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D.C. Activism

DP4DC Seeking Signatures for New Petition to D.C. Court of Appeals

Earlier today, we drafted and circulated a petition that advocates for diploma privilege, and we are seeking signatures from supporters of diploma privilege. To sign the petition, please visit dp4dc.org/petition.

The petition is expected to be filed with the D.C. Court of Appeals on Thursday, July 16, 2020. Signatures on the petition will be accepted through Wednesday, July 15 at 5:00 PM EDT. Signatures will be added to the petition in an appendix, and are important in demonstrating widespread support for diploma privilege.

The petition advocates for diploma privilege on several grounds. The central concern is the interplay between the inequitable nature of the exam and access to justice.

Many concerns have been raised about the exam: whether it will work at all, whether examinees will have the requisite studying and testing space and technology to prepare for and take the exam, whether the exam will have disparate impacts on racial minorities, the poor, and those with disabilities, and whether the exam will impermissibly invade the privacy of examinees. The petition raises all these concerns and more.

From those concerns, as well as concerns about the security and psychometric validation of the exam, the petition argues that diploma privilege will better serve both bar applicants and the public than the months-delayed, untested, online exam. Relying solely on the months-delayed online exam would subject would-be lawyers to tremendous economic harm, including food and housing insecurity. It would also imperil access to justice for underserved communities, especially because the exam is expected to have substantial disparate impacts on bar applicants entering public interest work and those from underserved communities. Meanwhile, because of the many anticipated shortcomings of the online October exam, the results of the exam are unlikely to meaningfully measure attorney competence—no better than three years of law school and certainly no better than so-called “diploma privilege plus” or “diploma privilege with guardrails” plans.

We want to help our nation get back to work. We want to get back to work. We want to serve our community. And we want to do so quickly, safely, responsibly, equitably, and effectively. We’ve seen that advocacy works, but only if we make it work. Please sign our petition and join the movement for diploma privilege!

Read the full petition below, or click here.