Practice and Professionalization

Title

Is Bar Exam Failure a Harbinger of Professional Discipline?

Document Type

Law Review Article

Publication Date

1-2017

Keywords

licensure, assessment, bar-admissions, minimum-competence

Abstract

Two of the reasons students fail the bar exam are lack of diligence and incompetence; these are also the primary reasons attorneys are disciplined. Using bar exam and disciplinary data from Tennessee, this Article substantiates the following theses: (1) The more times it takes a lawyer to pass the bar exam the more likely that lawyer will be disciplined for ethical violations, particularly early in the lawyer’s career; and (2) The more times it takes a lawyer to pass the bar exam the more likely that lawyer will be disciplined for lack of diligence—including non-communication—and/or incompetence.

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