« on: June 01, 2015, 02:29:43 PM »
Well, first I would argue that there is nothing wrong with being an a-hole. But, in all seriousness, the bar exam does function as a barrier to entry, and it would be remiss to have this conversation without noting the elephant in the room.
Moving on, there are a number of interrelated questions-
1. Should there be a licensing requirement?
-The answer to this depends, I think, on how one feels about ULP (unauthorized practice of law). Personally, I think that the rules should be somewhat lessened (many paralegals and others could help with small-scale things in order to lower costs, and software to help pro se individuals shouldn't be so ... frowned upon); that said, I do believe in guarding against ULP and in appropriate licensing. So, if you think that there should be a licensing requirement...
2. Should a "bar exam" be a part of the licensing requirement-
-Again, in America today we tend to frown on high-stakes exams, and, to be frank, meritocracy in general. It's a gold-star society. But requiring some type of licensing exam which (to be honest) is a mix of natural ability and application of learned skills is useful. No, it's not a perfect fit, especially the MBE parts (the criminal law parts, by their nature, have to not work in any given state). But it's good enough. I have yet to meet someone who I knew was perfect attorney material who could not pass a bar.
3. So, how to calibrate-
-I would argue that California calibrates a little harder than other states for a number of reasons (protectionism, non-ABA accreditation, and number of takers to begin with); I would also argue that the overall passage rate in California is more desirable than other states. While I joke about making it harder, kind of, I don't think making the passage rate approximately 50% nationwide is unreasonable, *given the current makeup of who is taking the tests, etc.* In many other countries, it is more difficult to become an attorney- I recently looked at the requirements for Japan (litigation), and, let's face it- we have it easy.