California Bar Exam Commission Draft Report Downplays Inquiry into Alternatives

California Bar Exam Commission Draft Report Downplays Inquiry into Alternatives

Legal website Above the Law reported that the Blue Ribbon Commission on the Future of the California Bar Exam will be holding a conference call today to discuss its report and recommendations.

Established by the California Supreme Court and the Board of Trustees, the Blue Ribbon Commission is charged with determining whether the bar exam is the correct tool to assess minimum competence for the practice of law and whether to adopt an alternative or additional testing or tools to ensure that minimum competence standards are met.

According to Above the Law, the draft report outlines several options that the Commission thought about and makes strong arguments for a number of them. The PDF of the draft report also includes all the tracked changes and comments.

Some of the comments downplayed the whole inquiry into bar exam alternatives. One commenter stated that “I am deeply uncomfortable with the amount of discussion this report includes regarding a bar exam alternative, given that these alternate pathways were repeatedly rejected by the BRC.”

Another commenter recommended that “alternative pathway stuff should be removed, or at most, reserved to a footnote.”

Donna Hershkowitz, Programs Legislative Chief & Director at State Bar of California, said in a statement that the purpose of the meeting is to ensure that the report accurately reflects the proceedings and actions of the Commission.

“As will be explained at the meeting, the Commissioners were given the opportunity, individually, to indicate where they thought the report did not reflect the Commission’s discussions or actions,” Hershkowitz said. “That is what is reflected in strikethrough, underline, or comment bubbles. The meeting on February 27 will focus on the comments in the comment bubbles to reach a consensus on how to best reflect what the Commission heard and acted on. Comments that reflect what commissioners hoped the outcome would be, but not what the outcomes were, may be more appropriate for a dissenting opinion.

Joe Patrice, senior editor at Above the Law and co-host of Thinking Like A Lawyer, said that the strikethrough, underline, and comment are unquestionably included to make the next meeting easier to manage. But, the fact that their casual, seemingly off-the-cuff remarks were made public and some of them seemed to push for the commission’s complete removal before exploring alternatives, throws some of the commentators to the wolves.

“Maybe everyone knew these comments would be publicized and wrote them this way anyway, but… I certainly wouldn’t expect lawyers to do that,” Patrice said.

Source: Above the Law

Full story here.

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