is defending Toal’s actions, past and present, should be ashamed. She has made a mockery of this state and will likely continue to do so if past behavior is any predictor of future behavior.

My biggest fear is that she will weather this storm and become even more emboldened than before. I feel that we are at the mercy of the State to continue driving the story as it doesn’t appear that the national media is picking up on it. Sadly, it seems that new facts are hard to come by and the paper can’t just keep running a story without fresh news. It would be nice to have a protest in front of the Supreme Court but participants would be hard to come for fear of retribution. The news would certainly pick up on that story.

85. Questions about CSOL - November 19, 2007

#88

Congratulations on your success. I mean that sincerely. As to the remainder of your post, thanks for adding absolutely nothing to the discussion.

86. Questions about CSOL - November 19, 2007

the last post was addressed to #83 not #88.

87. Anon - November 19, 2007

Unfortunately, I agree with the post that says that a lot of the bloggers have taken an issue that is very serious (and should be to any lawyer, whether they graduated from USC or CSOL) and hijacked it into an argument about law schools. This is NOT about the two law schools.

Has anyone even read the new Supreme Court statement that was issued today?!!! They expect us to believe that when the WTE examiner was getting the test booklets ready to transfer to the Supreme Court (where I assume they are stored) he, for some unknown reason because there isn’t any appeal, checked the booklet scores against his pass list. Amazingly (and having nothing to do with Jim Harrison or Judge Burch’s phone calls which they have admitted making), he discovers that ONE person has been reported as passing when he or she in fact failed. Get it??? Not that he reported them as failing when they passed, but reported them passing when they failed.

Whereupon, our Supreme Court, in its vast wisdom, decides that instead of informing the young man or woman that a mistake has been made, compounds the problem by, instead of allowing one person who should have failed into the bar, they decide to allow all 20 failees of the WTE section in. Of course, none of this has anything to do with improper influence, phone calls made by politically connected South Carolinians, or any of the other “hard work” bragged about by Catherine Harrison. Please tell me that most of you are not naive enough to believe this.

88. Questions about CSOL - November 19, 2007

I just read the statement three times and cannot believe what I am reading.

“The error was that an examinee who had previously been reported as having passed the WTE section, had in fact failed the section.”
. . .
“This decision then raised the question of fair and equitable treatment for those examinees, who, like the examinee affected by the reporting error, had failed the WTE section and only one other section, thus resulting in an overall failing score.”

Holy sh*t. Please tell me I am not reading this correctly. Was there a scrivener’s error in this statement? How in the HELL does that make sense?

89. Protest too much? - November 19, 2007

And to you Questions, thanks for adding nothing to the entire topic except more unsubstantiated rumors and bashing of entire entities – sad that your a fellow Clemson graduate.

90. Skeptic - November 19, 2007

I just read the Supreme Court’s statement. I will take what the Court said at face value, but there is still a major hole in the explanation: what happened with respect to the communications we KNOW occurred between Harrison, Burch, and the Court? If it was simply the Court acting on its own volition, why would little Harrison talk about the “effort” it took to get the Supreme Court to throw out the WTE section? I really want to believe the Supreme Court, but I just can’t help but feel that–but for the improper contact–little Harrison and little Burch would not have passed the Bar Exam.

91. Skeptic - November 19, 2007

Footnote 1 of the Court’s statement is an apparent attempt to show that there was an abnormally high fail rate compared to the February 2007 exam. First, from what the Court said, the error had nothing to do with an abnormally high fail rate. Second, even if it had, I don’t think the data sets can be accurately compared. The July 2007 exam had a huge, unknown variable in the form of CSOL grads (and I DO NOT intend to turn this into a USC vs. CSOL debate). Moreover, I think it is common knowledge that the statistics for the February exam are different from the July examinations given that there are likely fewer first time takers, out-of-staters who are “winging” the exam, etc. Forgive the cliche, but it’s apples and oranges–it would have made much more sense to compare July 2007 with July 2006.

92. I'm Tired - November 19, 2007

I just read the statement and need some help with this.

Is this some kind of shell game? So one guy recevied a false pass, then the court decides that it is fair and equitable to allow 20 other fails to now pass? Why not just let the guy pass and be the end of it? How were the other 20 in “exactly the same position as the affected examinee”? Was there a reporting error for the other 20?

I am really tired and might not be making sense of this. Someone please explain.

93. SCAnon - November 19, 2007

See below for link to the new and improved “version” of what happened to cause the supremes to sing such a woefully tuneless crock of [you get the idea]. http://www.judicial.state.sc.us/bar/index.cfm
Unlike #90, I simply cannot accept this story. It does not make sense. Are we to accept that in order to cure an error that foisted one unqualified attorney on the public, the supreme court decided to add another 20? Where is the statement from the WTE examiner? Why did little miss privilege brag about the effort she expended in getting WTE thrown out? Where is the much vaunted “independent” press when you need them? Give me a break!

94. utah - November 19, 2007

In addition to the ridiculous logic of “Well, since we accidentally passed one person who failed, lets admit 20 more who also don’t deserve admission,” the statement still doesn’t explain how Kendall Burch knew that the WTE examiner wouldn’t be returning the day BEFORE he “realized” a mistake.

95. SC LawGrad - November 19, 2007

As a USC law grad, I must say that I am embarassed by the lack of professionalism and civility displayed by some of the students posting on this blog. There seems to be a serious agenda going on here. I can only hope that these posts represent the views of a disgruntled minority of USC students, otherwise you have some serious problems ahead of you. Before this conversation gets anymore ridiculous, let me remind all those who actually think CSOL is producing “underqualified attorneys” based on their allegedly “rock bottom LSAT scores” that CSOL’s current LSAT range of 153-157 is almost identical to USC’s LSAT score range when I was at school there about 7 years ago. So if your entire assessment of law-student quality is based on this LSAT range alone (which it appears it is from your postings), then you are essentially calling the majority of practicing attorneys in SC unqualified because that is exactly where their scores fell as well (with the exception of those who graduated before the wonderful invention of the LSAT). But then again, maybe that would explain the corruption and stupidity of our legislature and judicial system – they are all USC law grads. If you have some worthwhile arguments as to why CSOL students are such unqualified attorneys (which is funny in itself because CSOL grads have only been practicing law for about a week), please enlighten us, because your “rock-bottom LSAT” argument is not only completely baseless and pointless, but it also insults virtually every former USC law student who graduated prior to the early 2000s. If you truly believe that a USC student with a 158 is that significantly smarter than a CSOL student with a 155, then you have no business practicing in any profession that applies logic or reasoning. I don’t know about you, but I made educated guesses at a whole lot of those LSAT questions, as did 100% of the other test takers I’ve ever spoken to. Chances are, some people guessed better than I did and those people probably did about 3 points better. As for the 20% difference in bar passage rates between the two schools, there is a very simple answer: USC’s law school has been around for A HUNDRED AND FORTY YEARS, whereas CSOL has been around for three. I’d say USC has quite the advantage in terms of resources, prestige, and applicants. Unless you have access to the Bar Examiners confidential grading practices, any in-depth explanation or wonderful statistical analysis is mere speculation. CSOL is a brand new school and they have alot of potential. The general consensus among members of the bar is that we are excited about the prospects of a 2nd law school because contrary to the doomsday scenarios posted above, the competition will only improve legal education in the state of South Carolina. USC’s law school has been a free falling disaster in the last decade and the only thing that is going to turn that around is some healthy competition.

96. I'm Tired - November 19, 2007

Isn’t the rule for scrivener’s errors that you correct the mistake and not throw out the whole contract? I just can’t rap my head around this. Why would they throw out the whole section?

The court even quotes the rule “The results reported by the Board of Law Examiners is final…”. How would allowing the 20 to now pass comport with the rule better than just letting the guy pass?

I think I am so jaded on this issue that I can’t even see their side of the story. Will Toal supporters please chime in or will someone play the devil’s advocate?

97. I'm Tired - November 19, 2007

My computer froze up some this might be a double post.

I thought the rule for scrivener’s errors was simply to reform the instrument and not just throw the whole thing out. Why would they throw out the entire question? Why not throw out the entire exam? The court even cites the rule “The results reported by the Board of Law Examiners is final…”. How would changing the score of 20 people who legitimately failed comport with the rule better than simply allowing one person to pass?

“fair and equitable”? What about everyone else who failed? Where is the equity in that? Either I am totally missing something here, or this is just plain crazy. Would a Toal apologist explain this or will someone play devil’s advocate?

98. BAD SC! - November 19, 2007

If it is “fair and equitable” then why are those other students who failed not given a chance to have their essays regraded? If the new system is “more than sufficient to prevent scoring errors” then why did this happen and how can we be sure that there were not errors in the other essay sections? This is utterly ridiculous! This explanation from the Supreme Court is a joke.

Check out what happened to the NY Bar. I think what they did was more fair and equitable than allowing 20 people who failed to pass based on one guy’s screwup. Exam.http://www.july07nybarexam.com/

99. Questions about CSOL - November 19, 2007

Charleston Attorney, SCLawGrad, Protest too Much,

You points are well taken. I have neither strength nor the time to continue this discussion. I have found myself playing devil’s advocate in this post even though I personally don’t have strong feelings one way or the other and have always been on the other side of the argument before this post.

Time will tell whether CSOL was a good idea it will still be several years out before there are any true indications to that effect. One thing is for certain, CSOL has created a new dynamic in the SC legal community, and the future is wide open. I wish all the best to the CSOL students in their future endeavors.

100. Anon - November 20, 2007

#95 – Excellent.

#57 – Toal hates McCullough. McCullough kept Toal’s husband from being hired at USC Law.

101. Anon - November 20, 2007

#99, Time will tell. CSOL has some great professors and a great faculty that come from not only USC, but other law schools all over the country. It seems that CSOL students have had no problems getting jobs. The school has made some great strides and the funny thing about it is that all of the negitivity that comes at CSOL, and there has been a lot over the years, only makes it’s student’s and almuni’s connection stronger.

102. Scared - November 20, 2007

“It’s very vexing to have your integrity questioned when you know you did nothing wrong.” Justice Pleiconas said. The State. 11-20-2007. Were you there? Were you awake?

103. USCLawGuy - November 20, 2007

#95 – You’re right. The “unqualified attorney” or “unqualified law student” argument is getting a little old and tiresome. It is a view that is not shared by the majority of the legal community, nor is it shared by the majority of USC law students, but unfortunately there is an angry, disgruntled minority of USC students who feel the need to constantly make a mockery out of our school and show their inability to work together with others. Their immature whinings and “my school is better than your school” arguments are really only making them look worse (mostly because they are just terrible, unfounded arguments). And Yes – it is of no surprise to me that the very politicians, lawmakers, and judges we chastise on a regular basis, are in fact USC law grads. CSOL is a breath of fresh air to this State’s educational community which will FORCE USC’s law school to improve, which I have faith that they will. And despite what the typical AngryUSCLawGuy will tell you, they are doing just fine getting jobs, clerkships, etc. One need only look to the Businiess Review section of yesterday’s Post and Courier to see that CSOL students were hired by Nelson Mullins and Nexsen Pruet. That’s too bad, I guess they had no idea they were hiring such “unqualified law students” – If only they would have read this blog first………

104. Attorney - November 20, 2007

#103, very good summary. You hit the nail on the head. “Questions about CSOL” is obviously angry or sour about something. Usually if you truly believe that your school is the best, then you shouldn’t have to argue with everyone to try to convince them that it is in fact the best.

This state needed another perspective. CSOL is not a threat to USC, it provides USC with a bit of competition, which can only boost USC. CSOL students are doing just fine in every respect.

105. USCLawDude - I swear - November 20, 2007

Wow, I didn’t realize how great things were at CSOL! Everyone has a great job and is getting rich by the fistful! CSOL’s bar pass rate was exceptionally high, all things considered of course! Almost everyone in the SC legal community thinks CSOL is the best idea since sliced bread, except for a pesky few disgruntled USC grads of course! CSOL admissions standards are now higher than USC!

I think CSOL may have invented a magical money and success making machine by simply starting a new law school. This magical machine appears to take inputs of large sums money called “tuition” and then squirts out the most successful and talented people on the face of the earth at the other end. Maybe I should go back through law school again but this time try CSOL. Hell, maybe I’ll start my OWN law school. I’m rich biatch!

106. Dear CSOL, - November 20, 2007

I want to go to law school real bad. I took the LSAT and got a 135. It must have been a bad day because I think I could have made at least made a 165. I mean, what’s 30 points anyways? That’s only like 3 questions or something. Anywho, USC won’t let me in, probably because I’m not connected to Harrison or Toal, get it? So, like, I’ve got about 175k dollars in a trust fund. Could I come to CSOL and become a jury doctor? I hear that everyone gets real rich and drives big cars.

107. Dear #106, - November 20, 2007

We would love to have you join the CSOL family! If you could just send a napkin with your name and high school we will finalize the paperwork. Also, please don’t forget to send your check. Have you heard about our bar pass rate, it is REALLY high. Also, you are correct about our job placement, it is exceptional. The top 2% get really high paying jobs with BIG firms in the state. (they pay LOTS of money). The top 10% get clerkships with state judges. (looks GREAT on the resume). The rest of them get jobs too, we just don’t keep stats on them. So, I hope you will decide to come join our family. We know you have lots of other opportunities but this one is the BEST! Also, please don’t forget to send your check.

108. USCLawGuy - November 20, 2007

To #105: Once again, you are only proving my point. Please stop with all the angry, immature attacks on CSOL, you’re only making yourselves look bad, not to mention you are also adding to the already negative view of the legal profession from those non-lawyers reading these blogs. You are supposed to be professional adults and I’m pretty sure that practicing attorneys and others throughout South Carolina are shaking their heads in astonishment as they read some of these childish postings.

109. USC Law Rocks! - November 20, 2007

Man I just wish I could get into USC. Third tier schools really rock. You can talk trash about all those other schools, because being third tier is really top notch. Being #109 in rank of all US law schools is really badass too. People all over the country respect a USC law degree, so USC folk really can talk down to people who went to other law schools. Plus, the facilities at USC law are so good… the building is virtually brand new. Not to mention that Catherine Harrison went there! Another plus!

110. Anon - November 20, 2007

Hey USC Law Rocks, since you must have missed it the first time…

“I don’t know who told you guys that USC is that great of a law school. It’s freaking 3rd tier. Geez, get off of your high horse, it’s not Emory or Duke or Vanderbilt. You should be glad that CSOL is making USC try harder.”

No one that went to USC is trying to say it is the world’s best law school.

I don’t remember anyone comparing USC Law to Duke, Vandy or Emory? I wonder what percent of Duke, Vandy or Emory grads stay in NC, TN, or GA to practice? Probably not a very high percentage. I would venture to bet that a far higher percentage of USC grads stay in SC to practice

We are very fortunate in SC to have a very low number of lawyers relative to population. There is a reason that lawyers in SC can charge $2000-5000 for a 1st offense DUI, but lawyers in Charlotte do them for $750-$1000. There is a reason that if you get a ticket in Charlotte you get 20-30 letters from lawyers begging you for your business. Fortunately, SC lawyers do not have to resort to those measures. It’s very simple…there are too many damn lawyers in Charlotte and in most places. The profession should worry when there are too many lawyers because people stoop lower and lower to do more for less. Unfortunately, this often means pushing the envelope further and further. Have you ever driven through a huge city like Houston or St. Louis? There are more lawyer billboards than you can imagine. It’s embarassing. The professional environment, the courtesy and civility are also sorely lacking in larger markets. Is that what we want here? The whole Bar tripping all over each other and cutting each other’s throats to make a buck because as a group we didn’t want to disappoint little Catherine or little Kendall or little “my daddy is really important” that maybe practicing law just wasn’t what they were capable of doing? The great thing about having one law school was that there was a valve that limited the number of lawyers coming into the profession. Oh, I know, there were always those that went of to Campbell or Samford or Florida Coastal and came back to practice here. Now we have our very own “can’t get into to anywhere else” law school. Yeah for us.

As to how USC is nationally ranked, no one in SC cares. Most of the folks I was in school with at USC didn’t go there because it was the highest ranked place they got into, they went because of their ties to the state. As to how SC lawyers perform against the rest of the nation, I bet more than a few Ivy Leaguers went down at the hands of Ness Motley (now split into “Motley Rice” and “Richardson, Westbrook, Patrick and Brickman”). SC lawyers do very well, thank you very much and I’d like to keep it that way.

111. CSOLGrad - November 20, 2007

#105

I agree with you. Anyone who challenges that which is CSOL is childish and jealous of what we got. We should work harder to silence people who think they can ask questions about our business. Why should it matter to them anyways?

112. CSOLGrad - November 20, 2007

#108 sorry.

113. drowning in student loan debt after getting rooked at a private school - November 20, 2007

Since when did anyone in SC ever care about national rankings (except sports!)? You don’t go to a place like USC Law because it offers you the best legal education. You go there because that is where over 90% of the judiciary went. You go there for in state tuition. You go there becasue when you graduate you don’thave to have class reunions, every time you walk into court you are having a USC Law reunion.

114. CSOLGrad - November 20, 2007

Oh, and to the haters. I just got a job with a big firm making $115,000 a year. So there is proof that you are wrong. CSOL is totally awesome.

115. USCLawDude - I swear - November 20, 2007

CSOLGrad,

That’s nothing. I make over 250k a year. My car has leather and nav. Sorry, maybe one day 😦

116. Very Important Attorney - November 20, 2007

shame on USC students. Have you no decency and civility? This post is reserved for mature discussions of topical legal issues in this state! Do you not realize that the whole world is reading this post? Do you not realize that you are tarnishing the reputation of the profession? YOU are “unqualified”. ARGGGGG! I need a drink, dammit!

117. CSOLGrad - November 20, 2007

USCLawDude –

I will make more than that when I make partner, probaby three times as much. My car also has leather and nav. I have the second biggest office of any associate in my firm, even though I just started. My BF clerks for the Senate Judiciary Committee. He is very well connected, probably going to the governor one day.

118. USC Law Rocks! - November 20, 2007

People, it’s fine. #109 is a good spot. Stick with that. It really puts you in a position, not only of academic excellence, but in a position to trash other schools. I mean you guys should just start bashing UGA Law and UNC law… USC law is a much better school than either. Going to USC definitely gives you trash talking rights.

119. Disappointed New JD - November 20, 2007

#107: Perhaps it’s a small point, but with the exception of those clerking at the state appellate level, most of the students from CSOL who took state court clerkships were not top-10% even at lowly old CSOL.

The resume of the top 20% of the first graduating class reads more like this:
Member of: NC, GA, IL, SC bars.
Work Experience: Private Practice (NC), Jenner and Block (IL), Hall, Booth, Smith & Slover (GA), Federal D.S.C. clerks, Nelson Mullins, Carlock Copeland, Barnwell Whaley, Richardson Patrick Westbrook & Brickman, MUSC, S.C. Ct. App., Nexsen Pruet, UF Tax LLM, Hood, Young Clement, Hulsey, Solicitors’/PDs’ offices, Pratt-Thomas Walker, etc.

Without a doubt USC law boasts better and more varied placement rates than CSOL, as well it should given its age, the relative quality of its student body, and the breadth of its alumni network. But to denigrate CSOL’s grads for sport only makes the sportsman look unsporting. Likewise, the CSOL grads who stoke the flames of the rivalry with similar trash-talking are just as foolish and do harm to the reputation of the school before it’s ever had a chance to be established. We can all do better.

120. CSOLGrad - November 20, 2007

yeah CSOL haters!

We got people in all types of big jobs. We’ll own you one day. That phony letter wasn’t even funny and was so far from the truth! That guy wouldn’t get in to the full time program anyways. Also, y’all are only like third tier! Big deal! We’ve only been around for like 3 years and already kicking your butts!

121. Big Time GA Attorney - November 20, 2007

As a very senior partner at Jones and Darby (a BIG firm in Ga.), I would like to say that we are very proud of our recent hire from CSOL. Our firm needs more diversity. Not only in race in gender but also in quality of education. We also feel that we can all learn from our new associate and his life experience at CSOL, being harassed and demeaned by those thoughtless trolls at USC. We would NEVER hire one of “those” people.

122. SC - November 20, 2007

I’m getting confused here. How did CSOL become a 3rd tier school its first year as an ABA approved law school? I can’t even find CSOL in the listings? If they are, then more power to them. USC is only 2nd tier (#91 for 2008).

http://grad-schools.usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/usnews/edu/grad/directory/dir-law/brief/glanc_03143_brief.php

123. Anon - November 20, 2007

Being #109 on the top 150 law schools in America list is quite an accomplishment. Wow. Not to mention the fact that you get to enjoy 3 years of Columbia! Third tier is such a great status.

124. Ming Ho - November 20, 2007

I read this post from my home in China. This post be very big news in our country and everyone read it daily. I agree that USC school is crappy and they only point out problems with CSOL to make themselves feel better. CSOL students not bragging about their school and putting down USC for fun. They only defend themselves against evil USC students. I go to CSOL one day and become bigtime law person and crush little USC.

125. Anon - November 20, 2007

#91 huh? Much better… man that is really amazing. At the very bottom of the tier 2 list… much better than the top of the third tier list. You guys broke into the top 100 law schools in America! What an accomplishment! Pat yourselves on the back. You have proven your case for being the ivy league school that you claim to be.

126. SC - November 20, 2007

I expect USC will see a steady rise in the rankings as a result of the addition of the CSOL in SC. That’s been the trend for just about every other state school after the addition of a competing private school in state. The years of apathy get replaced with the need to become competitive. The CSOL is just what the State and USC needed. I say welcome.

127. Casual Observation - November 20, 2007

Have y’all ever noticed how CSOL students have more sloped back foreheads and walk slightly hunched over? Is that because of the humidity down in Charelston or something? Just an observation.

128. Larry - Pacolet, SC - November 20, 2007

I thought about sending my kid down to COSL and then thought better. I mean, that tuition is CRAZY! He went and got his CDL and drives short routes for Wal-Mart. Making good money I might add. I think it was a better move.

129. CSOLGrad - November 20, 2007

I can’t believe y’all are still going on about this. I am already three apple-tinis drunk! CSOL haters are so lame. they’re just jealous of us. CSOL ROCKS! 🙂

130. Just Another Embarassed SC Lawyer - November 20, 2007

what the heck is wrong with you people? this blog stream is not about you and your dang schools! ask fits to start another stream if this interests you so much, for the love of pete. what has it been, forty entries since someone said anything remotely on point?

131. Please Don't Fire Us, Your Majesty - November 22, 2007

I agree #130.

And to #111?

You will make a great South Carolina Supreme Court Chief Justice some day. You said: “Anyone who challenges that which is (insert any issue on which we have total and absolute discretion which is nearly everything related to the legal profession in South Carolina) is childish and jealous of what we got. We should work harder to silence people who think they can ask questions about our business. Why should it matter to them anyways?”

Kids, quit the law school bashing. This divisiveness is exactly what Her Majesty wants so She can maintain absolute control. Keep ’em bickering and not concentrating on the real problems here.


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