Thank you for sharing!

Your article was successfully shared with the contacts you provided.
Test takers.

Few attorneys think of ourselves as powerful members of an exclusive cartel, but that’s what we are. The global coronavirus pandemic, and the needs created by resulting shifts in how we live, work and earn, have catalyzed a radical reassessment of practices taken for granted for too long. The bar exam, which secures the interests of our cartel, is ripe for a change.

Lawyers and law professors understand the bar exam is more rite of passage than test of competence. Now, it poses an unnecessary barrier to entry for third-year law students who are burdened by shelter-in-place requirements, financial pressures and psychological stress. Rather than protecting the public, the bar exam constricts the supply of attorneys, fueling the crisis of access to justice plaguing California’s most vulnerable. When we eliminate the bar exam, the remaining measures the State Bar uses to filter for competent, moral attorneys will better protect the interests of the public than keeping the exam does. Eliminating the exam is simply the right thing to do.

At best, the bar exam is a poor filter for competence and a rite of passage for young lawyers. At worst, it is an insidious form of security theater whose ostensible, noble purpose in protecting the public conceals the actual role the exam plays: protecting the financial interests of a cartel of established lawyers by constraining supply (and thus driving up the hourly rate we can charge). The latest research indicates that “over 20 million Californians—at all income levels—lack access to legal services.” Letting in thousands of legally educated, practice-trained young people willing to work for less would be a boon for the public and increase price and quality competition within the profession.

This content has been archived. It is available through our partners, LexisNexis® and Bloomberg Law.

To view this content, please continue to their sites.

Not a Lexis Advance® Subscriber?
Subscribe Now

Not a Bloomberg Law Subscriber?
Subscribe Now

Why am I seeing this?

LexisNexis® and Bloomberg Law are third party online distributors of the broad collection of current and archived versions of ALM's legal news publications. LexisNexis® and Bloomberg Law customers are able to access and use ALM's content, including content from the National Law Journal, The American Lawyer, Legaltech News, The New York Law Journal, and Corporate Counsel, as well as other sources of legal information.

For questions call 1-877-256-2472 or contact us at [email protected]

Law Firm Hiring - By School

Find out where graduates from top law schools are starting their careers, and their penetration rate into the Am Law 200. Log into Legal Compass or start your free trial today.

Get More Information

ALM Legal Publication Newsletters

Sign Up Today and Never Miss Another Story.

As part of your digital membership, you can sign up for an unlimited number of a wide range of complimentary newsletters. Visit your My Account page to make your selections. Get the timely legal news and critical analysis you cannot afford to miss. Tailored just for you. In your inbox. Every day.

Copyright © 2021 ALM Media Properties, LLC. All Rights Reserved.