December 12, 2018

Raising the Bar Vol. 1 - Issue 1

Academic and Bar Success
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The Raising the Bar newsletter is dedicated to the exchange of evidence-based ideas about the bar exam, was launched in October 2018 and features distinguished commentaries, recent bar-related publications, information about research grant opportunities for scholars and bar scholarships for students, upcoming conferences with bar-related sessions, Academic Success Program (ASP) and organization program profiles. Please send information for possible inclusion in upcoming issues of Raising the Bar to

The AccessLex Center for Legal Education Excellence proudly welcomes readers to Raising the Bar: a publication dedicated to the exchange of evidence-based thinking about the bar exam.

Welcome law deans, administrators and faculty—all faculty, meaning all who teach in our nation’s law schools. Welcome to those doing the difficult and important work in bar exam development, licensing, and bar admissions. Welcome members of the bar and aspiring members. Welcome to all who are committed to a legal profession comprised of knowledgeable, skilled and ethical lawyers from diverse backgrounds.

In April 2018, AccessLex held its inaugural Bar Exam Research Forum. Stakeholders from across the legal education spectrum sat side by side, analyzing pressing issues pertaining to the bar exam. The working sessions yielded more questions than answers, indicating the need for robust information about the processes of drafting and administering bar exams and about how best to prepare graduates to take and pass them: What factors help predict bar success? What does “minimum competency” mean? To what extent does the bar exam protect the public? Participants also creatively and collaboratively considered how we might re-think and re-invent bar exams of the future. Attendees appreciated the Forum because we assembled a group with richly varied perspectives and conducted sessions using a format that allowed for critical reflection and respectful discussion.

Raising the Bar picks up where the Forum left off, continuing efforts to break silos and bridge communication and information gaps, with the goal of devising ways to better prepare students to successfully transition to the profession. Raising the Bar will link leaders and thinkers from various corners of the academy and the profession and will include features such as commentaries from distinguished guests, information about bar-related research, publications, conferences, grant opportunities for scholars, and bar scholarships for students, as well as highlights from law school bar success programs.