In 2006, the ABA Rule of Law Initiative (ABA ROLI) began partnering with the Armenian Chamber of Advocates to prepare the first advocate qualification examination to be given in more than five years. This endeavor was critical in ensuring the professional capacity of the country’s lawyers.
That year, the Chamber, with ABA ROLI support, determined that the advocate examination should consist of a written test and an oral interview. In addition to establishing transparent procedures and regulations, monitoring by Armenian and international monitors was implemented to minimize cheating and favoritism.
After the success of the 2006 exam, ABA ROLI and the Chamber once again cooperated to administer the 2007 and 2008 exams using a similar framework. With each subsequent year, the Chamber has taken on greater responsibility and assumed a more independent role in organizing the logistical, administrative and technical issues associated with the exam. This trend continued in 2009, with ABA ROLI and the Chamber partnering to administer the exam on August 22.
Of the 211 candidates who sat for the four-hour, multiple choice exam, 122 candidates achieved passing scores of 85 or more out of 100—a passing rate of 57.8 percent. This represents a higher passing rate than in 2008, when 49.3 percent achieved passing scores.
Neutral monitors oversaw and witnessed all stages of the examination process. To ensure that all aspects of the exam were both secure and transparent, monitors verified the chain of custody of the exam itself and the answer sheets, candidate identity at registration, candidate conduct during the exam, the grading process and the final list of successful candidates.
Both the monitors and ABA ROLI commended the Chamber for its effective planning and for its transparent implementation of the exam. All successful candidates are now eligible to take the oral part of the examination in late September. If they pass, they will be licensed advocates.
To learn more about the ABA Rule of Law Initiative’s programs in Armenia, contact [email protected].