NYS Law Students Urge Highest Court to Expeditiously Announce Alternatives to September Bar Exam

Throughout the country all of us are being asked to change, adapt and respond in unprecedented ways as we experience global pandemic, quarantine, loss, fear, empathy and grief.  New York’s situation seems at this moment most dramatic as the deaths due to the virus surpass those from September 11th.

Two days ago, on April 1st,  law students from the 15 New York law schools eloquently and compellingly argued for the highest court to recognize this unprecedented moment and act accordingly in their Student Letter to Chief Judge DiFiore . In addition, the 15 deans of New York Law schools co-wrote and submitted a similarly persuasive Letter from New York Law Deans to Chief Judge DiFiore.

Yesterday, April 2nd,  the National Law Journal published Judith Wegner’s An Immodest Proposal. Professor Wegner, the innovative co-author of the pathbreaking Carnegie report Educating Lawyers calls for state bars and courts to:

  1. Recognize the factors that are impeding meaningful responses;
  2. Mitigate immediate problems through supervised practice rules;
  3. Consider adopting an emergency provisional licensing system; and
  4. Recognize that other options also deserve attention.

It is incumbent upon the New York Court of Appeals to act swiftly and with innovative  measures to effectively respond to the informed voices of  New York’s law students and law deans.

2 Responses

  1. This crisis has the potential to lead to long-term innovation, as previous public emergencies have. In legal education, we’re suddenly modifying entrenched policies that reports like Best Practices and the Carnegie report suggested we reconsider a decade ago. As legal educators grapple with formulating the “right” alternative grading policy for this semester, we are confronting the flaws and limitations of the existing system (especially first-year grades as the main driver of employment opportunities). Fortunately, thanks to the studies, we’ve been thinking about these issues a long time, even if we haven’t implemented them.

    As a clinical educator, I will also be adopting long-term the tech tools we’re using in the sudden shift to remote clinical law practice. Students have called remote practice another tool in the tool kit.

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