Paul L. Caron

Friday, June 19, 2020

Law School Graduates Push For Diploma Privilege As A Matter Of Racial Justice

Above the Law, Law School Graduates Push For Diploma Privilege As A Matter Of Racial Justice:

Let’s get something clear off the top. Here is the rank order of licensure options for 2020 ranked from best to worst:

Here is the rank order of licensure options for 2020 ranked from best to worst:

1. Diploma Privilege (Utah, Washington)
2. Online July Exams (Indiana, Michigan)
3. Online Fall Exams (DC)
4. Delayed/Staggered In-Person Exams (New York, Massachusetts)
5. July In-Person Exams (a frighteningly non-zero list)
6. Injecting Yourself With Coronavirus To Own The Libs (Mississippi) ...

[A] recent statement about the importance of addressing racial injustice in the wake of the George Floyd killing has become the jumping off point for a renewed call for action from recent graduates:

Your April 22nd letter setting out the Commonwealth’s 2020 bar exam plan acknowledges “reasonable concerns about the disparate impact of the bar on law graduates of color.” We implore you to consider that your solution to these “reasonable concerns” (a committee that will study possible alternatives to the bar examination “as soon as the emergency abates”) does not help the Black, Latinx, and Indigenous graduates most likely to be affected by the COVID-19 pandemic—an ongoing crisis unlikely to subside prior to the Massachusetts bar exam. We refer once more to your June 3rd statement: “This must be a time not just of reflection but of action.”

With that in mind, the letter asks the state to reconsider its earlier dismissal of a diploma privilege option. Specifically, the letter cites the Washington Model where those seeking only local admission could move forward on their applications based on their law school diplomas while those who need the portability afforded by the UBE could still take the exam

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The bar exam does not determine who is competent. Take a look at the laundry lists of suspended and disbarred attorneys on each state bar associations' websites. All those individuals passed the bar exam.

Posted by: anonymous | Jun 19, 2020 9:45:55 AM

You know, I remember the affirmative action wars back in the 1990s, where the conservatives like Ward Connerly argued that if this continued, ultimately there's either be a lowering of academic standards, or even separate standards for Asians and whites vs. everybody else. And of course, those on the other side said that was completely ridiculous, would never happen, you're just a racist for suggesting as much.

Well, ding dong, that witch is dead...

Posted by: MM | Jun 20, 2020 7:01:26 PM

It’s not “justice” to change the rules on the fly.

Posted by: Mike LIvingston | Jun 21, 2020 3:06:08 AM

@anonymous: look a little bit more closely. More than half the time they didn’t pass the bar exam on the first try. That’s telling.

Posted by: Anon | Jun 23, 2020 1:32:03 AM

Amen, MM.

Also, you know what comes after gay marriage, right? Stay tuned!

Posted by: Anon | Jun 23, 2020 1:33:26 AM