Why Texas Wants To Keep Its Special Bar Exam

The Lone Star State is one of the few states that doesn’t have a standardized Bar Exam.

By Alain StephensMay 21, 2015 10:23 am| ,

This Saturday hundreds of fresh faced students around the state will be graduating from law school – all of them eager to practice. But unlike much of the nation – Texas doesn’t have a uniform bar exam – meaning you can’t take those law credentials across state lines.

Even New York, one of the few hold out states decided it was time to get on board and this year switched over to a uniform, standardized, bar exam. So whats the deal?

Brandi Welch, director of Academic Advising at the University of Texas School of Law, joins the Texas Standard to talk about why Texas is holding out.

Why won’t Texas get on board?

“There are a lot of reasons why a lot of attorneys feel that it is very important for students [and] new members of the bar to have a knowledge of the state law…there’s [also] a certain amount of prestige attached to ‘I passed the Texas Bar.’”

On whether New York’s decision will have an impact on Texas:

“I think the experience in New York is going to tell the tale…New York is definitely the largest state to have adopted it. I think what happens in New York may direct where other states go. But I can see the Texas Bar Examiners going, ‘we’re not doing something just because New York did it.’”

On how it affects the jobs available to new graduates:

“You have to chose, which state am I going to live in, which state am I going to look for a job in? That effectively cuts off the rest of the country from your job search. Because if you’re not barred in another state, employers will be much more likely to look at someone who is barred in that state.”