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ABA Calls on States to Let Grads Skip Bar

The American Bar Association is urging states that have canceled bar exams due to COVID-19 to allow law grads to engage in a limited practice of law.

The ABA’s Board of Governors approved a policy resolution last week that asks state licensing authorities to adopt emergency rules for 2019 and 2020 law grads who are unable to take the bar exam due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“In this time of unprecedented change as we address the challenges of the world pandemic, the ABA is leading the profession to be resilient,” ABA President Judy Perry Martinez says in a press release. “By justifiably postponing bar examinations, states are protecting law students and the public’s health, but the lives and careers of law graduates are being adversely affected.”

FIRST STATE MAKES CHANGES

Utah became the first state to allow law grads to skip the bar exam due to COVID-19, as reported by Law.com, with states like New Jersey following suit.

“The Court’s goal is to identify criteria for licensure that will balance all of the above concerns—providing certainty and clarity for applicants and their employers, enhancing access to justice, and assuring a high standard of competence for those who are admitted to the Utah Bar,” a statement from the Utah Supreme Court reads.

Experts say that the move is a critical one to assist in legal aid – especially during this time.

“This guidance for an emergency law graduate rule will not only help the recent law graduates work within the legal sector in a meaningful way, but also will add more people to help address the increase in legal needs for individuals and businesses caused by this pandemic,” ABA President Judy Perry Martinez says.

Sources: ABA, Law.com, CNN