In February, 2012, the Board of Trustees of the California State Bar approved the appointment of the Task Force on Admissions Regulation Reform (“TFARR”). The Phase I charge of the Task Force was to examine whether the State Bar should develop a regulatory requirement for a pre-admission competency training program and if so, propose such a program to the Supreme Court.
This webpage contains a narrative timeline of TFARR-related activities and links to some of the most critical documents, and will be updated as new information is released. The State Bar maintains its own TFARR webpage.
From June 2012 through June 2013, TFARR held eight public hearings in the State Bar’s Los Angeles and San Francisco offices where it heard testimony from practitioners, legal academics, judges, clients, other state bar associations and members of the public. The Task Force also considered an extensive body of research and literature on the topic of law practice competency skills training for new lawyers.
In June 2013, TFARR referred its Phase I Final Report to the relevant Board of Trustees committee, with a recommendation that the Phase I Final Report be sent out for public comment. The recommendation was approved and 30 public comments, including from several California law school deans, were received during the 45-day public comment period.
In October 2013, following the consideration of public comments, the Board of Trustees unanimously approved TFARR's recommendation that it adopt TFARR's Phase I Final Report (also known as TFARR I). TFARR I concluded that
In our view, a new set of training requirements focusing on competency and professionalism should be adopted in California in order to better prepare new lawyers for successful transition into law practice, and many of these new requirements ought to take effect pre-admission, prior to the granting of a law license.
Following the adoption of TFARR I, the Board of Trustees appointed a new task force to make recommendations regarding the implementation of reforms advocated in TFARR I. This task force became known as TFARR Phase II.
Phase II of TFARR's work began in December 2013. A series of eight public hearings focused on developing rules for the implementation of its Phase I recommendations. As in Phase I, TFARR publicly noticed each meeting, posted agendas for discussion in advance of the meeting, and invited public comment. TFARR also undertook an informal public comment period between August and September of 2014, during which it proactively sought informal public comment from a number of stakeholders. TFARR then requested the Board send its proposals out for a formal 35-day public comment, which the Board approved. The formal public comment period generated 42 public comments, including from the deans of leading national law schools, and it concluded on November 3, 2014.
On November 6, 2014, TFARR requested that the Board approve its adjustments to the TFARR I recommendations, as well as its recommendations for how to most effectively implement these new reforms. TFARR's recommendations were detailed in its Phase II Final Report.
On November 7, 2014, the Board of Trustees unanimously approved the TFARR Phase II Final Report. Specifically, the Board unanimously adopted "the implementing recommendations proposed by the Task Force on Admissions Regulation Reform, which appear as Attachments A – C of the Phase II Final Report" and "direct[ed] staff to pursue adoption of the proposed amendments to the Rule of Court and Business and Professions Code."
The State Bar did not pursue adoption of the proposed amendments to the Rules of Court and Business and Professions Code, which would require approval from the California Supreme Court. Instead, on May 10, 2016, State Bar Executive Director Elizabeth Parker proposed a modification to the recommended reforms approved by the Board of Trustees, and requested a public comment period with respect to this proposal.
On July 18, 2016, following consultation with members of TFARR, Executive Director Parker again requested that the Board of Trustees approve a public comment period with respect to Board staff's revisions to the TFARR recommendations that the Board previously approved.
On July 21, the Board of Trustees' Admissions and Education Committee met to consider Executive Director Parker's request. Instead of sending the revised proposal out for public comment immediately, the Committee voted to request TFARR and bar staff work together to draft two separate proposals on competency training. One proposal would phase in a 15-unit competency requirement over six years, and the other would create a six-unit competency requirement. The new proposals will be presented to the Board in October for a decision on which, if any, will be sent out for public comment.