The State Bar of California has announced that its Board of Trustees has recommended that the California Supreme Court either postpone the state’s bar exam from July until September or cancel it.
IThe Board of Trustees sent a letter to the California Supreme Court stating that it is just “feasible to administer and in person exam” in July due to the coronavirus pandemic. The preferred option stated by the Board of Trustees is to postpone the bar exam to September 9 and 10. This might include administering the exam “online, in person or both depending upon whatever social distancing measures are still in effect.”
There are other options being discussed – either cancel the exam or to allow a law graduate to practice law under the supervision of a licensed, California attorney. I doubt that the latter option will be embraced.
There are about 9,000 law school grads who expected to take the July 2020 exam. This does not include examinees who took the February 2020 bar exam who receive their results in May – anyone who failed, would likely intend to take the July 2020 bar exam.
It is not clear how quickly the California Supreme Court will respond, but I imagine it will be very soon so that applicants and the California bar examiners can prepare. From reports about the Board of Examiners request to postpone or cancel, it sounds like the California bar examiners plan to take steps to provide a safe testing environment if the exam goes forward in September – a source from the California state bar examiners indicated that there is an assumption that social distancing will be in effect in September and that between now and September they are preparing to hold them exam by taking protective measures.
It is clearly the California bar examiners preference to go forward in September, and I would imagine it would be applicant’s preference for the exam to go forward. Applicants in New York and New Jersey requested that instead of sitting for the bar or postponing the bar, that they be allowed to practice law under the supervision of an attorney. This request was denied, despite hundreds of applicants requesting it.
The California and New York bar exams are considered the most difficult in the country. Given that New York has denied the request, California is unlikely to allow law graduates to skip the bar exam. Whatever happens, it will be different, that is for certain.
None of this is surprising as this is truly an unprecedented time for California, the nation and for the world.
If you have not seen my earlier post, I recommend that you read it. I provide some advice about how to proceed depending upon what the examiners decide to do. Now we at least know that there will be a decision soon and we can all plan accordingly.
I am still moving forward with a video serious providing advice on how to prepare for the California bar exam during the social distancing required.
Stay tuned, I will report more as soon as I know anything. Also, I recommend that you check the California state bar website for updates.
Hang in there, stay safe and keep your chin up!
All the best,
Lisa Duncanson Founder/Program Director Bar None Review Bar Exam Cram Session office phone: 213-529-0990 cell phone: 714-717-0210 (feel free to text me) email: firstname.lastname@example.org