San Francisco Chronicle, California State Bar Exam, Delayed Amid Pandemic, Becomes Contentious:
Samuel Humy graduated from Cornell Law School this year and moved to California.
With a job lined up with the Santa Clara County Public Defender Office, he planned to take the California State Bar exam over the summer and start work in early August as a full-fledged lawyer.
Then the coronavirus happened. And the fires.
The State Bar pushed the test normally scheduled in July back to September, then to October as it figured out the software and security issues around a new online format for the hours-long exam, which normally involves test takers crammed into conference rooms.
Humy and his partner, who is also taking the bar, found a place in Santa Cruz to study, but the CZU Lightning Complex fires forced them to evacuate.
“The bar is a stressful test,” without having to worry about a pandemic, fires and an untested online format, Humy said.
Plenty of other would-be lawyers around California are also unsettled. ...
Some people, including Humy, believe that California should allow law graduates to work without passing the bar, given the extraordinary circumstances of the pandemic.
Several other states have granted the privilege this year. The California State Bar said it is working on a provisional licensing program at the direction of the state Supreme Court, which would allow this year’s graduates to postpone taking the bar exam and begin practicing law under supervision.
There is no firm timeline for when that would happen, however. Public comment on a draft rule wrapped up last week, and a plan still would need to be approved by the State Bar Board of Trustees and adopted by the California Supreme Court.
The nature of the online bar exam has also raised some concerns. ... Some law school deans penned a letter asking the test be open book because of concerns about how remote proctoring will work, potential technical difficulties, and the increased stress they said a remote exam will cause.