Live Blogging from our CELT Workshop

celt 10-25-13 001

Mary Lynch and Eileen Kaufman

Today’s Topic: Putting the New York State Bar Exam in Context: Reform Initiatives Play a Role in Discussions about how to “Fix” Legal Education

Speaker: Professor Eileen Kaufman of Touro Law School

Kaufman began the talk with a summary of the reform initiatives. Over the past 20 years, the two major concerns have been:

  • The Bar Exam measures a narrow range of skills.
  • It has a disparate impact on minority applicants.

Several of initiatives also looked at the effect of speededness and the addition of professional competencies. In 2012, there were these recommendations:

  • Streamline the exam
  • Give credit to completing a certified law school clinic
  • Create a trial PSABE
  • Study the effect of speededness
  • Look closely at the New Hampshire program

In addition to the two major concerns previously mentioned, SALT worries that Bar passage standards are driving a host of decisions in law school such as  inhibiting curricular change.

Kaufman admitted that “It is very difficult to change the bar exam” but elaborated on the following current projects:

  • a pilot modeled after NH which links to performance based curriculum
  • looking at the California initiative (15 credits awarded for experiential learning)
  • early administration of the bar exam after 2 years

The workshop concluded with a lively discussion about apprenticeships and the bar exam in countries such as Canada and England.


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