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DeVry May Purchase
BAR/BRI, Insiders Say

 

By Stan Chess
A LawSchool.com Exclusive

February 7, 2011
 

DeVry University, a publicly-traded, Chicago-based provider of vocational and college training, is a leading contender to purchase the BAR/BRI bar review, according to industry insiders. 

The current asking price is believed to be about $227.3 million.  BAR/BRI was sold in 1974 to Harcourt Brace Jovanovich for about $5 million.


DeVry previously purchased BAR/BRI's CPA review course and is
known to be interested in expanding into bar review.
 
BAR/BRI is currently owned by West Publishing, the nation's largest legal publishing company and the owner of Westlaw, which, along with LexisNexis, provides the lion's share of online legal research.  West has told its executives that BAR/BRI no longer fits the company's plans.
 
BAR/BRI was founded in the 1960s by William A. Rutter and Jan Horn (BAR) and Jeffrey Rubinstein, Beardsley Rummel, and Lewis Collens (BRI).
 
BAR/BRI grew dramatically in the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s, under the leadership of Stan Chess, Steve Levine, and Dick Conviser.
BAR/BRI is currently headed by Mike Simms, a Texas attorney. 

BAR/BRI also owns the BarPassers bar review course and the Micromash bar review course.

 
Many potential purchasers of the nation's largest bar review program are concerned about BAR/BRI's limited upside (It claims to have more than 90 per cent of the national market) and dramatic potential downside, about the increase in competition and the declining number of students paying for a traditional full-service course, and about BAR/BRI's defense of numerous lawsuits.
 
Bar review competitors include Kaplan PMBR (owned by the Washington Post Company), Reed Bar Review, Rigos Bar Review, Emanuel Bar Review, Pieper Bar Review, Themis Bar Review, Pass the Bar, and BarMax.  BAR/BRI materials, which were once hard to obtain in second-hand condition, are now sold freely on eBay and Craigslist in a large secondary market.

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Agreement signed by Conviser, Levine, and Chess (pdf)

Previously:

Trial Testimony of Brian Sacks, BAR/BRI's California Director: 'I called her a ------, ------, ----.'
[WARNING: Extremely Offensive Language]

BAR/BRI Employees Are 'Shocked' 

BAR/BRI to End Patent Bar Review

'I Wanted to Rip My Eyes' When Conviser Lectured

West to Seek Buyer for BAR/BRI

Kaplan Gaining on BAR/BRI

Bar Review Predictions