Briefing Room
Deborah Merritt


Professor Deborah Jones Merritt working on bar exam study funded by IAALS

January 13, 2020 | Faculty

Professor Deborah Jones Merritt has accumulated just about every teaching award The Ohio State University can offer. In addition to her teaching responsibilities, she is also working on an important study concerning the bar exam.

Interviewed by the ABA Journal in early January, Merritt said she has found that a high number of people enter areas of practice that are lightly covered or not covered at all on the exam.

“We only have a few transcripts so far, but from what I’ve looked at, I am amazed at how many people are working in areas that are not taught at all, or tested on the bar,” said Merritt, whose study is funded by The Institute for the Advancement of the American Legal System.

Merritt, who has been studying and writing about bar exams for 20 years, added that she would prefer more performance-based questions on the exam.

“If you came up with real-life legal answers in 90 minutes, it could be malpractice,” she told