PUBLIC FORUM SCHEDULED ON POTENTIAL TWO-DAY BAR EXAM, CHANGES TO LAW SCHOOL RULES
San Francisco, April 29, 2013 – The Committee of Bar Examiners will hold a public forum on Friday, May 3, to receive input on two proposals concerning the admission to practice law.
One proposal would change the format of the California Bar Exam from three days to two days. The other would require unaccredited law schools to become accredited and expand the accreditation rules to include distance learning schools.
The forum will take place from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the State Bar’s San Francisco offices, 180 Howard St. The meeting will include an opportunity for public comment.
Input gathered will be used in drafting final proposals for review by the committee and the Board of Trustees. The Committee of Bar Examiners, comprised of 19 members, is charged with determining the moral character of applicants for admission to practice law, the development, administration and grading of the California Bar Examination and the First-Year Law Students’ Examination, accreditation of law schools in California not approved by the American Bar Association and oversight of the state’s unaccredited law schools.
Although there have been changes to the scope of the bar exam and to the grading process in recent years, the format of the exam has not changed significantly for more than 25 years. The proposal to shorten the bar exam resulted from a series of meetings with committee members, psychometricians and staff where it was determined that a two-day exam, with one day devoted to the written test and one day to the Multistate Bar Examination, would not negatively impact the reliability of the exam.
The forum will also cover whether all unregistered, unaccredited law schools should meet the standards for accreditation within 10 years. Law schools that are accredited by the Committee of Bar Examiners must meet certain requirements, including maintaining a minimum cumulative bar examination pass rate.
The State Bar of California is an administrative arm of the California Supreme Court, serving the public and seeking to improve the justice system for more than 80 years. All lawyers practicing law in California must be members of the State Bar. By April 2013, membership reached 242,000.