In April, AccessLex hosted its inaugural Bar Exam Research Forum. The gathering was an opportunity for experts and stakeholders with different roles in legal education and in the bar admission process to discuss the current state of research on the bar exam. One of the main goals was simply to identify themes and questions that would help to inform AccessLex’s internal and grant-funded research priorities. Thus, the principle discussions centered on the following: What do we know? What don’t we know? What do we need to know? The discussions that took place yielded a wealth of insight and ideas. Those thoughts have formed the bases of this Bar Exam Research Query Series.
During this series of posts, we will explore some of the many questions that arose from the Forum, noting certain gaps in collective knowledge about the bar exam and highlighting selected topical research studies and other relevant inquires. In no way do these posts attempt to examine all related issues or provide any sort of complete literature/research review. Rather, the intent is to spotlight pieces of a large and complex puzzle. (If bar exam issues were “simple,” they would have been resolved decades ago.)
We invite readers to join the discussion, commenting on blog posts and adding thoughts on research that has taken place in the relevant space, studies that are currently being undertaken, and research that is needed.
Queries and topics that may be explored in future blogs include:
- What factors (academic and non-academic) most reliably predict bar exam performance?
- What is “minimal competency” to practice law?
- How does bar prep content and delivery impact bar performance?
- What are the most effective bar success interventions?
- Is the bar exam an effective consumer protection tool?
- In what ways could the form and content of the bar exam be changed to increase its utility?
- Does the employment status of law school academic support professionals affect student success?
- Are there alternative paths to attorney licensure that merit further study?
We hope this series will continue to foster robust discussions about the bar exam, bar admission and legal education more broadly.
Note: Blog posts will contain Comments sections where you can include thoughts and ideas for further inquiry. If you would like to comment on posts offline, please do so by emailing Success@accesslex.org.