Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Should the bar exam test legal research skills?

That's the question our good buddy and master law librarian Joe Hodnicki is asking over at the Law Librarian Blog.  As Joe says: 

The National Conference of Bar Examiners and many others have been skeptical that legal research can be testable in a bar exam format but most ALR instructors know that a carefully crafted set of questions can test for an understanding of both the principles of legal research and their application -- it's really nothing more that determining if the exam takers are thinking like law librarians by analyzing a research issue from the perspective of access points and routes to legal resources.

Joe's proposal has already spurred some debate in ye olde blogosphere courtesy of the Legal Blog Watch

Though I recognize the importance of strong legal research skills, I strongly disagree with Hodnicki and other law librarians (including Clair Germain of Cornell Law, my alma mater) over the value of including a legal research component on the bar. First, I don't think that there's an objective way to measure effective legal research skills because the amount of research that lawyers perform, and the way in which they do so will depend upon the availability of resources

Both blogs invite your comments - and we do too.

I am the scholarship dude.


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