Bar Exams in the Pandemic JURIST Digital Scholars
Virgin Islands Bar Association petitions ABA to halt all in-person bar examinations during COVID pandemic
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Virgin Islands Bar Association petitions ABA to halt all in-person bar examinations during COVID pandemic

The Virgin Islands Bar Association has presented a wide-ranging draft resolution to the American Bar Association urging its House of Delegates in their meeting next week to

temporarily cancel in-person administrations of the bar examination and to not administer any other in-person bar examination during the COVID-19 pandemic until and unless public health authorities determine that the examination can be administered in  a manner that ensures the health and safety of bar applicants, proctors, other staff, and local communities.

The VI Bar is also calling on the ABA body to urge courts and bar admission authorities in jurisdictions where there are public health concerns to establish temporary licensing procedures (including potentially a “form of diploma privilege”) to allow new law graduates to be able to practice. They are additionally asking that all online bar examinations be paused until the software can be tested and clear instructions can be given to the test takers well in advance of the exam date. In jurisdictions where remote bar examinations are planned they are asking the ABA to support reasonable accommodations for all test takers who will suffer hardship from having to take the exam online such as people with disabilities, parents who are primary caregivers for their children, or people who do not have access to quiet areas to take the exam.

Although there has been much controversy in many states about the current round of in-person and online bar examinations in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, with associations of recent graduates like United for Diploma Privilege arguing strenuously for immediate licensing of 2020 law graduates, the proposed resolution is not expected to pass the ABA House.