Ben Bratman Publishes Op-ed in Wall Street Journal on Reforming the Bar Exam
The Wall Street Journal Opinion section today published an editorial by Ben Bratman, Pitt Law associate professor of legal writing, titled “Reforming the Bar Exam to Produce Better Lawyers” (subscription required). In it, Bratman bemoans the addition, taking effect this week, of a seventh subject to those already covered in the Multistate Bar Exam (MBE) that essentially tests the memorization skills, rather than the performance abilities, of aspiring lawyers. Bratman then lays out a four-pronged approach to “sensible” reform of the bar exam.
“The addition will require MBE examinees to memorize even more content, in the form of numerous rules and case precedents,” he writes. “Does that help those examinees become better lawyers? Does it help the legal profession? Does it help the clients and the public that lawyers serve? No.
“The bar exam is an important tool, a gatekeeper designed to allow through only those who are competent to serve clients. The exam is certainly due for reform. But for four reasons, this week's change is a regressive one—the wrong reform at the wrong time.”