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Bar Examiners to ask Florida lawyers what should be tested on the admissions exam

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FBBE sealAll Florida Bar members will soon receive an email survey from the Florida Board of Bar Examiners asking for their input for a study on updating the bar exam.

The FBBE has been working with a consultant and a special committee composed of diverse Bar members from all types of practices and geographic areas, judges, and law school professors to develop the survey. The study and survey will help “identify the knowledge, skills, and abilities all newly licensed Florida lawyers should have,” according to former Chair David Reeves.

The study — and survey — are aimed at ensuring that the bar exam meets the expectations for new lawyers entering the practice in Florida.

The research will assist the Supreme Court and Bar Examiners as they consider what subjects to test on the bar exam, different methods for testing those subjects, and an appropriate passing score.

In January 2020, the Court removed two subjects — juvenile delinquency and dependency — from the exam after a discussion with the Bar Examiners and the deans of Florida law schools.

Jane A. Rose

Jane A. Rose

“It will be crucial that members of The Florida Bar assist in this study by completing the survey. The more voices we hear, the more informed the decisions coming out of this study will be,” said FBBE Chair Jane Rose.

Reeves added, “A high-stakes test, such as the bar examination, requires vigilance to ensure that it tests what is necessary to demonstrate minimum technical competence now and in the foreseeable future.”

The 16-member committee was named last summer, but its work was delayed by the pandemic, FBBE Executive Director Michele Gavagni said. The committee has met online several times since last fall and the survey is now expected to go to the Bar’s more than 100,000 members in late May or early June.

“The panel members have been incredibly dedicated to this process, they have met virtually since October in a series of meetings to be able to continue this work, even during this COVID pandemic, Gavagni said. “We thank them for their long hours of service in support of this initiative.”

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