Law Grads In This State Can Practice Law Without Passing The Bar
Connecticut law grads may soon be able to make court presentations without a supervising attorney present – before even passing the bar exam.
In response to hundreds of Connecticut law grads unable to take the state bar exam in July due to COVID-19, the Rules Committee of Superior Court approved recommendations allowing grads to practice law in the interim, Law.com reports. A number of states across the country have already announced plans to cancel or postpone the bar exam.
“We like this new rule because it enables graduates to get started on their professional careers before the bar exam,” Timothy Fisher, dean of the University of Connecticut School of Law, tells Law.com. “They can now do various kinds of client work and limited court appearances on their own, provided they have supervision from a more senior licensed attorney.”
HOW IT WORKS
Under the new adopted rule, according to Law.com, law grads can perform a variety of functions without a supervising attorney present in civil cases: participate in short calendar calls and arguments; report and seek ratification from the court of a written agreement; conduct an unopposed foreclosure proceeding seeking judgment; take part in a pretrial conference or status conference; and participate in an uncontested dissolution of a marriage proceeding.
The rule only applies to lawyers in good standing with the Connecticut bar, meaning they can’t have a history of professional discipline or administrative suspensions.
The hope, experts say, is that the adopted rule will improve law grads’ chances of building their resume for potential employers – especially given many haven’t been able to take the bar exam.
“I think everyone has … compassion for what the students are going through with this delay, and we made the best compromise we felt we could make,” Pullman & Comley member Anne Dranginis, chairwoman of the Connecticut Bar Examining Committee, tells Law.com.
Experts estimate that 350 to 500 grads are planning to take the Connecticut bar exam later this year.
“We need to have lots of lawyers that are willing to work with a graduate student and be their supervisors,” Brad Saxton, interim dean at Quinnipiac University School of Law, tells Law.com. “We have been talking to the bar examining committee on what can be done about getting those attorney supervisors. We are looking to the Connecticut Bar Association for help and law schools are reaching out to alum. Many are already volunteering to be mentors, and maybe some of them would be willing under the new rules to supervise a recent graduate.”