Firm Accused of Copying Multistate Bar Examination Test Questions

This is timely, as the Multistate Bar Examination was administered in California today:

In a suit that could have national implications for how law students prepare for the bar exam, the National Conference of Bar Examiners has accused a California company of illegally copying questions from the Multistate Bar Examination for use in bar exam preparation courses.

In the suit, NCBE claims that employees of Multistate Legal Studies Inc. have attended bar exams in several states for the sole purpose of copying questions to be used in its prep courses.

In response to the suit, lawyers for MLSI contend that the similarities between the questions in their prep courses and those on the MBE stem from the fact that both are drawn from the same pool of material -- hornbooks, law treatises and case law -- and that such similarity is entirely permissible.

But in a motion for summary judgment, NCBE says that while it concedes some similarity is acceptable, MLSI's materials are sometimes strikingly similar to actual MBE questions.

Since the pool of material is so large, NCBE argues that "something more than coincidence" must explain how both the MBE and MLSI's prep course feature questions based on the same 1908 Vermont Supreme Court case.

MLSI provides bar review clases under the name "PMBR." Details here from The Legal Intelligencer via