In June 2021, the Minnesota Board of Law Examiners announced a comprehensive two-year study of the bar exam. A committee created three working groups to study (1) whether to adopt the NextGen bar exam as one pathway to licensure in Minnesota; (2) whether to create a curricular pathway to licensure; and (3) whether to create a pathway to licensure based on post-graduate supervised practice. The groups produced reports recommending all three options.
The Board published tentative recommendations, based on these reports, in November 2022. After a period of public comment, the Board published a set of final recommendations in March 2023 and invited further public comment. After reviewing those comments, the Board plans to deliver a final report and set of recommendations to the Minnesota Supreme Court by June 1, 2023.
As of May 1, 2023, the Board's recommendations propose (1) adopting the NextGen exam for Minnesota; (2) participating in a standard-setting exercise to determine the cut score for that exam; and (3) creating an Implementation Committee "for the purpose of further exploring and developing an alternative assessment to the bar examination for adoption by the Court that could be completed while in law school." The Board expressed ongoing interest in a second alternative assessment that could be completed after law school, but deferred further consideration of that option while an Implementation Committee focuses on a curricular pathway.
The Nevada Supreme Court established a Commission to Study the Administration of the Bar Exam and the Licensing of Attorneys in March 2022. The Commission delivered its report on March 30, 2023, and recommended that the Court: (1) Retain its character and fitness inquiries; (2) continue to require candidates to pass the MPRE; (3) require all candidates to demonstrate their foundational knowledge in core subjects; (4) require all candidates to pass a test consisting of exercises like those on the Multistate Performance Test; and (5) consider whether all candidates should demonstrate their competence through a period of supervised practice during law school or after graduation.
The Commission recommended that the Court appoint two task forces to explore recommendations (3) through (5). The first task force would develop plans for implementing both a test of foundational knowledge and one based on performance exercises. This task force would also consider whether some graduates could satisfy the foundational knowledge requirement by completing coursework at law schools certified by the Court as providing sufficient instruction in those foundational subjects. The second task force would consider whether supervised practice should be required before bar admission and, if so, how that requirement should be implemented.
The Nevada Supreme Court accepted the Commission's recommendations and appointed the two task forces described above. The task forces must make recommendations to the Court by April 1, 2024.
The Oregon Supreme Court created an "Alternatives to the Bar Exam Task Force" to consider new ways to assess lawyer competence. The Task Force issued a report in June 2021 that recommended two new assessment methods: one based on completion of an experiential education curriculum and the other rooted in postgraduate supervised practice. In both of these pathways, candidates would compile portfolios of work product that would be scored by bar examiners. These two pathways would provide alternatives to the bar exam: candidates could choose among three options to show their competence.
After a period of public comment, the Task Force issued a supplemental report offering more detail about the proposals. In January 2022, the Oregon Supreme Court approved the proposed pathways "in concept," and appointed a Licensure Pathways Development Committee to develop a regulatory framework for the two non-exam pathways. That Committee maintains a website with frequent updates about its work.
In March 2023, the Committee published proposed rules for the Supervised Practice Portfolio Examination, a pathway to licensure based on postgraduate supervised practice. The Committee also published a set of explanatory notes and a letter offering an overview of the proposed pathway. The Committee is seeking public comment on its proposal, with the comment period scheduled to end on May 12, 2023.
The Committee continues to work on the second pathway, the Oregon Experiential Portfolio Examination. A proposed set of rules will be published for public comment in summer 2023.