LAS VEGAS (KLAS) – The Nevada Supreme Court is considering a proposal from the Nevada Board of Bar Examiners that would make modifications to how the Nevada State Bar Exam is administered this coming July.
According to a court petition filed in the Nevada Supreme Court, the State of Nevada Board of Bar Examiners is asking that the 200 multiple choice portion (Multistate Bar Exam) of the test be eliminated amidst the COVID -19 social distancing guidelines that prevent this exam from being administered in its customary format.
ESSAY PORTION OF EXAM: OPEN BOOK AND ONLINE
The Board is requesting that the essay portion of the exam continue as planned but under new guidelines that include: an open book, online, two-day, 8 essay questions to be answered under strict time limitations and a Nevada MPT question that would be drafted by the Board.
GRADING THE EXAM
The Board explained their reasons why they feel the essay portion of the test is a more reliable measurement of aptitude than that of the multiple choice portion.
“…the essay portion is the more valid measure of minimum competence, something the MBE lacks. More important, under the proposed format Nevada will be testing knowledge, analytical ability and writing skills, all which are accepted measures of attorney competence. In addition, the open book component also incorporates what we as lawyers do every day; look up the applicable law. If a test taker has not studied and or does not know the law the open book format provides little comfort with the strict time limitations of 60 minutes per question.”Richard M. Trachok, Esq. , Chair – Board of Bar Examiners
The Board added seven outlined terms by which they intend to grade the essay portion of the test that include adapting a uniform grading scale, to each exam be graded by two independent graders, etc.
WEIGHING THE OPTIONS
The Board also outlined other options it is considering as it pertained to alternatives to the examination amidst the pandemic.
- Cancelling the exam and affording a diploma privilege to all ABA law school graduates
- Postponing the July exam and rescheduling to September and October, dates offered by the National Conference of Board Examiners
- Holding an online Nevada Bar Exam in July online as proposed by the Board.
REQUEST FOR PAYMENT DEFERMENT
The final request submitted to the court requests that the court consider the stress of law students during these times and allow them to defer the fee of the exam.
Graduating law school students understandably are experiencing psychological and emotional stress with preparing for and taking a bar exam. Requiring any applicant to take an exam under these circumstances or else forfeit the amount paid to apply for the exam would be unfair. We propose allowing applicants for the July 2020 bar exam not desiring to take the exam to defer their payments to one of the next two bar examinations.”Richard M. Trachok, Esq. , Chair – Board of Bar Examiners
The Board’s petition was filed on May 7 by Supreme Court Chief Justice Kristina Pickering and Supreme Court Associate Chief Justice Mark Gibbons.