DC Court of Appeals announces that July 2020 DC Bar Exam will be Remote and Administered on October 5-6
In light of continued pandemic restrictions and health concerns, recent information about DC's phased re-opening and the overwhelming demand for seats the DC Bar exam normally held in July, the DC Court of Appeals has decided to administer the bar exam remotely, with questions prepared by the National Conference of Bar Examiners. This remote exam will be administered on October 5 and 6, 2020.
There was a significant demand for seats for the exam, which had been rescheduled for September 9-10 due to the pandemic, but the space limitations, logistical challenges of social distancing in locations where hundreds of law school graduates would be taking the exam, and continuing health concerns made an in-person exam untenable. Per the Court's order last month, an alternative path to licensure would be announced if the September Uniform Bar Exam could not be administered.
The DC Court of Appeals is the first UBE jurisdiction to announce a remote examination, which protects the health and safety of examinees, proctors, and staff while offering the examination to as many law school graduates as possible. The remote exam will be open to all who wish to apply and are qualified under DC Court of Appeals rules for the exam, including repeat test-takers. The Court does not know, however, of any other jurisdictions that have said they will accept the remote exam score to qualify for admission to their bar.
"We heard from numerous recent law school graduates, and consulted with the DC Bar and local law school deans, about the need to offer a bar exam to more people than we thought we could safely test in a 'bricks and mortar' facility. We understand that recent law school graduates have already had their final semester turned upside down by the pandemic, missed the traditional in-person graduation ceremony, and are anxious about taking the bar exam and beginning their careers," said Chief Judge Anna Blackburne-Rigsby. "We did a lot of research about ways to ensure that a remote exam would still be proctored and fair, so that we could be sure that our bar's standards would remain as stringent as ever. I commend the Committee on Admissions members and staff for being flexible, for exploring all options and for responding to the needs of our community and the concerns of recent law school graduates."
The Court of Appeals will issue an order later this week making a formal announcement and providing details on re-opening the application process. All those applicants who received exam registration ID numbers for the September exam will automatically be registered for the October remote exam.