Paul L. Caron

Thursday, May 7, 2020

New York Should Replace Discriminatory Bar Exam Plan With Emergency Licensure Open To All Law School Graduates

Following up on this morning's post, 54 More Deans Ask New York To Not Discriminate Against Graduates Of Out-Of-State Law Schools In Sitting For September Bar Exam:

Bloomberg Law op-ed:  New York’s Bar Exam Changes Are Misguided—Here’s a New Proposal, by Claudia Angelos (NYU), Eileen Kaufman (Touro), Deborah Jones Merritt (Ohio State) & Patricia E. Salkin (Touro):

NYSBA (2017)Jurisdictions around the country are struggling to offer the bar exam during the Covid-19 pandemic. The difficulties are particularly acute in New York, which hosts about 10,000 bar takers each July, has been hit hard by the pandemic, and faces an increasingly desperate need for legal services throughout the state. ...

The New York Court of Appeals moved quickly to acknowledge the public health realities, postponing the July exam until September and announcing plans for a distinguished working group to explore contingency plans if that exam, too, needs to be canceled or postponed.

But the court has issued a plan for the September exam that is misguided: the plan confirms that there will be insufficient seats for all candidates wishing to take the exam; prioritizes graduates of New York law schools for claiming seats; and encourages graduates to take the exam in other states.

The announcement makes clear that New York needs to find another means for licensing new lawyers. The court should be facilitating, not obstructing, entry to the profession at a time when clients desperately need legal help and new lawyers are eager and ready to work.

We write here to propose what New York should do, as a practical, policy, and constitutional matter, in order to maintain entry to the profession.

New York should adopt an emergency path to licensure, available to any JD or LLM graduate of an ABA-accredited law school who has not previously failed a bar exam in any U.S. jurisdiction. Those candidates could be licensed after satisfying four requirements that, taken together, would ensure entry level competency in New York law and practice:

TaxProf Blog coverage of the July 2020 bar exam:

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

Coronavirus, Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink


Is the dormant Commerce Clause tested on the New York bar?

Posted by: Ruth Mason | May 10, 2020 4:22:31 AM

In sum, we ask that the Court eliminate the bar exam?? That's the proposal?

The law school industry has learned precisely zero since 2010. It very much remains, we get ours and we should have an unlimited right to access federal lending spigots with no questions asked. Because . .. justice, equality, fraternity.

This time may actually wind up differently for us. All industries want to survive and hate change, but it may finally arrive. In the long run, such change will be better for the legal profession.

Posted by: anon prof | May 7, 2020 11:31:14 AM