Teaching in the Shadow of the Bar
14 Pages Posted: 5 Dec 2012
Date Written: 1997
This Essay is a memorial tribute to Professor Trina Grillo. Trina took seriously what many of us know but find too hard to remember: the student who is academically disqualified or who fails the bar examination might be the most brilliant in the class or the most needed within the profession. When we conceive of the bar exam as a particularly grueling and potentially unfair rite of passage between law school and the practice of law, we collude in hiding the pervasive and often negative power of the bar exam. The bar examination permeates and controls fundamental aspects of legal education, including who is admitted, who is successful, what is taught, and who teaches it. This Essay discusses the pervasive impact of bar exams in legal education, and, perhaps paradoxically, advocates lessening the trouble caused by bar exams by giving the exams an explicit place in our teaching.
Keywords: Bar Exam, NCBE, fairness, subordination, legal education, legal profession, licensing
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