Paul L. Caron

Friday, April 10, 2020

July Bar Exam Update: Alaska, Guam

Alaska Bar Association Announcements:

CoronavirusThe Alaska Bar Exam will not be administered on July 28 & 29, 2020.

The bar exam will be held on Wednesday and Thursday, September 9 & 10, 2020.

The application deadlines remain the same.

The February 2020 bar exam results are still expected to be released on May 7, 2020.

In re Relative to Postponing the July 2020 Guam Bar Examination Due to Circumstances Related to COVID-19 (Coronavirus) (Supreme Court of Guam Adm. Order No. ADM20-218 Apr. 9, 2020):

In response to the growing public health concerns worldwide and in Guam, the Supreme Court has considered alternative approaches to novel issues and has modified numerous court practices in recent weeks. Based on current guidance from I Maga’hågan Guåhan (the Governor of Guam), the Guam Department of Public Health and Social Services, and other authorities, it is unlikely that the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic will have abated by July 2020 to a degree that it would be prudent to administer the bar examination at that time.

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April 10, 2020 in Coronavirus, Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Law School Clinics Across The Country Offer Coronavirus Help

Following up on my previous post, During COVID-19 Pandemic, Harvard Law School's 46 Clinics Continue To Virtually Serve Clients:  Karen Sloan (, Law School Clinics Across the Country Offer Coronavirus Help:

CoronavirusLaw school clinics and programs have pivoted in recent weeks to focus on legal matters involving COVID-19—even as their own operations have transformed from in-person to online formats.

Their efforts involve advocating to protect the health of prison inmates, ensuring access to food amid a pandemic, executing wills remotely, helping small businesses buffeted by the crisis and much more.

“No matter what your subject matter is, there are COVID-related issues, so you don’t need to start a COVID clinic,” said Michael W. Martin, the director of clinics at Fordham University School of Law. “In many ways, the COVID issues will come to you regardless of what you’re doing because it’s affecting society on such a plenary level.”

Here’s a sampling of how law school clinics and students are pitching in.

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April 10, 2020 in Coronavirus, Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, April 9, 2020

BigLaw Starts Cancelling Summer Associate Programs, Delaying First Year Associate Start Dates, And Cutting Salaries

American Lawyer, Orrick Cuts Salaries, Delays First-Year Associate Start Dates to 2021:

CoronavirusOrrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe appears to be the first firm to announce it will delay its incoming first-year associate class until 2021 as a result of the economic impact of the coronavirus.

The firm confirmed the move along with several other cost-cutting measures aimed at combating the coronavirus’ impact on the firm’s 2020 financial performance. Those other measures include reducing pay for U.S. attorneys and staff firmwide and reducing some staff hours.

The salary cuts will begin Wednesday through the end of the year. Orrick will also reduce hours for many staff members and alter their 2020 summer associate program.

American Lawyer, Cahill Suspends Summer Associates Program But Offers 'Pay in Full' and Jobs Later On:

Cahill Gordon & Reindel announced it was suspending its summer associate program but will offer jobs upon graduation in 2021 to would-be participants and still pay the 30 summer associates “in full for the summer.”  The New York-based firm pays summers $3,600 per week. ...

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April 9, 2020 in Coronavirus, Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

With Bar Exam In Limbo, Momentum Builds for Supervised Practice Programs

Karen Sloan (, With Bar Exam in Limbo, Momentum Builds for Supervised Practice Programs:

CoronavirusLaw students across the country have joined forces to lobby state courts and bar examiners to adopt emergency diploma privileges that would allow them to skip the bar exam altogether due to the coronavirus pandemic.

But authorities who oversee attorney admission are beginning to coalesce around a different alternative now that the July bar exam looks unlikely: temporarily allowing law graduates to practice under the supervision of licensed attorneys until they have the chance to sit for the bar.

The move toward expanded supervised practice programs got a boost Tuesday when the American Bar Association’s Board of Governors adopted a resolution urging jurisdictions to cancel the July bar and allow 2019 and 2020 law graduates to practice under supervision until they take and pass the bar exam in 2021. ...

The National Conference of Bar Examiners has said it will decide by May 5 whether there is enough demand from jurisdictions to administer the July bar. In the meantime, it has committed to providing two alternate fall dates for jurisdictions that postpone: Sept. 9 and 10, and Sept. 30 and Oct. 1. ...

Some states are already unveiling expanded supervised practice programs amid the pandemic. The Supreme Court of New Jersey on Monday officially postponed the July bar exam until the fall and announced an expanded supervised practice provision. ... Bar authorities in Arizona and Tennessee have not yet canceled the July bar exam, but both jurisdictions have announced expansions of supervised practice programs. ...

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April 9, 2020 in Coronavirus, Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Leadership Lessons From The COVID-19 Pandemic

Wall Street Journal op-ed:  Before the Pandemic, They Were Anonymous. Now They’re the Best Leaders We Have., by Sam Walker (author, The Captain Class: The Hidden Force That Creates the World’s Greatest Teams (2018)):

Captain ClassAs the novel coronavirus continues to spread around the world, a funny thing is happening. The leaders who have distinguished themselves under pressure are rarely the bold, charismatic, impulsive, self-regarding, politically calculating alphas we’ve elected. The real heroes have been, for lack of a better term, career deputies [e.g., Chen Chien-jen (Taiwan), Jung Eun-kyeong (South Korea), Anthony Fauci (United States), Jenny Harries (Britain), Mutahi Kagwe (Kenya)]. ...

These examples, and many others, point to one underlying theme. In a crisis, nobody cares how big your personality is or how disruptive you can be. The leaders we crave are the ones who show up every day, never stop to think of themselves and, above all, seem to know what they’re talking about.

The obvious question is this: If these deputies are such capable leaders, why are they deputies? ...

[In Covid-19 Was A Leadership Test. It Came Back Negative.,] I wrote about one possible explanation. While all leaders are judged by how well they respond to a crisis, the true mark of greatness is what a leader does between emergencies. The best ones never rest; they work behind the scenes, without bravado, to prevent the next crisis from happening. When they succeed, however, they literally have nothing to show for it. They don’t project boldness. They seem like drab worriers.

Acting With PowerThe bigger problem, I’d argue, is that too many talented and qualified leadership candidates are reluctant to step forward. They need to be pushed. Case in point: one of America’s most beloved and effective presidents, Dwight Eisenhower, had to be cajoled into running.

Researchers haven’t found any evidence that people with a burning desire to lead make better leaders, but they’re far more likely to acquire power.

Deborah Gruenfeld, a professor at Stanford’s business school and author of a new book, Acting with Power (full disclosure: My wife is her agent), has spent 25 years studying the psychology of power.

She divides leaders into two camps: those who pursue authority to serve themselves and those who see it as a means to serve others. In many cases, candidates with a “service” mind-set are uncomfortable promoting their candidacies, while those who seek power for personal gratification love nothing more.

Over time, and especially in the age of social media, the expectations we’ve heaped on high-profile leaders have made it nearly impossible for anyone to meet them all. Those of us who crave power may not care, Dr. Gruenfeld says, but servant types may back out for fear of letting others down.

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April 9, 2020 in Coronavirus, Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Chemerinsky & Mnookin: The Case For Provisional Bar Licenses In The Coronavirus Pandemic

Erwin Chemerinsky (Dean, UC-Berkeley) & Jennifer Mnookin (Dean, UCLA), Making the Case for Provisional Bar Licenses in the Coronavirus Pandemic (National Law Journal):

CoronavirusAs some states have already recognized, the July bar exam will almost certainly not take place this summer as scheduled. The best path forward is for states, at a minimum, to accord two-year provisional licenses to practice law to law school graduates, on condition that they practice under the supervision of a licensed attorney.

[T]here’s a straightforward solution: provisional licenses, allowing those who graduated from law school in the last year and who were scheduled to take the July 2020 bar exam, to practice law for a defined — and relatively limited — period, such as until the July 2022 bar exam releases its results. To ensure competence from these new lawyers, there should be a requirement that the individuals be supervised by attorneys who are admitted to the bar. States could, if they wished, limit provisional licenses to those who meet the character and fitness requirements for admission to the bar.

In fact, Arizona and New Jersey have both just announced the possibility of provisional licensing for recent graduates in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis. These approaches are a good start, but they are, in our view, too narrowly defined. Both states envision that provisional licensees would generally need to take the next available bar exam or lose their limited license. Far better, in the wake of this crisis, to permit these provisional licenses for a longer period such as two years. That would permit these graduates to launch their careers and allow them a reasonable degree of agency and control over when it makes professional and logistical sense to study for and take the bar.

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April 9, 2020 in Coronavirus, Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Indiana Allows 2020 Law Grads To Serve As Graduate Legal Interns And Take February 2021 Bar Exam

Following up on my previous posts (links below):  In the Matter of Graduate Legal Interns During COVID-19 Pandemic (Indiana Supreme Court Case No. 20S-MS-249 Apr. 8, 2020):

Indiana Bar Association 3As a result of the circumstances surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, it is unclear whether the State Board of Law Examiners will be able to administer the Indiana bar examination in July 2020 as scheduled or at any later date in calendar year 2020. In addition, the disruptions to personal and professional lives caused by the pandemic may result in some prospective applicants not having the financial resources or sufficient time to prepare and sit for an Indiana bar examination in 2020 whether administered in July or later in the year. The National Conference of Bar Examiners will announce its plan for the multistate portions of the bar examination on or about May 5, 2020. The Court will announce its plan for the administration of the bar examination by May 8, 2020.

The Supreme Court therefore ORDERS that any graduate of an ABA accredited law school who graduated after November 2019, and has not sat for a bar examination in Indiana or any other jurisdiction prior to February 2021, may serve as a graduate legal intern under Admission and Discipline Rule 2.1, Section 1(b) until February 28, 2021. If the graduate sits for the February 2021 Indiana bar examination, the graduate’s status as a graduate legal intern will continue until notified of the results of the examination. If the graduate passes the examination, the status continues until the first opportunity thereafter for formal admission to the Bar of Indiana. If the graduate fails the examination, the status ends once the determination of failure is final after exhausting any appeals. Further adjustments and arrangements may be forthcoming as circumstances warrant.

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April 9, 2020 in Coronavirus, Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Pepperdine Caruso Law Hosts 6th Annual Parris Awards

Parris AwardsWe held our sixth annual Parris Awards today via Zoom. For a list of the winners (and the faculty presenters), see here.

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April 9, 2020 in Coronavirus, Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Barros: Timing Of The Bar Exam: — A Billion Dollar Issue In The COVID-19 Crisis And Beyond

D. Benjamin Barros (Dean. Toledo), Timing of the Bar Exam:  A Billion Dollar Issue in the COVID-19 Crisis and Beyond:

CoronavirusSix weeks ago, the timing of the bar exam was an important, but still somewhat abstract, issue. Now, every jurisdiction in the United States is being forced to consider this issue in the context of the largest public health crisis of our lifetimes. The short-term issues being considered now are different from the long-term issues that I addressed in the original version of the op-ed. The core point, however, remains the same. Jurisdictions should consider the massive opportunity costs imposed on candidates by a delay in the bar exam. ...

New York and Massachusetts have announced that they will not hold bar exams in July. Both contemplate holding the exam later in the fall. These decisions are understandable from a public health perspective. Even a delay of a few months, however, will be devastating for test takers. If every jurisdiction merely delayed the bar exam by three months, bar candidates nationwide would lose hundreds of millions of dollars in lost income. Taking these opportunity costs seriously should lead jurisdictions to take a very hard look at alternatives that make them uncomfortable. The COVID-19 crisis has put us in a position where every alternative has major downsides. We need to look for the least-bad alternative.

A group of legal academics and other experts has put together a thoughtful list of options [The Bar Exam And The COVID-19 Pandemic: The Need For Immediate Action]. None are perfect. From an opportunity cost perspective, postponement, standing alone, is unacceptable. Other alternatives fall into two broad categories.

The first is to find a way for recent graduates to be employed and to practice, at least temporarily, without having taken the bar exam, by giving graduates some kind of diploma privilege or allowing them to practice under supervision of a licensed attorney.

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April 8, 2020 in Coronavirus, Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

July Bar Exam Update: ABA, Arizona, California, Florida, Tennessee, Vermont

Following up on my previous posts (links below):

CoronavirusABA Urges States That Cancel Bar Exams Due to COVID-19 to Consider Alternatives For Law Grads:

The American Bar Association Board of Governors approved a policy resolution late today that urges state licensing authorities to immediately adopt emergency rules that would authorize 2019 and 2020 law graduates who cannot take a bar exam because of the pandemic to engage in a limited practice of law under certain circumstances.

ABA Journal, ABA Board of Governors Backs Limited Practice for Recent Law School Grads as They Await Bar Exam

Supreme Court of Arizona:

Although some states have already postponed the July exam, we are currently planning to proceed with it. ... If it becomes necessary to postpone the July exam, we anticipate rescheduling in September or October of 2020. If it is not safe to give the test then, the exam will be cancelled. ...

Finally, we recognize that any delay in licensing could impact employment opportunities. For that reason, the Court has promulgated, on an emergency basis, amendments to Arizona Supreme Court Rule 39(c). Rule 39(c) will permit law graduates to practice law, with limitations, under the supervision of an attorney and upon certification by this Court.

Committee of Bar Examiners Special Meeting on Apr. 10, 2020:

Action regarding Preparation and Administration of the June 2020 First-Year Law Students’ Examination and July 2020 California Bar Exam

Board of Trustees Meeting Notice and Agenda on Apr.14, 2020:

Consideration of Options for Preparation and Administration of the June 2020 First-Year Law Students' Examination and July 2020 California Bar Exam

Letter From All 12 Florida Law School Deans to Florida Supreme Court:

We propose that the existing Certified Legal Intern (CLI) program be expanded to permit candidates
who clear character and fitness investigation to practice law under supervision until they have the opportunity to pass the bar exam. ...

Should the Court decide not to expand the Certified Legal Intern program, we would ask that it consider allowing members of the Class of 2020 who successfully complete a period of supervised practice to seek admission to the bar without sitting for the bar examination.

Daily Business Review, Florida's Law School Deans Ask State Supreme Court to Offer September Bar Exam

Supreme Court Modifies Certain Provisions of Rule 7 Related to July 2020 Bar Exam

The Tennessee Supreme Court entered an Order today approving temporary changes to provisions of Tennessee Supreme Court Rule 7 to address ongoing concerns with the July 2020 bar exam in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. The bar exam is currently scheduled for July 28-29 and the Order provides some assurance to applicants.

The Court has extended the amount of time certain applicants will be able to practice pending bar examination results and the expiration of MPRE scores. Additionally, the Court has established a process for transfer of a July 2020 examination application to either a fall exam, if one is scheduled, or the February 2021 exam and has permitted the Board to offer a full refund of fees.

Administrative Order No. 49: Declaration of Judicial Emergency and Changes to Court Procedures:

The bar examination, currently scheduled by the NCBE for July 2020, will not be administered in Vermont at that time and is postponed to a later date.

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April 8, 2020 in Coronavirus, Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

LSAC Cancels April LSAT, To Offer At Home Remotely Proctored May LSAT

LSAC, Coronavirus and the LSAT:

CoronavirusThe continued devastating impact of the COVID-19 virus on communities throughout North America, and the growing restrictions on travel and public gatherings have led us to reluctantly conclude that we cannot administer the April 2020 LSAT, even in smaller groups with strict candidate separation and other health and safety measures. Given the intense candidate interest in testing this spring for the fall 2020 admission cycle, we had been working to preserve every possible opportunity to deliver the April test in at least some locations with appropriate health and safety measures. While the ongoing restrictions on travel and public gatherings make that impossible, we have been working hard to develop alternatives.

In light of the COVID-19 public health emergency, we will be offering an online, remotely proctored version of the LSAT — called the LSAT-Flex — in the second half of May for test takers who were registered for the April test. We will continue to monitor the COVID-19 pandemic closely and will make other LSAT-Flex test dates available this spring and summer if the situation warrants. We plan to resume the in-person LSAT once conditions allow, in strict accordance with public health authorities and using all necessary health and safety measures. In the meantime, the remotely proctored LSAT-Flex will provide candidates with the opportunity to earn an LSAT score even if the COVID-19 crisis makes it impossible to deliver the test in-person.

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April 8, 2020 in Coronavirus, Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

NY Times: One Final Step For 52 Medical Students, Eager To Join The Fight Against COVID-19

My daughter Jayne (pictured in the lower right box above) is one of the 52 students featured in this New York Times article, One Final Step for 52 Medical Students, Eager to Join the Fight:

In a stirring, ragged ritual, the students took their oaths as new doctors early, volunteering in the war against Covid-19.

From dorm rooms and apartments, 52 medical students watched video of themselves roll across their screens. Miles away, their proud families followed online. Gazing into webcams, the students pledged the Hippocratic oath in frayed unison, dozens of different starts and voices, all coming to the same point.

They could get on with doctoring.

On Friday, a virtual graduation was held over video chat for nearly half the 2020 class at New York University’s Grossman School of Medicine. They were two months ahead of schedule. That moment will be repeated in some form at other medical schools in the coming days.

The more ragged the ritual, the more soul-stirring its core: Young people were stepping up to join others already serving at an hour of crisis, little different than soldiers being deployed in war. ...

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April 7, 2020 in Coronavirus, Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

New Jersey Is Fifth State To Postpone July Bar Exam, First To Offer 2020 Law Grads Temporary License To Practice

NJ Supreme Court Allows 2020 Law School Graduates to Temporarily Practice Law Despite Postponement of Bar Exam:

NJBANew Jersey’s July 2020 bar exam will be postponed until the fall because of the COVID-19 pandemic, but law school graduates will have an opportunity to temporarily practice law under the supervision of experienced attorneys, under an order signed today by Chief Justice Stuart Rabner on behalf of the state Supreme Court.

The order relaxes court rules so that 2020 law school graduates who have not yet taken the bar exam can temporarily practice law under the supervision of attorneys in good standing who have been licensed for a minimum of three years. Graduates must apply to take the first exam scheduled after graduation, or qualify for a single extension, and earn certification from the Supreme Court Committee on Character before they can practice law.

The Court issued the order after consultation with the deans of New Jersey’s law schools: Kimberly Mutcherson, Co-Dean of Rutgers Law School; David Lopez, Co-Dean of Rutgers Law School; and Kathleen M. Boozang, Dean of Seton Hall Law School. ...

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April 7, 2020 in Coronavirus, Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

All Of The Top 20 Law Schools Are Now Giving Mandatory Pass/Fail Grades This Semester After Reversals By Chicago, Georgetown, And Michigan

Karen Sloan (, Remaining 'T-14' Law Schools Yield to Mandatory Pass/Fail Pressure:

CoronavirusEvery law school in the so-called T-14 has now adopted mandatory pass/fail grading, as the handful of holdout schools announced revisions to their policies over the last three days.

The University of Chicago Law School on Monday informed students of the change—which comes less than three weeks after dean Thomas Miles angered many by announcing that the school would stick to its traditional grading system. ...

Both the University of Michigan Law School and Georgetown University Law Center initially told students that they would have the option to have their grades converted to pass/fail at the end of the semester, but each in recent days has made pass/fail grades mandatory.

“There’s always a temptation to stick with a decision in the interest of finality, but sometimes that would mean foregoing the best option in the face of new facts,” Michigan law dean Mark West wrote in an email to students Friday night about the new grading policy.

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April 7, 2020 in Coronavirus, Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Over 200 Law Profs Petition For Diploma Privilege For 2020 Grads

Petition of Law Professors in support of the Diploma Privilege for 2020 (sign here):

CoronavirusThe undersigned law professors urge state supreme courts and bar licensing bodies to adopt a “diploma privilege” for admitting new law graduates to the bar this year: bypass the bar exam and automatically admit to the state bar anyone who graduates from an accredited law school in 2020.

The global Covid-19 pandemic is truly devastating, and requires bold action to protect our society, our communities, and our law students.

The likelihood of safely holding the bar exam anytime soon is low. State bar exams are typically held over a two- to three-day period during which all takers gather in the same large facility. Even if some shelter-in-place and stay-at-home measures can be relaxed over the summer, this type of larger gathering is still the type experts predict should be prohibited for some time to come.

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April 7, 2020 in Coronavirus, Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, April 6, 2020

The Best Leaders Are Often Reluctant Leaders

Wall Street Journal op-ed:  The Eisenhower Code: Happy to Serve, Reluctant to Lead, by Sam Walker (author, The Captain Class: The Hidden Force That Creates the World’s Greatest Teams (2018)):

Captain ClassSometimes, the best leaders are those who don’t covet the top job.

As president, [Dwight Eisenhower] fortified NATO, ended the Korean War, reshaped the Supreme Court with five appointments, oversaw a growing economy and threw the full weight of the federal government behind the civil-rights movement. He left office with a 65% average approval rating—the highest for any two-term president.

It’s hard to imagine any modern leader unifying the nation to this extent. In 2015, 86% of people surveyed by the World Economic Forum believed that we’re suffering from a global leadership crisis.

Eisenhower’s story also suggests one reason we’re in this predicament. We’ve failed to appreciate one of the key leadership traits that made him so effective: his genuine reluctance to take the job.

Any historical list of famously reticent leaders starts with Moses, who didn’t believe he was a worthy messenger for God’s commandments. Long before Eisenhower, George Washington had to be dragooned into leading the young republic he’d just forcibly liberated. ...

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April 6, 2020 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Law Students In The Age Of Coronavirus

K.G. Molina (Oklahoma 2L) & Lawprofblawg (Anonymous Professor, Top 100 Law School), Law Students In The Age Of Coronavirus:

CoronavirusLaw students are facing a new and precarious danger: Coronavirus has not only quieted streets and shut down restaurants, it has thrust the economy into a deep recession, perhaps even depression. During the chaos and disquieting calm since we all retreated into quarantines, law students and law professors are faced with the situation of trying to carry on as normal to finish the semester, all the while knowing it isn’t normal at all.

Some schools have recognized the new normal, allowing students to finish pass/fail. Some have opted for an ignorance is bliss approach, preferring to continue with grades as if the world of law students hasn’t changed. Others, in a particularly callous effort, have requested that students write essays justifying pass/fail, as if COVID-19 were not justification enough. ...

Suddenly, class, grades, and rank feel less important — I’m not certain what the world will look and who will be there after the pandemic passes. Then again, even getting a job after law school seems unlikely. Let’s not forget that there’s also a recession. Law students from lower-ranked state schools cannot compete with the top-tier law schools whose graduates will be scrambling for anything they can find this and next year.

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April 6, 2020 in Coronavirus, Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Deans, Law Students Weigh In On California Bar Exam

CoronavirusLetter From Deans of 20 California Law Schools to California Supreme Court and State Bar:

We write now to make three requests.

(1)  We recognize the importance of thinking carefully and seriously about how to proceed. As deans of California’s ABA accredited law schools, who train a significant majority of the state’s lawyers, we offer our assistance in the discussion of options and the review of the implications of each option for our students, our community of lawyers, and the communities of citizens who need the services of lawyers. The decisions that must be made about the July bar exam will have enormous implications for all those constituencies. We believe that our input can help the Committee of Bar Examiners and the Court resolve the difficult issues that surround this decision.

(2)  We further recommend that California not rush to make a definitive decision about how to proceed, and especially not move to cancel or postpone July’s exam without planning for an alternative pathway for licensing new attorneys. We know that a closed Emergency CBE meeting has been called for tomorrow, March 29th, to discuss the bar exam. We commend the CBE for beginning this process when there is still time for discussion and deliberation, and we hope that no action will be taken without a process of consultation with us and others, including legal employers in the private and public sectors as well as public interest lawyers.

(3)  As the Court and the CBE work to address this critical situation, we hope that you will be open to considering a variety of alternatives. We recognize the need for ensuring minimum competency, but equally for creative thinking and ingenuity. We are also well aware that we potentially face an extended period of some degree of disruption. We are concerned that New York’s decision to postpone its bar exam until some undeclared date in the fall will cause as many new problems as it will solve. For example, there is no assurance that large convention halls will be safe then, either—and what then? We are concerned that the backlog of bar exams and results, as well as the licensing of attorneys, could be deferred for an indefinite period of time, to the detriment not only of our students but of employers, clients and access to justice.

Students Letter To California State Bar:

We are a collective of law students who have recently graduated law school or will graduate in May 2020 and who plan on practicing law in California, as well as professors of California law schools and practitioners in California. We urge the California State Bar Admissions Board to adapt to the current crisis brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic by revising the state licensing system in California to ensure that the legal needs of our communities are met during this uncertain time. Specifically, we respectfully request that the Admissions Board enact a diploma privilege for all recent graduates and 2020 graduates who plan on taking the July 2020 Bar Exam and practicing law in California. ...

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April 6, 2020 in Coronavirus, Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, April 5, 2020

NCBE Sets Two Dates For Fall Bar Exams As Alternatives To July: Sept. 9-10, Sept. 30-Oct. 1

National Conference of Bar Examiners, COVID-19 Updates:

NCBE (2020)At NCBE, we understand the anxiety and frustrations that law students and graduates have regarding the uncertainty surrounding administration of the July bar exam. The bar admissions process, like everything else, is being disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

NCBE’s mission is to promote fairness, integrity, and best practices in admission to the legal profession for the benefit and protection of the public. That mission is more important than ever at a time when there is such great need for a competent and ethical legal profession to serve the public. It is with that aim in mind that we are seeking to ensure that the bar exam can be administered to as many candidates as possible in 2020.

To provide needed flexibility for jurisdictions and candidates, in addition to preparing materials for a July bar exam, NCBE will make bar exam materials available for two fall administrations in 2020: September 9-10 and September 30-October 1. Each jurisdiction will determine whether to offer the exam in July, in early September, or in late September. 

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April 5, 2020 in Coronavirus, Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

The Law School Class Of 2020 Should Not Be Subjected To A Prolonged 'Professional Coma'

National Law Journal op-ed:  An 'Immodest Proposal': Bar Exam Requires Innovative Accommodations Amid Pandemic, by Judith Welch Wegner (North Carolina; co-author, The Bar Exam and the COVID-19 Pandemic: The Need for Immediate Action):

CoronavirusAs bar leaders and examiners across the nation collectively face the implications of the COVID-19 pandemic, I write with an “immodest proposal.”

In his 1729 essay “A Modest Proposal,” Jonathan Swift ironically proposed that poor Irish toddlers be fattened and sold as food for the wealthy, to control overpopulation and unemployment and improve the economy. In writing, he hoped to shock the policymakers of his time to move beyond simplistic and ineffectual responses to the Irish plight. However, I fear that Swift’s description is all too accurate in describing how bar licensing authorities and senior bar leaders are approaching the COVID-19 pandemic as it affects graduating law students.

In using this analogy my point is to remind decision-makers of the stark realities facing graduating students and desperate citizens if recent law graduates are placed into a prolonged professional coma with crippling adverse effects. Let’s look those realities in the eye.

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April 5, 2020 in Coronavirus, Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (3)

Pepperdine Caruso Law School Dinner (Social Distancing Edition)

Dinner Invitation

Last night was supposed to be our annual law school dinner celebrating our 50th anniversary, $50 million naming gift from Rick and Tina Caruso, and rise into the Top 50 in the latest U.S. News law school rankings. My first law school dinners as dean have been memorable, highlighted by keynote speakers Gary Haugen (Founder and CEO of International Justice Mission) in 2018 and Justice Clarence Thomas in 2019. And this year's speaker would have been our biggest "get" ever.

We are very much looking forward to the rescheduled dinner in October. In the meantime, we improvised in this social-distancing time with a Law School Dinner Zoom Happy Hour last night:

Happy Hour 4

I was a tad overdressed (on top):

Happy Hour 2

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April 5, 2020 in Coronavirus, Legal Ed News, Legal Education, Pepperdine Legal Ed | Permalink | Comments (1)

Deans, Law Students, Task Force Weigh In On New York Bar Exam

Saturday, April 4, 2020

During COVID-19 Pandemic, Harvard Law School's 46 Clinics Continue To Virtually Serve Clients

Harvard Crimson, During COVID-19 Pandemic, Harvard Law School Continues Clinics Virtually:

CoronavirusDespite leaving campus in mid-March due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Harvard Law School students will continue to serve Boston residents in need of free legal services online.

Students in the Law School’s clinical programs gain practical experience by working as pro bono attorneys for clients in the Boston area. The Law School offers 46 clinics and student practice organizations covering a wide range of legal specialties, including health, taxes, immigration, and BGLTQ advocacy.

The clinics offer students the opportunity to interview clients, take depositions, and try cases in court — activities that typically occur in-person rather than thousands of miles away.

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April 4, 2020 in Coronavirus, Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Friday, April 3, 2020

'Nobody Is Recruiting Over The Summer': OCI Season Postponed, 'Nobody Is Recruiting Over the Summer': OCI Season Postponed:

CoronavirusLaw firms won’t be recruiting summer associates in late July and early August this year.

All but one of the so-called T-14 law schools by Thursday had announced postponements to their on-campus interview programs due to the coronavirus pandemic, and a growing number in the top 50 of the U.S. News & World Report rankings have followed suit.

Columbia Law School, which sends a higher number of graduates into associate jobs at large firms than any other school, became the first to postpone OCI on March 23. But the movement picked up steam this week when Harvard Law School, New York University School of Law and the University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School joined the list of campuses delaying summer associate recruiting. Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law is the one T-14 school that hasn’t yet announced a delay.

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April 3, 2020 in Coronavirus, Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Legal Internships In The Administrative State During The Covid-19 Summer Of 2020

Christopher J. Walker (Ohio State), Legal Internships in the Administrative State During the Summer of 2020:

CoronavirusFor a half dozen years or so, I’ve had the privilege of directing my law school’s Washington, DC, summer program. Each summer we place about twenty students (mostly rising 2Ls) in our DC summer program—usually in unpaid internships and most often at federal agencies, on the Hill, and at non-profits. As part of the summer program, I teach a professional responsibility class a couple evenings each week, and the students write a final term paper based on a topic from their internship. More details about the program are here.

In these unprecedented and uncertain times, I have spent dozens of hours more than usual communicating with potential host organizations in DC to brainstorm how to navigate through all of the uncertainty. I been so impressed with the flexibility and creativity that many federal agencies, congressional committees and member offices, and nonprofits have embraced for their internship programs this summer.

I thought I’d highlight in an anonymous fashion some of what we are learning and discussing, with the hope that these ideas will help state and federal administrative agencies, legislative staffs, and nonprofits structure their internship programs this summer. I’m focusing on legal internships that intersect with administrative law and regulatory practice, but all of these ideas have broader applicability to summer internships more generally.

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April 3, 2020 in Coronavirus, Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, April 2, 2020

Pepperdine Provides Covid-19 Legal Resources For Those In Need

CoronavirusIn response to the Covid-19 pandemic, Pepperdine Caruso Law School's Community Justice Clinic has assembled resources to help (1) nonprofits, churches, and other organizations navigate federal loan, grant, and tax programs under the new CARES Act, and (2) employees who lose their jobs during this crisis, including this memorandum.

Kudos to Assistant Dean of Clinical Education and Global Programs and Associate Clinical Professor of Law Jeff Baker and his team for once again using their legal talents to help those in need during difficult times.

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April 2, 2020 in Coronavirus, Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

‘A Decidedly Suboptimal Set of Circumstances’: Harvard Law Profs Evaluate Online Instruction

Harvard Crimson, ‘A Decidedly Suboptimal Set of Circumstances’: Harvard Law Professors Evaluate Online Instruction:

CoronavirusHarvard Law School’s transition to remote learning during the coronavirus pandemic has garnered mixed reactions from professors — while some report no significant difficulties in teaching online, others say they struggle to facilitate class participation. ...

Professor Jeannie Suk Gersen, who teaches the course “Constitutional Law: Separation of Powers, Federalism, and Fourteenth Amendment,” wrote in an email that her class was able to transition smoothly to the video conference platform Zoom because of its discussion-based format.

“The Socratic method that I use involves cold-calling students and engaging in questioning and dialogue,” she wrote. “It translates well to an online format: I call on a specific student, they unmute themselves, and we do the same thing that we would be doing in person.” ...

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April 2, 2020 in Coronavirus, Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Hawaii Is Fourth State To Postpone July Bar Exam

In the Supreme Court of the State of Hawaii, In the Matter of the July 2020 Hawaii Bar Examination for Admission to the Bar of the State of Hawaii:

CoronavirusUpon consideration of the public health emergency arising from the COVID-19 pandemic and upon consultation with the Hawaii Board of Bar Examiners,
1. The July 2020 Hawaii bar examination presently scheduled to take place on July 28, 2020 and July 29, 2020 will not be administered on those dates. The examination will be rescheduled to the Fall of 2020, on dates to be determined.
2. The deadline to submit the application for this examination is extended from April 1, 2020 to May 1, 2020.

TaxProf Blog coverage of the July 2020 bar exam:

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April 2, 2020 in Coronavirus, Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Law School Transparency's 2025 Vision

Law School Transparency's 2025 Vision:

LST CoverLST's 2025 Vision: A Guide To Our Way Forward:
The challenges facing legal education in 2020 run deep and, in some cases, will take several decades to address. Our vision for lower tuition, lessfinancially stressed graduates, and a more diverse profession requires that we change the environment in which law schools operate. Over the next five years, we believe it is possible to create the conditions necessary to achieve both rapid and long-term positive change.

Our plans and proposals are intricate and thorough, making this report lengthy and dense. The next few pages will serve as a guide to the report’s two main parts. The first part of the report looks at how LST plans to remake law school incentives. This part begins with a section on the U.S. News law school rankings methodology and how the rankings negatively impact students, schools, our profession, and more. The next section estimates the cost to buy or license the rankings—a thought experiment that demonstrates the absurd power U.S. News has over law schools. The next section examines two projects from LST aimed at fostering competition with U.S. News as part of an effort to mitigate its influence on law school operations. The last section describes a change to the rankings methodology that LST is encouraging U.S. News to adopt.

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April 1, 2020 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

How Faculty Can Cure Law Student And Lawyer Distress

Susan Wawrose (Dayton), A More Human Place: Using Core Counseling Skills to Transform Law School Relationships, 55 Willamette L. Rev. 133 (2018):

The problem of law student and lawyer distress is longstanding, severe, and remarkably resilient in the face of efforts to address it.

In this article, I propose increased attention by law faculty to relationship building during law school as a way to begin to reverse the downward spiral that draws in so many of our students and holds them captive, sometimes until long after they graduate from law school. Research shows that supportive social connections are the single most important factor in protecting against stress, increasing resilience, and contributing to greater feelings of happiness. Moreover, if the goal of improving student wellbeing is not, in itself, sufficient motivation for addressing law student distress, there is the strong likelihood that taking steps to improve students’ wellbeing will also improve their academic performance. Numerous studies show that happier people are more successful and resilient than their distressed and unhappy counterparts.


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April 1, 2020 in Legal Ed News, Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

With Pass/Fail Now The Norm, Outlier Law Schools Face Student Backlash

Karen Sloan (, With Pass/Fail Now the Norm, Outlier Law Schools Face Student Backlash:

CoronavirusLaw students at Arizona State, University of Georgia and Georgia State are among those pushing campus administrators to adopt mandatory pass/fail grading.

Arizona State University law dean Douglas Sylvester is well aware that he’s not the most popular guy on his (virtual) campus at the moment.

The school’s Student Bar Association on Monday issued an open letter denouncing the school’s handling of spring semester grading, saying students feel “betrayed” by the announced policy, which requires them to go through a formal accommodation process to request that their grades be reported as pass/fail. Students may choose to go that route immediately, or they may make that request after grades have been issued if their spring semester grade point average is lower than their cumulative GPA. Students have vented their frustrations on legal blogs and online forums such as Reddit, calling the scheme “heartless” and a “prisoner’s dilemma.”

Sylvester is among a number of law deans and university administrators receiving backlash from students who are unhappy over the grading policies their schools have rolled out amid the coronavirus pandemic. The University of Georgia School of Law, the University of Michigan Law School, the University of Chicago Law School, and Georgia State University College of Law also have seen pushback over grading, as have numerous other schools. Though students harbor an array of opinions over what grading system is best, the most vocal and organized among them are pushing for mandatory pass/fail grading.

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April 1, 2020 in Coronavirus, Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Law Schools' Pass/Fail Decision Doesn't Ace All Tests

Washington Times, Law Schools' Pass/Fail Decision Doesn't Ace All Tests:

CoronavirusLaw schools, like colleges and universities, increasingly are assigning pass/fail grades to facilitate remote learning amid travel restrictions and stay-at-home orders to slow the spread of COVID-19. But the grading scheme doesn’t level the playing field, professors say.

“For those [students] who are in the middle of class, this was a god-send. For students who were already very high in their class, this is good news because they can’t go down,” said Josh Blackman, who teaches constitutional law at the South Texas College of Law in Houston. “But for students who want to move up in the class row and are set to graduate, this is definitely a setback.”

Law school grades play an outsized role in graduates landing clerkships and entry-level professions, meaning that third-year students now eyeing graduation, the state bar exam and future employment face greater uncertainty than ever before.

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April 1, 2020 in Coronavirus, Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

AccessLex Donates $25,000 To Student Emergency Funds At All 200 Law Schools

AccessLex Institute Donates $5 Million to Establish Law Student Emergency Relief Fund:

AccessLex (2020)The coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak has sparked fear, disruption and uncertainty across the country, and law students have not been spared. In response, AccessLex Institute, a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping aspiring lawyers find their path to professional success, has created a $5 million Law Student Emergency Relief Fund to provide direct resources to law students during this unique time. Beyond the concerns around adapting to online learning, completion of hands-on legal clinics, and the potential for delays in the bar exam, this crisis has exacerbated financial pressures on law students—in many cases, to a level that can jeopardize the continuation of their studies.

Through this $5 million fund, AccessLex will make $25,000 available to every nonprofit and state-affiliated ABA-approved law school in the nation, with monies going directly to each school's designated student emergency fund. Law schools will then administer the funds in a manner consistent with the established criteria for emergency relief on their campuses.

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March 31, 2020 in Coronavirus, Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Amid More Bar Exam Delays, Push For Diploma Privilege Grows

Karen Sloan (, Amid More Bar Exam Delays, Push for Diploma Privilege Grows:

CoronavirusNew York on Friday became the first jurisdiction to officially postpone the July bar exam, clearing the path for others to follow suit, including Massachusetts and Connecticut, which both announced Monday that they will also postpone the exam to an as-yet-undermined date in the fall.

Those announcements come after the National Conference of Bar Examiners, which develops the test, said last week that it will offer a separate exam in the fall for jurisdictions that can’t or don’t want to move ahead with the test in July amid the coronavirus outbreak.

The move to fall bar exams is distressing many law students, who fear additional postponements and cancellations if the COVID-19 pandemic drags on as some public health officials predict. Those changes could put their professional future on hold for the foreseeable future, they say. ...

Law students in New York, Florida, California, the District of Columbia and other jurisdictions have circulated petitions and open letters to bar examiners, urging them to go the emergency diploma privilege route. A group of legal educators last week kicked off the diploma privilege push with a paper that recommended it as a practical way to deal with attorney licensing at an unprecedented time. ...

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March 31, 2020 in Coronavirus, Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Connecticut Is Third State To Postpone July Bar Exam

State of Connecticut Judicial Branch, Connecticut Bar Examining Committee, Connecticut Bar Exam Postponed:

CoronavirusThe Connecticut Bar Examining Committee announces today that, due to the ongoing public health emergency arising from the COVID-19 pandemic, the Connecticut bar examination will not be administered on July 28 – 29, 2020 as previously scheduled. The bar exam has been postponed until fall, on dates to be determined.

The Connecticut Bar Examining Committee will suspend acceptance of applications after March 31, 2020, and will announce at a later date the rescheduled dates for the examination and for an extended application filing period.

TaxProf Blog coverage of the July 2020 bar exam:

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March 31, 2020 in Coronavirus, Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

A Third Of MBA Admits May Defer; 43% Want Tuition Lowered If Classes Are Online

Poets&Quants Survey, A Third Of Admits May Defer, While 43% Want Tuition Lowered If Classes Are Online:

CoronavirusThe disruption caused by the coronavirus pandemic is fueling a lot of anxiety among MBA applicants, admits and students in the top MBA programs. Roughly a third of prospective students already admitted to top business schools say they may want to defer their admission this year if classes fail to return to campus in the fall. Even more worrisome for B-schools, 43% believe tuition fees should be cutback by an average of 37.5% if the first part of their MBA program is shifted online due to the pandemic.

The results come from a Poets&Quants survey of more than 300 current admits to top MBA programs this year. Some respondents believe their tuition bills should be cut on a prorated basis for the time they are denied a more fully immersive on-campus learning experience. Only 17% of the prospective MBA students say they would be okay attending online classes, while 96% say that missing out on the full on-campus experience such as face-to-face classes, participating in co-curricular activities, building a network with peers and relationships with faculty is a major concern. ...

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March 31, 2020 in Coronavirus, Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Class Action Lawsuit Filed Against Arizona Board Of Regents Demanding Repayment Of Room & Board For Students Displaced By Covid-19

Lawsuit Filed Against Arizona Board of Regents For Displacement of Students Amid COVID-19:

Arizona Board of RegentsA class action lawsuit has been filed against the Arizona Board of Regents, the governing board for Arizona's three public universities, after the three schools refused to refund room, board and campus fees to students who were displaced because of coronavirus.

All three universities, Arizona State University, University of Arizona and Northern Arizona University, moved their classes to online only for the remainder of the Spring 2020 semester to protect students and staff and prevent the spread of coronavirus.

Students who lived on-campus were either told to move out or encouraged to do so. The lawsuit says the Arizona Board of Regents has refused to offer refunds for the unused portion of their room and board and their campus fees. The lawsuit seeks payment of the prorated, unused amounts of room and board and fees that the class members paid but were unable to use.

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March 31, 2020 in Coronavirus, Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Monday, March 30, 2020

A Tax Prof's Day In Covid-19 America Without Child Care

Slate, A Day in America Without Child Care:

CoronavirusAs the COVID-19 pandemic shuts down day cares and schools, countless parents have been left with no child care at all. Some are trying to do their jobs remotely, while also changing diapers and helping bored teens figure out online courses and brainstorming games to distract toddlers. Some essential workers are still going in every day, while exhausted family members take on child care duties or school-age kids find ways to entertain themselves. So we picked a single weekday—last Thursday—and asked a bunch of parents all around the country to record how that stretch of time unfolded for them without child care, hour by hour. Here’s the combined timeline of their days.

8 p.m. Steven, New York, tax law professor: We play bingo with a college buddy of mine. I send her a photo of a bingo card and patch her in by video. My wife ends up winning and our son comes in second, followed by a team of stuffed animals that was also playing.

9 p.m. Steven, New York, tax law professor: Simpsons!

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March 30, 2020 in Coronavirus, Legal Ed News, Legal Education, Tax, Tax News | Permalink | Comments (0)

Spivey: How Will COVID-19 Impact Law Schools?

Mike Spivey (Spivey Consulting Group), How Will COVID-19 Impact Law Schools As The Summer Progresses?:

CoronavirusWith the [Covid-19] growth factor still curving upward, where does this leave law school applicants and law school classes? First to the applicants. The March LSAT was recently canceled, and the April administration is looking precarious (for context, combined those tests had/have about 20,000 registrants). This is actually good news if you are on a waitlist at a law school and you did not plan to retake the LSAT. Why? Schools will likely not be getting an influx of either new applicants from spring LSAT exams (although this is heavily stratified by score range, with top ranked schools generally having nearly their entire applicant pool already in and lower ranked schools having closer to 80 percent, 70 percent, or even 60 percent) nor a heavy supply of retakers hoping to increase their score. Put another way — look for significant waitlist movement below the top range of schools. While we expect almost all schools to have some waitlist movement, the effects of canceled LSAT
administrations will compound the lower a given school’s LSAT median. ...

[A] significant swath of what would normally be applicants in this cycle’s pool (or retakers) are now not in the pool. Many schools were counting on those folks. As the summer carries on, we expect this to mean considerably more admits — especially below the 165 LSAT score-band threshold where applicants were already down this cycle. ...

One final issue is that of the overall economic viability of law schools. Since the Great Recession, many law schools have been underwritten by central universities. This poses a problem because universities are currently facing a much greater financial threat than law schools. As a factual matter, Moody’s Investors Service just recently downgraded the outlook on higher education as a whole from “stable” to “negative,” driven primarily by the fact that many auxiliary sources of income for universities (housing, dining, parking, athletics, etc.) and enrollments are threatened.

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March 30, 2020 in Coronavirus, Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Massachusetts Joins New York In Postponing July Bar Exam

Following up on Saturday's post, New York Postpones July Bar Exam To Fall; Students Demand Emergency Diploma Privilege To Practice Law:  Boston Globe, Mass. Bar Exam For Law School Grads Postponed Amid Coronavirus Pandemic:

CoronavirusThe Massachusetts bar exam for newly minted law school graduates will be postponed from July to the fall amid the coronavirus pandemic, according to the state Supreme Judicial Court and Board of Bar Examiners.

The two entities confirmed the delay in a statement Monday. The two-day exam, which law school graduates must pass to practice in Massachusetts, was initially scheduled for July 28 and July 29. It’s been rescheduled for the fall on “dates to be determined,” the statement said. ...

“In the event that limitations on large gatherings continue to interfere with a fall administration of the Massachusetts bar examination, alternative means for testing of applicants for Massachusetts bar admission will be devised and announced,” the statement said.

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March 30, 2020 in Coronavirus, Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

University Of Chicago Law School Sticks To ‘Status Quo’ Grading, Bucking Peers’ Move To Mandatory Pass-Fail

Following up on my previous posts on law school grading policies for the Spring 2020 semester in the wake of the coronavirus (links below):

Chicago Maroon, Law School Plans to Stick To ‘Status Quo’ Grading, Bucking Peers’ Move to Mandatory Pass-Fail:

Chicago (2016)The University of Chicago Law School plans to keep its “status quo” grading system for spring quarter, Dean Tom Miles told students in an email on Tuesday, despite a push by some students to move to a pass/fail system.

The choice contrasts with those of a number of other top law programs—including Harvard, Yale, Columbia, and Cornell—that have switched to blanket pass/fail or equivalent grading for the spring term, after the response to the coronavirus pandemic disrupted many students’ plans.

“Student opinion here, as at other schools, is sharply divided, and any path is sure to disappoint many students,” Miles wrote in Tuesday’s email:

Dear Students,
I hope you are doing well during this unusual time and that you are taking steps to remain healthy.

You may be aware that some law schools have adjusted their grading practices for spring semester. Many of you have contacted me and Dean of Students Charles Todd directly about this. Student opinion here, as at other schools, is sharply divided, and any path is sure to disappoint many students. Please know that Dean Todd and I have read every single one of your emails and petitions, and that your varied points of view have very much been a part of all conversations about grading. I have also been listening carefully to the faculty and administration, as well as the many employers who have contacted me in the past week. There is no answer that is right for everyone, and the considerations are many and complex.

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March 30, 2020 in Coronavirus, Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, March 29, 2020

Zatz: Crisis Grading Policy 2.0: Universality Over Carve-Outs

Following up on my previous posts on law school grading policies for the Spring 2020 semester in the wake of the coronavirus (links below):

Noah Zatz (UCLA), Crisis Grading Policy 2.0: Universality over Carve-outs:

Zatz 2As law schools continue to debate grading policy changes in response to the COVID-19 crisis, a new wrinkle has emerged. The first round largely focused on whether to move away from standard grading and, if so, whether to take an opt-in versus a mandatory pass/fail approach. I’ve previously explained my support for a mandatory over an opt-in approach, and law schools largely seem to be going in this direction. The wrinkle is whether to adopt some kind of hybrid, with a mandatory approach to some courses (especially larger, curved courses) and an opt-in approach to others (such as seminars and/or experiential courses). Most schools taking a mandatory approach have considered but rejected such carve-outs, as Cornell did when it adopted a mandatory pass/fail policy early on. My own institution (UCLA), however, recently included carve-outs for seminars and experiential courses, and so that approach is likely to receive additional interest. This post explains why I believe carve-outs are a mistake, and why a simple, universal approach is preferable.

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March 29, 2020 in Coronavirus, Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Klein: Of Prisoner's Dilemmas And Straw Men — A Response To Blackman, Adler, And Krauss On Law School Grading

Following up on my previous posts on law school grading policies for the Spring 2020 semester in the wake of the coronavirus (links below):

Diane Klein (La Verne), Of Prisoner's Dilemmas and Straw Men: A Response to Blackman, Adler, and Krauss on Law School Grading:

CoronavirusDramatic (probably temporary) changes to grading policies are afoot in America's law schools, and in higher education more generally, in response to COVID-19, the all-online transition, and the seismic disruption taking place in education across the United States. ...

Fa lively debate has been taking place about whether law schools should adopt mandatory pass/fail grading for spring 2020, leave their grading systems alone, or do something in the middle.  A midsemester transition to all pass/fail recommends itself to many faculty members and administrations, based on a sense of compassion for students, and in acknowledgement of the extraordinary dislocation created by the circumstances we are all in.  Led by Dorf on Law's eponymous founder, Prof. Michael Dorf, Cornell Law was among the first to decide to adopt mandatory pass/fail, as they announced on March 16, 2020, and an informal survey suggests that other elite institutions have largely followed suit.

This has triggered a somewhat predictable backlash from some conservatives among the legal professoriate. Josh Blackman of South Texas College of Law [here, here, and here] and Prof. Jonathan Adler of Case Western both blogged about it at The Volokh Conspiracy, and Prof. Michael Krauss of George Mason University Law wrote in Forbes. All take something like a "tough love" approach; all, in my view, minimize the magnitude of what is unfolding; mistakenly fixate on grades as the sole way for professors to convey their assessment of students (to students themselves and to potential employers); and (perhaps most surprisingly!) miss some of the problematic game-theoretic dimensions of what is taking place, leading to their support for an even worse option than no change at all: individualized opt-in to pass/fail.

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March 29, 2020 in Coronavirus, Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

Krauss: Should Law Schools Grade Pass-Fail This Semester?

Following up on my previous posts on law school grading policies for the Spring 2020 semester in the wake of the coronavirus (links below):

Michael Krauss (George Mason), Should Law Schools Grade Pass-Fail This Semester?:

CoronavirusQuite a few top law schools have chosen to grade students on a pass-fail basis during this coronavirus-infected semester. ... I am extremely disappointed to have to teach the second half of this semester remotely. ... [O]ur class sessions are less rich when students only see each other as postage-stamp-size photos on the screen. For this I am truly sorry. But should this loss impact the type of grading that takes place? ...

Lawyers must confront many problems in their practice. Court dates conflict. Children are ill and must be cared for despite constant pressures of practice. Deadlines constantly loom, and witnesses occasionally vanish. Conflicts of interest counsel against taking cases, yet payrolls of assistants and paralegals must be met.

Yes, the coronavirus pandemic has imposed costs on law students, as it has on us all. No, throwing out the grading structure and denying excellent law students the opportunity to demonstrate their excellence is not the appropriate response to these costs. Law students should be allowed to demonstrate excellence, not merely pass. True, elite schools and median students will not be impacted by the change to a pass-fail structure, while excellent students at non-elite schools will be the biggest losers. Is that the redistribution we want to encourage?

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March 29, 2020 in Coronavirus, Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Muller: Thoughts About (And Mostly Against) Pass-Fail Law School Grading During Covid-19

Following up on my previous posts on law school grading policies for the Spring 2020 semester in the wake of the coronavirus (links below):

Derek Muller (Pepperdine), Some Thoughts About (and Mostly Against) Pass-fail Law School Grading During Covid-19:

CoronavirusPass-fail is a luxurious advantage for the highest-ranking law schools. They can easily move to pass-fail and know that the vast majority of their students will experience little difference in likelihood of employment outcomes.

For many other students at the vast majority of law schools, however, I do think there will be disadvantages to moving to pass-fail.

Maybe I’m overstating it, and maybe there won’t be a significant change in judges’ or employers’ experience. Maybe the concerns of the students who I identified as potentially disadvantaged should be outweighed by the concerns of others. But I offer my own thoughts here and look forward to reading more of the robust debates in the days ahead—and to seeing how law schools react.

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March 29, 2020 in Coronavirus, Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, March 28, 2020

New York Postpones July Bar Exam To Fall; Students Demand Emergency Diploma Privilege To Practice Law

New York State Bar Exam Rescheduled for Fall 2020:

CoronavirusThe Court of Appeals today announced that the New York State Bar Examination will not be administered on July 28-29, 2020 as previously scheduled.

The Bar Examination will be rescheduled for dates in the fall, to be determined.

Karen Sloan (New York Law Journal), New York Postpones July Bar Exam Amid COVID-19 Pandemic:

The Court of Appeals’ announcement came after the National Conference of Bar Examiners, which develops the nationwide test, said Friday that it will offer an alternate date for the all-important licensing exam for jurisdictions that cannot, or choose not to, move forward with the July administration due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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March 28, 2020 in Coronavirus, Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Zatz: The Case For Mandatory Pass/Fail Grading In Spring 2020

Following up on my previous posts on law school grading policies for the Spring 2020 semester in the wake of the coronavirus (links below):

Noah Zatz (UCLA), Grading in a Time of Crisis:

Zatz 2I am of the firm and strong view that we should go mandatory P/NP. I have thought about it a lot over the past week, steadily moving in this direction after pausing to consider a variety of alternatives. This includes many conversations with my Section 3/4 1Ls, including after I solicited viewpoints opposing such a move to make sure I was not missing something.

These have been extremely illuminating, often heart-wrenching conversations. I have heard from students struggling with mental health difficulties exacerbated by stress, isolation, and worry. I have heard from students relocating across the country to be with family members who are extremely vulnerable, for whom they are terrified, and with whom they confess they will find it very difficult to live in close proximity, despite their love. I have heard from students in precarious economic circumstances whose ability to study has been seriously disrupted by loss of access to the library, both as a physical space in which to study relative to their marginal housing situation and as a way to access books, and who lack reliable internet access from home. I have also heard from other students sheepishly acknowledging that they have so far have suffered little direct effect, and in fact have benefited from additional time to study, as they live comfortably in LA and have their family nearby, and some of them have had the self-awareness to observe that this relative insulation actually confers additional and unfair advantage on them in any competitively structured process.

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March 28, 2020 in Coronavirus, Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, March 27, 2020

NCBE To Decide By May 5 Whether It Will Provide MBE For July Bar Examinations

National Conference of Bar Examiners, NCBE COVID-19 Updates:

CoronavirusWill the July bar exam be administered as scheduled?
Each jurisdiction will make its own decision about whether it is able to administer the July bar exam, based on factors including ongoing office closures, state and local restrictions on gatherings, and test venue availability. On or about May 5, NCBE will make a decision about whether to make the MBE, MEE, and MPT available to those US jurisdictions that administer them, including all UBE jurisdictions, for the regularly scheduled July bar exam. This decision will be based on whether there would be a sufficient number of jurisdictions and examinees to support equating of scores and all the scoring support and grader training associated with the exam. NCBE will also offer another set of bar exam materials—MBE, MEE, and MPT—for an administration in the fall. Jurisdictions that cannot administer in July, or cannot administer at normal seating capacity, will have the fall administration date as an alternative or additional option. Scores earned in UBE jurisdictions in the fall administration would constitute UBE scores.

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March 27, 2020 in Coronavirus, Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Law Students Share Anxiety, Support On Reddit Over Grading Policies In Wake Of Coronavirus

Karen Sloan (, 'I Feel Like Stress Crying': Law Students Share Anxiety, Support on Reddit:

CoronavirusWant to know how law students are handling life amid a pandemic?

The section of online forum Reddit that is dedicated to law schools—r/LawSchool—offers an unfiltered look at what is keeping future lawyers up at night. Hundreds of students are swapping information on their school’s grading policies and offering updates on how their online classes are working. They’re also sharing their concerns over jobs, internships and their ability to concentrate and study during an unprecedented period of upheaval in their lives. Because users are anonymous, their posts tend to be far more candid that what students share on their class list serves and social media.

“Today I just feel like stress crying,” wrote one poster—a sentiment echoed by many others on the site.

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March 27, 2020 in Coronavirus, Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Law Professor, Law Student Diagnosed With COVID-19

National Law Journal, Sen. Klobuchar's Husband, a Baltimore Law Prof, Tests Positive for COVID-19:

BesslerU.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar said Monday her husband, John Bessler, a law professor at the University of Baltimore, is hospitalized after testing positive for COVID-19, the respiratory disease tied to the novel coronavirus.

Klobuchar, D-Minnesota and a one-time U.S. presidential contender, said in a post Monday at Medium:

John started to feel sick when I was in Minnesota and he was in Washington D.C. and like so many others who have had the disease, he thought it was just a cold. Yet he immediately quarantined himself just in case and stopped going to his job teaching in Baltimore. He kept having a temperature and a bad, bad cough and when he started coughing up blood he got a test and a chest X-ray and they checked him into a hospital in Virginia because of a variety of things including very low oxygen levels which haven’t really improved. He now has pneumonia and is on oxygen but not a ventilator.

Klobuchar described Bessler as “exhausted and sick but a very strong and resilient person.”

Boston Herald, Boston College Law Student Shares Coronavirus Diagnosis: ‘Maybe I Had Something That Was Causing People to Die’:

MooreBoston College law student Sarah Moore spent the first week of March on spring break in Ireland, where coronavirus was barely on the map. But March 14, a week after the 24-year-old returned from her trip, she felt herself coming down with a fever. She shared her experience of getting sick with and testing positive for COVID-19, as told to Herald reporter Meghan Ottolini:

“I did not feel it coming on at all. I got back from Ireland, where I had been in airports and around a lot of people traveling, and I got back March 7. I didn’t show symptoms until the 14th. I was working out, I truly felt fine.

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March 26, 2020 in Coronavirus, Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)