IN our day and countery the bar examiner is the St. Peter of the legal heaven. He to whom the legal St. Peter openeth not must go below and live without the legal brotherhood. It was not always so. Not so long ago the admission gate (or bar) was kept by any member of the bench. This meant it was not kept at all, for no one was denied admission, and there is still at least one of the states of our Union where every voter of the state of good moral character has the constitutional right to admission as a member of the bar. Until very recently it was in all our states assumed, practically, if not actually, that no preliminary legal training should be required. Every man had the right to advertise himself to his fellows as an attorney and counselor, leaving them to try him out and determine whether he should earn his living by lawyer's fees. The cost to his clients of these experiments by which he learned his profession and determined whether he could live by it seems not to have been considered. Time was when the physician learned his trade (shall I call it so?) in the same practical way. But long ago people refused longer to have life thus experimented upon. Now no man may be admitted to the medical profession who has not had a prescribed training in the schools. It is no longer a trade, but a profession. Strangely enough, men who value their property almost as life itself require the trained doctor, dentist, and pharmacist, but are unconcerned about the preparation of the lawyer to whom they intrust their dearest property interests.
Goddard, Edwin C. "The Bar Examination—Its Proper Time and Length." Am. L. Sch. Rev. 4 (1917): 320-9.