New Bar Exam Trivializes Test Furthering Argument For Diploma Privilege

New Bar Exam Trivializes Test Furthering Argument For Diploma Privilege

In a recent article penned by constitutional law professor Josh Blackman and published on, grave concerns are raised about the future of legal education and its implications for the profession. Blackman shares an anonymous correspondence from a former state board law examiner, who vehemently criticizes the new NextGen Bar Exam.

The criticism hinges on the notion that the NextGen Bar Exam represents a significant departure from previous standards, essentially discarding competence as a requirement. The Uniform Bar Exam (UBE), adopted by many states, is also under fire for its leniency, with the NCBE’s focus seemingly on making the exam less rigorous rather than enhancing its value as an assessment tool. This is a worrying trend as it could lead to a decrease in the competency of new lawyers.

The correspondent argues that the NCBE’s approach towards exam preparation, such as avoiding complex factual scenarios or multiple issues in a single question, further contributes to the dilution of the exam’s difficulty. If the purpose of an exam is to demonstrate mastery of a subject, then the NextGen Bar Exam, according to the correspondent, fails to fulfill this purpose.

This leads us to question: if the bar exam continues to be watered down, would it not make more sense to shift towards diploma privilege? This would enable law school graduates to practice law without passing a bar exam, provided they meet certain criteria. If the bar exam does not effectively assess competence, as suggested by the correspondent, then perhaps the time has come to seriously consider alternatives like diploma privilege. As more states consider adopting the NextGen Bar Exam, this conversation becomes increasingly crucial.

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