Competency Study – 2021 to 2023

On June 21, 2021, the Minnesota Board of Law Examiners (Board) published a Public Notice announcing plans to commence a comprehensive two-year study of the bar examination for the purposes of providing the Minnesota Supreme Court with a report and recommendation no later than June 1, 2023.

The public notice advised that the dates, times, and locations of public meetings will be posted to the Board’s website.  The Committee held four public meetings in the fall of 2021. The agendas, minutes, and additional information related to those meetings can be found below. The Board intends for this to be a transparent process.

The Committee seeks to solicit broad stakeholder input on this important issue.  The Committee has developed a Project Timeline that includes five months of Working Groups to bring together divergent viewpoints.  The Committee identified Stakeholder Groups and invited robust participation in the Board’s Working Group process.  Three Working Groups  formed to carefully consider this issue and make recommendations to the Board.   Additional information on the Working Groups, including membership of the Working Groups, may be found below.

The Working Groups have provided their reports to the Board, and the Board has provided these reports to the Bar Admissions Advisory Council (BAAC) for further input. The full reports are provided below.  The Board will use the information provided by the Working Groups to further the study of this issue for the purpose of making recommendations to the Court in June 2023.

Written comments on this issue are also encouraged as is participation in the upcoming listening sessions and future public comment periods.  If you wish to provide comment, please send your comments to the Minnesota Board of Law Examiners at 180 E. 5th Street, Suite 950, MN 55101 or ble@mbcle.state.mn.us.  Written comments will be part of the public record on this issue.

 

Working Groups:

The Working Group process began in January 2022 and continued through May 2022. The three Working Groups have each submitted a report with recommendations. A public notice announcing the publication of these Working Group reports may be found here. Additional information on the scope and membership of the Working Groups may be found here. If you are interested in additional information, please contact the Board office.

Working Group Reports:

  • Working Group 1 supports multiple pathways to licensure and, based on what is known so far, recommends the NextGen examination as one pathway. The Working Group noted in its report that while the proposed changes to the examination appear to be positive, it still is a standardized test. Lawyering abilities are difficult to measure in a standardized test.  NextGen appears to be an improvement in testing foundational skills, but the protype of the new exam has not yet been released. A benefit of adopting the NextGen is that will continue to allow portability into other jurisdictions. Additional information from the NCBE on how the examination addresses disparities in examination performance between demographic groups would be helpful.  Additional information is included in the full report.
  • Working Group 2 recommends developing a curricular pathway that would allow law students to meet the competency component of licensure upon graduation. The recommendation includes the creation of minimum competence standards to certify curricular and experiential pathways at each of the Minnesota law schools.  Additional information on the guiding principles and recommendations is included in the full report.
  • Working Group 3 recommends the development of the Minnesota Supervised Practice Pathway for licensing. Under this program, graduates would complete lawyering tasks under the supervision of a licensed attorney for a specified number of hours of practice and submit documentation of those tasks through a portfolio of work to the Board to demonstrate minimum competence.  Additional information is provided in the full report.

Timeline of Upcoming Events:

  • August 2022 – October 2022 – Full Board discusses and frames additional questions for public comment. Seeks input on questions from stakeholder groups.
  • Late November 2022 to December 2022 – Public Written Comment Period and public discussion meeting.
  • January 2023 to February 2023 – Board refines recommendations.
  • March 2023 – Board publishes Board’s initial recommendations.
  • April 2023 – Comment Period.
  • May 2023 – Board refines and prepares report to the Court.

Past Committee Meetings:

Past Working Group Meetings:

    • Group 1:
      • March 3, 2022: 11 A.M. to 12: 00 P.M.
      • March 29, 2022: 8:00  to 10: 00 A.M.
      • April 21, 2022: 11:30  A.M. to 1: 30 P.M.
    • Group 2:
      • March 21, 2022: 11 A.M. to 12:00 P.M.
      • April 20, 2022: 2:00 to 4:00 P.M.
      • April 25, 2022: 11 A.M. to 12:00 P.M.
    • Group3:
      • March 8, 2022: 4:00 to 5:00 P.M.
      • March 16, 2022: 9:00 to 10:00 A.M.
      • March 22, 2022: 12:30 to 1:30 P.M.
      • April 12, 2022: 3:00 to 4:00 P.M.
      • April 26, 2022: 4:00 to 5:30 P.M.
      • April 27, 2022: 9:00 to 10:00 A.M.
      • May 4, 2022: 4:00 to 5:30 P.M.

Listening Sessions:

On July 11 and July 20, 2022, the Minnesota Board of Law Examiners held two listening sessions to discuss pathways to licensure in Minnesota.  The Board encourages interested parties to participate in the listening sessions.

July 11, 2022: 11:30 A.M. to 1:00 P.M.

July 20, 2022: 8:00 to 9:30 A.M.

Agenda for both Sessions

PowerPoint