Missouri Again Leads the Way on Occupational Licensing (In a Good Way)
Combest this morning linked to a story in the Post-Dispatch about the decision by the Missouri Supreme Court to adopt a national standardized bar exam that will, in the future, make it easier for Missouri lawyers to practice in other states and vice versa. I think this is a great move, and I hope that a number of states follow it. Changes like this which improve the ability of people to practice their chosen job where and how they would like really have no downside.
The law is one field for which I support some level of licensure. In my opinion, though, that licensure should begin and end with the bar exam. If you can pass the bar exam without attending law school, I see no reason why you should not be allowed to ply your trade. I can’t imagine there would be any reputable firms, nor many clients, that would want to hire someone with that kind of limited background. Yes, I think people who want to be lawyers should go to law school, but that would be a perfectly reasonable decision for competitive legal markets, rather than a rationale for intervention by state laws.
(Also, the thought of someone just becoming a lawyer out of the blue could make for a whimsical “fish-out-of-water” story about a urban lawyer definding his cousin in a rural community. The possibilities are endless. …)