Law School Discussion

ABA is not an option (unfortunately)

Re: ABA is not an option (unfortunately)
« Reply #20 on: December 14, 2012, 07:57:59 PM »

"The NAAMJP is a public benefit corporation founded by attorneys for the benefit of attorneys seeking to obtain bar admission in another State or U.S. District Court without taking another bar exam.   The ABA MJP Commission has concluded that one bar exam is more than enough almost 10 years ago.  We are actively petitioning for the equivalent of a driverís license for lawyers.  We seek the same rights to interstate travel that lawyers in the EU and Canada already possess.

Our founding fathers brought forth a new nation conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.   If all men and women are created equal, and American lawyers are men and women, than all American lawyers are created equal.  The issue the NAAMJP is litigating is whether the equal rights, privileges and immunities inherent in bar admission on motion, which the United States Supreme Court has squarely held is a constitutionally protected privilege and immunity, Supreme Court of Virginia v. Friedman, 487 U.S. 59 (1988), and has been adopted in 39 States, resulting in the admission on motion of over 60,000 attorneys, should be provided to all American attorneys.  That is one nation under God with liberty and justice for all."

One bar exam is enough but the state bar examiners will cling to their legal equivalent of guns and Bibles to the very end of time.

Re: ABA is not an option (unfortunately)
« Reply #21 on: December 21, 2012, 01:01:43 PM »
It's unlikely that state bar rules can be challenged due to the commerce clause. I'm assuming you mean the dormant commerce clause because the ICC would clearly favor more regulation, but by the Feds, not the states.

I seem to remember a case from Con Law in the '50s or '60s when someone challenged the bar admission rules under the privileges and immunities clause, probably something about requiring that a state allow non-residents to take their bar exam. But I don't see how the ICC or the dormant commerce clause could be used to challenge state bar rules when it's long established that each state sets its own bar, literally, including the admissions standards (and doesn't discriminate against the privileges and immunities clause, although I could see how you could try to make that argument, likely unsuccessfully).

The case from con law you are talking about I believe was a P&I case about an attorney who was an out-of-state lawyer, took the bar exam in NH, passed, and still wasn't allowed to practice in the state.  This was a bit unusual because she followed all the rules and requirements of the state, but was prevented from practicing.  (Just finished con lawI this past semester).  The court ruled in the lawyer's favor because there really was no "legitimate" reason for the discrimination.  That case is a bit different than what jennid is trying to do under the commerce clause.  She may have a better chance under P&I, but if Oregon requires their own law students to be graduates of an ABA to take the bar exam right out of law school, it will be difficult to make an argument that an out-of-stater who didn't go to an ABA school is being discriminated against.  If not P&I, then one really needs to ask if making a non-ABA lawyer to wait three - five years to take the bar exam in that state really affects or burdens interstate commerce.  There could be an argument but I have to agree that it likely won't be successful.

Re: ABA is not an option (unfortunately)
« Reply #22 on: December 21, 2012, 10:54:34 PM »
States can make up their own admission rules and if they want to require an ABA degree, there is nothing anyone is going to be able to do about it.  The only cure for this stupidity is an EU style solution where a licensed attorney in one state automatically can qualify in another state without having to take a bar exam.

Re: ABA is not an option (unfortunately)
« Reply #23 on: December 21, 2012, 11:28:44 PM »
Better yet, why not have a national bar exam? Some people will say "Oh, but if you don't pass a particular state's exam then you haven't demonstrated knowledge of that state's laws." Well, lots of states currently have reciprocity agreements that allow a person admitted in one state to be admitted in the other without such a demonstration of knowledge. It doesn't seem to cause any problems.

Can you imagine the plummeting bar pass rates, however, if we adopted a national bar exam based on the California bar's format?

Re: ABA is not an option (unfortunately)
« Reply #24 on: December 22, 2012, 09:28:14 AM »
Plummeting bar exam pass rates is not a bad idea.  However, bar admissions is something reserved to the states much like insurance regulation both of which they do poorly. Further given the ABA stranglehold on law degrees, it would be the end of most online law schools.

Re: ABA is not an option (unfortunately)
« Reply #25 on: December 23, 2012, 07:54:02 PM »
Cher's post is correct they simply would not let her work unless she was a resident of New Hampshire clear violation of P & I it had to do with her state residency and nothing to do with her competence as a lawyer.

In regards to the current setup I think it makes sense to have individual bar exams and there is a national test the MBE used by basically every state. However, in California it is important to understand California rules for community property & wills/trusts which might be different in Iowa.

One thing I think would be interesting is that both Washington D.C. and Minnesota grant you automatic admission if you have a certain MBE score. If a non-aba grad scored high enough on the MBE to be automatically qualified and they were not allowed to waive in like an ABA grad I think that would be an interesting case.

Re: ABA is not an option (unfortunately)
« Reply #26 on: December 24, 2012, 02:31:56 PM »
Come on! The concept of community property is something any attorney can grasp in 5 minutes. The actual ins and outs of it in the Family Law Code are not tested on the California Bar. Most California attorneys not practicing family law likely don't know much about it either until they get a divorce themselves.  The arguments that this state and that state ahave different laws is specious - the federal district courts definitely have different laws but usually no bar exam.

These archaic bar admission laws were written long before computers and online databases.  They date from the days when "the law" was locked up in a law library and only the largest firms might have access to a complete law library.  Today anyone with a smart phone can have access to the law of any state.

The bars need to modernize for the 21st Century or face becoming obsolete in the face of the increasingly common blurring of jurisdictional lines due to IT.

Re: ABA is not an option (unfortunately)
« Reply #27 on: December 24, 2012, 10:16:27 PM »
I struggled with Community Property (at an ABA school) and it was my lowest grade. It is true that some specifics of statutes may not be tested, but there are many small concepts in community property (and the related wills subject) that can be tested and you need to know them all for the bar examination. For example, Question 2 of the July 2012 California Bar Exam was a somewhat difficult Community Property/Professional Responsibility crossover that tested a small but important area of CP. is the link.

District courts may not have a bar exam, but state bar exams test Federal law through constitutional law and evidence at a minimum.

Re: ABA is not an option (unfortunately)
« Reply #28 on: December 25, 2012, 10:22:59 PM »
What's your point? An attorney who practices somewhere else 10 years still needs to take the Cal Bar because there are questions about community property?  Why can't the attorney just read a practice manual or open an app?  What is so esoteric about each spouse having an interest in anything acquired during marriage or even before that runs, walks, or stands and does not come with a concerete slab in which it is chiseled "separate property?"