Diary Blog, 10 August 2020

Saw this 10-min video, which is well worth watching: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tUW1hfNV744&feature=youtu.be

It includes the fact that California is lowering the standards for its Bar exam, in order to have more black and Latino lawyers passing. At present, most blacks and Latinos are failing the exam. Solution? Make the exam easier…

The above triggered a few personal memories.

I passed the New York Bar exam in 1991, if memory serves. At that time, the New York Bar was the second-hardest American Bar exam to pass (after California). Over half the candidates in New York failed (In California at that time, about 55% or maybe 60% failed the exam). Some states held Bar exams in which the failure rate was only about 10% or 15%. I seem to recall that North Dakota (or possibly South Dakota) was the easiest, or one of the easiest.

I know those statistics (as far as I can remember them) because I took a course called Bar-Bri, a private cramming course which involved going to lectures (pretty good ones, much better than those I recall from the Inns of Court School of Law in London), given every weekday evening for about 3 weeks at the Manhattan Town Hall (just a name— nothing to do with local government in New York) on West 43rd Street: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Town_Hall_(New_York_City)

The Town Hall - Reviews | Facebook
[Town Hall, 43 W.43rd St, Mamhattan, New York City]

Bar-Bri’s excellent written materials (included in their rather expensive fees totalling, in 1991, about USD $1,500) included statistics about the Bar exams of each state, what percentage of candidates passed and —of course!— what percentage of Bar-Bri customers passed).

The New York part of the exam was only a third of the whole exam as it was at that time (it’s different now), the other bits being U.S. Federal (inc. Constitutional) law and “Multistate” law, which is an odd concept, arguably, being the law as it is in a preponderance of the 50 US states. So if 26 states have a rule which 24 states do not have, the right answer will be whatever is right in those 26 states.

To take a very simple example, most states of the USA allow a motorist to turn left on a red stop-light in certain circumstances, but a few states (including New Jersey, where I lived) prohibit that.

The New York Bar exam was pretty tough at that time, the strictly New York law part consisting of about 30 legal topics of which only a small number would be examined. The problem, of course, was that you did not know which. Some topics always came up (notably “New York Practice”), some came up frequently, others rarely. Swotting for them all would have required a photographic memory. I made a choice and was lucky.

A couple of obscure topics on which which I had focussed (including “Commercial Paper”) did come up. I passed the New York Bar Exam with (as I recall) a score somewhere not far short of 90%, maybe 86% or so). On the final day of the exam, I thought that I had probably failed. Fortunately not.

[nb: I understand that the New York Bar adopted a different scoring system in 2016, one not involving percentages, so my reminiscences here are of purely personal or historical interest].

In fact, I was wasting my time taking and passing the New York Bar Exam. I never did practise law in New York, and later only used the knowledge or the status occasionally, though I did work at one time partly from Charleston, South Carolina, with an offshore law firm which dealt mostly with foreign jurisdictions (Russia, Caribbean states and territories, Liechtenstein, Channel Islands etc). The fact that I was an attorney and counsellor at law, New York, was useful in terms of people’s perception, as was the fact that I had worked for a while (in 1997, in Kazakhstan) for a major American law firm, Baker & McKenzie (now simply Baker McKenzie: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baker_McKenzie https://www.bakermckenzie.com/en/locations/emea/kazakhstan).

Reverting to the idea of making exams or other selection procedures easier so that certain groups (eg blacks who want to be lawyers) can have greater success in entering a profession, the concept is a slippery slope which ends in decadence. We already see, in the UK, that nearly half of young people go to some form of “university”, and that a huge number now get “First” or “Upper Second” degrees (at Oxford and Cambridge, about 94% get one or other such grade). Result? Degrees generally, even “Oxbridge” ones, are near-worthless, both in themselves and in terms of vocational “market value”. And what about the rights of those who will be advised, represented, treated (in the case of medics), or ruled (in the case of politicians) by such graduates?

Tweets seen today

The same dimwit claims that “hundreds” are dying. No. Not now.

A good point from Hitchens, and one that most people do not know. They think that their pathetic facemasks and muzzles are equivalent to surgical masks, just as some people think that the urban-operational clothing of the SAS is simply fairly standard black clothing as worn by the public generally, when in fact it is manufactured to be not only very tough, but flame-retardant etc.

Yesterday, I saw the last couple of minutes of some F1 racing programme on TV. Three commentating idiots, in the open air, with not another person in sight, and all three of them standing 6+ feet (more like 10 ft) apart, and all three wearing large black face muzzles. System propaganda, yes, but very stupid as well.

The society which thinks itself “enlightened”, “diverse”, and even “free”, while in fact becoming a dystopian nightmare and a multikulti slave-society.

Evening impressions

And so to Waitrose. En route, in the car (the subject of a recent, unexpected, and almost miraculous MOT pass), saw a silly rabbit wearing a facemask as he walked down the road, alone, not another walker, nor even cat or dog, in sight. Just a very few cars on the road.

I wonder what answer an idiot like that would give if asked “why are you wearing a facemask, indeed a large black muzzle, as you walk alone down a quiet suburban or semi-rural road with no-one else around?” Would he reply “Government orders!”? Would he reply “I don’t know“? Would he reply “I have a mental problem and feel afraid all the time for no reason”? Or would he reply “I am a truly senseless virtue-signaller“? God knows…

In Waitrose itself, I noticed for the first time this month quite a few people not wearing facemasks or muzzles. A minority, true, but they were there. How they managed to get past the two black-clad Handmaid’s Tale militia loitering near the store entrance, I have no idea. They may have said that they are exempted from wearing the muzzles; more likely, they wore facemasks to pass the militia, then took them off. It was good to see open defiance of the (possibly invalid) new and repressive “law”.

Incidentally, I noticed, on the back of the “militia”, on their black bomber jackets, the words “National Security“! Presumably the company for which they work. The country just gets madder daily. In fact, the “militia” look a dozy lot. I doubt that they deter (let alone catch) many, if any, shoplifters etc; their role seems to be purely to discourage non-mask-wearers. Mad. There again, the country is mad, the “government” of clowns is mad, the mass media too. So why not?

Come with me, and I’ll show you where the Iron Crosses grow…

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