The Legal Beat
A ‘Bar Exam’ For Bar Examiners
Posted on Tuesday July 27, 2021
Dear Bar Examiners:
You will have 30 minutes to answer the following 12 questions. Please do not use scratch paper or look up to think, as that will be considered cheating. Once you start answering, please do not use the restroom until you finish answering all the questions. Also, don’t squirm as your bladder gives out, for that will be considered cheating. Good luck!
- Is it the law schools that are failing the legal profession by failing to prepare students for the bar? Or is it the bar examiners who assure that students must take a bar prep course to increase their costs? Explain your answer. Avoid hyperbole.
- To what degree does treating bar exam takers like cheaters and people without moral character transfer to public perception that lawyers are all cheats and liars?
- To what degree do you feel responsible for racial and economic disparities in bar passage rates? Do you feel any obligation to correct them? If not, what are you insinuating about certain members of the bar? Do you care?
- How do memory tests assure competency to the public at large?
- How do multiple-choice tests assure competency to the public at large?
- Do the benefits of the bar exam exceed the costs? Including the lost income forgone to exam takers? To the pain and mental health issues it can affect? What do you include in your cost-benefit calculation? Be specific.
- Is the bar exam so draconian to prepare exam takers for work in Biglaw? Is this a hazing ritual for future associates to get used to being inhumanely treated? If so, can there be an exception for those not working in Biglaw?
- Why does it take so long to grade the exams? I mean, we law professors get lots of jokes about how we take so long over the holiday break, but why do you all take so long? Is it lack of staff?
- What do our bar dues cover? I figure since the bar exam is a gatekeeping I am curious what the dues do for us? Don’t say CLE. I happen to pay for that separately (and have to fight every damn time the CLE isn’t from my state).
- Does the UBE create any perverse incentives in terms of the overall regulation of the legal profession? Have state bars, by acquiescing, entrenched a monopolist? What are the risks of that?
- If CLE is such an important thing for legal education, why isn’t THAT the first thing we offer to law school graduates?
- Do you feel that the bar exam is an equitable test? For example, might it be more difficult for first-generation students and people with fewer financial resources to adequately prepare for it? If so, then are you saying you have to be rich to be competent?
I have more, but that’s all for now. Remember, no cheating. And, of course, an undetermined number of you may not pass. Don’t worry, you can retake my test in February.
LawProfBlawg is an anonymous professor at a top 100 law school. You can see more of his musings here. He is way funnier on social media, he claims. Please follow him on Twitter (@lawprofblawg). Email him at [email protected].