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D.C. Activism

PRESS RELEASE: DP4DC Statement on New Rules from D.C. Court of Appeals

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Contact: [email protected]

Earlier today, the District of Columbia Court of Appeals issued a new order establishing rules for temporary licensure and emergency exam-waiver admission (popularly known as “diploma privilege”) in response to a petition from Diploma Privilege for the District of Columbia (DP4DC).

DP4DC thanks all of our fellow applicants, family, friends, and supporters throughout the legal community for their support and advocacy through this tumultuous summer. We are especially grateful to those of you who signed on to our petition or commented in support of our petition during the public comment period. Our mission, from the very beginning, has been singular: to petition the D.C. Court of Appeals to grant diploma privilege to all 2020 applicants to the D.C. bar in light of the COVID-19 pandemic and its effect on our society. Sadly, we did not fully succeed in that mission. The court’s order today provides for a small, narrow, restricted version of diploma privilege that excludes the vast majority of those we were advocating for. In our analysis of the order, we note the following:

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D.C. Activism

Court of Appeals to Decide on Diploma Privilege by September 28

Earlier today, the D.C. Court of Appeals issued an order promising “emergency rules,” to be promulgated by September 28, that will expand D.C.’s temporary supervised practice program and “potentially” provide for diploma privilege for “certain qualifying applicants.” The order also extends the withdrawal deadline for the October exam from today to September 30.

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D.C. Activism

October Exam Headed for Technological Disaster

Earlier today, we learned that Extegrity, the developers of Exam4 and one of three approved remote proctoring vendors, announced that it would withdraw from the online October bar exam. Extegrity wrote, “[I]t is plain that remote proctoring was not envisioned for use on large-scale, simultaneous-start ‘event’ exams. With four synchronized starts, thousands of examinees, and very-high stakes, we believe remote proctoring carries undue risk for the October exam.”

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D.C. Activism

PRESS RELEASE: DC Opens Public Comment Period on Diploma Privilege After DP4DC Advocacy

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Contact: [email protected]dp4dc.org

In response to our petition, the District of Columbia Court of Appeals announced on Wednesday that it would receive public comments on the issue of diploma privilege. Interested parties are encouraged to submit comments directly to the court by August 12th. Parties may submit comments by emailing [email protected] or mailing a letter directly to the court. Please see the attached notice for more information.

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D.C. Activism

PRESS RELEASE: DP4DC Files Petition with D.C. Court of Appeals Advocating for Diploma Privilege with 1,100 Supporters

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 
Contact: [email protected]

Earlier today Diploma Privilege for the District of Columbia (DP4DC) submitted a petition to the District of Columbia Court of Appeals asking the Court to amend its requirements for admission to the DC Bar to include licensure by emergency diploma privilege for all applicants registered for the October 2020 DC Bar Exam in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. The petition, drafted by applicants to the Bar, was signed by over 1,100 people, including licensed attorneys in DC, law students, and professors from law schools across the country. The petition follows a letter in support of diploma privilege from the Deans of all seven DC-area law schools. 

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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.

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D.C. Activism

Impact Statements Pour in as Law Grads Face October Exam

Yesterday, we put out a call for impact statements, to understand how the months-delayed, online exam will affect those seeking admission to the D.C. bar. In a matter of minutes, statements from recent graduates who plan to take the October exam began to pour in.

Many members of Georgetown Law’s class of 2020 wrote in about the tremendous financial burden of the seemingly ever-more-delayed bar exam. Requesting anonymity, one Georgetown grad wrote, “I took out a bar loan that will run out before the bar happens . . . My family can’t afford to support me, and I’m basically using my loan for rent and living on credit cards at this point. Granting diploma privilege would mean that I could start the job that I already have lined up.”

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D.C. Activism

NCBE Bans D.C. Examinees from Other Jurisdictions’ UBEs

Earlier today, the D.C. Committee on Admissions (COA) updated its Fall Bar Exam FAQs with a troubling and perplexing series of questions and answers. Taken together, they state that an examinee cannot sit for both D.C.’s October exam and the July or September Uniform Bar Exam (UBE) in another jurisdiction because of copyright restrictions imposed by the NCBE. The move further calls into question the reliability of the October exam.

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D.C. Activism

DP4DC Seeking Impact Statements

Your voice matters. We will make sure you are heard.

We are now seeking impact statements from those affected by the decision of the D.C. Court of Appeals to cancel the July bar exam and require an online exam in October in its place.

Please use the form at https://dp4dc.org/impact-statements/ to send us your impact statement. You can also email us your statement at [email protected].

Categories
D.C. Activism

The D.C. Movement Begins

How We Got Here

The first call for diploma privilege in Washington, D.C. went out on April 6, 2020, when 217 law students, joined by 18 of their professors, wrote to the D.C. Committee on Admissions, pleading for the Committee to protect their lives from the rapidly worsening COVID-19 pandemic. A week earlier, New York had announced that it would postpone the bar exam to an unknown date. Frightened by the dual risks of COVID-19 and an indefinitely postponed bar exam—and with it, indefinitely postponed lives and careers—the law students requested diploma privilege, or any option that would permit their timely admission to the bar. Diploma privilege, the traditional method of bar admission in D.C. and 35 states, still regularly practiced in Wisconsin, would have guaranteed that all law school graduates have the opportunity to work.

The D.C. Court of Appeals responded on April 10, announcing that the regularly scheduled July bar exam would be canceled. A month later, on May 4, the Court announced that the bar exam would be held in-person, in September, merely delaying the inevitable choice between life and livelihood.