Saturday, June 27, 2020
Karen Sloan (Law.com), Minnesota High Court Mulls Letting Law Grads Bypass the Bar Exam:
Minnesota could become the third jurisdiction to adopt an emergency diploma privilege that allows law graduates to skip the bar exam during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Minnesota Supreme Court on Wednesday issued an order establishing a public comment period on the diploma privilege idea, which was proposed in a petition submitted by three recent graduates of the University of Minnesota Law School. The public has until July 6 to weigh in.
“In light of the exceptional circumstances surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, the hyper-local impact of the George Floyd killing and subsequent unrest, and the uncertain, unsafe, and disparate impacts of proceeding with the proposed examination plan, Petitioners respectfully request that the Court waive the bar examination requirement of Minnesota’s Rules for Admission to the Bar,” reads the petition.
Utah in April became the first jurisdiction to grant an emergency diploma privilege to law graduates who meet a series of requirements, among which is completing 360 hours of legal work under the supervision of a licensed attorney by the end of 2020. Washington State followed suit June 12, issuing an order allowing any graduate of an American Bar Association-accredited law school who had registered for the July or September bar exams to skip the test without further requirements. The deans of Oregon’s three law schools, as well as recent law graduates in the state, on June 15 sent letters to the Oregon Supreme Court requesting a diploma privilege, though the court has yet to announce any action on that front.
The Minnesota State Board of Law Examiners announced May 20 that it would administer an in-person bar exam on the originally scheduled date of July 28 and 29, while also giving a second exam Sept. 9 and 10.
Above the Law, Law School Grads Petition For Diploma Privilege, State Supreme Court Agrees To Take It Up