Will the Bar Exam be Postponed as a Result of Covid-19?

Will the Bar Exam be Postponed as a Result of Covid-19?

Amid the Covid-19 pandemic, many students have been contacting me concerned about whether the July 2020 bar examination will be postponed.

The National Conference of Bar Examiners has posted the following guidance:

The bar exam is administered by individual jurisdictions, not by NCBE. We are in close contact with jurisdiction bar admission agencies as they consider possible options for the July exam in the event that shutdowns and prohibitions against large gatherings remain in effect.

As of March 23, 2020, the bar examiners in both New York and California have indicated that they are monitoring this situation closely, and that the current status of the July 2020 bar examination remains unknown. As the situation continues to evolve, more information will be posted on the state bar’s website. Be sure to check the website of the jurisdiction in which you plan to sit, for the most up-to-date guidance.

So what does all of this mean for you?

  • My advice to students is to proceed and prepare as if the July 2020 examination will be administered. At this point, the examination is four months away, and it is very likely that the examination will go forward as planned. This means that you should:
    • Register for the July 2020 Bar Examination in a timely manner.
    • Register for any bar review courses that you plan to take.
    • If you plan to use a personalized tutor, like The High Bar, reserve your spot early.
  • Additionally, during this time of “social distancing” you may find yourself with extra time on your hands. Consider using some of this time to get a jump start on bar review; e.g.; use the next two months to begin refreshing your recollection of the MBE subjects.
    • Contact The High Bar for guidance on setting up an Early Start Schedule.
  • Lastly, and most importantly, stay healthy. We are all in this together.

UPDATE; March 24, 2020: As of the posting of the article, the National Conference has updated its guidance stating:

The COVID-19 situation continues to evolve rapidly, and there is still a great deal of uncertainty about what will happen with it in the months ahead. It is important that decisions about the July bar examination are made thoughtfully and with appropriate due diligence. While each jurisdiction ultimately makes its own decisions about licensing new lawyers, we believe a coordinated response among jurisdictions, to the extent that’s possible, will help minimize misinformation and confusion among candidates and the public.

NCBE and jurisdiction bar admission offices are working together closely to find flexible solutions that will protect the safety of candidates and employees while continuing to ensure competent legal services for the public during this time of crisis. NCBE is prepared to support jurisdictions in their decisions to offer a July exam, reschedule the July exam, or explore other options. While it would be inappropriate to go into more detail about these options before jurisdictions have had a chance to finalize their decisions, we hope to be able to share more details soon.

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