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Letters to the Editor: Lowering the bar exam passing score is a clumsy way to boost diversity among lawyers


To the editor: It is one thing to consider changes to the administration of the California bar exam during this pandemic, but to toss in a permanent lowering of the passing score in the mere hope the change would “raise the number of Black and Latino people practicing law” is just caving in to current political pressure. (“California is easing its bar exam score which critics argue fails to measure ability,” July 26)

Lowering the standards is a disservice to the public, to practicing lawyers (especially those recently admitted in 2019) and to students of color. It is simply human nature to strive to achieve one’s greatest potential when the standards are kept high.

As a retired lawyer, I can say from experience that practicing law is a very tough business and this 2020 batch of lawyers will be facing an even greater struggle to survive in it.

Barbara Janas, Huntington Beach

To the editor: I graduated from law school in 2019. After graduation, I studied every day for 10 to 12 hours and was not able to see friends or family. I even had to leave my father’s wedding early because I needed to get back to studying.

I graduated with many Latino and Black students who were smart and driven and extremely talented. All of these young men and women worked very hard to pass the California bar exam, and I think lowering the score does a disservice to the future lawyers of this state.

I support efforts to enhance diversity, but I know plenty of minority lawyers who studied very hard to pass an extremely difficult exam, and their academic achievements should not go unnoticed.

To the editor: Increasing the diversity of members of the state bar is worthwhile, although merely increasing the number of lawyers in California by lowering the passing score on the bar exam is no guarantee that will increase social justice generally or minority access to legal representation specifically.

Programs that provide student loan relief to lawyers who work in designated areas of need could be effective.

This content was originally published here.

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