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Bar Examiners Abandoning Commercial Law

posted by Jason Kilborn

StudyrejectedExams are on my mind this time of year, and I'm disappointed that bar examiners are increasingly regarding commercial law as unimportant. Earlier this year, the National Conference of Bar Examiners announced that Negotiable Instruments/ Commercial Paper (UCC Articles 3 and 4) will no longer be tested in the essays they draft for about 30 states. And just before Thanksgiving (ironically?), the Louisiana Sup. Ct. Committee on Bar Admissions abruptly announced that Secured Transactions (UCC Article 9) would no longer be tested on the Louisiana exam at all--this after years of very heavy testing of that material twice a year since Louisiana adopted the UCC in 1990. And California has long excluded all but a smattering of the UCC from their bar exam--no Negotiable Instruments, and no Secured Transactions (except for fixtures). What is the deal?! Is this a trend in other jurisdictions, too? As a longtime commercial law professor, I'm feeling very unappreciated by bar exam authorities.

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Why is the UCC learning not required for bar exams. Could it be principles of Sun Tzu is being applied to eliminate learned counsel to be able to represent the unlearned? "or" is to eliminate the cost of a professor position(s)? "or" is it a process and procedure to assure a paycheck?

I took the Florida bar exam last July and the first essay on my exam was a commercial paper question. In addition, the Florida bar exam they previous July had a secured transactions question. I guess Florida is not keeping up with the trend.

As a first year associate practicing commercial litigation, and as a graduate of the University of Illinois College of Law where I took Professor Lawless' Secured Transactions class I might be a little biased but I think that commercial law should be tested on the bar exam.

I am clearly a little biased because I teach Professor Lawless's Secured Transactions class. (Hi, Ben!) What concerns me is the larger pattern of a flight away from teaching legal doctrine of all types in the law schools. I don't know if the bar exam decisions reflect that pattern, but it seems likely.

I no why, ,,,The new curriculum is allonge 101, swf in Tarrant County Tx tryin not to be the 7th servicers dishonorable,,, feast after 7 years in default, MerrY Festivus Credit Slips

Give it time and the bar exam will follow the legal academy's trend towards only teaching courses titled "The Law and . . ."
I'm looking forward to a bar question on The Law And Basket Weaving, since I am equally ignorant on both topics.

Not only are bar exams eschewing useful doctrinal law, but they include useless doctrinal law. The one thing I still remember from studying for the bar are the elements of common law burglary, which is "breaking and entering into the dwelling of another, at night, with the intent to commit a felony therein".

The problem is that this isn't an accurate statement of the law in any American jurisdiction: both the dwelling and nighttime requirements have long gone by the wayside. Yet I had to learn this nonesense for the bar exam a decade ago, and I doubt much has changed.

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  • As a public service, the University of Illinois College of Law operates Bankr-L, an e-mail list on which bankruptcy professionals can exchange information. Bankr-L is administered by one of the Credit Slips bloggers, Professor Robert M. Lawless of the University of Illinois. Although Bankr-L is a free service, membership is limited only to persons with a professional connection to the bankruptcy field (e.g., lawyer, accountant, academic, judge). To request a subscription on Bankr-L, click here to visit the page for the list and then click on the link for "Subscribe." After completing the information there, please also send an e-mail to Professor Lawless (rlawless@illinois.edu) with a short description of your professional connection to bankruptcy. A link to a URL with a professional bio or other identifying information would be great.