Legal Education

Nonprofit AccessLex Institute to offer bar prep courses at reduced cost

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The AccessLex Institute, a nonprofit group that focuses on law students, plans to offer bar exam preparation courses in time for the July 2021 test, for at least $1,000 less than existing offerings.

The group announced its new prep course Wednesday. The program, which will function like a cooperative, will be online and may also offer in-person classes if the demand is there, says Christopher P. Chapman, AccessLex’s president and CEO. Additionally, he’s interested in unbundling the program so test takers can choose what they want to buy. The organization plans to offer the program in states that do and use the Uniform Bar Exam.

Christopher Chapman, AccessLex’s president and CEO.

According to an AccessLex news release, current bar prep programs retail at two to three times the estimated cost of delivery. Chapman estimates that the average cost of existing bar prep programs is $2,500.

California’s bar passage rate for July 2018 was 40.7 percent— its lowest in 67 years— compared with 49.57 percent for July 2017. Besides California, Alaska, Arizona, Connecticut, Maryland, Nevada and New Jersey had July 2018 bar passage rates below 59 percent.

“What prompted us to do this is a long-term awareness of the market not working in this space, coupled with an awareness of the huge investment in legal education that law students make, and the huge importance of passing the bar, and allowing that investment to pay off,” Chapman says. He would like law schools to offer assistance with AccessLex’s planned bar prep course.

“My hope is that we can get assistance developing practice test questions; that could help make it cheaper for law students,” he says.

Kellie Early, NCBE’s chief strategy officer.

Kellie Early, the National Conference of Bar Examiners’ chief strategy officer, says it benefits law students to have more options for high-quality, low-cost bar preparation programs. Also, she noted that NCBE sells bar exam practice questions for a low cost and on March 25 will start offering an eLearning platform with bar exam and Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination practice questions.

“We see the entry into the bar prep business by a nonprofit organization like AccessLex as a great complement to the high-quality, affordable study aids that we make available to students and law schools and license to bar prep companies,” Early wrote in an email to the ABA Journal.

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