The Multistate Bar Exam as a Theory of Law
The MBE (Multistate Bar Examination): Sample MBE III: July 1998. By Anonymous Legal Philosophers. Madison, Wisconsin: National Conference of Bar Examiners. 2002. Pp. 1, 101. $15.
What is the most widely read work of jurisprudence by those in the legal system? Is it H.L.A. Hart’s The Concept of Law? Ronald Dworkin’s Law’s Empire? No. It is actually the Multistate Bar Exam (“Bar Exam”).
Perhaps no other work on law has been so widely read by those in the legal profession. Although the precise text of the Bar Exam is different every year, it presents a jurisprudence that transcends the specific language of its text. Each year, thousands of lawyers-to-be ponder over it, learning its profound teachings on the meaning of the law. They study it for months, devoting more time to it than practically any other jurisprudential text. It therefore comes as a great surprise that such a widely read and studied work has barely received scholarly attention. In fact, legal scholars readily dismiss the Bar Exam. Despite the fact that the Bar Exam purports to present the valid law in the United States, scholars do not cite to it as legal authority. Nor do judges. The Bar Exam gets little mention in treatises either. It is time to rectify this situation and put the Bar Exam in its place as the great work of jurisprudence that it is. But what is its theory of law?