Long known for having the toughest bar exam in the nation, California was bound to find itself in the center of debate. It’s not surprising, therefore, that the California Supreme Court agreed to lower the passing score in the hope that it will result in more Black and Latino lawyers (“By easing its bar exam score, will California produce more Black and Latino lawyers?” Los Angeles Times, July 26).
The answer is that it will do the latter, but will they be prepared to do their job? That’s the real question. Put differently, does the bar exam have predictive value? Designers of any standardized test must ask themselves if the instrument allows valid inferences to be made based solely upon the score.
I’m not a lawyer, but I want to know if my attorney knows the law well enough to represent me. I realize that much of an attorney’s work involves negotiation, which cannot be effectively measured on a bar exam. But if my attorney is deficient in his knowledge, then how strong a case can he or she make?
I support diversity in the legal profession, but not if it means shortchanging clients.
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