Bar Examinations and Bar Passage

How Should We License Lawyers?

Document Type

Law Review Article

Publication Date



minimum competence


What would a licensing regime designed around client protection look like? This Article proposes that it would include a narrower but more active judicial role. A one-size-fits-all exam would no longer control entry into the profession. The state judiciary would not be the gatekeeper for the entire legal profession; instead, its licensing role would focus on those attorneys who represent individual clients in court and those who manage client funds. But for this subset of lawyers, state judges should take a larger and more active role in overseeing the transition from student to advocate and should require greater practice readiness that goes beyond mere entry-level minimum competence.