Paul L. Caron

Wednesday, August 5, 2020

ABA Votes 64%-36% To Urge States To Ditch In-Person Bar Exams During COVID-19

ABA Press Release, ABA House Concludes Historic Meeting After Adopting Robust List of New Policies:

ABA Logo (2016)The American Bar Association House of Delegates adopted nearly 60 new policies at its two-day meeting that ended today, including a resolution that urges state lawyer-licensing authorities to make public health issues paramount for upcoming bar exams and provide options for recent graduates who cannot take the bar.

The HOD, as the 597-member group of state, local and specialty bar associations is known, met virtually because of the COVID-19 pandemic to conclude the 2020 Virtual ABA Annual Meeting, which began July 29. ...

The bar exam resolution, 10G, was adopted by a 256-146 vote. It asks the highest court or bar admission authority in each state or other licensing jurisdiction to cancel or not administer in person the examination during the COVID-19 crisis unless cleared by public health authorities. The resolution offers several alternative approaches to the bar exam, including a diploma privilege during the crisis. It does not favor any specific option.

Across the country, state and other lawyer-licensing authorities made individual decisions on how best to approach the past July 2020 bar exam, and others are planned in the next few months. The bar exam is prepared by the National Conference of Bar Examiners (NCBE) and is administered independently of the ABA and the ABA Council of the Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar, which is the sole national accreditor of U.S. law schools. ...

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