Paul L. Caron

Monday, August 31, 2020

The Bar Exam Debacle: A Crisis Revealed By COVID-19

Young Lawyers Advisory Board, The Bar Exam Debacle: A Crisis Revealed By COVID:

CoronavirusCOVID-19 has wreaked havoc in many areas of life and continues to expose our weaknesses and prompt insightful debate whether it be when and how to re-open businesses, virtual or in-person schooling, or determining if a worker is essential or non-essential. The legal profession is no exception to COVID-19’s effect, and the debate surrounding a virtual bar exam versus recognizing the diploma privilege for the class of 2020 was heated and impactful among graduates and practitioners alike.

The Supreme Court ordered that the bar exam proceed virtually in October, and graduates can practice temporarily under supervision of a licensed attorney in accordance with Rule 1:21-3. The debate leading up to this decision weighed whether diploma privilege could be a viable alternative, and brought to the forefront the hardships on new graduates, which include delaying employment by several months, struggling to find a place to take the exam with reliable internet access, taking a virtual exam that has never been administered before, and increasing financial hardship. It is evident that under the current conditions, there is no “perfect” solution. ...

The issue of COVID-19 and the 2020 bar exam should not be the end of the discussion on whether a diploma equals the ability to practice law. Rather, it is imperative that this be the beginning of a broader discussion of enhancing legal education, increasing accountability, and providing an educational environment for aspiring lawyers that is worth their time and investment.

Coronavirus, Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink


Props to Tom for pointing out the inherent absurdity in this latest attack on credentialism. I'd add airline pilots to that list to drive the point home.

Posted by: MM Classic | Sep 7, 2020 8:40:15 PM

If Diploma Privilege is the answer for lawyers, then it should similarly be extended to ALL professions. Doctors, engineers, architects, nurse practitioners, nurses, etc. Betcha when you decide you want your open heart or brain surgery, you ask "were you a diploma privilege doctor?" After all, the degree is as good as the test. NOT.

Posted by: Tom N. | Aug 31, 2020 12:26:04 PM