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.
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.
Earlier today, the Oregon Supreme Court approved diploma privilege in a 4-3 vote during a public meeting held via video conference.
Oregon is now the third state to grant diploma privilege in the wake of COVID-19. Wisconsin has also long offered diploma privilege to graduates of Wisconsin law schools.
Following the lead of the deans of Washington and Oregon’s law schools, who won diploma privilege for their graduates, law school deans in Texas and California have taken up the fight in their states.
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.