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COVID-19 Bar Examination and Admission Changes

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Bar Exam Information

It’s an uncertain time for recent law graduates and other prospective bar exam takers. Which states will be administering the bar exam in July as planned? Which states have postponed the bar exam until the fall? Which states are admitting law school graduates with supervision from an attorney?

We’ve gathered these links in one place to help you find the information you’re looking for.


Bar Exam Updates

State-by-state information:

Source: Kaplan Bar Prep.


Bar Admission Information by Jurisdiction

The ABA urges states that cancel bar exams due to COVID-19 to consider alternatives for law grads.

Arizona

Rule/Order: Supreme Court Rule 39(a) eff. May 1, 2020
Made in Response to COVID-19: Yes
Accountability: Monitoring by Supervising Attorney
Post-Law School/Bar Application Pending: Must register for next available UBE; must submit Character and Fitness application w/in 90 days of graduation
Post-Law School/Post-Exam/Pre-Admission: Until results of bar exam are released & up to 30 days after notice of admission
Termination: Upon failure to take first avail UBE; until issuance of results showing failure of bar exam, Notification of failure to pass Character & Fitness; or 30 days after notification of bar passage and admission to practice

Colorado

Rule/Order: Rules Governing Admission to the Practice of Law in Colorado; Rule Change 2020(15)
Made in Response to COVID-19: Yes
Accountability: Monitoring by Supervising Attorney
Post-Law School/Bar Application Pending: Rule to take effect on date postponement of July 2020 CO bar exam is announced; Eligible law graduates may apply for limited practice certification, must have never been licensed to practice law in any US jurisdiction and have submitted application for admission under CRCP 203.4
Post-Law School/Post-Exam/Pre-Admission: Rule expires seven (7) days after the swearing-in ceremony following the first CO bar exam after effective date of Rule unless otherwise extended by Court
Termination: Certification terminates upon applicants withdrawal of admission application, withdrawal of supervision by supervising attorney, admission to practice in another US jurisdiction, or seven days after results showing applicants failure of CO bar exam are released. Cert. may also be terminated by Supreme Court at anytime without notice, or showing of cause

Connecticut

Rule/Order: Superior Court- Temporary Expansion of Legal Intern Rule
Made in Response to COVID-19: Yes
Accountability: Monitoring by Supervising Attorney
Post-Law School/Bar Application Pending: Temporarily expands legal intern rule 2019 and 2020 law graduates of an ABA accredited law school who have not previously taken any bar exam prior to February 2020.
Post-Law School/Post-Exam/Pre-Admission: Continues until results of second CT bar exam following legal intern’s graduation. If intern passes such exam then certification may continues until formal admission.
Termination: Terminates upon failure to graduate from accredited law school, results of second CT bar exam following legal intern’s graduation, or at any time upon notice by dean of law school or Superior Court.

Georgia

Rule/Order: Supreme Court Order in re: Provisional Admission to the Practice of Law in Georgia
Made in Response to COVID-19: Yes
Accountability: Monitoring by Supervising Attorney
Post-Law School/Bar Application Pending: Must have graduated from ABA accredited law in the previous 18 months of application for provisional admission. have Character and Fitness certification and not failed a bar exam in any jurisdiction
Post-Law School/Post-Exam/Pre-Admission: Terminates 30 days after the results of second eligible GA bar exam are released
Termination: Terminates upon failure of any GA Bar exam, failure to register for second Georgia bar exam for which a person could have sat for after submission of their provisional license application, 30 days after release of the results of such exam, or upon full admission to GA Bar, whichever is sooner.

Illinois

Rule/Order: Illinois Sup. Ct. Order Amending Rule 711
Made in Response to COVID-19: Yes
Accountability: Monitoring by Supervising Attorney
Post-Law School/Bar Application Pending: Order amends Rule 711(g), which will temporarily expand the class of employers eligible to supervise new law school graduates to include private law firms and other for-profit entities whichever comes first.
Post-Law School/Post-Exam/Pre-Admission: Eligible candidates are December 2019 and 2020 graduates of ABA law schools and prior graduates who have been serving judicial clerkships, who have not previsouly sat for a bar exam in any US jurisdiction, and have applied for the Septemeber 2020 or the February 2021 IL Bar exam.
Termination: IL Supreme Court will monitor this as a pilot program and will make further determination on extension of the program after the February 2021 exam.

Indiana

Rule/Order: Supreme Court Order No. 20S-MS-249 (extending Indiana Admission and Disciplinary Rule 2.1)
Made in Response to COVID-19: Yes
Accountability: Monitoring by Supervising Attorney
Post-Law School/Bar Application Pending: Any Graduate who graduated after November 2019 and has not sat for a bar examination in Indiana or any other jurisdiction prior to February 2021
Post-Law School/Post-Exam/Pre-Admission: May participate until notified of the results of the February 21, 2021 bar exam, if passed status continues until first opportunity for formal admission to the Bar.
Termination: February 28, 2021; or if graduate sat for Feb 21, 2021 exam, until notification of results. If passed status will continue until first opportunity for formal admission to IN bar.

Louisiana

Rule/Order: Louisiana Supreme Court Order
Made in Response to COVID-19: Yes
Accountability: N/A
Post-Law School/Bar Application Pending: Written exam requirement is waived for “Qualified Candidates”- December 2019 or later graduate of ABA approved law school, who as of July 22, 2020 had completed registration for July 2020 or October 2020 LA Bar exam, and have not previously sat for any US bar exam and will not sit for any other exam in 2020.
Post-Law School/Post-Exam/Pre-Admission: Passing Score on MPRE exam and Character and Fitness Evaluation are still required for admission. Qualified Candidates must complete 25 hours of CLE and comply with LSBA’s “Transistion to Practice” program prior to 12/31/2021.
Termination: N/A

Massachusetts

Rule/Order: Supreme Judicial Court Order
Made in Response to COVID-19: Yes
Accountability: Monitoring by Supervising Attorney
Post-Law School/Bar Application Pending: Order expands Rule 3:03 to allow dean to submit certification for Spring 2020 graduates anytime prior to graduation
Post-Law School/Post-Exam/Pre-Admission: N/A
Termination: May extend certification to represent the Commonwealth or eligible indigent defendants until earliest of first MA bar examination after graduation, results of such bar examination if taken, if passed until admission to Bar.

Missouri

Rule/Order: Supreme Court of Missouri Order issued 4/28/2020
Made in Response to COVID-19: Yes
Accountability: Monitoring by Supervising Attorney
Post-Law School/Bar Application Pending: Modifies Rule 13.03 to permit active law student certifications to stay in effect until results of the February 2021 bar exam are released or the student is admited to practice
Post-Law School/Post-Exam/Pre-Admission: If student passes February 2021 bar exam, certification will be extended to date of formal admission.
Termination: N/A

New Jersey

Rule/Order: Supreme Court Order
Made in Response to COVID-19: Yes
Accountability: Monitoring of supervising attorney licensed for at least 3 years
Post-Law School/Bar Application Pending: 2020 Graduates must submit application for first exam they are eligible to take and receive Character and Fitness Certification
Post-Law School/Post-Exam/Pre-Admission: Continues until results of first eligible bar exam are available
Termination: Terminates immediately upon failure to sit for the first eligible bar exam; If graduate sits for first eligible exam, then terminates occurs when the results of that exam are available.

New Mexico

Rule/Order: Order issued delaying July bar exam
Made in Response to COVID-19: Yes
Accountability:
Post-Law School/Bar Application Pending: Ad hoc group shall develop a recommendation for a temporary, alternative practice program that would provide a limited, supervised opportunity for legal practice by applicants awaiting an opportunity to take a bar examination should an ongoing public health emergency require the cancellation of the anticipated — but yet to be scheduled — September 2020 bar examination
Post-Law School/Post-Exam/Pre-Admission: N/A
Termination: N/A

New York

Rule/Order: New York Chief Judge has approved a plan for temporary practice for law grads- Formal Order forthcoming
Made in Response to COVID-19: Yes
Accountability: Monitoring by Supervising Attorney
Post-Law School/Bar Application Pending: Will be available to all first time takers of bar exam
Post-Law School/Post-Exam/Pre-Admission: The temporary authorization program is intended to carry qualified candidates through their swearing-in date, so long as those candidates pass their first bar examination no later than 2021 and promptly seek admission to the bar following the release of exam results.
Termination: N/A

Oregon

Rule/Order: Supreme Court of the State of Oregon Order allowing diploma privilege for 2020 graduates
Made in Response to COVID-19: Yes
Accountability: None
Post-Law School/Bar Application Pending: Diploma Privilege admission granted to eligible candidates who 1) graduated in 2020 from one of the three Oregon law schools or 2) graduated in 2020 from any other ABA-accredited law school that had a minimum of 86% of graduates pass a 2019 bar exam on their first attempt.
Post-Law School/Post-Exam/Pre-Admission: For those candidates who do not qualify for the diploma privilege option, the Court has announced 1) a one-time reduction in the passing score for the July exam from 274 to 266; and 2) the option to instead take a remotely administered exam in October, with scores on that exam not qualifying as UBE scores.
Termination: Diploma privilege eligible on a temporary basis only to qualified 2020 law graduates who have already submitted applications to sit for the the July 2020 bar exam.

Pennsylvania

Rule/Order: Pennsylvania Supreme Court Order No. 837
Made in Response to COVID-19: Yes
Accountability: Monitoring by Supervising Attorney
Post-Law School/Bar Application Pending: Open to graduate of ABA accredited law school who is unable to sit for July 2020 exam due to postponement or cancellation, must not have previously failed PA bar exam, application for July 2020 exam required
Post-Law School/Post-Exam/Pre-Admission: Limited license continues until results of first PA bar exam after effective date of order are announced, those who pass may continue their license until formal admission
Termination: Terminates upon failure to sit for the first PA bar exam held after effective date of order. Regardless of circumstance, all limited licenses terminate 6 months after the results of the first PA bar exam held after effective date of Order

Tennessee

Rule/Order: Tennessee Supreme Court Rule 7, Art. X, Sec. 10.04
Made in Response to COVID-19: Yes
Accountability: Monitoring by Supervising Attorney
Post-Law School/Bar Application Pending: Graduate must have applied to take bar exam
Post-Law School/Post-Exam/Pre-Admission: N/A
Termination: Authorization to practice expires on the date of the admissions ceremony if graduate passes the bar exam, or the date results are released if graduate fails exam. In no event may graduate practice longer than 16 months from the date of the graduate’s first application for admission to the bar in any jurisdiction or graduation from law school “whichever is shorter.”

Texas

Rule/Order: Texas Supreme Court Misc. Docket No 20-9060
Made in Response to COVID-19: Yes
Accountability: Monitoring by Supervising Attorney
Post-Law School/Bar Application Pending: Qualified unlicensed law graduates can obtain a supervised practice card
Post-Law School/Post-Exam/Pre-Admission: Supervised practice card expires 30 days after passage of bar exam, 30 days after failure of second bar exam, or 14 months from issuance
Termination: In addition to time limitation, supervisory practice card terminates upon termination of dean’s certificate, termination of supervising attorney’s supervision or imposition of a disciplinary sanction

Utah

Rule/Order: Utah Supreme Court Order in re: Temporary Amendments to Bar Admission during COVID-19 outbreak
Made in Response to COVID-19: Yes
Accountability: Take and pass MPRE by December 31, 2020. Complete 360 hours of Supervised Practice by December 31, 2020
Post-Law School/Bar Application Pending: Eligibility requirements: Graduation between May 1, 2019 an June 20 2020 from ABA approved law school that had a first time taker bar exam passage rate of 86% or greater. Not sat for a bar exam in any US state or territory; Will not sit for a bar exam in any US State or territory in July 2020; Submitted Utah bar examination on or before April 1, 2020.
Post-Law School/Post-Exam/Pre-Admission: N/A
Termination: An eligible law school graduate who meets all of the accountability requirements on or before December 31, 2020 shall be admitted to practice law in the State of Utah without sitting for a bar examination.

Washington

Rule/Order: Washington Supreme Court Order 25700-B-630
Made in Response to COVID-19: Yes
Accountability: Grants diploma privilege admission.
Post-Law School/Bar Application Pending: Applicants who are currently registered for the July or September 2020 Bar Exam and who have received a JD degree from an ABA accredited law school are granted the option of reciving a diploma privilege to practice in the State of Washington.
Post-Law School/Post-Exam/Pre-Admission: July and September 2020 exams will still be held for those who do not meet qualifications or wish to obtain a UBE score.
Termination: Applies to both first time and repeat test takers currently registered for July 2020 and September 2020 Exams.

Wyoming

Rule/Order: Wyoming Supreme Court Emergency Rule 203
Made in Response to COVID-19: Yes
Accountability: Monitoring by Supervising Attorney
Post-Law School/Bar Application Pending: Must apply for membership by exam by April 15, 2020, Graduate must not have previously sat for bar exam in any US State or territory, and passed character and fitness determination
Post-Law School/Post-Exam/Pre-Admission: N/A
Termination: Terminates upon withdrawal of application for admission by examination; failure to obtain passing score on first UBE administered following the adoption of Rule 203; failure to submit timely passing score on MPRE; becoming subject to a formal charge in a disciplinary proceeding; supervising attorney ceases to be active member in good standing; withdrawal of verification by supervising attorney.

Source: The ABA Coronavirus (COVID-19) Task Force

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