A new CA licensing and regulatory twist re 2020 law school grads

A new CA licensing and regulatory twist re 2020 law school grads

On Behalf of | Oct 29, 2020 | Ethics & Professional Responsibility

Would-be California lawyers hoping to be fully credentialed and with license in hand after passing the state’s bar exam can certainly be empathized with on a number of counts.

For starters, the exam is notoriously difficult, and noted by legions of prospective attorneys in other states who are simply glad they never have to take it.

And then there has recently been fundamental uncertainty regarding exam details and parameters. The California Supreme Court and bar officials have weighed in with pronouncements multiple times thus far in 2020 concerning changes to threshold passing scores, COVID-19’s impact on in-person versus online testing, revised exam dates and more.

Candidly, things have been in major flux for 2020 law school graduates, who have been earnestly seeking some guidance and certainty from regulators.

That finally came last week via an announcement from the state’s highest court. A national article spotlighting relevant details duly notes the tribunal’s “new rule creating a temporary lawyer licensing program for 2020 law school graduates as an alternative to the bar exam.”

Here’s a caveat to that update, though, which the thousands of individuals spared from the arduous ordeal must note: A temporary reprieve does not equate to permanent relief. Persons allowed to practice pursuant to the new rule and intending to be long-term players in the profession will have to pass the exam following the program’s termination in June 2020 (unless the end date is further extended by the court).

And there’s this too: Temporary license applicants must have proof of an employment offer or commit to volunteering at an entity that provides legal services.

Further details are forthcoming, perhaps as early as next month.