Public comments sought on proposed changes to bar exam

With a special study commission having finished its review and submitted its recommendations for updating the Indiana Bar Exam, the Indiana Supreme Court is now asking for public comment about the proposed changes.

The comments can be provided to the Supreme Court electronically and are due no later than noon Feb. 3, 2020. Individuals offering their input are asked to identify themselves and provide their email addresses.

Appointed a year ago, the Study Commission on the Future of the Indiana Bar Exam has put forth eight recommendations for reforming the state’s attorney licensure test. The most prominent is the suggestion that Indiana join 36 other states and adopt the Uniform Bar Exam.

A minority of the commission opposes the UBE recommendation, saying the test would lose its Indiana focus. However, commission leaders maintain adopting the national test would not only eliminate the “cognitive overload” Indiana examinees face because of the high volume of subjects they must study to prepare for the bar, but also would create more employment opportunities for Hoosier attorneys because their licenses would be portable to other UBE jurisdictions.

The study commission’s web page includes a copy of the report along with the minutes of its meetings and the Supreme Court order creating the group.  

The Indiana Supreme Court convened the commission in response to the decline in the state’s bar passage rates. Through the past decade, the overall pass rate has dropped more than 10 percentage points from 78% in July 2010 to 65% in July 2019.

Retired Indiana Chief Justice Randall Shepard and Indiana Court of Appeals Chief Judge Nancy Vaidik served as chair and vice chair, respectively, of the commission.

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