Paul L. Caron

Thursday, April 30, 2020

Texas Moves Forward With July Bar Exam, Adds September Option And Expands Practice With Supervision Program

Texas Supreme Court, Thirteenth Emergency Order Regarding the COVID-19 State of Disaster:

Texas BarORDERED that:
1. The Court, in consultation with the Board of Law Examiners (“Board”) and the deans of Texas law schools, has determined that the Board should administer the Texas bar examination as scheduled on July 28-30, 2020, subject to change based on state and local orders and the guidance of public health authorities. The Board is consulting with public health authorities regarding best practices for administering the examination safely and will continue to do so.

2. In light of uncertainty regarding the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic and the extent to which public health may require the continuation of measures (such as social distancing and limitations on maximum group size) to impede the spread of the virus, the Court has determined that the Board should also offer an administration of the Texas bar examination on September 9-11, 2020. ...

7. The Court is mindful that any delay in licensure will have consequences for the livelihoods and careers of recent law school graduates. Accordingly, after consultation with the State Bar of Texas, the Board, and Texas law school deans, the Court repeals the Rules and Regulations Governing the Participation of Qualified Law Students and Qualified Unlicensed Law School Graduates in the Trial of Cases in Texas, promulgated in conjunction with the State Bar of Texas in 1978, and adopts updated Rules Governing the Supervised Practice of Law by Qualified Law Students and Qualified Unlicensed Law School Graduates in Texas (“Rules”).

Texas Lawyer, Texas Moves Forward With July Bar Exam, Adds September Option:

The July Bar Examination in Texas will go forward as scheduled, but test-takers may also choose to take the exam in September or at a later date for no additional fee, the Texas Supreme Court ordered Wednesday. ...

The order also updates the rules to allow unlicensed law students and law school graduates to practice under supervision. The new rules are effective May 18, according to the order, but may be changed following public comment “and as rapidly changing circumstances warrant.” ...

Michael F. Barry, dean of South Texas College of Law Houston, said Texas law school deans were pleased that the Texas Supreme Court and the board included them in discussions about scheduling the exam in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis.

“The board did a nice job of recognizing that some students really do want to take the July bar exam—they have been preparing for it and a delay is a financial and an emotional challenge for them—but also acknowledging that some people have been affected by the pandemic,” Barry said.

(Hat Tip: Josh Blackman)

TaxProf Blog coverage of the July 2020 bar exam:

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

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