Law Students

Should 3Ls Be Allowed to Take the Bar Exam?
Download PDF
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (No Ratings Yet)


Summary: More states should take Arizona’s lead and allow 3Ls to take the bar exam.

In December 2012, Arizona state made a dramatic change to its bar exam. The Arizona Supreme Court approved letting qualified 3L law students take the February test, starting in 2014.


“The main goal would be to allow our students the opportunity to get licensed sooner and affectively decrease the cost of their legal education,” Judy Stinson, associate dean for academic affairs at Arizona State University College of Law, said to The National Jurist. “If students take the bar in February, they can be licensed in May and start working right away.”

For other states, law students must wait after graduation to take the July bar exam. They usually end up studying over the summer, and because they are unable to practice law, they are stuck with student loans but no decent way to pay them back for months.

Arizona’s groundbreaking move is still being tested, but it’s surprising that other states such as California are still requiring bar exam test takers to have a J.D. before applying to take the test. After all, the third year of law school has been frequently criticized for being “a waste.”

Get JD Journal in Your Mail

Subscribe to our FREE daily news alerts and get the latest updates on the most happening events in the legal, business, and celebrity world. You also get your daily dose of humor and entertainment!!

President Barack Obama has suggested that law schools lop off the third year because it is unnecessary and expensive. While the first two years of law school are filled with classes such as contracts and legal ethics, the third year is often a time for electives, which gives students a serious case of senioritis.

Marc Miller, dean of the University of Arizona College of Law, said these critiques are why Arizona took action.

“I think this will help to change the conversation nationally,” Miller said. “I think it is the most significant response to the current critique of legal education in the country, because it affectively lowers the cost because by allowing students to begin working earlier and it makes professional licensing a part of the course of legal education.”

Business Insider spoke to Rita Florez, a law student at the University of Missouri, who agreed with the uselessness of being a 3L.

“You get to 3L and you’re just like, why I am here?” Florez said. “I had a lot of classmates who skipped frequently.”

Although the case for 3Ls to take the bar exam while still in school and not waiting until July is strong, it is up to states and law schools to follow Arizona’s lead.

“This kind of innovation is only possible in a state where the court is willing to think about new directions and where the bench and bar are willing to be open to it,” Miller told UA News. “While the law schools took the lead in proposing this, you need an entire state legal institution that’s willing to conduct a thoughtful experiment.”

Why do you think more states do not allow 3Ls to take the bar exam? Let us know in the comments below. 



Senior Corporate Counselor - Remote

USA-NY-New York City

We are an innovative, intent-driven company that believes in building the future and we are looking ...

Apply now

Associate Attorney

USA-FL-Coral Gables

Job details Salary $60,000 - $75,000 a year Job Type Full-time Qualifications ...

Apply now

Director, Legal & Government Affairs


  Director, Legal & Government Affairs Lakeland, FL CLICK HERE TO APPLY JOB SUMMARY...

Apply now

Attorney 0-3 Years Experience

USA-CA-Woodland Hills

San Fernando Valley Defense Firm seeks attorney with 0-3 years of workers\' compensation experience....

Apply now




Search Now

Junior to Mid-level Investment Management Associate Attorney

USA-NY-New York City

New York City office of a BCG Attorney Search Top Ranked Law Firm seeks junior to mid-level investme...

Apply Now

Mid-level Debt Finance Associate Attorney

USA-CA-San Francisco

San Francisco office of a BCG Attorney Search Top Ranked Law Firm seeks mid-level debt finance-focus...

Apply Now

Senior Business and Corporate Law Attorney


Murrieta office of our client seeks a senior business and corporate law attorney with 3+ years of bu...

Apply Now

Most Popular


To Top