This article originally appeared in The Bar Examiner print edition, Winter 2021-2022 (Vol. 90, No. 4), pp. 1. By Suzanne K. Richards
NCBE is 90 years old! That is truly something to celebrate. Not just because of the number of years, but because of what has been accomplished during them. The previous issue of the Bar Examiner told of the early years of the organization, profiled some distinguished chairs and NCBE’s first director of testing, and related the evolution of the bar exam.
Now I would like to extol the countless individuals who sadly cannot be individually named, but who deserve to be honored for the work they performed as NCBE Board members, members of NCBE’s policy and drafting committees, and participants in educational programs on NCBE’s behalf. I was recently reminded of their incredible service when I participated in a meeting involving chairs of the various drafting committees. While their experience and expertise were readily evident as they discussed their current work, what was more striking was how much they care: about the task of drafting and crafting questions for a fair high-stakes exam; about the legal profession; and about the relationships that their joint and collaborative endeavors allow them to form. Each may be a unique individual, but they are representative of all who have furthered the work of NCBE over the course of its existence. So many individuals—bar examiners, administrators, academics, practitioners, judges—have willingly given of their time and in so doing have made the last nine decades something to behold.
But these 90 years are just the beginning, as they say. Wonderful as it is to reflect on the past, it is simply the prelude to launching the future, to starting the next 90. And NCBE has exciting things on the horizon: the development of the bar exam of the future, a comprehensive review of the character and fitness application, and the preparation of innovative study materials. Important as these new initiatives are, time and resources must still be devoted to upcoming bar exams, to ongoing investigative services for jurisdictions, to committee work, and to the development and presentation of educational programs. Once again, many dedicated volunteers support NCBE’s efforts in these tasks. And, as volunteers have done for the past 90 years, these individuals carry on the tradition of generously giving of their time, experience, and expertise.
NCBE is justly proud of its past. It has devoted itself to producing excellent licensing exams that reflect the best practices of well-established testing standards. Its focus has steadfastly remained on serving jurisdictions tasked with administering the licensing process for admission to the practice of law. In a self-regulating profession such as ours, it is vitally important that protection of the public be the priority of all involved in this licensing process. That has certainly been the core of NCBE’s mission. And NCBE understands that it has been greatly helped in fulfilling this undertaking because so many persons over the years supported and assisted it by volunteering their time and talent. As it continues to celebrate its 90th anniversary and looks forward to its next nine decades, NCBE sings the praises of these wonderful people. They are justly no longer unsung heroes—be they past, present, or future.
Best regards to all,
Suzanne K. Richards
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