This evening, I came across a post that eluded to that prospect of the Department of Commerce taking a look at putting the hammer down on state bars due to traded barriers created as a result of there existence. This is not a new issue. I recall several years ago an issue with foreign arbitrators going up against the Florida Bar over limits on the number of arbitrations that could be heard by person not licensed in the state. I have actually wanted to write about this for some time with some more empirical research and evidence regarding this trend, fad or quiet whisper (whatever it may actually be). However, seeing this post on and OBA linkedIn post, I decided I will spill a little rant for now.
I have been wanting to write a blog about the need for a national bar exam. State bar’s should simply operate like many of our municipal and county associations, i.e. less the exam. This is a huge money maker for state bars, but the truth is, there is nothing significantly different between the state exams. In fact, all require MBE and many use the Multistate essays and practical exams. Even Barbri, et. al. teach their course with small notebooks sections that “distinguish” between state and the multistate.
Each state require redundant background checks (usually processed by the same company who reissues their report when you apply in a different jurisdiction).
All of this, and any practicing attorney that claims they retained vital information from their bar studies that was pertinent to anything but a happy hour debate is lying.
We attended ABA accredited law schools with the understanding that we are being trained to be lawyers. As practicing attorneys, we rely on our skills to develop a knowledge base, NOT our ability to cram as much information into our brains as we can for a summer.
Despite my protest and sometimes cynical thoughts on the Bar in the past, my plea is not to abolish the Florida Bar. I think they actually do an incredible job of educating, organizing, lobbying, supporting, and defending our profession. We some times take for granted the periodicals, CLEs, small business support, and general administrating performed by these groups. My issue is really about the exam itself. I will try to keep abreast of this new trend and report back as best I can.