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The National Conference of Bar Examiners (NCBE) and the Council on Legal Education Opportunity, Inc. (CLEO) announced today that the two organizations will renew and extend their partnership to increase diversity and inclusion in the legal profession.

The partnership, which launched in 2018, has been extended another three years, during which NCBE will contribute approximately $500,000 to continue funding the NCBE/CLEO Bar Passage Program, ensuring that CLEO students nationwide are able to receive consistent support throughout their three years of study.

The program is significant in that it allows mentors, as well as mentees, to be better connected by working with each other on a more consistent basis. Mentors will have a more in-depth understanding of students’ study habits, thereby allowing them to offer better guidance and tailored advice.

Through the Bar Passage Program, which was created as the result of the initial partnership between NCBE and CLEO, students receive coordinated training on strategies for success during law school offered by law professors with extensive experience in academic and bar support programming at their respective law schools.

CLEO students participating in the Bar Passage Program also gain access to hundreds of practice problems and review materials; in addition, they will have the opportunity to answer practice essays and receive custom feedback on their written work.

“This partnership with NCBE has empowered CLEO to design a bar program to help students know that they belong in the community of lawyers,” said Cassandra Sneed Ogden, Chief Executive Officer of CLEO. “The NCBE/CLEO partnership is especially important to help CLEO realize its vision: that the United States legal profession is truly diverse, equitable, and inclusive, and that it effectively balances the scales of liberty and social justice for all.”

“Our partnership with CLEO is one of the most important efforts we have implemented to help young, diverse students reach their full potential in law school and prepare for the bar exam,” said NCBE president and CEO Judith Gundersen. “Diversity and equity are central to NCBE’s mission to promote fairness, integrity, and best practices in admission to the legal profession, and to our vision for a competent, ethical, and diverse legal profession.”

Modeled after the highly successful bar preparation program at Florida International University School of Law, the NCBE/CLEO Bar Passage Program was implemented in 2019. The program that year focused on 137 incoming law school students. Because the first year of law school is considered to be the most important, the CLEO Bar Passage Program is intended to help prepare entering students for what to expect going into law school.

Going forward, it is expected that the CLEO Bar Passage Program will potentially help 1,000 students through 2022.

About the Council on Legal Education Opportunity, Inc.

The Council on Legal Education Opportunity, Inc. (CLEO) is a 501(c)(3) national non-profit organization that was founded in 1968 to expand opportunities for minority and low-income students to attend law school. Since its inception, more than 25,000 students have participated in CLEO’s programs and joined the legal profession.

About the National Conference of Bar Examiners

The National Conference of Bar Examiners is a not-for-profit corporation founded in 1931. NCBE develops the licensing tests used by most states for admission to the bar. NCBE stakeholders and constituents include state Supreme Courts, state attorney licensing boards, attorneys, and law school deans. NCBE is governed by a national board of trustees consisting of judges, bar examiners, and bar admission administrators. Approximately 68,000 law school graduates sat for the bar exam in 2019.