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California Proposal Would Mandate Pro Bono, Practical Skills Requirements for Admission

Thursday, March 14, 2013

  • By: Joyce Cutler
  • Organization: Bloomberg BNA
  • Source: California

SAN FRANCISCO--New California lawyers should be required to complete 250 hours of practical skills training, perform 50 hours of voluntary legal service, and take 10 additional hours of continuing legal education as a condition of licensure, a state bar task committee recommended in a Feb. 12 report.

The California State Bar Board of Trustees Task Force on Admissions Regulation Reform last year was asked to examine whether the bar should develop a regulatory requirement for a pre-admission practical skills training program and, if so, to propose such a program for the state supreme court's approval. See 28 Law. Man. Prof. Conduct 255.

“Most new lawyers face a gap in practice-readiness between completion of law school and the beginning of law practice. To maintain and elevate standards of competence, we believe that, as a profession, we must act to close this gap and that we must join with the legal academy to do so,” the task force concluded.

“Testimony before the Task Force on changes in the legal profession confirmed that the winds of change in the law are not only blowing, but blowing hard.”
California State Bar Task Force
on Admissions Regulation Reform
The 21-member panel's recommendations will provide a regulatory framework foundation “for the organic evolution and growth” of the practical skills system, the report states.

“We do not delude ourselves that it is possible to bring about a system of training in which new lawyers would somehow emerge from law school fully formed and in possession of all the judgment and maturity that we know comes only from experience,” the task force said.

“What we do expect, however, is that new lawyers enter the profession oriented to the actual experience of practice and the values of ethics and professionalism, so that when they begin to absorb that experience as practicing lawyers, they all have a proper foundation for growth,” it added.

 

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