Following up on my earlier posts:
Dan Rodriguez (Northwestern), More On The Utah Bar Proposal:
Some scattered thoughts, adding to my post last week about the Utah Supreme Court's pending bar proposal, the proposal that permit graduates from law schools with at least an 86% rate of first-time bar takers (in any jurisdiction) to be admitted under the supervision of lawyers as elaborated in the proposal.
First, some of the commentary, including by BYU's dean, Gordon Smith, suggests that this is considerably more generous than Wisconsin's diploma privilege for the two in-state schools. What is missing from this account, however, is a more detailed description of the Wisconsin rule. ...
Second, any implication in this proposal that graduates will help close the access to justice gap in their work with supervising attorneys is speculative. ...
Third, Derek Muller has a thoughtful post here that, as he notes, comes at the issue from the opposite direction as I did. That is, he worries that the proposal is too inclusive, in that it sweeps many schools whose graduates might not be successful in Utah. This seems to me a plausible and important argument. However, his suggestion that the remedy be to limit the scope of the rule to just BYU and Utah raises protectionist considerations. ...
Finally, we should reflect, as I said earlier, on exactly what this proposal means for our state-by-state system as a whole. Coming back to Professor Muller's point, if Utah and Wisconsin give special rules for their in-state schools, what we do make of a nationwide move to do likewise? For those of us who think that the lawyering world is better without artificial borders, this development is unsettling.
Derek Muller (Pepperdine), Heat and Light Over the Utah Bar Diploma Privilege Proposal:
As my post mentioned, about 1/3 of all law schools qualify their graduates to earn diploma privilege in Utah in 2020 (if the proposal is enacted). Additionally, by my calculations, that’s about 42% of graduating law students. One is hard-pressed to call that “a small percentage.” Finally, by my (rough!) reckoning, it would extend to at least 90% of those who were registered for the Utah bar exam this July, if not more—hardly a “small percentage” ...
All in all, then, there are some increasingly heated disputes. I do hope, however, that bar licensing authorities, including Utah, look closely at the present circumstances, tailor solutions for those present circumstances, and consider the more long-term solutions appropriately in the years to come.
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)
- WSJ: Law Students In ‘No Man’s Land’ As Coronavirus Delays Bar Exams (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)
For complete TaxProf Blog coverage of the coronavirus, see here.