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Editor: Paul L. Caron, Dean
Pepperdine University School of Law

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

AccessLex Institute Awards $515,000 Grant To State Bar Of California For Job Analysis Study

California State Bar (2014)AccessLex Institute Awards Grant to State Bar of California for Job Analysis Study:

In step with its ongoing efforts to improve access, affordability and value in legal education, AccessLex Institute has awarded a grant of $515,000 to the State Bar of California to build on studies performed last year to address the state’s bar exam passage rate and other matters related to the exam. In 2017, the State Bar of California conducted a series of tests to evaluate various components of the California Bar Exam, including the pass line and the alignment of the subject matters on the exam in relation to the expected knowledge and skills of entry-level attorneys. While the studies represented a milestone in taking a comprehensive assessment of the California Bar Exam, the conclusions were limited partly due to the lack of appropriate information from an attorney job analysis study.

With funding from AccessLex, the State Bar of California is planning a California Attorney Job Analysis Study to collect detailed, empirical data about how attorneys in their daily routines use their knowledge and skills to perform their tasks with competency. Study results will set the foundation for revisiting issues with the bar exam pass line and content, as well as exam format and other aspects of the test.

“AccessLex Institute strongly believes in the power and application of quality data to best ensure that legal education and admissions to the bar evolve to meet the needs of aspiring lawyers and the world in which they will practice. We applaud the State Bar of California for showing the courage to comprehensively evaluate its current licensing exam and follow the data to its logical end, whatever that may be,” said AccessLex President and Chief Executive Officer, Christopher P. Chapman. Leah T. Wilson, Executive Director of the State Bar of California, added, “Last year, the State Bar conducted a groundbreaking series of studies into the California Bar Exam, and the upcoming Job Analysis Study is a critical next step. Together this body of research will help us better determine whether adjustments may be needed on the content or other aspects of the California Bar Exam. We extend our gratitude to AccessLex for its generous grant for this important study.”

The State Bar of California plans to rely on the results of this study to provide a documented link from exam content to current and changing legal practices, inform the development of a minimum competence definition for standard-setting assessment, and assess the adequacy of the current exam format in testing the requisite knowledge and skills of entry-level attorneys. The results will also provide a blueprint for future development and selection of exam topics and question items. A final report on the study’s findings is expected in the summer of 2019.

Since 2014, AccessLex Institute has awarded over $6 million in grants for legal education research.

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