US Legal Exam Fails to Make Grade 

| General

In the United States of America, those persons aspiring for a career in the legal profession in the office of Attorney are expected to achieve this by way of an exam to enter the Bar. However, a recent investigation carried out by the influential Bloomberg Law platform, which was only the second of its kind, has discovered that the examination falls short of the mark. 

Sample Size? 

In the modern contemporary world, people know that the results of a piece of investigative research are only as strong as the number of persons who have given their point of view to the survey respondents and this piece of research was no different because the sample size of just short of four hundred respondents who were reportedly emanating from external providers of legal services and in-house legal departments. In this survey, the organizers wanted to discover industry opinions on the important area of legal education. They specifically requested the opinion of those legal professionals who had a median duration of practice of just short of twenty years. To attain the opinion of the target audience, the organizers of the survey inquired into their encounters with the United States Education system and more specifically:

  • If the legal assessments as presently configured provide evidence that those aspiring for a career in the legal profession are competent to embark on a career in the legal profession 
  • the intention behind the legal assessment
  • what are the assessments currently in position in the United States of America that are assessing, judging, and quantifying

Our Survey Said… 

The main headline of the survey results disclosed the majority view which was damning. It found that most of those experience legal professionals approached for their opinion who had more than two decades of expertise within the legal services market believed that the current assessments dropped significantly short of the required standard, were not up to the task and arguably most worryingly of all did not equip future legal professionals with the skills they required to enable them to be equipped for a successful career in the legal profession.

Way Forward? 

There were several issues affecting the legal profession which appear to have been identified during the survey process such as: 

  • the greater and significant majority of those who had undertaken the assessments responded to the investigator’s questions presenting their opinion that making improvements to the legal education sector
  • a perception of disinterest in evolution from those setting the tone in the legal profession and that this was not an issue to them 
  • evidence suggesting a demonstration of arrogance about what they had already accomplished and
  • the price 

It will be interesting to see how the legal education sector responds to the survey. Several quarters have suggested:

  • consigning the assessment in the form of an examination into the dustbin of history
  • looking to replace the format with a series of alternative assessments deliberately designed to have a more pragmatic, hands-on and interactive approach and
  • better designed for the so-called real commercial world business organizations operate in.

Nothing New?

However, this is not a new concept and it was suggested in January 2021 when it was suggested that greater significance and focus should be put on the latter proposals because as put forward by the National Conference of Bar Examiners, at that time they were of the view that this approach would be more representative of the contemporary business environment and examples of the work carried out by lawyers operating in practice at the early stages of their careers. 

If they can do this, it may put the United States legal profession on a more sustainable footing.


#LeighDay #IrwinMitchell #PenningtonManchesCooper #SimpsonMillarLLP #SlaterandGordon #ThompsonsSolicitorsLLP #BindmansLLP #CurzonGreenSolicitors #didlw #HodgeJones&Allen #RahmanLoweSolicitors


]SOURCE 1] Pikulski, Rachael – Should the Bar Be Reconsidered? Lawyers Weigh In – Bloomberg Law – 8 August 2022 - ANALYSIS: Should the Bar Be Reconsidered? Lawyers Weigh In (1) (

[SOURCE 2] Skolnik, Sam – Bar Tests Need ‘Lawyering Skills’ Focus, Examiner Group Says – Bloomberg Law – 4 January 2022 - Bar Tests Need ‘Lawyering Skills’ Focus, Examiner Group Says (

[SOURCE 3] New Hampshire News – Should the bar exam be reconsidered? – 4 August 2022 - Analysis: Should the bar exam be reconsidered? weight of lawyers – NewHampshire News (



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