What Law Must Lawyers Know?

14 Pages Posted: 9 Apr 2020

See all articles by Joan W. Howarth

Joan W. Howarth

William S. Boyd School of Law, UNLV

Date Written: 2019


What constitutes the body of legal knowledge that every lawyer must possess? I used to know, or think I did, but no longer. I suspect no one else knows either. This difficult question is not just an intriguing theoretical matter but also an urgent, practical problem. Licensing regulators assume that minimal competence in any profession requires certain fundamental knowledge, skills, and abilities.Bar examiners must determine what knowledge, skills, and abilities are necessary for minimum competence as an attorney and then design tests and other requirements to attempt to align licensure with minimum competence. Today’s tangled attorney licensing puzzle cannot be solved without better answers to this foundational question: what law must every lawyer know?

Keywords: bar exam, licensing, legal profession

Suggested Citation

Howarth, Joan W., What Law Must Lawyers Know? (2019). Connecticut Public Interest Law Journal, Vol. 19, No. 1, 2019, UNLV William S. Boyd School of Law Legal Studies Research Paper Series, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3569922

Joan W. Howarth (Contact Author)

William S. Boyd School of Law, UNLV ( email )

4505 South Maryland Parkway
Box 451003
Las Vegas, NV 89154
United States

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