California Bar Lawsuit

Project SEAPHE, along with Joe Hicks, long-time civil rights leader and Vice President of Community Advocates, Inc., and the California First Amendment Coalition (CFAC), has filed suit against the California Bar for the disclosure of anonymized bar exam data. The suit follows an unsuccessful effort by Project SEAPHE to collaborate with the State Bar. The research study had been designed over a year and a half by one of the State Bar's own data analysts and a team of economists and law professors, including Sander, labor economist Doug Williams of the University of the South, and Professor Vikram Amar of UC Davis School of Law. Although the official reason for the denial was concern over the privacy of law school graduates, the Bar was under pressure from several law schools and affirmative action interest groups to avoid getting involved with controversial mismatch research.

The lawsuit is based on public record requests denied by the Bar earlier this year. The requests included detailed instructions for redacting the records to safeguard privacy and assure that no test-takers could be identified.

All relevant documents, court filings, and press materials are available here.

Press kit

Our proposal to the California Bar

NSF proposal

Supporting materials

California Bar memos

William Kidder's critique

Letter of opposition from SALT

The Bar's summer 2007 decision

May 2008 public records requests

Data release precedent

Court filings and orders


Past Bar Research