News Release, California Supreme Court Orders Bar Exam Delayed, Administered Online:
The Supreme Court of California on Monday ordered the July California Bar Exam be postponed to Sept. 9-10, and directed the State Bar to make every effort to administer the test online with remote or electronic proctoring.
The court made its decision considering the “enormous challenges this public health crisis has placed before those who seek admission to the California bar, including the graduating law school class of 2020.”
“These adjustments recognize and will advance the manifest public interest in maintaining access to justice through competent and qualified legal services,” the court wrote.
The State Bar of California should also allow those registered to withdraw with a full refund through the day before the exam, Sept. 8. Exam results should be disclosed to takers no later than Dec. 31.
Among the other measures approved by the court and outlined in its letter to the State Bar Board of Trustees:
- Work with the National Conference of Bar Examiners to facilitate online administration of the multiple-choice part of the test—the 2020 Multistate Bar Examination (MBE)—in September.
- Continue efforts to administer the June 2020 First-Year Law Students’ Examination online with remote and/or electronic proctoring. Students will have four opportunities, instead of the current limit of three, to pass the exam to be eligible for law school credit beyond the first year.
- Postpone the October First-Year Law Students’ Examination to November to maximize grading resources for the Bar Exam.
- Submit a workplan to the court no later than May 11, with planned goals and milestones for online administration of the tests.
The National Conference of Bar Examiners, which provides the Multistate Bar Examination, will formally announce its plans on May 5. The organization has begun initial planning to offer the exam Sept. 9-10.
One of two scenarios presented to the Supreme Court by the California Bar’s Board of Trustees was the development of a provisional certification program, under which those eligible would be certified to work under the supervision of a licensed California attorney.
The court indicated that it will continue to explore that and other options as circumstances related to the COVID-19 pandemic develop or change.
TaxProf Blog coverage of the July 2020 bar exam:
- The Bar Exam And The COVID-19 Pandemic: The Need For Immediate Action (Mar. 14, 2020)
- NCBE To Decide By May 5 Whether It Will Provide MBE For July Bar Examinations (Mar. 27, 2020)
- New York Postpones July Bar Exam To Fall; Students Demand Emergency Diploma Privilege To Practice Law (Mar. 28, 2020)
- Massachusetts Joins New York In Postponing July Bar Exam (Mar. 30, 2020)
- Connecticut Is Third State To Postpone July Bar Exam (Mar. 31, 2020)
- Hawaii Is Fourth State To Postpone July Bar Exam (Apr. 2, 2020)
- New Jersey Is Fifth State To Postpone July Bar Exam, First To Offer 2020 Law Grads Temporary License To Practice (Apr. 7, 2020)
- July Bar Exam Update: ABA, Arizona, California, Florida, Tennessee, Vermont (Apr. 8, 2020)
- Indiana Allows 2020 Law Grads To Serve As Graduate Legal Interns And Take February 2021 Bar Exam (Apr. 9, 2020)
- Utah To Let Grads Skip Bar Exam Due To COVID-19, But Only From Schools With 86%+ Bar Pass Rate; Grads Of Just 4 Of California's 21 Law Schools Would Qualify (Apr. 11, 2020)
- Licensing Lawyers In A Pandemic: Proving Competence (Apr. 12, 2020)
- Even In Time Of Crisis, Hold Fast To Bar Exam (Apr. 13, 2020)
- Bar Exam Federalism During The COVID-19 Pandemic (Apr. 14, 2020)
- State Bar Tells California Supreme Court: Delay Or Cancel July Bar Exam (Apr. 15, 2020)
- July Bar Exam Update: Maine, Rhode Island (Apr. 16, 2020)
- Letter From California State Bar To California Supreme Court On July Bar Exam (Apr. 17, 2020)
- July Bar Exam Update: Georgia, Tennessee, Virgin Islands (Apr. 18, 2020)
- Letter From California Deans To California Supreme Court On July Bar Exam (Apr. 18, 2020)
- More Law Prof Commentary On Utah's Bar Diploma Privilege Proposal (Apr. 20, 2020)
- NCBE Opposes States Granting Diploma Privileges To 2020 Law Grads Due To COVID-19 (Apr. 20, 2020)
- Horwitz: Law Graduates' Needs, Client Needs, And The Bar Exam (Apr. 20, 2020)
- WSJ: Law Students In ‘No Man’s Land’ As Coronavirus Delays Bar Exams (Apr. 20, 2020)
- Utah Supreme Court Issues Final Order Letting Grads Of Law Schools With Average 86+% Bar Pass Rate Skip Utah Bar Exam Due To COVID-19 (Apr. 22, 2020)
- Courts Should Look To Three Bar Exam Alternatives During Crisis (Apr. 24, 2020)
- July 2020 Bar Exam Status By Jurisdiction (Apr. 26, 2020)
- California Supreme Court Orders July Bar Exam Delayed To Sept. 9-10, Administered Online (Apr. 28, 2020)
For complete TaxProf Blog coverage of the coronavirus, see here.