SAN FRANCISCO – University of
California, Hastings College of Law staff said counseling services
are available for students after the recent suicide of a former
student following his negative bar-exam results.
Christopher Grauman took his own life Nov. 18 after failing a test
that, on average, only about 51 percent of first-time takers pass, according to abovethelaw.com.
And while there is help for law students who are under stress, there
is hope that there will be more assistance for alumni in the future.
“I think UC Hastings will not only continue to offer
mental-health counseling services to students as they do throughout
the year, but that the school will make sure recent graduates know
that those services are available to them during bar study in the
summer months,” Staci Zaretsky, an editor for Above the Law,
told the Northern
“If those services are not
available during the summer months for some reason, I suspect they'll
become available pretty quickly,” she added.
said she feels for Grauman’s family and hopes that former law
students going through what Brian went through will find productive
ways to channel the negative feelings that go hand in hand with
failing the bar exam.
“As someone who has been
unsuccessful on the bar exam herself, I know that it's a very
emotional experience,” she said. “If you're someone who has never
failed a test in your life, you question everything you could have
possibly done wrong. I know I did.”
“We need to
hear that how we score on an exam is not a measure of our potential
as a lawyer, much less our worth as a person,” UC Hastings faculty
wrote in a statement. “We need to hear that many of us have not
always had a smooth or uninterrupted path in our professions.”
Patrice, another editor for Above the Law, talked about his
support system during his days in law school and said he feels
blessed to have kept a level head for the most part.
is not the case for everybody,” he said. “I had a lot of friends
that did go through rough times. But we were a good community that
helped each other and made each other feel better when times were
Patrice, who wrote about the alarming
rates of UC Hastings students not passing the bar exam, criticized
the test for being harder on participants, than any other state.
“California is notorious for low passing exams,” he
said. “It’s brutal. A little more than 1 in 10 Stanford law
students failed. That’s a sign of an exam that is not doing its job
…There's a major justice gap in California, and they're not helping
that by making a shortage of competent lawyers to serve that
The issue with lower-tier law schools,
Patrice said, is that students are faced with higher stress because
they are putting in more money and are worried about not getting a
job later. At a higher-tier law school, there is more emphasis on
services, and students are banking on the idea that they will be more
financially secure in the long run.
“The simple fact
of the matter is that today's law students have a lot more to worry
about than their peers who graduated in the past,” Zaretsky said.
“A law degree is no longer considered a golden ticket thanks to the
recession's effects on the legal-job market.”