Refuting the False Trope on Clinical Courses and Bar Passage

Clinical Legal Education Association Newsletter, Vol. 28 (Winter 2019-20)

Washington University in St. Louis Legal Studies Research Paper

2 Pages Posted: 14 Jan 2020

See all articles by Robert R. Kuehn

Robert R. Kuehn

Washington University in St. Louis - School of Law

Date Written: January 2, 2020

Abstract

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

Kuehn, Robert R., Refuting the False Trope on Clinical Courses and Bar Passage (January 2, 2020). Clinical Legal Education Association Newsletter, Vol. 28 (Winter 2019-20), Washington University in St. Louis Legal Studies Research Paper, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3518079 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3518079

Robert R. Kuehn (Contact Author)

Washington University in St. Louis - School of Law ( email )

Campus Box 1120
One Brookings Drive
St. Louis, MO 63130-4899
United States
314-935-5706 (Phone)
314-935-5356 (Fax)

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