Greetings & Salutations my fellow South Dakotans'! Today I want to address the Institution of the South Dakota State Bar Association, what it stands for and why it should be repealed! So . . . the state bar associations across America found themselves with a big problem. Graduate Law Students were on the increase exponentially. So much so, they needed to find a way to control the number of bar admissions annually. Hence, the concept to require admission applicants' to take an exam if they wanted to receive their bar card to practice law. There are about three states that have the degree exception!
Now what does this mean? Well . . . it basically means that each and every bar applicant must fill out numerous documents, pay the bar admission fees and pass a rather extensive background check, that basically goes all the way back to kindergarten. It scrutinizes every job you have ever held, every school you have ever attended, every personal relationship you been in, and any and all contacts you may have had with law enforcement. It also looks at any civil lawsuits you have been a party to! In a nut shell, it's a pretty grueling intrusion into your life in general!
If . . . you are one of an average of 100 applicants every six months to pass the preliminary hurdles (i.e. pass the muster), you now are permitted to take the bar exam. But it's not enough to just take the exam, no, you must breach a hallmark score of 130 points on the MBE (i.e. multiple choice portion), and 130 points on the MEE (i.e. essay portion) and the MPE (i.e. Performance portion), the latter of which is the closest thing to actually practicing law. The MBE (i.e. objective multiple choice) are true & false questions, with no gray areas! The MEE (i.e. essays) are testing to a point, your writing & research skills, as well as your knowledge of the 12 comprehensive areas of State law. The MBE tests your knowledge of the six core law areas (e.g. criminal law, contract law, evidence, etc,). The MBE questions consist of six diverse groups of 200 questions, changed out randomly for each examination held typically in January and July each year. 100 in the morning session, and 100 in the afternoon session.
So . . . you might be wondering what it costs to prepare for the bar exam? Well . . . aside from the application fees, there are a few prep courses you can invest in to prepare for your run at the gauntlet! There's the MPRE (i.e. muiti-state professional responsibility exam) which doesn't have to be taken before the bar exam, but must be successfully taken (i.e. in SD a minimum score of 75 is required) before you receive your bar card. In law school I sat for the MPRE in the first week, I scored the minimum score of 75. However, before I sat for my fourth attempt at the SD bar exam, I scored a 95, which is higher then some of my friends who were fortunate enough to pass their bar exams in other states!
That . . . brings me to an interesting fact situation! On my second attempt at the SD bar exam, I met a man from I believe it was Colorado during our one hour break, it was on the first day. The corporation he works for wanted him to head their legal department herein South Dakota, which required him to take the SD bar examination. I was both blown away and lifted up at the same time when he told me he was sitting for this tough exam a second time! Wow, I felt pretty good about it because he told me that he was licensed in three other states, and had been practicing law for over fifteen years!
Anyway . . . Study courses are available ranging from $1,200 to $2,500 and must be updated regularly, which means you buy new course material when necessary.
However, one would conjecture that the bar association wants every bar examinee to be successful, right? Well . . . you would be wrong! Of the average 100 examinee's 75 will retake it again, and the top 25 get in. You see, the exam isn't an inclusionary exam, it's an exclusionary exam! That means the bar association only wants a few people to get in each time. They are the "gate keeper" and they have the key to the gate!
You see my fellow South Dakotans' . . . on my first attempt, I was fresh out of law school, cocky as hell, and I took it for granted, failing miserably. It takes an average of 50 - 60 hours of studying for the exam, for every one hour of actual exam time! Some attorneys will tell you "it's like taking a final exam 24/7, but this time it's for real!" So . . . I doubled down and each time I took the bar exam, I improved my scores. The third time I missed passing the exam by a mere 4 points. That's like two more correct multiple choice questions and I'm in! How disappointing was that? The forth time, however, I tripled down and almost lost my mind and my family because I became a recluse. But . . . that extra effort, that extra gamble, paid off because for the first time my MBE score was nearly 140 points. You must get a score of 130 minimum in SD to pass the MBE; if not, no matter how well you do on the MEE & MPE, you will have to retake the entire exam over! Having scored . . . a 139 + on the exam is very good. In fact its higher then some of my colleagues at USD Law, and Cooley. But alas, my MEE & MPE score went thirty points in the opposite direction, and I failed the exam again, by 2 - 4 points. The scores are not published until the Board receives the scantron sheets back from Iowa City. Then the Board notifies all examinees' of their performances.
However . . . , there's a well known author by the name of Dr. Mary Anastasia, just like the Disney character. She is probably dead now, but in 2006 she was 92 years old. According to Dr. Anastasia, and she has a PHD in Psychiatry & Psychology, and is the leading authority on Objective vs. Subjective exams wrote, "your performance on an objective exam should be reflected in your subjective exam performance because your dealing with the same subject matter." In other words, if you have the requisite subject matter knowledge to pass a comprehensive objective exam, that same knowledge should be reflected in the subjective exam too! She said, "anything different would be an anomaly!" My writing has always been exemplary. I received the "Blue Book Award" in Law Office Management. I also received a "Certificate of Merit" for the same class performance! In my Externship at Cooley, my General Law Practice Attorney field supervisor filed my R.L.U.P.A. brief on the first draft! I expected to see a pile of confetty on the desk on Monday morning, but Brian said the brief was exactly what he wanted, and he had already filed it! So . . . why did my MEE & MPE score go thirty points in the opposite direction? It couldn't be because I had a lawsuit filed against the Board of Bar Examiners in Pierre, then, going before the South Dakota State Supreme Court?
Moreover . . . , two weeks before the oral argument was to be had, the Chairman, James Leach, of the State Bar Association filed a motion to the State Supreme Court to appear as Attorney Pro Se for the Board. Now . . . normally the Attorney General's office handles all litigations filed against a state entity, which the Bar Association qualified! The Chairman also officiated over my accommodations request! He acted as judge, jury and executioner. He also wrote the opinion of the Board! Now he wanted to usurp the role of the Attorney General and argue why he felt I was unqualified to become a licensed attorney. An interesting aside here is that, not one of the five Board members have ever sat for the bar exam, for real, and they stand as my gate keeper!
Additionally, google the term "attorney pro se!" It basically means that anyone can appear in court as "attorney pro se" if and only if, they are representing their own interests (i.e. you are a party to the suit). The Chairman was a party to the suit, but he wasn't just arguing his own interests, he was representing all five of the Board members, or was he? I vehemently objected to Leach appearing pro se, but my attorney didn't want to offend the court by making a motion to resist! Because the Board consists of five members, the Attorney General should have been arguing the case for the state entity (i.e. the Bar Association Board). One thing you are not allowed to do in a case like this is personally identify, by name the appellant. But the Chairman did just that. He said, "after all whose going to protect the general public from Terry LaFleur?" This was very disrespectful to me, and I have done nothing to deserve such distain from the Chairman.
The point I am trying to make here is that I went to law school to become an attorney! I wanted to help people solve their legal problems! I wasn't doing it for the money, that's a collateral result of the profession. My goal was to provide competent legal counsel to my clients. I believe that no one should ever be deprived of competent legal counsel just because they can't afford it!
Now . . . my grandfather always told me, "sometimes wanting something, is better then having it!" At age 5, I got mad at him and said I was going to run away, and he couldn't have any of my salted peanuts! He told me to go ahead. I went out and hid behind a big tree on the parking. Of course he saw where I was and told mom and grandma that they need not worry. I'm sure it was about something I wanted, but I can't remember what it was, I just remember sitting behind that tree!
So . . . bottom line, if you want to make God laugh, just tell him about your plans! Not becoming an attorney has allowed me to answer my true calling in life! As an attorney, I could have helped hundreds of people! But as your next Governor, I can help tens of thousands of people! What greater honor, what greater calling could I achieve? I believe God has put me where I can do the most good. The platform I am running on will do the most good for all citizens of South Dakota.
As far as the . . . State Bar examination, it will be repealled immediately. Our plan will require the Board of Regents to set higher admission level scores. There are other remedies available to disgruntled plaintiff's and defendant's, if their attorney screws up! So after the January, 2019 bar exam, it will be the last one! It's not that I'm against everyone getting a shot at the brass ring, its that it's wrong to take the bar application money from these students, of which the system expects 75% to fail! So . . . , I want to take a poll here! Anyone who has studied hard, paid their tuitions and fees, and have fallen short on the bar exam, please contact me? There's no shame in talking to me, I failed also! I just want to know the statistics. I am not the only person who wants to help people, but I believe that good hearted people shouldn't be held down, or kept back from achieving their life's goals by a handful of hypocritical individuals. Everyone deserves a chance at achieving a successful education, preparing themselves for a career. It's also worth mentioning, that most of the Board members costs per credit hour was around $85 - $100; my JD alone cost me $850 - $900 per credit hour. My total school debt was over $192K and with interest, now is $238K +! I've paid my dues don't you think? Also, not one of the Board members sat for the bar exam! What makes them better then you and me? They got in under the degree exception! All you needed was a JD degree from an ABA Accredited Law School. I have one, and I'm certain you do too!
My name is Dr. Terry Lee LaFleur GOP Candidate for Governor of South Dakota and I approve this message! Go to: http://www.sdcandidateforgovernor2018.com to learn more about our platform!
" Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.