In November 2020, Oregon became the first state in the United States to put an alternative bar exam to the traditional bar exam into operation. This new take on the traditional bar exam is the first of its kind and is being offered in response to the disruptions and upheaval brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Ature A, which was created by the Oregon State Bar, will provide those hoping to become lawyers with an opportunity to demonstrate their competency with the bar exam, which is usually a three-day event of written exams, without the need to attend a physical exam location.
The new structure offers law students three options: The Standard Option, which is similar to the traditional bar exam, the Flexible Option, which allows them to answer written questions at their own pace, and the Test Run Option, which tests for competency in several law areas without the need to sit the full three-day exam.
The Standard Option contains the same multiple-choice questions as the traditional exam and students have six hours to complete their answers, which is significantly shorter than the three days that are typically allotted for the traditional bar exam.
The Flexible Option enables law students to take a series of multiple-choice questions at their own pace, and have up to four days to complete them. It is a great way for those who have work or other commitments to attend the traditional bar exam to still be able to demonstrate their knowledge of the law.
The Test Run Option allows students to take a five-hour test, which will cover three core legal concepts. Those who pass this portion of the exam will not need to proceed with the other options.
The Oregon State Bar is hoping that this alternative structure to the bar exam will provide law students greater flexibility to demonstrate their legal abilities, as well as provide a better framework for the future.
Although the innovative new exam is only available in Oregon for the time being, this could potentially change in the future and pave the way for alternative bar exams to become the norm. This could potentially pave the way for more potential lawyers to have the opportunity to practice law and contribute to society in a meaningful way.