Paul L. Caron

Sunday, May 10, 2020

July Bar Exam Update: Alabama, Indiana, Louisiana, Nebraska, Nevada, North Carolina, South Dakota

CoronavirusSupreme Court of Alabama, In re: July 2020 Alabama Bar Examination (May 8, 2020):

[A]pplicants shall be eligible to participate as student interns, as defined by the Alabama Rule for Legal Internship by Law Students, by satisfying all requirements of said rule, with the following temporary exceptions:
1. Applicants shall not be required to satisfy the law student registration requirement of Rule I.A of the Rules Governing Admission to the Alabama State Bar;
2. An applicant shall be permitted to participate as a student intern until the earlier of: (1) the applicant’s date of admission to the Alabama State Bar; or (2) the date of release of results of the February 2021 bar exam. 

Indiana Supreme Court, In the Matter of the July 2020 Indiana Bar Examination (May 7, 2020):

On April 8, 2020, the Court entered an Order in which it indicated that it would announce its plan for the administration of the July 2020 Indiana bar examination on or before May 8, 2020. As a result of the circumstances surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, it is unclear whether the State Board of Law Examiners will be able to safely administer a two-day, inperson Indiana bar examination on July 28-29, 2020 as scheduled or at any later date in calendar year 2020.

The Supreme Court therefore ORDERS that the Indiana State Board of Law Examiners shall conduct a one-day bar examination administered remotely on Tuesday, July 28, 2020. The examination shall consist of the Indiana Essay Examination and a series of short answer questions on the topics tested on the Multistate Bar Examination. ...

Additional information regarding delivery of the online bar examination, including plans for proctoring, will be provided by the State Board of Law Examiners to bar exam applicants, law schools, bar review courses and other interested parties by May 28, 2020.

The Louisiana Supreme Court and Louisiana Supreme Court Committee on Bar Admissions Announce Changes to July 2020 Bar Examinations (May 8, 2020):

The Louisiana Supreme Court (the “Court”) and the Louisiana Supreme Court Committee on Bar Admissions (the “LASCBA”) jointly announce that the 3-day bar examination previously scheduled for July 20, 22 and 24, 2020 has been cancelled.

The LASCBA will now administer a one-day bar examination on two dates: July 27, 2020 and October 10, 2020. ...

Seating capacity may be limited to ensure compliance with all available public health guidelines in place at the time of the administration of each exam. Applicants will be given a choice as to their preferred date and location on the following priority schedule: (1) first-time test-takers, prioritized by the date application and fees were received by LASCBA, and (2) repeat takers, prioritized by the date application and fees were received by LASCBA.

The scope of the examination will also be reduced in light of the shortened testing time, and will be announced on the LASCBA’s website by Friday, May 15, 2020. This one-day, limited scope examination format will be used only for the July 27, 2020 and October 10, 2020 administrations.

The application deadline for the one-day examinations to be held on July 27, 2020 and October 10, 2020 is May 30, 2020. Applicants are encouraged to submit their application as soon as possible. If seating remains available for the October 10, 2020 administration after the May 30, 2020 deadline, the Court and the LASCBA may announce an additional registration period for the October exam.

The LASCBA recognizes the enormous challenges in which we are all currently operating. The LASCBA is continually monitoring all public health information, government requirements and recommendations, and will implement all required protocols for the safe administration of the exam for all involved, including applicants, administrators and proctors. Applicants will be provided with information regarding required protocols in advance of each examination.

The LASCBA’s plan to proceed with a one-day examination in July and October is based on currently available public health information. As the COVID-19 situation continues to evolve, that information may change and the Court and the LASCBA may consider other options, including cancelling either exam. Applicants are expected to check the LASCBA’s website regularly for additional announcements regarding this matter.

Supreme Court of Nebraska, In re July 20 Bar Examination (May 7, 2020):

The Nebraska Supreme Court continues to carefully monitor the evolving circumstances presented by the spread of the novel coronavirus and the COVID-19 disease. Pursuant to the authority vested in the Chief Justice of the Nebraska Supreme Court under Neb. Const. art. V/ § 1, Neb. Rev. Stat. § 7-102, and Neb. Ct. R. § 3-100 et seq./ the following administrative order is entered for the following reasons:

WHEREAS/ conditions in the State of Nebraska at this time do not warrant changing or cancelling the July 28 and 29, 2020, Bar Examination; however/ with the novel coronavirus and COVID-19 disease/ and resulting Directed Health Measures/ changes to testing dates and procedures are likely necessary;

WHEREAS/ Directed Health Measures include, but are not limited to/required social distancing, limiting the number of persons in each exam room as well as other precautions to ensure safety of persons involved with the exam/ and hygiene of the facility/ testing rooms, and any materials or hand-outs;

Supreme Court of Nevada, In re Matter of the July 2020 Nevada State Bar Examination (May 7, 2020):

Chief Justice Kristina Pickering and Associate Chief Justice Mark Gibbons petition the Nevada Supreme Court to approve the attached proposal from the Nevada Board of Bar Examiners to proceed with the July 2020 Nevada Bar Examination as scheduled but with modifications to its format. If approved, the proposal would eliminate the Multistate Bar Examination from the July 2020 examination, which cannot be administered consistent with COVID-19 social distancing requirements. The essay portion of the examination would proceed, but under modified conditions. ...

The COVID-19 pandemic has left the administration of bar examinations across the United States in doubt. We agree with the Nevada Board of Bar Examiners that it is in the best interest of the State of Nevada and applicants to proceed with a modified bar examination in July 2020. To protect test takers and examination administrators and provide adequate protections to the public against practitioners who have not established minimal competence, we recommend approving the proposal submitted by the Board of Bar Examiners.

This matter deserves immediate attention, so that those planning to take the July 2020 can adequately prepare. At the same time, public notice and opportunity to comment are appropriate. Accordingly, we request that the Court place this matter on its administrative docket to consider the proposal submitted by the Board of Bar Examiners. We further request entry of an immediate order inviting written public comment on this proposal over a period of no fewer than 7 calendar days and directing the Clerk of the Court to give public notice of this proposal and the comment period.

IT IS ORDERED the July 2020 Nebraska Bar examination will be administered on July 28 and 29, 2020, along with an additional examination session on September 9 and 10, 2020

Supreme Court of Nevada, In re Matter of the July 2020 Nevada State Bar Examination (May 7, 2020):

Order Inviting Public Comment:
On May 7, 2020, Chief Justice Kristina Pickering and Associate Chief Justice Mark Gibbons filed a petition recommending that the Court modify the format of the July 2020 Nevada Bar Examination as proposed by the Nevada Board of Bar Examiners in Exhibit A. The court is inclined to approve the proposal.

The Nevada Supreme Court invites written comment from the bench, bar, and public regarding the proposed modified format of the bar examination for the July 2020 examination. The Clerk of the Court shall publish notice of this ADKT and its comment period on the Nevada Supreme Court's website, to the UNLV Boyd School of Law, and through the State and County Bar Associations. Comments may be submitted to: Elizabeth A. Brown, Clerk of the Supreme Court, 201 South Carson Street, Carson City, Nevada 89701 by 5:00 p.m., May 14, 2020. 

Board of Law Examiners of the State of North Carolina, July 2020 NC Bar Exam Update (May 5, 2020):

The North Carolina Board of Law Examiners (“NCBLE”) presently intends to administer the July 2020 bar examination on July 28-29, 2020. 

The National Conference of Bar Examiners (“NCBE”) has advised that as of May 5, 2020, 19 jurisdictions have announced that they intend to cancel or postpone the July bar exam; the other jurisdictions either plan to go ahead with the July exam or have not yet made a decision. Based on this information, NCBE has determined that there will most likely be a sufficient number of July examinees to ensure that exam scores can be equated (a necessary part of scoring any high-stakes exam). Accordingly, NCBE plans to make exam materials (MBE, MEE, and MPT) available to jurisdictions able to administer an exam in July.

The North Carolina Board of Law Examiners will continue to monitor public health information as well as state and local requirements and directives related to COVID-19 as it evaluates whether it is possible to administer the July 2020 bar examination as scheduled. 

If the July 2020 examination cannot be administered as scheduled, the NCBLE intends to administer the North Carolina bar examination on September 9-10, 2020. 

The NCBLE understands the stress caused by the uncertainties surrounding the COVID-19 crisis, and that the impact the COVID-19 crisis may have on the July bar exam is a source of additional stress. The NCBLE will continue to monitor the situation and will update this website as new information becomes available.

Supreme Court of South Dakota, Order Amending the Rules and Regulations For Admission of Attorneys to Practice Law in South Dakota During the COVID-19 Pandemic (May 6, 2020):

1. Because the NCBE may not provide MEE, MPT, and MEE bar exam materials to administer the bar examination on July 28-29, 2020, Regulations 3, 4, and 7 of the South Dakota Board of Bar Examiners are amended to provide:
A. In the event NCBE does not provide materials to allow the MBE, MPT, and MEE exams to be administered in July 2020, in lieu of using the MBE, MPT, and MEE, the Board of Bar Examiners is authorized to develop, administer, and grade a 10-question essay examination covering Indian Law and any of the topics tested by the MBE, MPT, and MEE. The essay exam will be administered on Tuesday, July 28, 2020. The passing score will be a general average of 75%.
B. Only applicants who have filed an application postmarked on or before May 1, 2020 are eligible to take this essay examination.
C. An applicant may opt to take the MPT/MEE/ILQ and MBE in February 2021 rather than the July 2020 essay. Pursuant to SDCL 16-16-13, application fees will transfer only to the February 2021 examination.
D. The Board of Bar Examiners has broad discretion in administering the July 2020 examination and must give applicants notice of the time, venues, and any special circumstances necessitated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Administration of the July examination must comply with federal, state, and local public health orders so that examinees, staff, and volunteers are not placed at unreasonable risk. The Board will monitor the situation and is authorized to cancel the July exam at any time before the examination if the situation warrants.
E. Should the July bar examination be cancelled, the Board is authorized to administer the MPT/MEE/ILQ and MEE on the next available dates that the NCBE makes such tests available under the conditions of l(D) of this Order.
2. The provisions of SDCL 16-18-2.1 through 2.10 allow law students and graduates of the University of South Dakota School of Law and ABA approved law schools to work under the supervision of a licensed attorney until they are able to take the bar exam and obtain their results. The certification of the law school dean required by SDCL 16-18-2.1 cannot remain in effect in excess of eighteen months. For graduates who have applied for the July 2020 South Dakota bar examination, SDCL 16-18.2.3 is amended to provide that the term of the certification remains in effect until the expiration of the term fixed by the certificate of the dean or until three months after the announcement of results of the July 2020, September 2020, or February 2021 bar exam, depending on if the examination is administered, and whichever term is earlier.

TaxProf Blog coverage of the July 2020 bar exam:

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

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