July 25, 2005
In Defense of the Bar Examination
With only a few days until the July bar examination, it's not a bad idea to have a few ideas from a recent article about the value of the bar examination to pull out of your hat when you talk with a student facing the test who is grumbling and griping about the challenge ahead.
In a thoughtful article excerpted in the recent issue of The Bar Examiner, published by the National Conference of Bar Examiners, Professor Suzanne Darrow-Kleinhaus writes an articulate and provocative piece about the value of the test to measure the basic skills required to practice law -a response to criticism of the bar examination.
Professor Darrow-Kleinhaus, author of the Nutshell on the Bar Exam, writes regularly about the bar examination and helping students to prepare.
She concludes that the bar exam, "appropriately serves its purpose. I have come to this conclusion after five years of working with candidates who had failed the bar exam multiple times and who passed after we worked together. They passed because they learned to read carefully and actively. They passed because they learned the rules with precision and specificity. They passed because they learned to write a well-reasoned argument based on an analysis of the relevant issue and an application of the law to the facts. They passed because they learned that there were no tricks to be applied, only the law."
So next time you're tempted to collude with your student about the bearish (no offense to bears) nature of the bar examination, it might be an opportunity to point out the value of improving their skills to become better practitioners. I recommend downloading the article and reading it. (els)
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