Bar exam to be modified in 2015
The new exam will include a new subject, Civil Procedures
March 18, 2013, 1:05 am·
In February 2015, the infamous bar exam will change, but the Law School sees little reason to worry.
The examiners of the Multistate Bar Examination are making fundamental alterations to the exam. They plan to add a new subject to the exam, Civil Procedures, and reduce the number of questions in other subjects to keep the total number at 200.
The MBE is prepared by the National Conference of Bar Examiners and is used as a means to license practitioners.
However daunting these changes appear, faculty at the Law School said they will not affect the school’s curriculum.
All first year law students at Penn are required to take a course called “Civil Procedure.”
Gary Clinton, dean of students and counsel to the dean, said that “Penn has very strong faculty members teaching civ pro, and it is a well-respected and popular course among the [first-year students].”
Jo-Ann Verrier, vice dean for administrative services, added that “we have the top civil procedure faculty in the country.”
Verrier and Clinton agreed that the future changes to the exam will not affect the Penn Law community.
“I don’t think this change in the multi-state bar exam will make a significant difference to Penn Law students or faculty,” Clinton said. “As a general matter, [Penn] Law faculty do not teach to the bar exam.”
Clinton added that these changes will, however, affect the commercial bar exam prep courses that most students take after graduating.
He believes that companies that offer commercial courses will adapt to the new addition to the exam.
Perhaps most importantly, students think the changes won’t pose an extra challenge to their law school experience, especially since they take a civil procedure course their first year. First year law student Marla Benedek said that “this additional component on the exam will not change … my education.”
She added that “the exam was already intense, stressful and very difficult. I don’t think that the addition of a civil procedure component is a game-changer.”
While many students agree that the new section won’t affect their law school experience, some recognize that it will make studying for the bar exam more difficult.
First year law student Ari Buchen said, “A lot of students find civil procedures to be harder than any other subject because the average person doesn’t come across civil procedures before law school.”
He added that although the civil procedure class he took first semester was enjoyable, “most people put far more work into civil procedure preparation than into preparation for other classes.”