Which States are Delaying the July 2020 Bar Exam and Offering a Fall Bar Exam Instead?
Which states are delaying the July 2020 bar exam and offering a fall bar exam instead? As noted in prior posts, the NCBE has decided to administer a fall bar exam. States have until May 5 to determine whether they wish to administer a July bar exam or delay it (likely about two months) until the Fall. At that time, the NCBE will decide whether it will administer both a July bar exam and a fall bar exam or whether it will only administer a fall bar exam (assuming there is not enough interest in a July bar exam). The questions will be different if both exams are administered.
Update 7/23/20: If your state is administering the remote NCBE exam, check out these NCBE FAQs for more helpful details on this online exam! Also, make sure to check your state bar’s website for any other details!
Update 6/29/20: 60% of states have changed their July 2020 bar exam in some way.
Update 6/14/20: Most jurisdictions (31, in fact) are planning on administering a July bar exam (with the vast majority of jurisdictions administering the exam in-person). However, in total, these states represented only 37.3% of July 2019 bar takers. Many of the states with the largest number of bar exam takers in July 2019 (California, District of Columbia, Illinois, Massachusetts, New York, among others) have decided instead to administer a fall bar exam. You can see a breakdown of which states are offering a July v. Fall bar exam option below.
UPDATE 6/1/20: The NCBE is offering a limited MBE, MEE, MPT exam online on October 5-6 for jurisdictions to use as an “emergency option” if the July or fall exams cannot be administered. This exam would be completely remote. It would not constitute a full bar exam; it would be shorter than the traditional bar exam. Further, any score would not be eligible to be transferred as a UBE or MBE score to other jurisdictions or released to candidates via NCBE score services. Scores will not be equated or scaled as a traditional standard full-length pen-and-paper bar exam would be.
UPDATE 5/5/20: the NCBE states on its website that it will make materials available for a July exam AND both September exams, and it is up to the states to choose an administration or even multiple.
Update 11/9/20 on the October 2020 MBE: the national mean was 137.2 for October in-person MBE, according to the NCBE.
Which States are Delaying the July 2020 Bar Exam?
States will decide relatively soon whether to postpone the July 2020 bar exam. For your convenience, here we list the jurisdictions as well as their decisions to keep the July 2020 bar exam scheduled as-is in July, or to delay it. New York paved the way in deciding to delay the bar exam. And we suspect many states will follow New York’s lead. We will keep this post updated as more states make decisions!
If you have new information, please comment below or contact us so we can update our post!
- Alabama (AL)—JULY EXAM (as of 5/8/20). Also adopted temporary rules for applicants.
- Alaska (AK)—DELAYED UNTIL FALL 2020, dates will be September 9-10, 2020. (as of 4/9/20) The Court developed a supervised practice rule. (as of 8/12/20)
- Arizona (AZ)—JULY AND FALL (10/5-6/2020) EXAMS. (as of 7/1/20) The Arizona Supreme Court ruled on April 6 that law students and grads can practice law under the supervision of a licensed attorney. Applicants must sign a declaration in order to sit for the exam. The October exam will be online-only and give admission to Arizona only.
- Arkansas (AR)—JULY EXAM. (as of 5/20/20) The Board confirmed the July exam is taking place. (as of 7/9/20) And, the July 2020 Arkansas applicants can engage in the limited practice of law. (as of 7/9/20)
- California (CA)—DELAYED UNTIL FALL 2020, dates will be October 5-6, 2020, and administered online. (as of 7/16/20) The passing score was permanently lowered from 1440 to 1390. Read more about these changes here. The score change will not be applied retroactively. (as of 8/10/20) More information about the remote exam was released. (as of 7/20/20) There are a record number of applicants for the October bar exam. (as of 8/20/20) The board approved a provisional licensing program. (as of 9/24/20)
- Colorado (CO)—JULY EXAM. But if it cannot be held then it will be rescheduled to September 30 and October 1, 2020. (as of 5/14/20) If the July bar is postponed, Colorado will allow law school graduates to practice law temporarily until the next bar exam administration. (as of 4/23/20)
- Connecticut (CT)—DELAYED UNTIL FALL 2020, dates will be October 5-6, 2020, and administered remotely. (as of 7/23/20)
- Delaware (DE)—CANCELLED. (as of 7/24/20) The court adopted a temporary, limited practice rule. (as of 8/12/20)
- District of Columbia (DC)—The Court issued an order with two emergency rules, one allows certain law school grads (the requirements are in the order) to be admitted to the DC bar without taking or passing its bar exam; the second rule allows certain law school grads to temporarily practice law under the supervision of a licensed attorney. (as of 9/24/20) DELAYED UNTIL FALL 2020, dates will be October 5-6, 2020 and the exam will be ONLINE only. (as of 6/8/20) The Board issued more instructions on the remote exam. (as of 6/25/20) D.C. has a reciprocity agreement with the states listed here.
- Florida (FL)—OCTOBER 13 BAR EXAM. (as of 8/16/20) The exam will be ONLINE and 100 multiple-choice questions plus three essays. There will be no MBE. (as of 7/1/20) The Court added a supervised practice program. (as of 8/24/20)
- Georgia (GA)—DELAYED UNTIL FALL 2020, dates will be October 5-6, 2020, administered remotely, and essays will be open book. (as of 7/20/20) The Supreme Court of Georgia adopted a temporary rule allowing recent law school grads to practice law before taking the bar exam, along with lawyers who recently moved to Georgia.
- Hawaii (HI)—DELAYED UNTIL FALL 2020 (as of 3/31/20), dates will be September 9-10, 2020. Provisional license option. (as of 7/22/20) The passing score was temporarily lowered to a 133. (as of 7/24/20) Applicants have been granted more time to decide whether they want to take the in-person exam or defer. (as of 9/1/20)
- Idaho (ID)—JULY EXAM AND FALL EXAM, dates will be October 5-6, 2020 and administered remotely. (as of 7/20/20)
- Illinois (IL)—DELAYED UNTIL FALL 2020, dates will be October 5-6, 2020 and administered remotely. The Board is exploring reciprocity agreements. (as of 7/23/20) The Illinois Supreme Court extended the rules for supervised practice to those law school grads working in the private sector. (as of 7/1/20)
- Indiana (IN)—AUGUST EXAM. The exam was delayed from July to August 4th, 2020 due to issues with the online software. (as of 7/24/20) The exam will now be open book and not use the online proctoring software. (as of 7/29/20) The Indiana Supreme Court ruled that anyone who graduated after November 2019 can serve as a legal graduate intern until the February 2021 bar, as long as they have not failed any bar exams to that date. (as of 4/8/20). The Indiana Supreme Court announced that the July bar will one day, and remote. “The examination shall consist of the Indiana Essay Examination and a series of short answer questions on the topics tested on the Multistate Bar Examination.” (as of 5/7/20) Applicants will be required to have an external camera set up, along with other requirements. (as of 6/1/20)
- Iowa (IA)—JULY EXAM (as of 5/20/20). If this is not possible, then it will be administered on September 9-10, 2020.
- Kansas (KS)—JULY AND FALL EXAM, on September 9 and 10, 2020. (as of 5/14/20)
- Kentucky (KY)—FALL BAR EXAM, dates will be October 5-6, 2020. (as of 7/9/20) The exam will be online. The court also passed an order allowing for supervised practice. (as of 5/13/20) Check here for the list of states that have a reciprocity agreement with Kentucky.
- Louisiana (LA)—DIPLOMA PRIVILEGE (as of 7/22/20) Those who do not qualify for the diploma privilege can take the August or October online, open-book bar exams. (as of 8/12/20) The October exam has been postponed to Tuesday, October 20, 2020 because of hurricane Delta. (as of 10/7/20)
- Maine (ME)—DELAYED UNTIL FALL 2020, dates will be September 30 and October 1, 2020. (as of 4/15/20) All seats for the exam are filled. (as of 6/3/20)
- Maryland (MD)—DELAYED UNTIL FALL 2020, dates will be October 5-6, 2020, and administered remotely. (as of 6/18/20) Reciprocal agreements can be found here. The court developed a temporary limited practice order. (as of 8/28/20)
- Massachusetts (MA)—DELAYED UNTIL FALL 2020 (as of 7/1/20), dates will be October 5-6, 2020. The Exam will be remote and only grant Massachusetts admission. The Court also expanded the rules for student supervised practice. (as of 4/23/20) Reciprocal agreements can be found here.
- Michigan (MI)—ONE DAY EXAM ON JULY 28, 2020. The exam will be online and the 15-question essay portion only. (as of 5/18/20) The Board released more information on the scoring procedures. (as of 7/1/20) The Board posted information on the module and break times. (as of 7/6/20) Updates are posted here.
- Minnesota (MN)—JULY AND FALL EXAM, September 9-10, 2020 (as of 5/20/20). The Minnesota Supreme Court expanded the rules for student supervised practice. (as of 6/5/20)
- Mississippi (MS)—JULY EXAM, with safety measures, including a liability waiver requirement. (as of 5/14/20)
- Missouri (MO)—JULY EXAM. Plus modified the rules for temporary certification for law school graduates. The Board is also limiting the applicants to 760 and has found additional testing venues. (as of 4/28/20) The July exam will proceed as scheduled. (as of 7/9/20)
- Montana (MT)—The State Bar of Montana states on its website that it plans to move ahead with the July bar. The State Bar changed the rules to allow for provisional admission to the bar. (as of 6/17/20)
- Nebraska (NE)—JULY EXAM, with proper safety precautions, plus an additional exam on September 9-10, 2020. In the event the July exam cannot take place, there will be another exam on September 30-October 1. (as of 5/7/20)
- Nevada (NV)—AUGUST 11-12, 2020 EXAM, with modifications: the exam will be online and eliminate the MBE portion. (as of 7/26/20)
- New Hampshire (NH)—DELAYED UNTIL FALL 2020, dates will be October 5-6, 2020 and administered remotely. (as of 7/22/20)
- New Jersey (NJ)—DELAYED UNTIL FALL 2020, dates will be October 5-6, 2020. (as of 7/15/20) The order also allows for 2020 graduates to temporarily practice law under attorney supervision. “Reciprocity agreements with the District of Columbia, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts and Tennessee.” (as of 7/15/20)
- New Mexico (NM)—DELAYED UNTIL FALL 2020, dates will be September 9-10, 2020. (as of 7/29/20) They also plan to develop an “alternative practice program that would provide a limited, supervised opportunity for legal practice” if the September exam is not possible. (as of 4/28/20)
- New York (NY)—FALL BAR EXAM ONLINE, dates will be October 5-6, 2020 (as of 7/23/20) The court allowed for the temporary practice of law for grads waiting to take the bar, with certain restrictions. (as of 7/16/20) The reciprocity agreements can be found here.
- North Carolina (NC)—JULY EXAM. If a July exam is not possible then dates will be September 9-10, 2020. (as of 4/20/20) Protective measures will be implemented. (as of 6/3/20) The minimum passing score was reduced for the July 2020 and February 2021 admins and for the UBE transfers for July 2020, September 2020, and February 2021 admins from 270 to 268. (as of 7/24/20)
- North Dakota (ND)—JULY EXAM (as of 4/10/20). If circumstances change, the exam will be September 9-10, 2020. Also, the number of examinees will be limited to 85. The priority of examinees is outlined here.
- Ohio (OH)—DELAYED UNTIL FALL, dates will be October 5-6, 2020 and administered remotely. Ohio is seeking reciprocity with other jurisdictions. (as of 7/22/20)
- Oklahoma (OK)—JULY EXAM, in accordance with CDC guidelines. (as of 5/11/20)
- Oregon (OR)—DIPLOMA PRIVILEGE. The Oregon Supreme Court granted diploma privilege to all Oregon law school grads or anyone who graduated in 2020 from an ABA-accredited law school with an 86% first-time bar passage rate. The diploma privilege only grants licensure in Oregon. The July 2020 passing score was reduced from 274 to 266. There also will be an online-only bar exam on October 5-6, 2020, and this exam will not grant local admission only. (as of 6/29/20) The Oregon Supreme Court allowed for reciprocity agreements. (as of 8/5/20)
- Pennsylvania (PA)—DELAYED UNTIL FALL, dates will be October 5-7, 2020. (as of 7/8/20) The exam will be remote and administered over three days due to the necessary breaks. Also, applicants can practice under the supervision of a licensed attorney. (as of 5/6/20)
- Rhode Island (RI)—DELAYED UNTIL FALL, dates will be September 30-October 1, 2020. (as of 6/11/20)
- South Carolina (SC)—JULY EXAM (as of 5/20/20), and if this is not possible then it will be administered September 9-10, 2020. (as of 6/4/20) The Court announced it plans to administer the July exam. (as of 7/2/20)
- South Dakota (SD)—NO FINAL DECISION AT THIS TIME. The South Dakota Supreme Court ordered that if the NCBE materials were unavailable for the July 2020 exam, then it would allow the SD Board to give a 10-question essay exam on July 28. Or, applicants can take the normal February 2021 exam. If the July exam needs to be canceled, the Board will administer a regular exam when the NCBE makes materials available. (as of 5/6/20)
- Tennessee (TN)—FALL EXAM, dates will be October 5-6, 2020 and remote. They also entered into reciprocity agreements with D.C., Maryland, and Massachusetts. (as of 7/13/20) Modified rules allow applicants to practice under the supervision of a licensed attorney until November 15, 2021—but this date may be extended by a new order. (as of 4/2/20) Preliminary rules for the exam were released. (as of 7/27/20)
- Texas (TX)—TWO FALL EXAMS (9/9-9/10/2020 AND 10/5-6/2020). (as of 7/3/20) The September exam is shortened to two days (rather than the traditional 2.5 days) and will be in-person, subject to health advisories. The Texas Supreme Court updated the rules for law students to practice under the supervision of a licensed attorney. (as of 6/2/20) The Board announced that a score of 270 will be accepted from various states, listed here. (as of 8/24/20)
- Utah (UT)—DELAYED UNTIL FALL, dates will be September 30, 2020 and October 1, 2020 (as of 5/29/20). The Utah Supreme Court issued an order allowing for eligible law school graduates to be licensed without a bar exam. The requirements are: (1) you must have applied to take the Utah Bar Exam before April 1, 2020, (2) you must have graduated from a law school with 86% or higher 2019 first-time pass rate, (3) perform 360 hours of legal service under the supervision of an experienced attorney, and (4) meet the other requirements of Utah bar members including a character and fitness check and passing the MPRE. Those that do not meet the requirements and applicants who want to be admitted through a bar exam will be able to take a bar exam in Utah (as of 4/21/20)
- Vermont (VT)—DELAYED UNTIL FALL, dates will be October 5-6, 2020, and administered remotely. (as of 7/17/20)
- Virginia (VA)—JULY EXAM. Making plans for a fall bar exam in the event that the July exam is not possible (as of 3/27/20). The Board announced that it is still figuring out how to administer the exam safely in July. (as of 5/1/20) Ties are not required at the July exam, but court appropriate attire is. (as of 7/6/20)
- Washington (WA)—DIPLOMA PRIVILEGE granted to those who graduated from an ABA-accredited law school. (as of 6/12/20) The diploma privilege allows first-time and repeat takers to practice in Washington without taking the bar exam. The September exam will still be offered for those who do not qualify and those who want to take the UBE. Washington already has a rule in place allowing for recent law school grads to practice for up to 18 months under attorney supervision. (as of 5/13/20) For applicants taking the July or fall exam, the passing score was changed from a 270 to a 266. (as of May 20, 2020)
- West Virginia (WV)—JULY EXAM, with safety protocols. (as of 5/27/20)
- Wisconsin (WI)—No updates at this time. Wisconsin already has the diploma privilege in place.
- Wyoming (WY)—JULY EXAM AND FALL EXAM, dates will be September 30 to October 1, 2020. (as of 7/22/20) The Wyoming Supreme Court ordered that July 2020 applicants can practice under the supervision of an attorney (temporary admission) if the July exam cannot be administered. (as of 4/10/20)
- American Samoa (AS)—no updates that this time.
- Guam (GU)—CANCELLED (as of 9/1/20), and will be held in February 2021. The court also adopted a temporary supervised practice rule.
- Northern Mariana Islands (MP)—no updates that this time.
- Palau—JULY 2020 CANCELED. Palau does not administer a February exam, so the next exam will be in July 2021. (as of 6/17/20)
- Puerto Rico (PR)—NOVEMBER 14 BAR EXAM (as of 8/3/20)
- Virgin Islands (VI)—DELAYED UNTIL FALL, dates will be October 5-6, 2020. (as of 7/16/20)
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