NCBE’s New 2026 Bar Exam
Set to debut July 2026, the National Conference of Bar Examiners has constructed the Committee on Legal Education and Admissions Reform as a testing task force for the new generation of bar exam originally agreed upon by NCBE’s Board of Trustees in 2021. This marks the first time the national committee has altered the exam in 25 years.
The NextGen bar exam will still test a large array of foundational legal skills utilizing a certain set of clearly detailed legal concepts and principles needed as a practicing attorney today. Balancing the skills and knowledge of litigation and transactional legal practice, the new exam will highlight many key changes law schools are making today to building on successful clinical legal education programs, alternate dispute resolution programs, and legal writing.
Connecticut, Maryland, Missouri, Oregon, and Wyoming have already announced their intent to be the first jurisdictions to adopt the NextGen bar exam. Oregon, Maryland, and Missouri have already committed that they will be administering the exam July of 2026. Iowa also announce on November 15th, 2023 joining Wyoming in administering beginning July 2027.
The new exam is designed to reflect the work performed by newly licensed attorneys, testing nine areas including civil procedure, contract law, real property, evidence, torts, business associations, constitutional law, criminal law, real property, and family law. Also included are the foundational lawyering skills of legal research, legal writing, issue spotting and analysis, investigation and evaluation, client counseling and advising, negotiation and dispute resolution, client relationship and management, as stated by the National Conference of Bar Examiners.
Like the previous the exam will be given, and written parts graded by the individual US jurisdictions. For more information on the topic and many more refer to the National Committee of Bar Examinations website.