SUPREME COURT OF ARKANSAS
IN RE: Rules Governing Admission to the
Bar of Arkansas
Opinion Delivered 11-30-06
We have before us two recommendations from the Board of Law Examiners (Board)
for changes pertaining to the Arkansas Bar Examination. First, the Board recommends
modifications in the manner in which certain essay questions are prepared. Second, the
Board recommends an increase in the fee for the Arkansas Bar Examination.
DEVELOPMENT OF ESSAY QUESTIONS
On November 30, 2000, we issued a per curiam order adopting significant changes
in the content of the Arkansas Bar Examination. We concluded there would be eight (8)
essay questions on the following subjects: Practice & Procedure; Commercial
Transactions; Business Organizations; Criminal Law & Procedure; Torts; Property; Wills,
Estates, & Trusts; and Equity & Domestic Relations.
We also determined that the development of questions and answers for the first
three (3) of those subjects (Practice & Procedure, Commercial Transactions, and Business
Organizations) would be done by the National Conference of Bar Examiners (NCBE) and
presented to the applicants via the Multistate Essay Examination (MEE). The remaining
five (5) questions are prepared by members of the Board.
MEE questions are developed over a period of approximately eighteen (18)
months. A committee composed of practicing lawyers, judges, and law school professors
develop the first draft of the question. It is then refined over a period of time and
ultimately is “field tested” by a group of individuals who have recently passed their
State’s Bar Exam. As a result of that field test, the question is revised once again and is
ready for use by the various jurisdictions. At the moment, nineteen (19) states currently
utilize the MEE.
After the question is given, a calibration session is held in Chicago. All Arkansas
Board members will attend that calibration session and, in the company of examiners
from all other jurisdictions, “calibrate” or determine t