Paul L. Caron

Saturday, March 28, 2020

New York Postpones July Bar Exam To Fall; Students Demand Emergency Diploma Privilege To Practice Law

New York State Bar Exam Rescheduled for Fall 2020:

CoronavirusThe Court of Appeals today announced that the New York State Bar Examination will not be administered on July 28-29, 2020 as previously scheduled.

The Bar Examination will be rescheduled for dates in the fall, to be determined.

Karen Sloan (New York Law Journal), New York Postpones July Bar Exam Amid COVID-19 Pandemic:

The Court of Appeals’ announcement came after the National Conference of Bar Examiners, which develops the nationwide test, said Friday that it will offer an alternate date for the all-important licensing exam for jurisdictions that cannot, or choose not to, move forward with the July administration due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The conference has not yet canceled the July exam nationwide. It will decide the fate of the July test no later than May 5, with the idea that it will have a better idea of whether enough jurisdictions want to move ahead with the test and whether public gathering restrictions will even make it possible. ...

The postponement of the bar exam may not sit well with graduating law students, some of whom have begun to organize and lobby their jurisdictions for a one-time emergency diploma privilege that would enable them to practice without taking and passing the bar.

More than 1,000 law students this week signed a letter [here] to the New York State Bar Association’s Task Force on the New York Bar Examination asking it to recommend to the state courts a diploma privilege for 2020 graduates of American Bar Association-accredited law schools, arguing that it is the fairest way to handle the unprecedented situation while also ensuring new lawyers come online to address access to justice issues.

Law students in Florida are also pushing for a diploma privilege. By Friday morning, nearly 2,000 had signed a petition calling on the Florida Board of Bar Examiners to extend an emergency diploma privilege to 2020 graduates of ABA-accredited law schools who had registered for the July test. ...

A widely read paper released March 23 by 11 legal academics and education policy experts also argues against postponing the exam, given that the COVID-19 pandemic may stretch on in waves and that predicting when it will be safe to convene in large numbers is difficult.

TaxProf Blog coverage of the July 2020 bar exam:

For complete TaxProf Blog coverage of the coronavirus, see here.

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