The long-discussed overhaul of the bar exam is a go.

The National Conference of Bar Examiners’ Board of Trustees on Jan. 28 adopted a series of recommendations for the next generation of the licensing exam, meaning that the test will look significantly different when the new version debuts in about five years. According to the National Conference, the revised exam will place more emphasis on testing legal skills and will require less memorization of wide swaths of law. Among those approved changes:

  • The updated exam will do away with the distinct Multistate Bar Exam, Multistate Essay Exam and Multistate Performance Test in favor of a more integrated format that will ask examinees to use legal scenarios and fact patterns to provide a variety of answer types including multiple choice, short answers and legal documents. The updated exam will more closely resemble the current Multistate Performance Test, which requires test takers to produce a legal memo or brief based on a provided legal scenario.
  • Family law, estates and trusts, the Uniform Commercial Code and conflict of laws will be dropped from the list of tested subjects.
  • Investigation and evaluation, client counseling and advising, negotiation and dispute resolution, and client relationship and management will be added to the legal skills tested on the exam.
  • The exam will be administered entirely on computer, rather than partially on paper as it is now.

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