New data released this week by the American Bar Association highlights just how deep the racial disparities in bar passage rates run—revealing that the first-time pass rate for white examinees in 2020 was 22 and 12 percentage points higher than their Black and Hispanic counterparts, respectively.
So will legal educators and the regulators of the profession take meaningful steps to help close that gap? Experts have no shortage of ideas on how to reduce racial disparities on bar exam outcomes, ranging from lowering exam cut scores and strengthening law school academic support programs to establishing alternative paths to licensure and redesigning the exam to be more realistic to practice and focus less on memorization. But it remains to be seen whether the gatekeepers of the legal profession are willing to take action on the issue.
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