US bar examiners are currently taking a stand against the use of ‘direct examination’ to assess whether candidates can pass the bar exam, as the practice has been labelled an ‘illegal and unfair’ form of ‘debunking’.
According to US law, an independent exam must be conducted in which the candidate “explains the contents of the written examination to the examiner and to all interested persons”, according to the National Bar Association’s definition of an ‘independent examination’.
However, the US Bar Association, the nation’s largest bar association, said that the practice of ‘taking a direct examination’ has been banned since it was introduced in 2005.
The American Bar Association also said that ‘a direct examination is a form of questioning which does not require the candidate to disclose information which may affect the integrity of the examination’.
The US Bar Exam has been under fire for its ‘inappropriate’ use of the ‘direct exam’ method, and its use by the US Department of Justice to question two men on whether they had engaged in fraud in 2014.
In October 2017, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced that he would investigate the practice.
Sessions said that “the Department will conduct an investigation to determine whether any person is using a direct exam in violation of the law, or in violation the Code of Judicial Conduct”.
According to the Department of Education, the Department has a process for reviewing any ‘involuntary direct examination’.
In a statement to US News, a spokesperson said: “We have strict guidelines about the use and conduct of the bar examination.
This includes the use or disclosure of material that is not relevant to the bar, such as information about a candidate’s financial interests, or financial records.”