Thursday, August 15, 2019
National Law Journal, Overhaul the Bar Exam? Two Major Studies Focus on the Test's Future:
[T]he lawyer licensing exam could look much different in another 10 years. Two large-scale studies are underway to examine the knowledge and skills new lawyers need to succeed and how well—or not—the existing bar exam assesses those competencies. Those findings could prompt changes in not only what is tested, but the format of the exam as well.
The National Conference of Bar Examiners is midway through a three-year project examining every aspect of the test—an initiative dubbed the Testing Task Force. The task force recently concluded its first phase, which involved 30 listening sessions in which it gathered input from more than 400 people on the bar exam and its future. The second phase, looking at lawyer tasks and skills, gets underway in August.
Meanwhile, the Institute for the Association for the Advancement of the American Legal System on July 29 announced its own study of the exam, called Building a Better Bar: Capturing Minimum Competence. That study aims to define minimum lawyer competency—that is, the threshold of competencies new lawyers need to ensure they can adequately serve clients.