CBJ - November 2008 #02. Bar exam case filed in superior court.

Author:By Diane CurtisStaff Writer

California Bar Journal


CBJ - November 2008 #02.

Bar exam case filed in superior court

California Bar Journal November 2008 Bar exam case filed in superior courtBy Diane CurtisStaff WriterProfessor Richard Sander has taken his quest for bar exam data to San Francis-co superior court following denial by the California Supreme Court to hear his case.

Lawyers for Sander, an economist and law professor at UCLA, filed suit Oct. 3, seeking State Bar records for use in evaluating law school admission policies. Sander, who has published reports concluding that affirmative action hurts minority law school students, seeks data about bar exam takers on race, college and law school grades, LSAT scores and exam results. He withdrew an earlier request to retrieve gender information.

The suit argues that the records are public and that bar concerns about students' privacy have been addressed.

State Bar President Holly Fujie said the State Bar stands by its earlier decision to reject Sander's request. "After careful review of the new petition, the bar sees no reason to change its position that the scope of the release signed by applicants does not give the bar legal grounds for providing the requested information to Professor Sander," Fujie said. "The bar has no legal right to release this information to him."

In response to the writ to the Supreme Court, the State Bar made a number of points:

Sander does not have a right to see or use personal and private information of bar exam applicants without their consent. Applicants provided information to the State Bar with an assurance that it would be kept confidential and used only by the bar to assure the exam's testing validity. There is no merit to Sander's argument that personal data provided by bar applicants is a "court document" that is like other public records. The right of access to court proceedings under case law applies only to transcripts, documents and other official records related to lawsuits filed in the courts. There is no merit to Sander's argument that Proposition 59, the November 2004 public records initiative, has changed this. In fact, courts have ruled that there has been no expansion of the types of court documents that must be made available. Sander is not simply seeking a copy of an existing bar record. Disclosure would require the State Bar to work...

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