Paul L. Caron

Monday, April 20, 2020

WSJ: Law Students In ‘No Man’s Land’ As Coronavirus Delays Bar Exams

Wall Street Journal, Law Students in ‘No Man’s Land’ as Coronavirus Delays Bar Exams:

Coronavirus[G]raduating law school students [have seen their plans] turned upside down as the coronavirus pandemic has spread and led states to cancel or postpone the July bar exam. Passing the bar before practicing as an attorney is a requirement in most states. ...

[T]he roughly 46,000 other soon-to-be law graduates across the U.S. who planned to take the July bar exam are now uncertain what their job status will be if they can’t take the test that permits them to be an attorney. In addition to a delayed bar exam, the job market for lawyers is starting to dry up. Law firms have reduced staff and cut pay as courts are largely closed, settlement discussions are on pause and few new deals are being struck.

In most jurisdictions, the bar exam is offered twice a year, in February and July. It is made available to the individual state courts that administer it by the National Conference of Bar Examiners, or NCBE. Earlier this month, the NCBE said it made additional tests available for Sept. 9-10 and Sept. 30-Oct. 1 for states that postpone the July test date.

States including New York, Hawaii and Massachusetts have announced plans to cancel or delay the summer bar exam. ... The Utah Supreme Court said earlier this month it will consider waiving the bar exam requirement for recent law school graduates. ... [The NCBE] is exploring what it would take to allow people to take the bar exam online.

“The job market is beyond grim, and then they are in this no man’s land,” New York State Bar Association President Hank Greenberg said of new graduates’ inability to take the bar.

TaxProf Blog coverage of the July 2020 bar exam:

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

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