Bar Exam Abolition, Gains and Losses
Park Kang Sieun  |  smt_sieun@sm.ac.kr
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승인 2016.03.05  02:16:30
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Recently, the idea of abolishing the bar exam has become a topic of hot debate among students dreaming of becoming judicial officers.  With the introduction of law school institutions, the bar exam was considered unnecessary.  The bar exam was then scheduled to be abolished in 2017, but the Department of Justice has just announced that it will keep the test until 2021 because of the large number of students who had been preparing for the bar exam voiced strong criticism.  With the two sides pitted against each other, the bar exam is losing its direction and confusing people.


- Debate Topic -

Should the bar exam be abolished in Korea?




Pyo Junghyun

Department of English ’15



While some would argue that the bar exam should continue, personally, I disagree for two reasons.
First, it is inefficient, and second it has structural problems.  Each year, huge numbers of people fail the bar exam.  To be specific, the bar exam is the hardest and most competitive test in Korea because very few people pass it.  Many people have studied for it for years with no end in sight.  They continue to believe that they’ll do better on their next attempt.  Of course, people should not strive for success, but with numerous failures, some people should consider other employment.  Because of the exam’s high competitiveness, success won’t come to everyone.
Second, the exam contains some structural problems. Nowadays, it is becoming harder and harder to become a lawyer or judge by merely preparing for the bar exam due to the rise in outstanding graduates from law schools.  Also, becoming a lawyer or judge through the bar exam could lead to issues in the working environment due to the social network created at law school among students.  Thus, people who pass the bar exam will face huge constraints and barriers, and it is reasonable for the government to abolish the exam.
Finally, because judges have to be flexible and represent a variety of people, law school graduates have been backgrounds for the career and as such are more suited to become judges.  The bar exam is no longer needed in Korea because Korea established law schools for the purpose of nurturing experts in the law.  Requiring a person to take an additional exam after graduating from a law school is a waste of time and money.
In conclusion, maintaining the bar exam is not only inefficient, it also has structural problems.  For reasons mentioned, it is not beneficial for people to take the bar exam.




Son Eunjin

Division of Korean Language & Literature ’14



The bar exam is still needed because law schools are not willing to reform yet are very critical of the environment.  Seven years ago when the law school were founded, they went through a period of severe managerial, educational, scholarship, and other problems.  Despite suggestions and recommendations, they did not accept the words of advice in order to reform. Law schools are the topic of interested these days because administrators know it won’t be much longer before the bar exam is abolished and the power of law schools is realized.  Only allowing people to become lawyers after studying at law school will not solve law school problems.  However, by maintaining the bar exam, people have the option to choose to take the bar exam or enter law school.
Second, there is no great advantage of graduating from a law school over merely taking the bar exam.  Attending law school costs roughly 60 million won, and with the option to receive scholarships to cover that huge expense, it would appear that enrolling in law school is better than merely attempting the bar exam.  However, in reality, most law school students are responsible for additional costs.  As aforesaid, curricula at law schools are not good as are the amount of scholarships, so most students at law school are not satisfied with their education and seek better courses at off-campus academies.  Therefore, the additional costs students incur are a heavy burden on students at law school.
Society needs to recognize the problems with law schools.  Some argue that the bar exam will lead to a lot of unemployment.  These people have taken a very narrow viewpoint because society recognizes the need for the bar exam.  Moreover, a recent survey of public opinion found that almost 85% of people feel the bar exam should be continued.  For all of the above reasons, I agree with maintaining the bar exam.


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