Alameda County
Bar Association

Updates From the State Bar 11.20.23 

Please see below for recent developments from the November meeting of the State Bar Board of Trustees

  1. Portfolio Bar Examination (PBE) Pilot Program: The State Bar Board of Trustees has approved a plan to pilot a Portfolio Bar Examination (PBE) as an alternative pathway to licensure. This plan will be forwarded to the California Supreme Court for consideration. The proposed pilot targets approximately 100 applicants currently provisionally licensed under the Provisional Licensure Program, set to expire on December 31, 2025. Participants will retain provisional licenses and undergo an additional 700 to 1,000 hours of supervised legal work. Subsequently, they will submit work product portfolios for evaluation by independent graders appointed by the State Bar. Successful candidates may only achieve licensure after taking the traditional bar exam. The pilot aims to collect valuable data on establishing a permanent and expanded PBE pathway for future decisions.
  2. AI Guidelines for Attorneys: The Board has approved guidelines for using artificial intelligence (AI) developed by the Committee on Professional Responsibility and Conduct. These guidelines will be published, and staff will create and update training on the subject. The Board also instructed staff to collaborate with the Legislature and the California Supreme Court to address policy implications of AI, such as the potential licensing or regulation of generative AI products. Additionally, exploration will be conducted into whether California-accredited law schools should require courses on the competent use of generative AI and whether changes in regulations or rules related to the bar exam and generative AI are necessary.
  3. Proposed Changes to Testing Accommodations Rules: The Board has approved proposed rule changes related to Testing Accommodations after several rounds of public comment. These changes aim to eliminate unnecessary barriers, streamline processes, enhance transparency and consistency in admissions functions, and comply with applicable laws. The proposed rule changes are now awaiting review by the Supreme Court.
  4. Other Measures for Public Comment: The Board approved various proposals to circulate for public comment. These include improvements to the Conflict of Interest Code for Designated Employees, recommended rule changes concerning the Commission on Judicial Nominees Evaluation work, and proposed rule changes that could transform how the State Bar supervises attorneys on probation. Details on all public comment invitations are available on the Public Comment webpage, where members of the media and the public can sign up to receive notifications for new postings.

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