Paul L. Caron

Monday, April 20, 2020

NCBE Opposes States Granting Diploma Privileges To 2020 Law Grads Due To COVID-19

National Conference of Bar Examiners, Bar Admissions During the COVID-19 Pandemic: Evaluating Options for the Class of 2020:

NCBE (2020)The class of 2020 faces unprecedented challenges as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, as does the American public. These challenges are especially being felt by low income and vulnerable populations. Decisions about how to meet the anticipated increased need for legal services, while ensuring public protection through the licensure process, are vested with each court. Tied up in such decisions, however, is the issue of how to minimize the financial impact on law school graduates resulting from potential delays in licensure. NCBE offers this paper to provide courts and admissions boards with information to assist them as they weigh options for allowing the class of 2020 to become licensed in the event the traditional bar exam cannot safely be administered.

Karen Sloan (, Ditching the Bar Exam Puts Public at Risk, Says Test Maker:

Allowing this year’s law graduates to skip the bar exam amid the coronavirus pandemic risks unleashing unqualified new lawyers on the public and hobbling law school accreditation efforts, according to the group that designs the test.

Jurisdictions across the country are grappling with the July bar exam and whether it will be possible to administer the test safely. Licensing exams for doctors and nurses are not being waived due to COVID-19, the national conference’s paper notes, although those exams are being delayed or delivered in alternative ways. “There are good reasons the jurisdictions have relied upon the bar exam for decades as a fair, objective, valid, and efficient method for making licensing decisions, rather than relying upon diploma privilege,” reads the white paper. ...

It’s not surprising that the NCBE is against eliminating the test for admission. Developing the exam is the core function of the organization, which has nearly 100 employees and reported $26.6 million in revenue in 2018, according to tax filings. Still, its white paper lays out the protections to the public that would be compromised without requiring the test for would-be lawyers. ...

The Utah Supreme Court last week issued a proposed order under which certain 2020 law graduates could skip the bar exam. ... [T]he National Conference of Bar Examiners’ paper lays out numerous arguments against diploma privilege, most notably that requiring lawyers to pass the exam serves an important consumer protection function and ensures new lawyers have a minimum level of competence. ...

Instead of adopting diploma privileges, jurisdictions should look to temporary supervised practice provisions that allow law graduates to practice until they can take the test, the paper argues. The ABA’s Board of Governors has also endorsed the expansion of supervised practice provisions as an interim step.

TaxProf Blog coverage of the July 2020 bar exam:

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

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"Ditching bar exam a bad idea, says maker of bar exam" - LOL

Posted by: anon | Apr 20, 2020 7:28:30 AM