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This State Rejected Diploma Privilege

Florida law grads won’t be having any diploma privilege.

The Florida Supreme Court rejected a proposal last Thursday that would allow recent law grads to substitute training in-lieu of the bar exam, Bloomberg Law reports. The court stated that it was “essential” for lawyers to meet requirements before practicing the law.

“This court has determined and still believes that law school graduation alone does not sufficiently demonstrate the knowledge, ability, and preparedness necessary to admit a law graduate to the practice of law in Florida,” the court states.


Amidst the pandemic, a number of states cancelled in-person bar exams.

Florida cancelled its July in-person exam and replaced it with an online exam scheduled for October.

According to Bloomberg Law, more than 50 Florida Bar members petitioned the court in August arguing that it should admit bar applicants who registered for the July exam and would “otherwise qualify for admission.”

It’s an argument that’s growing in popularity across the nation as the pandemic adds increased stress and complications around law grads’ careers. Proponents of diploma privilege argue that the bar exam fails to actually assess what lawyers do in the real world.

“The general public might be surprised to learn the bar exam is almost entirely divorced from the work we will do as attorneys,” according to a Washington Post piece. “The exam is entirely closed-book, an exercise in memorization more than anything else. The practice of law requires careful research and checking (and double-checking) what we believe we know. Lawyers who practice based on a generalized form of the law they have memorized from flashcards risk malpractice. But this is exactly what the bar expects us to do.”

Sources: Bloomberg Law, Florida Supreme Court, Washington Post