Saturday, November 18, 2023
Washington Post, Oregon’s New Bar Exam Alternative Is the First Of Its Kind:
Law school students can now bypass the bar exam by completing an apprenticeship to become a lawyer in Oregon — the first state in the country to offer the alternative to the widely dreaded, often criticized exam.
Other states are considering similar experience-based options beyond the traditional bar, including California, Utah and Washington, signaling a potential nationwide shift in how lawyers are licensed.
“Oregon is really thrilled to be the first, and we’re excited to have other states join us,” said Adrian Smith, chair of the Oregon Board of Bar Examiners, which administers the test. “It offers an opportunity to create a pathway for people, who we know are out there, for whatever reason, are not able to demonstrate their skills through standardized testing.”
The new approach is “more inclusive, more practice-oriented and equally able to test individuals’ competence and ability to practice law,” Smith added. ...
The new pathway requires that a person who attended an American Bar Association-accredited law school complete 675 hours of law practice under the supervision of a lawyer. That person then must submit documents to the Oregon Board of Bar Examiners, which will then grade the portfolio to assess whether an individual has met the bar. ...
The National Conference of Bar Examiners (NCBE), which develops licensing tests used across the country for bar admission, supports the move.