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Revolutionizing Legal Assessment: States Embrace Next Generation Bar Exam

published November 02, 2023

By Author - LawCrossing
Published By
( 1 vote, average: 4 out of 5)
What do you think about this article? Rate it using the stars above and let us know what you think in the comments below.
Revolutionizing Legal Assessment

In a bold stride toward modernizing legal education, three states are taking the lead in adopting the Next Generation bar exam. Maryland, Missouri, and Oregon have committed to implementing this ground-breaking assessment system, set to debut in July 2026, while Wyoming and Connecticut are following suit in the near future, signaling a significant shift in the landscape of legal assessment.
 

Pioneering the Transition: Maryland, Missouri, and Oregon Lead the Way
 
Maryland, Missouri, and Oregon have emerged as frontrunners in embracing the Next Generation bar exam, departing from traditional assessment methods. Their dedication to implementing this innovative system is set to revolutionize the legal education landscape.
 
Wyoming and Connecticut: Embracing the Future
 
Wyoming is preparing to transition to the Next Generation bar exam in July 2027, while Connecticut is on the path to adopting the new test. However, the final transition date is yet to be confirmed. These states' decisions underline the momentum behind the transformative assessment model, showing a promising shift toward modern legal evaluation.
 
Overcoming Early Obstacles: Next-Gen Bar Exam Gains Traction
 
Despite initial resistance in some key states, the Next Generation bar exam is gaining momentum. Florida and Pennsylvania have chosen to refrain from administering the Next Gen exam when it becomes available in July 2026 despite their significant roles in the bar examination landscape. Florida, ranking third in the number of bar examinees last year, and Pennsylvania, ranking eighth, have opted for different paths.
 
A Quarter-Century Overhaul: The Next Generation Bar Exam
 
The Next Generation bar exam represents a substantial overhaul of the national bar examination, marking a 25-year milestone since the last significant change. Developed by the NCBE, this innovative exam places a stronger emphasis on legal skills, reduces reliance on rote memorization of laws, and streamlines the assessment process. Notably, it consolidates the current exam's three separate components into a more efficient format and reduces the exam duration from 12 hours to nine.
 
Empowering State Jurisdictions
 
The choice of which bar exam to administer rests with individual states' courts and bar examiners. Over the past year, NCBE officials have actively engaged with states, providing them with insights into the revamped exam. The urgency in deciding the format of the July 2026 exam is apparent, particularly for first-year law students who commenced their studies this fall, highlighting the significance of collaboration between law schools and bar examiners in ensuring students are adequately prepared.
 
An Extended Transition Period
 
Initially, the NCBE had announced the discontinuation of the current Uniform Bar Exam in July 2027, providing states with a one-year transition period. However, in a recent update on October 25, the NCBE extended the transition period, offering both exams until February 2028 to provide states with additional time to adapt to the Next Gen test. Furthermore, family law will be reintroduced as a tested subject on the Next Gen exam, effective July 2028.
 
The transition to the Next Generation bar exam marks a pivotal moment in the evolution of legal assessment, heralding a more modern and effective evaluation of future lawyers. As Oregon State Bar President Lee Ann Donaldson aptly expressed, "This model will ensure that new Oregon attorneys are practice-ready when they join our bar." The legal community eagerly anticipates further developments as this transformative assessment system continues to gain ground.

published November 02, 2023

By Author - LawCrossing
( 1 vote, average: 4 out of 5)
What do you think about this article? Rate it using the stars above and let us know what you think in the comments below.

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