How can we create a more valid, reliable, and fair licensing system? In this section we discuss several approaches that jurisdictions have adopted or are exploring. We group the approaches into three categories. The first category includes new types of written exams. The second rests on experiential education curricula that students complete during law school. The final category is based on graduates practicing under supervision after law school.
Jurisdictions need not adopt a single method of assessing competence to practice law. Offering candidates a choice among methods can improve both fairness and access to the profession. Jurisdictions might also choose to offer pilot programs, allowing a small number of candidates to pursue a new assessment method. After evaluating the success of that pilot, the jurisdiction could choose whether to open the pathway to additional candidates.
A virtual conference hosted by the Mitchell Hamline School of Law offers an excellent overview of alternatives to the current bar exam. For video recordings of the conference panels, as well as handouts provided by the conference speakers, visit this site and use the passcode 2022.
Jurisdictions are developing new formats for written bar exams.
Aspiring lawyers can collect evidence of their minimum competence while completing clinics, simulations, and other experiential coursework while in law school.
Law graduates can demonstrate their competence while practicing law under supervision.
Read about jurisdictions that have formed working groups to study the bar exam, as well as some that are trying new approaches.