Tuesday, June 4, 2024

Academic and Bar Support Scholarship Spotlight

Nachman N. Gutowski, NextGen Licensure & Accreditation, 22 U.N.H. L. Rev. 311 (2024).

From the abstract:

The Bar Exam is changing. The National Conference of Bar Examiners is pushing full steam ahead with a replacement for the current elements that make up the Uniform Bar Exam (UBE). This new exam, called the NextGen Bar Exam (NextGen), is scheduled to launch in Summer 2026. Current American Bar Association (ABA) accreditation standards do not consider the coming changes. A full picture of what the adjustments will look like is hazy and very much in the trial stages still. These shifts impact current law students, the legal education practices of law schools, and accreditation standards. There is a near-universal agreement that changes are overdue to the current legal licensure format. Simultaneously, alternatives to the NextGen, and even to the “need” for any summative licensure exam, are being actively explored.

Performance on the Bar Exam is used as a measurement tool by the American Bar Association for law schools to maintain accreditation. Standard 316, commonly referred to as Ultimate Bar Passage, has undergone several changes over its short life; yet, even in its current iteration, it fails to meaningfully consider what is just around the corner. There is no question that the Bar Exam continues to have racially discriminatory, disparate outcomes and impacts. Making matters worse, the use of aggregate limited durational performance data on post-graduation individual licensure exams as a meaningful metric by which accreditation is affected is inconsistent with accepted practices in similarly situated professions. Rectifying some baseline injustices can start with acknowledging how changes starting in 2026 are unaccounted for in the current standard. Adjusting or removing current prelicensure requirements and standards, either in ABA accreditation requirements for law schools or in educational prerequisites on examinees placed before the exam itself, would go a long way to align stated accreditation goals with licensure outcomes.

[Posted by Louis Schulze, FIU Law]

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/academic_support/2024/06/academic-and-bar-support-scholarship-spotlight-.html

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