The COVID-19 pandemic has prompted the Utah Supreme Court to consider different rules for the 2020 Bar Examination.
The Utah Supreme Court on April 9 published a proposed Order for Temporary Amendments to the Bar Admissions Procedures During the COVID-19 Outbreak. Under the proposed Order, qualifying graduates will not be required to take the Bar Examination, but will instead be allowed to begin practicing immediately after meeting the other requirements for admission. Among other requirements, applicants must complete 360 hours of post-graduate supervised practice under the guidance of a licensed and experienced Utah attorney.
The emergency diploma privilege would only apply to students who (1) graduated between May 1, 2019 and June 30, 2020, (2) have not previously sat for the Bar, and (3) filed an application with the Utah Bar by the April 1, 2020 filing deadline. Students who do not qualify for the emergency diploma privilege, or who would prefer to earn a transferrable score, may sit for the next Bar examination. The Utah Supreme Court proposed Order would cancel the July Bar examination. The Court intends to hold a fall Bar examination if possible.
The proposed Order is the result of weeks of collaboration between the Utah Supreme Court, representatives from the Utah State Bar, practicing attorneys, University of Utah S.J. Quinney College of Law Professor Elizabeth Kronk Warner, University of Utah S.J. Quinney College of Law Professor Louisa Heiny, leaders from BYU, and academics from law schools around the country. (Read a statement about the reasoning for the proposal here). The emergency diploma privilege recognizes the impossibility of offering a July 2020 exam, as well as the importance of putting new lawyers to work helping those most impacted by the pandemic, providing practicing lawyers help, and giving new graduates the certainty and financial stability that they and their families require.
“The proposed emergency Order was a result of vigorous and robust discussion, as well as extensive collaboration,” said Heiny. “We’re grateful for all the thought, time, and effort that went into this proposed emergency Order, and we look forward to the public comment process.”
How to View Text of the Proposed Order and Accompanying Statement
To see the proposed Order and submit comments, click on this link: https://www.utcourts.gov/utc/rules-comment/, then click on the Order, or simply click on the link in the description above.
How to Submit Comments
You can comment and view the comments of others by clicking on the “CONTINUE READING” link associated with each body of rules. After clicking on the “CONTINUE READING” link, you will be asked for your name, which is required, and your email address which need not be your real address. The comment website is public. Each comment must be approved by the site administrator before it will show on the public website. Although all comments will be considered, they will not be acknowledged with a response.
If you have any questions, please contact the committee staff person. The list of committees and staff persons may be found at the following link: https://www.utcourts.gov/committees/.