Refuting the False Trope on Clinical Courses and Bar Passage
Clinical Legal Education Association Newsletter, Vol. 28 (Winter 2019-20)
2 Pages Posted: 14 Jan 2020
Date Written: January 2, 2020
There has been much debate on the possible influence of enrollment in clinical courses on a law student’s likelihood of passing the bar examination. Until recently, there was a shortage of empirical studies to back up opinions on the relationship and the actions of law schools to impose restrictions on clinical courses.
This article discusses two new, large-scale studies (one at two law schools and the other by the California State Bar) on the relationship between law school coursework and bar passage. Both studies found no relationship between the number of law clinic or externship courses or credits a law school graduate took and her likelihood of later passing the bar exam. The studies also found little evidence to support opinions on the value of bar subject-matter courses, suggesting that broad claims about the benefit of taking those courses should be moderated.
Keywords: legal education, law school, clinical legal education, bar exam, experiential education, law clinic, externship
JEL Classification: K00, I23
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation