Law School Discussion

California Bar Exam Shortened (made easier)?

California Bar Exam Shortened (made easier)?
« on: April 10, 2016, 11:24:55 AM »
Well, it's official.

After considering the issue for a while, Calbar has decided to shorten the bar exam to two days. This follows New York's adoption if the Uniform Bar Exam or whatever it's called.

I have mixed feelings.

The main difference is that the new bar will have 5 instead of 6 essays (a mistake, IMO), and one 90 minute PT instead of two 180 minute PTs (a good move, IMO). I felt that the PTs were pointless busy work, and would like to have seen them replaced or shortened anyway. Losing an essay, though, is not good. The essays test substantive legal knowledge and issue spotting, both super important.

I guess my ideal would be a three day exam with more essays/multiple choice, and less PTs.

The other issue, of course, is whether this will flood the CA market with more out of state attorneys since this exam will be (presumably) easier to pass.



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Re: California Bar Exam Shortened (made easier)?
« Reply #1 on: April 11, 2016, 07:57:44 AM »
Here's my thoughts, in brief-

First, as a general matter, I think it was a bad decision to move from three days to two days. If for no other reason that the three day CalBar had a certain ... mystique. I have more than one bar, and I can tell you - my three day CalBar is by far the most impressive, because of the three days.

I also think the changes are ... unfortunate. The essays are the part where the CalBar shines, although (in fairness) with the holistic grading approach ... it mostly weeded out the incompetent. Which is good!

I don't share your view of the PTs. Personally, the inclusion of PTs (which other Bars do not have) is not just distinctive for California, it also most closely resembles actual legal practice. You are given an issue and an area of law; now, make it work.

I also don't share your view that California will be flooded by out-of-state attorneys. The primary barriers to entry in California are two-fold; the existence of a Bar, and the rules on reciprocity. In short, if you're going to move and practice, you're going to take the Bar regardless of two or three days; it's the reciprocity rules that keep out most attorneys.

My personal view is that the three days is a good idea; but, then again, I would also be in favor of re-working the Bar extensively to more accurately reflect current legal practice; fewer "race to the courthouse to record a deed in random jurisdictions multiple choice questions," and more questions that reflect a knowledge of the law as it might be used.

Re: California Bar Exam Shortened (made easier)?
« Reply #2 on: April 11, 2016, 05:33:48 PM »

One less day that the out of towners have to waste in a hotel eating fast food

With $15 minimum wage out there now, who can afford to miss an extra day of work??