Letter From California Deans To California Supreme Court On July Bar Exam (Apr. 17, 2020):
We have seen the letter sent to you on April 15, 2020, from the Chair of the Board of Trustees of the California Bar, Alan K. Steinbrecher. We write as the deans of the ABA-accredited law schools in California to express our concern with these recommendations.
The Board of Trustees recommends that the July bar be postponed to September 9 and 10. We are very concerned that the public health situation will still not allow for the bar to be administered in its traditional manner on those dates. We think that uncertainty about the ability to go forward on those dates will cause great difficulty for our students, many of whom are suffering significant hardships.
We therefore recommend that the Court not plan to go forward with a live administration of the bar on those dates. An on-line bar exam administration, on that date or otherwise, might be possible and we encourage the Court to consider that possibility in consultation with the law school deans. But we have been told by Judy Gunderson, the Executive Director of the National Conference of Bar Examiners, that it is unlikely that an on-line bar exam can be developed and administered that soon. We therefore have concerns about any degree of reliance on that possibility.
We therefore urge that the Court create a form of provisional licensing for those who were going to take the July 2020 bar exam. This was suggested as a possibility in Mr. Steinbrecher’s letter. We favor that it be provisional licensing for a period of time long enough to permit our graduates some degree of flexibility and the ability to launch their careers, available for those who practice under the supervision of a licensed lawyer and who meet the other requirements for admission to the California bar. We would suggest that there be representation of law school deans on any committee developing plans for this.
If it would be helpful, we would be happy to discuss this possibility or others in further detail. Thank you very much for considering our views.
Update: The Recorder, Law Deans Ask California Justices to Provisionally License Students
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)
For complete TaxProf Blog coverage of the coronavirus, see here.