A higher bar: It’s time for more equality in the legal field
When Kim Kardashian announced to her 272 million Instagram followers that she passed the “baby bar” exam on her fourth try, reactions ranged from celebration to derision, and then to confusion over what, in fact, is a baby bar.
California’s First-Year Law Students’ Examination , or “baby bar” is a one-day test designed to allow prospective lawyers a pathway to California licensure without graduating from a traditional American Bar Association accredited law school.
It’s a worthy attempt at diversifying the ranks of people who practice law in California, but it doesn’t go nearly far enough. If our goal is to license competent, ethical and diverse attorneys and protect the public from ineptitude or impropriety, the bar exam is not the tool for the job. In fact, I would argue, it’s time to abolish the bar exam altogether.
The typical path to practice law requires a person to be accepted to law school, graduate law school and pass the bar exam after an unlimited number of tries (in most states). For someone with ample wealth and resources, like Kardashian, multiple attempts to pass the bar are possible.
However, each registration for the baby bar costs $624; the actual bar exam costs $670 per try. […]