It Took Lionel Porter 20 Attempts To Pass The Massachusetts Bar Exam But That’s Not Why The State Won’t Let Him Practice Law

…although it should be.

No, the  Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court refused to allow Lionel Porter to become a lawyer because while he was in the midst of flunking all those bar exams, he practiced law without a license. The April 22 opinion explains.

I am stunned that any state, especially my home state of Massachusetts (where I passed the bar the first time despite studying for it almost always while listening or watching the Red Sox drive to the 1975 pennant) would allow anyone to take the bar exam that many times. It’s just not that hard, especially since Mass. went to the all-multiple choice Multi-State exam. I knew and know a lot of lawyers, and only one flunked the bar. That was my father, who took the exam the first time without studying just to see how he would do. (He just missed passing.)

Five times, okay. If you’re really bad at taking tests, maybe you still might have some use as a lawyer. But ten fails are ridiculous, so 20 are twice as ridiculous. Heck, even Kamala Harris only flunked the bar exam once.

Porter, who is 79, earned his bachelor’s degree in 1966, obtained a master’s degree in 1970, and worked toward a PhD. He entered law school in 1981 and graduated in May 1985. (I’m not surprised it took him four years.) Considering his performance on the bar exam, I have my doubts about that master’s degree.

Apparently about 25% of all law school grads fail the bar exam at least once. That isn’t a mitigation for Porter, however. The high number mostly shows how many people go to law school who don’t belong there.

3 thoughts on “It Took Lionel Porter 20 Attempts To Pass The Massachusetts Bar Exam But That’s Not Why The State Won’t Let Him Practice Law

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