Utah has officially become the first jurisdiction to allow aspiring lawyers to bypass the bar exam and become licensed amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Utah Supreme Court on Tuesday issued an order adopting an emergency diploma privilege for recent law graduates who meet a lengthy list of criteria, including that they complete 360 hours of legal work under the supervision of an experienced attorney licensed in the state. Qualifying law graduates will become full members of the Utah bar if they complete all the requirements by the end of 2020, without taking the bar exam. Utah has about 200 students from its two law schools graduating in May.
“I admire the courage, compassion and leadership of our justices,” tweeted Brigham Young University law dean Gordon Smith after the order was issued. “Well done!”