NCBE’s Content Scope Committee (CSC) met by video conference on August 6 to begin developing test content specifications for the next generation of the bar exam.
The CSC’s inaugural meeting focused on the breadth of the topics to be included in the Foundational Concepts and Principles (subjects) identified for assessment based upon NCBE’s three-year study of the bar exam. The discussion centered around how often a newly licensed lawyer (NLL) is likely to encounter each topic in entry-level practice, and how serious the risk of harm to clients is likely to be if the NLL does not have any knowledge of the topic when it arises.
Using the subject-matter outlines for the current bar exam as a starting point, the committee considered topics to drop or add. For example, the group considered whether the topic of pre-organization transactions should be included in or excluded from the list of topics tested as part of Business Associations: Corporations and LLCs.
The range of experience of the committee members as educators and practitioners provided the ingredients for a productive and energetic discussion and was helpful in identifying the aspects of doctrine taught in law schools and used in practice. Additionally, the perspectives of the NLLs and supervising attorneys provided insight regarding how often new lawyers perform specific activities and how important specific knowledge is to their ability to provide competent legal services.
The second meeting of the Content Scope Committee is scheduled for September 17. NCBE plans to release the committee’s recommendations for content depth and breadth early next year.