Oregon Law Deans Urge Diploma Privilege

Law schools in Oregon are urging the Oregon Supreme Court to institute a Diploma privilege given the precarious public health moment in which we find ourselves.

The Willamette Week reported that on June 15,

the deans of the state’s three law schools—the University of Oregon, Lewis & Clark, and Willamette University—asked Oregon Supreme Court Chief Justice Martha Walters to waive the July bar exam, which new graduates from the law schools normally take.

The deans’ letter notes

We are deeply appreciative of the efforts of the Oregon State Bar and the Board of Bar Examiners to administer the July exam at multiple sites—including our law schools—in order to try to socially distance the applicants from each other in light of COVID-19,” the deans wrote. “But as the number of new confirmed and presumptive COVID-19 cases continues to increase steadily in our state, this plan becomes more imprudent.”

Advocates and bar takers compiled this google document of the health, mental health and financial harm which will be done by instituting a live in-person exam.

Meanwhile, the Oregon State Board of Bar Examiners added a new waiver requirement.  It is requiring bar takers to sign a waiver assuming all risk with respect to COVID 19.  See  COVID-19_assumption of risk.

The Deans and law students are quite reasonable and prudent in requesting this relief. Oregon’s worrisome rise in the number of new confirmed and presumptive cases of COVID-19, as well as the unequal impact of this virus on communities of color, makes the one-time issuance of a Diploma Privilege for these Oregonian bar candidates the right thing to do.

2 Responses

  1. […] community as well as some national attention with articles being published by Above the Law and a place to discuss. Locally, a Portland newspaper coined the saying that DP is a “free pass” which […]

  2. To follow up
    The Court is holding a public meeting on Monday. here is the media release.

    Click to access 9023fc25635e634fa888c1763bbb745d-Bar%20Exam%20Public%20Meeting%20Press%20Release.pdf

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