Newly graduated lawyers keep failing the Academic Excellence exam, which is applied by the Bar Association to approve lawyers’ incorporation. Only 26% of the participants achieved 80, the minimum score.
In August 2015, the Association changed Ethic examination for an Academic Excellence exam with the aim of raising quality standards. However, after 10 months and 3 applied tests, only 310 (26%) out of the 1,196 people who have taken it have passed, most of them, after taking the test twice. Last year the approval rate was higher (29.4%).
Gerardo Solís, Academic and incorporation director, said that these numbers are “relative” since a process of adaptation is taking place and there is a “learning curve” that could last two more years.
The exam is intended for newly graduated professionals, assuming they have no or little work experience and the questions are related to basic subjects studied at universities: work, family, constitution, criminal studies, civil studies, trade, etc.
Alfredo Chirino, dean of the Law Department of the University of Costa Rica (UCR), declared that this issue requires commitment from both sides: from the students as protagonists and from universities, as they have to prepare good professionals.
Chirino stressed that theoretical knowledge is important, but so it is practical knowledge. It is important to learn how to implement classroom lessons and students have to do their part so they can be successful.
Chirino explained that nowadays there is not an academic program to prepare students for a Bar Association exam, but he did not rule out its implementation in the near future.