The DC Court of Appeals on Thursday granted recent graduates emergency temporary license to practice under the supervision of a DC bar member.
This order comes a couple of weeks after the court announced emergency rules regarding the bar exam would be promulgated in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
A DC bar applicant will be allowed to practice law under this new order if he or she meets the following requirements: receipt of a JD in 2019 or 2020, timely application to sit for the DC bar administered in 2020 or 2021, passage of the Multistate Professional Responsibility Exam, has not been admitted in a different jurisdiction, failed the bar, or had a bar application denied, certification by the dean of attended law school indicating that he or she graduated with good character and competent legal ability, and notice in all business documents that he or she is supervised by a member of the DC bar and not a member of the DC bar. An individual’s ability to practice law under this new order will be terminated if he or she is admitted to the DC bar or if the order is withdrawn by the court.
Not all members of the court agreed upon these rules, however. Chief Judge Blackburne-Rigsby, Judge Glickman and Judge Thompson stated:
We do not believe that the case has been made for a waiver of out bar-examination requirement. We understand that the COVID-19 pandemic has created unprecedented circumstances, but we believe that the other steps the court has taken (offering a remote examination negotiation reciprocity agreements with twelve other jurisdiction to accept the score from the remote exam, and expanding the opportunity for temporary supervised practice) are sufficient accommodations. Moreover, if there is to be a waiver, it should be for those applicants who certify that they have experience significant hardship relating to the pandemic that has made taking the October 2020 remote bar examination infeasible.