Changes to the Bar Exam in 2015 - Excellence in Law School and Beyond
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The National Conference of Bar Examiners has announced that there will be changes to the bar exam in 2015. The multistate bar exam will test Civil Procedure. The multistate essay exam will use the same Civil Procedure outline that is used for the multistate bar exam in 2015. Additionally, Negotiable Instruments will no longer be tested on the multistate essay exam. This post provides further detail about these changes.

Changes to the Multistate Bar Exam

The National Conference of Bar Examiners announced last year that Civil Procedure would be added to the multistate bar exam in 2015. Thus, beginning in February 2015, there will be 27 Civil Procedure questions that will be graded as part of the 190 scored multiple choice questions on the multistate bar exam.

Approximately 2/3 of the Civil Procedure questions will cover jurisdiction and venue, pretrial procedures, and motions. The remaining third will cover the law that is applied by federal courts, jury trials, verdicts and judgments, and appealability and review.  Sample Civil Procedure questions will be released by the National Conference of Bar Examiners in the Fall of 2014.

So far, it does not appear that there will be any major additional changes to the remainder of the bar exam. There are currently between 31 and 33 questions on Criminal Law and Procedure, Contracts, Constitutional Law, Torts, Real Property, and Evidence. In 2015 there will be approximately 27 questions on each of these topics (28 questions on Contracts).

Changes to the Multistate Essay Exam

There will be two changes to the multistate essay exam in 2015.

1. First, the Federal Civil Procedure outline used by students who take the multistate essay exam will be modified to conform to the MBE Civil Procedure outline so that students only have to learn one outline.

2. Second (and more exciting), the National Conference of Bar Examiners recently announced that Negotiable Instruments (UCC Article 3 and Bank Collections in Article 4) would not be tested on the multistate essay exam beginning in 2015.

These changes raise questions about whether those in charge of state essay exams will also modify the list of topics tested to get rid of Negotiable Instruments or other subject areas that are not heavily tested or emphasized in law school. 2016 Update: An update of how some states have reacted to these changes can be found here.

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