Wednesday, July 29, 2015
Bar Exam Outfit to Pay Restitution to Those Who Took Its Courses
Barwinners Is Enjoined From Making False Claims as to Success Rate of Enrollees
By a MetNews Staff Writer
Barwinners, a Santa Monica outfit that allegedly lied about the bar exam success rate of those taking its review course, has been enjoined from making future misrepresentations and ordered to pay $110,000 in restitution to those who took its courses, as well as paying civil penalties of $20,000.
It is also required to award eight scholarships for its online courses.
Resolution of the action against Legal Education Unlimited, Inc., which does business as Barwinners, was announced yesterday by the Los Angeles Office of District Attorney. That office, along with the Office of Santa Monica City Attorney, filed its complaint on July 8.
Allegations of Complaint
The complaint, signed by Deputy District Attorney Leonard Torrealba and Deputy City Attorney Eda Suh, alleges:
“Barwinners has been offering California Bar Review courses for over twenty years, offering both live and online review courses. The live classes are conducted in its offices in Santa Monica, California, and the online courses can be found on its website, www.barwinners.com.
“For the last twenty years, Barwinners has consistently advertised a “94% pass rate” for first-time bar takers, and an 87-86% pass rate for repeat test-takers, for those who take the Barwinners courses. Barwinners’ advertised pass rates are false. The actual pass rates for its students have been in the range of 38-63% during the statutory period.”
Two Code Sections
The action was brought under Business and Professions Code §17200, for unfair competition, and §17500 of that code, for false advertising.
The judgment against Barwinners, pursuant to a stipulation, was signed by Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Nancy Newman.
It specifies that the judgment “is not to be construed as an admission of liability by any party.”
The civil penalties are to be divided evenly between the two prosecuting offices, under the judgment. It specifies that for each scholarship not awarded by 2018, Barwinners will pay an additional $6,600 in civil penalties, likewise to be split between the two offices.
Cost of Courses
A press release distributed yesterday noted that the cost of the bar review course “is more than $6,600 and can go up to $12,000 for individual tutoring.”
Barwinners is owned by self-employed attorney Shari L. Karney (also known as Karnosky). The company’s website says she was a victim of child abuse and has become an inspirational speaker.
“Today, Shari is an entrepreneur and widely respected legal expert for news-breaking cases of the day,” the website says.
Karney did not respond to a request for comment.
Listed on the website as a member of “Our Awesome Team” is Leonard Ludovico, identified as a “Bar Exam Coach.” Ludovico is not a member of the State Bar of California.
The website represents:
“Leonard knows immediately upon meeting you or hearing your voice, what you need in order to pass the bar exam. If there is anything in your way, he helps you fix it.”
Copyright 2015, Metropolitan News Company