Utah Supreme Court contemplates allowing law school graduates to practice law without passing the bar

SALT LAKE CITY — Coronavirus concerns stole the last few months of attending classes for Utah and BYU third-year law students. And now it threatens to postpone or cancel their opportunity to take the 2020 Utah State Bar Exam.

proposed order from the Utah Supreme Court, however, could mean they get to practice law sooner than they would without the disruption of the COVID-19 outbreak — and without taking the bar exam at all.

The Supreme Court’s proposed order would grant “diploma privilege” to those who graduate between May 1, 2019, and June 30, 2020, with a law degree from an American Bar Association-approved law school with a first-time bar exam success rate of 86% or better. That means that with some caveats and conditions, these students could become lawyers without ever taking the test.

“The COVID-19 crisis has disrupted ordinary life in a seemingly infinite number of ways,” said a statement from the court that accompanied the proposed order released for public comment Thursday afternoon.

“Like others in this time of unprecedented upheaval, the Utah Supreme Court is endeavoring to temporarily adjust some of its rules and practices to address the reality we currently confront. … At present, the court cannot guarantee the bar’s ability to safely administer the examination in July. Nor is the court in a position to predict when it may be able to offer the examination.”

Source:  https://www.deseret.com/utah/2020/4/9/21215940/utah-supreme-court-law-school-graduates-bar-exam-coronavirus-covid-19