Texas Supreme Court Asks For Public Input On New Bar Exam

Texas new bar exam

Texas is set to begin using the new national bar exam in July 2028, giving the public an opportunity to weigh in before making the change official. On Tuesday, the Supreme Court of Texas issued an order indicating its plans to move to the new test and add a half-day exam on Texas law.

The Texas Board of Law Examiners recommended both changes, with input from a working group of law deans and board members who reviewed the overhauled attorney licensing test called the NextGen Bar Exam. The court is accepting public comments on the plan through September 30.

A court spokesperson stated on Wednesday that compelling public comments could influence the court’s final decision on the exam. Although the change is not yet final, Texas has become the largest bar exam state to reveal its plans for the revamped national bar exam. Texas has the fourth-largest number of bar examinees, following New York, California, and Florida, none of which have announced plans to adopt the NextGen test. Texas had 4,145 examinees in 2023.

In May, Illinois, which has the sixth-largest number of bar takers, announced its switch to the NextGen exam in 2028. In total, 20 jurisdictions have decided to move to the new test, with Oklahoma becoming the latest state to sign on June 17. The NextGen exam will first become available in July 2026, but states have until July 2028 to make the transition. The National Conference of Bar Examiners will stop offering the current test after February 2028.

The NextGen bar exam represents the first major redesign of the national lawyer licensing test in 25 years. The national conference began developing it in 2021 to create a test that emphasizes legal skills and relies less on the memorization of laws. The new test eliminates the three separate components of the current exam — the 200-multiple-choice-question Multistate Bar Exam, the Multistate Essay Exam, and the Multistate Performance Test. The NextGen exam will also be shorter, at nine hours, compared to the current 12-hour test and will be administered entirely on computers.

The Texas Supreme Court order stated that it is still developing the state-specific component of the new test it plans to adopt. Currently, the state requires people who have passed the bar exam to complete the Texas Law Course—a series of online video lectures on Texas law that include questions participants must answer.