Grading Switch Leads to Friction

No More Bar Exam, Students Argue

A number of students are pushing for an emergency diploma privilege that would allow them to bypass the bar exam and go straight into practicing law.

As a result of the coronavirus pandemic, state jurisdictions have begun deciding whether or not they will be postponing the July bar exam, Law.com reports.

New York became the first jurisdiction to officially postpone the July bar exam with Massachusetts and Connecticut quickly following suit.

STUDENTS DISTRESSED

The postponed bar exam is causing anxiety amongst a number of students who say that postponements and cancellations of the bar may put their professional future on a pause.

“We’re pretty petrified,” Nicole Buckley, a third-year student at the City University of New York School of Law, tells Law.com. “I have friends from all different law schools, and pretty much every one is in the same boat. The decision to cancel the July bar exam is devastating and really detrimental to all of us—whether it’s because we were relying on bar grant money for funding for the summer, or for prospective employment.”

Buckley isn’t the only student fearful of the postponement. Several law students and law officials have voiced that they prefer if students were given emergency diploma privilege, allowing law grads of ABA-accredited law schools to be admitted without taking the bar.

“In addition to protecting the public health, we need to preserve the mental health of the candidates hoping to join our profession this year,” law academics argue in a paper. “Those candidates are already suffering educational, family, and financial disruptions. Some have lost part-time jobs needed to support themselves and their families. Others are struggling to care for children or older relatives. All are panicked about whether they will be able to take the bar exam this summer and, if not, how they will cope,” the paper states.”

Additionally, some argue that it’s unfair to compare bar results from this year to previous years as the world is currently in unprecedented times.

“It will be unfair to equate the grading on this exam given all of the inconsistencies,” Touro College Provost Patricia Salkin, another of the paper’s co-authors, tells Law.com. “As businesses are using force majeure and acts of god to justify reorganizations, we need to accept that this is a colossal disruption that calls for humanity and reasoned alternatives to the bar exam for the class of 2020 that will allow them to enter the profession.”

Sources: Law.com, ABA Journal

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