McGeorge School of Law

Regent Scotland ’74 to lead investigation into leak of bar exam essay topics

September 11, 2019

Arthur Scotland

University of the Pacific regent and McGeorge School of Law graduate Arthur G. Scotland ’74

University of the Pacific regent and McGeorge School of Law graduate Arthur G. Scotland '74 will lead the California Supreme Court's independent investigation into the premature release of essay topics on the July California bar exam.

Scotland is a former presiding justice of the Third District Court of Appeal in Sacramento and now with the law firm of Nielsen Merksamer.

Scotland's distinguished career includes serving as a law enforcement officer, prosecutor, appellate attorney, policy adviser to a governor, trial judge for two years and for 21 years an appellate justice.

Honored as the Distinguished Attorney of the Year by the Sacramento County Bar Association in 2014, he has received other recognition for his legal work and community service. In 2010, the Judicial Council of California presented him with the Ronald M. George Award for Judicial Excellence, honoring a member of the judiciary for "extraordinary dedication to the highest principles of the administration of justice." Scotland was named Judge of the Year in 2004 by the Sacramento County Bar Association.

The state's bar exam is historically one of the toughest in the country. Leading up to the July exam, the state bar inadvertently emailed a list of exam topics to deans at 16 California law schools who were helping with the grading process. The state bar was supposed to email the topics after the exam, but instead emailed them several days before the exam. Out of fairness, the state bar then emailed all the test-takers the same information.

The Supreme Court announced last month that it would conduct a thorough, independent investigation into the disclosure of material on the July California bar exam and the California State Bar's subsequent decision to share that information with all taking the exam. "Exercising its oversight responsibilities over matters relating to bar admissions, the court will ensure that there is a thorough and independent investigation into the circumstances surrounding the disclosure, and that appropriate steps are taken to protect the integrity of the bar examination and identify and address any consequences," read a part of the court's announcement.

Scotland has been on the Pacific Board of Regents since June 2016.