Bar Examinations and Bar Passage

Secure Online High Stakes Testing: A Serious Alternative as Legal Education Moves Online

Document Type

Issue/Research Brief/Blog

Publication Date



bar exam design, online testing, testing conditions barriers, bar passage


Pandemic-related health and financial issues, travel and group gathering bans, and public service and protection demands all point to an immediate need to develop alternatives to traditional in-person law school and bar exams, for this summer and an unknown amount of time thereafter. Secure, online remote-proctored exams should be thoroughly studied as one possible alternative, and protocols for high stakes exams that account for these new realities must be considered, analyzed, and pilot-tested as soon as possible. This paper calls for the immediate assembly of local advisory panels for jurisdictions facing bar administration decisions and a national emergency task force that includes experts in remote-proctored testing and bar exam administration, and other relevant legal education, testing, and professional disciplines to study the issues, make recommendations, and provide guidance to jurisdictions on the implementation of controlled pilot tests. These pilots can then be studied, assessed, and improved upon should the current emergency need continue into the future.