Published on February 4, 2022

NCBE Condemns Threats to America's Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs)


MADISON, WISCONSIN, February 4, 2022—The National Conference of Bar Examiners condemns the ongoing threats to the students, faculty, and staff of America's historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs). While no member of our society should ever be subject to such terrorism, these threats to the Black community, rooted as they are in this country's history of racism, are uniquely heinous. We stand with all people of conscience in support of the work of the HBCUs and their role in advancing racial justice.

As the licensure test for the legal profession, the bar exam is the culmination of law graduates' path to become lawyers. NCBE supports the march toward a more perfect union and is taking steps to promote fairness, integrity, and best practices in admission to the legal profession, consistent with our vision for a competent, ethical, and diverse legal profession.

Our ongoing partnership with the Council on Legal Education Opportunity, Inc. (CLEO) provides funding for the NCBE/CLEO Bar Passage Program to help support increased diversity in the legal profession. The Bar Passage Program ensures that CLEO students nationwide are able to receive consistent support and mentoring throughout their three years of study.

NCBE’s current diversity activities also include a multi-year, multi-phase pilot project examining the impact of full-time work on bar passage success. This project is designed to identify concrete actions that law schools, bar associations, and grant makers can take to support bar passage by examinees from traditionally underrepresented groups.

NCBE’s eight-member Diversity and Inclusion Committee, chaired by DC Court of Appeals Associate Judge Phyllis D. Thompson, recommends policies, research, and initiatives through which NCBE can enhance the participation and performance of historically disadvantaged groups with respect to legal education and bar admissions, including bar passage.

NCBE takes seriously the need to work toward greater racial and gender equity in all it does as a testing organization and actively works to eliminate any aspects of its exams that could contribute to performance disparities among different groups. We maintain high standards in developing our test questions through the work of our diverse drafting committees, and engage in a robust process of external review, bias review, pretesting, and differential item functioning (DIF) analysis to ensure fairness.

NCBE pledges to continue its efforts to be part of the social justice solution by listening, learning, and taking action to promote greater diversity and inclusion in the legal profession.

For more information, please visit: NCBE Diversity and Inclusion.