Paul L. Caron

Thursday, January 7, 2021

Over 1,000 New Lawyers Get Licenses Without Taking Bar Exam

Bloomberg, Over 1,000 New Lawyers Get Licenses Without Taking Bar Exam:

More than 1,000 recent law school graduates so far have opted to become licensed to practice without taking a bar exam, through emergency programs enacted in four states and Washington, D.C., state data shows. Indifference to the test from at least some firms like Davis Wright Tremaine, their insurers, and other employers could help the push to make temporary diploma privilege programs permanent.

Advocates say programs in Utah, Washington, Oregon, Louisiana, and Washington, D.C. set an important precedent, even though the programs are designed to phase out in 2021.


Only Wisconsin and New Hampshire have permanent diploma privilege programs on the books for graduates from in-state law schools that offer apprenticeship-style education.

Although prosecutor offices in Oregon and Washington have also welcomed new attorneys opting for the diploma privilege route, court officials elsewhere have raised concerns about ensuring that candidates for legal practice are properly vetted. At least one other large law firm has “encouraged” its new associates to take the bar, even if they first opted for privilege, while others declined to comment.

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