No justice for law students
The Ministry of Justice decided to keep a dual law school system and state-administered bar exam for eligibility in practicing law in Korea until 2021 amid growing opposition to the plan of abolishing the national exam. The government had planned to scrap the national bar exam that can be taken by anyone regardless of the age, academic background and nationality from 2017 upon introducing law schools in 2009.
The Korean Bar Association and Korea Law Professors Society have been opposing abolishing the state bar exam, while the association of law schools has been demanding the government stick to its original plan of doing away with the exam, which has been criticized for failing to incorporate the wider range of legal knowledge and experience required in today’s society. The proponents of the state exam argue on the merits of the system that makes anyone qualified to become a law practitioner without formal legal education. They claim there must be an alternative channel as not all intelligent young people can afford to go to expensive law school.
The government’s delay of the plan to scrap the state exam does not change the fundamental problem but only undermines its credibility. The government suddenly made the announcement without prior review or discussions close to the end of the National Assembly plenary session. The law school association criticized the government for betraying the 14,000 law school students who had studied law with belief in the government plan. The ministry must come up with measures to minimize the ill effects of law school-only system and uphold the original goal of recruiting legal practitioners in a more productive way.
JoongAng Ilbo, Dec. 4, Page 34