Should the Bar Exam Be Reconsidered? Attorney Survey Results

Bloomberg Law just published a new survey attempting to gain a better understanding of where attorney respondents stand on the bar exam and its importance to the legal profession.

The survey asked 382 attorneys several questions about their bar exam experiences and whether this exam actually measures lawyer competence—as it was meant to do—and properly demonstrates that a recent law grad is ready for practice.

Sixty percent of respondents reported “no” when asked whether the bar exam measures lawyer competence—indicating that the majority of respondents feel the bar exam fails its intended purpose. The same percentage also reported that the bar exam did not prepare them for practice.

And yet, even though 60% of respondents indicated that the exam does not achieve its desired purpose, only 51% indicated that the exam should actually be reconsidered.

Of those attorneys who responded that the exam needs to be remedied, the survey asked them to specify which particular areas of the test require an overhaul. The most popular selections were the Multistate Bar Examination (MBE), the cost of taking the exam, and the Multistate Essay Examination (MEE). Among the write-in responses to this question, the most common answers were to abolish the exam completely and to test more practical skills

The National Conference of Bar Examiners has started to address these types of questions, and has decided to alter the current structure of the bar exam by adjusting the tested subjects, question style, and more, in the coming years.

However, this new testing structure may not be generally accepted by all states, and there is not a one-size-fits-all approach available. As a result, it may take some time before a universal solution is reached.

Oregon, Wisconsin , New Hampshire and Minnesota are currently the only states that either already have, or soon plan to offer, some alternative to the bar exam as a means to obtaining your law license.

You can read more about this survey here.

And if you have been considering sitting for the next bar exam in February 2023 and want to get a head start (which is always a good idea), just email or call us to discuss our Early Start Bar Review program.