Paul L. Caron

Friday, May 15, 2020

July Bar Exam Update: Colorado, Delaware, Kansas, Kentucky, Ohio, Tennessee, Washington

CoronavirusSupreme Court of Colorado, Colorado Supreme Court Announcement Regarding July 2020 Bar Examination (May 14, 2020):

The Court presently intends to hold the Colorado bar examination, which is a Uniform Bar Examination, as scheduled on July 28 and 29, 2020. Applicants should prepare to strictly comply with all applicable public health recommendations and exam protocols, which may include wearing masks, keeping six-foot distances, and cooperating with temperature checks. Proctors and exam administrators likewise will be abiding by such recommendations and protocols. The OAA is working with public health officials to develop detailed protocols, and will announce those details as they become available [here]. Because of the evolving nature of the current pandemic, those details are subject to change.

Should the public health environment require that the next bar examination not occur on July 28 and 29, it will be rescheduled for September 30 and October 1, 2020. If that occurs, all applicants who submitted a timely July examination application under C.R.C.P. 203.4 will be automatically registered for the September 30-October 1 bar examination, with the application fee transferred to that exam. If the September 30-October 1 bar examination cannot be held, the application fees for that examination will be automatically transferred to the February 2021 bar examination. Applicants not wishing to take the next scheduled bar examination may request a refund of the application fee and a withdrawal of the application. All requests for refunds must be made by a date to be announced by the OAA. If it should become necessary to postpone the February 2021 bar examination, the Court will address related contingencies in a later announcement.

The Court understands that the COVID-19 pandemic currently presents a number of frustrating uncertainties in the timing for licensure. As such, the Court has issued an Emergency Rule Concerning Certification for Limited Practice as a Graduate Before Admission By Examination. The rule, C.R.C.P. 205.8, is triggered if the July 2020 bar examination is postponed, and allows recent graduates to engage in supervised practice pursuant to the conditions outlined in the rule. It can be found [here].

Supreme Court of Delaware, Supreme Court of Delaware Postpones July Bar Exam (May 11, 2020):

The Supreme Court of Delaware announced today that, due to the ongoing public health emergency arising from the COVID-19 pandemic, the Delaware bar examination will not be administered on July 27 – 29, 2020 as previously scheduled. The examination is rescheduled to September 9-11, 2020. Further details will be posted and communicated to the 2020 applicants as they become available. 

Kansas Supreme Court, Kansas Will Offer Uniform Bar Exam July 28-29 (May 14, 2020):

Today, after considering the National Conference of Bar Examiners May 5, 2020, announcement that it will make a Uniform Bar Examination available for July, the Kansas Supreme Court affirmed its April, 17, 2020, plan to administer the examination on July 28 and 29. ...

As the Supreme Court announced in April, those qualified applicants who do not choose to take the exam in July will be given an opportunity to take it in September, without the necessity of an additional application submission or fee payment.

Supreme Court of Kentucky, In re Administration of 2020 Bar Examination (May 11, 2020):

On March 6, 2020, Governor Beshear entered Executive Order 2020-215 and declared a State of Emergency in response to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) emergency in the Commonwealth. In light of this measure and to protect the health and safety of employees, volunteers, and bar applicants, and under Section 116 of the Constitution and Supreme Court Rule 2.000, et seq., the Court hereby ORDERS the following measures to be implemented with respect to administration of the upcoming 2020 bar examinations:
1. SUBJECT TO EXISTING GOVERNMENTAL HEALTH RESTRICTIONS, the Kentucky Office of Bar Admissions (KYOBA) shall offer a Summer bar examination on July 28-29 at three locations, and a Fall bar examination on September 30-October 1 at location(s) (to be determined). Applicants may only register for one of the testing dates. No applicant who takes a July exam (whether in Kentucky or another state) is permitted to take a September exam.
2. An applicant who applies by May 11, 2020, will be assigned to the July exam, unless the applicant expresses a preference for the September exam by notifying the KYOBA on or before June 1. If the September preference can be accommodated, the applicant will be notified no later than June 15. The bar exam fees paid for the July test shall be applied to the September test. Except as provided in this Order, bar exam fees are not transferable or refundable. SCR 2.022(7).
3. The application deadline set forth in SCR 2.023 is extended to June 1 for all applicants who have not previously applied and who desire to take the September exam. The late fee, $500, set forth in SCR 2.023(2) shall apply to all such applications.
4. The July 28-29 bar examination will be held at three locations: University of Louisville, Louisville; Northern Kentucky University, Highland Heights; and University of Kentucky, Lexington. The Board of Bar Examiners shall determine the most appropriate facility at each location.
a. Bar applicants who graduated from one of these law schools shall have preference to take the bar examination at their school.
b. Applicants who did not attend an in-state law school and applicants who desire to take the examination at a location other than their law school shall notify the KYOBA by June 1, listing the locations in order of preference. The KYOBA shall attempt to assign the indicated preference, but because of space limitations at the school locations, no assurance can be made as to preferred location.
c. KYOBA shall assign the testing location for applicants who request non-standard test accommodations pursuant to SCR 2.082.
d. Applicants shall be advised of their testing location no later than June 15.
5. Two weeks prior to the exam date, the KYOBA shall notify each applicant of her or his designated report time to the testing location on each day of the bar exam.
6. Two weeks prior to the exam date, the KYOBA shall adopt and notify all applicants of health safety protocols based on then public health considerations. All employees, volunteers, and applicants shall comply with those protocols.
7. Health safety protocols may include COVID-19 screening prior to entry into the test location building, including, but not limited to, a temperature screen. Any applicant who is prohibited from entering the exam location because of health safety protocols shall be deferred to the next bar examination. The Board of Bar Examiners’ decisions with respect to health safety protocols shall be binding and non-appealable.
a. An applicant who is denied admission to the July bar exam due to health safety protocols shall be deferred to September.
b. An applicant who is denied admission to the September bar exam due to health safety protocols shall be deferred to February 2021.
8. Upon entry into the exam location, each applicant shall be assigned her or his room and seat location.
9. Except as expressly set forth in this Order, existing Rules of the Kentucky Supreme Court and bar examination rules and protocols of the National Conference of Bar Examiners and the KYOBA remain in full force and effect.

This Order shall be effective upon entry and until further Order of this Court.

Supreme Court of Ohio, In re July 2020 Bar Examination and Expansion of Practice Pending Admission during the Admission to the Practice of Law Process (May 14, 2020):

WHEREAS, on March 9, 2020, the Governor of Ohio issued Executive Order 2020-01D and declared a state of emergency in Ohio in response to COVID-19; WHEREAS, on March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization publicly characterized COVID-19 as a global “pandemic” requiring “urgent and aggressive action” to control the spread of COVID-19; WHEREAS, on March 13, 2020, the President of the United States declared a National Emergency; WHEREAS, Gov.Bar R. I establishes a July administration of the Ohio Bar Examination; WHEREAS, Gov.Bar R. I(19) establishes Practice Pending Admission during the Admission to the Practice of Law Process; NOW THEREFORE, the Court hereby orders the following:

(A) In light of the COVID-19 pandemic and for vital safety, logistical, and planning considerations concerning the administration of the Ohio Bar Examination, the July 2020 Ohio Bar Examination is postponed to September 9, 2020, and September 10, 2020. Details regarding the September Bar Examination will be provided as soon as they are available.  (B) Applicants who timely applied to sit for the July 2020 Bar Examination on or before the May 10, 2020, deadline shall be automatically rolled over to the September Bar Examination, and the application deadlines contained in Gov.Bar R. I shall not be extended. If an applicant withdraws the application to sit for this administration of this Bar Examination, the application fee shall be refunded, and the applicant will not be permitted to apply at a later date to sit for this administration of the examination.
(C) Gov.Bar R. I(19), Practice Pending Admission during the Admission to the Practice of Law Process, which is effective June 1, 2020, shall be expanded to allow recent law graduates to apply to the Court for temporary supervised practice on or after Monday, June 15, 2020, under the following eligibility requirements:
(1) Applicants must be a December 2019 or 2020 graduate of an ABA accredited law school;
(2) Applicants must satisfy the provisions of Gov. Bar R. I(1) through (3) and have a Registration Application and Application to take the July 2020 bar examination submitted to the Office of Bar Admissions;
(3) Applicants must receive from the Board of Commissioners on Character and Fitness final approval of the applicant’s character, fitness, and moral qualifications to practice;
(4) Applicants must practice under the supervision of an active Ohio attorney in good standing who has been licensed to practice law for at least three years;
(5) Applicants must not have failed a Bar Examination since their graduation from law school;
(6) Applicants must submit to the Office of Bar Admissions a form attesting that the applicant has read and agrees to be bound by the Ohio Rules of Professional Conduct;
(7) Applicants must complete and submit for approval to the Office of Bar Admissions an Application to Practice Pending Admission, on forms provided by that office;
(8) Upon acceptance of an Application to Practice Pending Admission, the Office of Bar Admissions shall forward the application to the Office of Attorney Services, which shall issue the applicant an Ohio attorney-registration number and designate the applicant as “Practice Pending Admission.” The Office of Attorney Services shall notify the Office of Disciplinary Counsel that the applicant has been granted this status;
(9) The applicant shall immediately notify the Office of Disciplinary Counsel and the Office of Bar Admissions if the applicant becomes subject to criminal charges or becomes subject to a disciplinary investigation or sanction in any jurisdiction while authorized to practice pending admission;
(10) Once the applicant has been designated Practice Pending Admission, the applicant may do any of the following:
(a) Enter appearances;
(b) Draft legal documents and pleadings;
(c) Provide legal services to clients;
(d) Provide other counsel consistent with the practice of law in Ohio.
(11) The supervising attorney’s name and bar ID number shall appear on all papers filed with a court;
(12) The temporary authority to practice for December 2019 and 2020 graduates shall terminate upon the occurrence of any of the following:
(a) On the date the applicant withdraws the applicant’s application to sit for the July/September 2020 Ohio Bar Examination;
(b) On the first date of the Bar Examination, if an applicant fails to sit for the next available Bar Examination in Ohio;
(c) On the Monday after distribution of the results of the first Bar Examination offered in Ohio if the applicant is not successful on that examination. If the applicant is successful on that examination, it shall extend until the applicant is admitted to practice of law in Ohio so long as the applicant is admitted within 12 months of that Bar Examination. If the applicant is not admitted within 12 months following that Bar Examination, the temporary authority to practice law shall automatically terminate.
(d) Upon the Board of Commissioners on Character and Fitness revoking final approval of the applicant’s character, fitness, and moral qualifications to practice;
(e) On the date the applicant is no longer practicing under the supervision of an active Ohio attorney in good standing.

Supreme Court of Tennessee, In re: COVID-19 Pandemic, Second Order Temporarily Modifying Certain Provisions of Tennessee Supreme Court Rule 7 Related to the July 2020 Bar Examination (May 11, 2020):

Consistent with the Tennessee Supreme Court’s COVID-19 Pandemic Orders entered March 13, 2020, March 25, 2020, and April 24, 2020, and in furtherance of the Judicial Branch’s obligation to mitigate the risks and effects of mitigation of risks associated with COVID-19, and due to continued restrictions on the size of gatherings due to the pandemic, the Court adopts recommendations of the Board of Law Examiners regarding the administration of the July 2020, October 2020, and February 2021 bar examinations in Tennessee.

IT IS ORDERED that, absent new or extended “safer at home” orders, the July 2020 bar examination will be administered in Tennessee on July 28 and 29, 2020, in Knoxville, Memphis, and Nashville.

IT IS ORDERED FURTHER that the temporary policy, Policy P-4.03, recommended by the Board of Law Examiners and establishing a protocol for seating applicants is approved. While it is the intent and expectation that the July 2020 bar examination will go forward according to schedule, this is subject to change if new or more restrictive orders are entered limiting the size of gatherings. The Board shall continue to monitor the situation and will make recommendations to the Court if modifications are required. The Board of Law Examiners remains open and shall continue to provide services, while balancing the health and safety of Board members, staff, applicants, exam proctors and the public.

It is so ORDERED.

Supreme Court of Washington, Re: 2020 Bar Exams (May 13, 2020):

The Washington Supreme Court recognizes that the Covid-19 pandemic has significantly disrupted many of the regular functions of the law schools in Washington and of the Washington State Bar Association’s (WSBA) regulatory functions. The Court has inherent authority over the admission and licensing to practice law in Washington and over the WSBA’s administration of those functions. Administering the Bar exam is an essential function of the Court and the WSBA, and this letter outlines shared expectations for the safe administration of Bar exams in July and September, 2020.
- The Bar exam will be administered twice, on July 28 and 29, 2020 and on September 9 and 10, 2020, in both the Seattle/Tacoma/Everett area and the Spokane area, in multiple separate test administration sites as determined and arranged by the WSBA.
- Those applicants who have filed an application to take the July 2020 Bar exam under existing deadlines will be permitted to take the exam in either July or September 2020. In addition, applicants who, within the selection timeline to be established by WSBA admissions staff, choose to transfer to the February 2021 exam administration or to withdraw their application completely, will be permitted to do so without additional application fees (for transferring) or will be offered a full refund of the application fee (for withdrawal); All testing sites for both the July and the September exam administrations will be administered in strict compliance with then-existing State and local public health guidelines, including with respect to social distancing and proper ventilation/airflow;
- WSBA admissions staff may impose reasonable requirements on applicants, staff and proctors, in order to comply with public health guidelines and social distancing requirements, which may include but are not limited to:
o Requiring the use of face masks and/or gloves, and compliance with physical distancing requirements, while in the exam testing location;
o Requiring applicants, staff, and proctors to answer questions about and/or certify to current information about their health, exposure to Covid-19, and recent travel, consistent with public health guidelines;
o Requiring applicants, staff, and proctors to acknowledge that they will not be admitted to, or will be required to leave, the testing area if they display symptoms of illness or fail to comply with requirements;
o Requiring staggered arrival, registration, and starting and ending times for exam sessions; and
o Other conditions or requirements that appear necessary to achieve and maintain a safe administration of the exam.
The court may approve additional modifications to court rules and exam procedures as deemed necessary for the safe administration of the Bar exam in July and September, 2020.

TaxProf Blog coverage of the July 2020 bar exam:

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

Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink