‘Qualified candidates’ will be permitted to practice law without taking bar exam, La. Supreme Court announces

Updated: Jul. 22, 2020 at 9:16 PM CDT
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BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Certain “qualified candidates” will be allowed to practice law without taking the Louisiana State Bar exam, officials announced.

The decision comes after the Louisiana Supreme Court canceled the exam just 12 days before law students were supposed to take it. The reason is due to COVID-19 concerns.

RELATED: Louisiana law students suffer as bar exam is canceled due to COVID-19

“This COVID-19 crisis is unprecedented, and it calls for unprecedented and bold action, including implementation of today’s Order granting one-time emergency admission to the Bar with additional requirements,” Chief Justice Bernette Joshua Johnson. “This pandemic, not experienced globally since the 1918 Spanish Flu, has caused absolute disruption not only to the legal profession but to every aspect of society, with serious illness prevalent, schools shuttered nationally since March, unemployment at record high rates, and rising infection rates. We are bombarded with new information daily as we attempt to navigate these uncharted waters.”

On Wednesday, July 22, the Louisiana Supreme Court issued an order permitting those qualified candidates the ability to move forward with their law career. Those qualified must have filled all other usual requirements.

In addition, individuals must complete 25 hours of continuing education and the Louisiana State Bar Association’s Transition Into Practice program. They will have until December 31, 2021 to complete the program.

“The additional educational and mentoring requirements enacted in today’s Order for those Qualified Candidates who elect the emergency admissions option will serve as guardrails to ensure the competency and integrity of the newly-admitted attorneys during their first year of practice,” states a press release.

Those who do not fit the qualifications will have two opportunities to take the bar exam in a one-day remote format. Those dates will be August 24, 2020 and October 20, 2020.

“This is not the first time that the Louisiana Supreme Court has waived the requirement of a written bar examination due to emergency circumstances. In June, 1953, the Louisiana Supreme Court waived the requirement for the written examination for certain candidates during the existence of the Korean Conflict,” states the press release.

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