IndyBar: Indiana Bar Examination Assessment Task Force Releases Report

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The Indiana Bar Examination Assessment Task Force has completed its 18-month study and issued its 82-page report. A collaborative effort of the Indianapolis Bar Association, Indiana State Bar Association, and Marion County Bar Association, the task force was formed with the mission to study the history and current state of the Indiana Bar Exam, consider national developments that might affect the Indiana Bar Exam, identify strengths and weaknesses in the current Indiana Bar Exam, and offer comprehensive analysis and recommendations on assessing competency to be admitted to practice law in the state of Indiana.

The task force, co-chaired by the Hon. Jane Magnus-Stinson and John R. Maley, consists of 23 members diverse in gender, race, age, practice area, geography, background, and experience throughout Indiana. Task force members include judges, practitioners, former members of the Indiana Board of Law Examiners, law school deans, Indiana State Bar Association representatives, bar association leaders, and bar review lecturers.

The task force’s report found that since Indiana’s adoption of the Multistate Bar Examination, Indiana’s pass rate for bar applicants has dropped significantly from an 82 percent average from 1979 – 2000 to 72.8 percent from 2001 through 2016. The task force report offers multiple recommendations, including:

Indiana should continue to use the Indiana Essay component of the Indiana Bar Exam, as well as the Multistate Performance component.

Indiana should reduce the weight of the multiple choice Multistate Bar Exam questions from 50 percent to 35 percent.

Indiana should not presently adopt the Uniform Bar Examination.

The National Conference of Bar Examiners should be more transparent and forthcoming with data to allow states to more meaningfully assess the Multistate components of bar exams.

The full report with appendices is available at For further information, contact John Maley at 317-231-7464 or [email protected].

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