The NCBE announces TWO Fall bar exam dates! - JD Advising
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The NCBE announces TWO Fall bar exam dates! 

As if things weren’t confusing and hectic enough for law school graduates and bar exam takers, the National Conference of Bar Examiners (NCBE) just announced that there will be two separate bar exam administrations in September:

  • September 9-10
  • September 30-October 1

This is in addition to a potential July bar exam.

(Also, as a side note: the above dates are Wednesday/Thursday dates instead of the traditional Tuesday/Wednesday bar exam dates.)

The NCBE’s Statement: 

The NCBE’s statement can be found here. It says:

At NCBE, we understand the anxiety and frustrations that law students and graduates have regarding the uncertainty surrounding administration of the July bar exam. The bar admissions process, like everything else, is being disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

NCBE’s mission is to promote fairness, integrity, and best practices in admission to the legal profession for the benefit and protection of the public. That mission is more important than ever at a time when there is such great need for a competent and ethical legal profession to serve the public. It is with that aim in mind that we are seeking to ensure that the bar exam can be administered to as many candidates as possible in 2020.

To provide needed flexibility for jurisdictions and candidates, in addition to preparing materials for a July bar exam, NCBE will make bar exam materials available for two fall administrations in 2020: September 9-10 and September 30-October 1. Each jurisdiction will determine whether to offer the exam in July, in early September, or in late September. 

We don’t yet know what the months ahead will hold. NCBE is being proactive and continuing to explore solutions for as many scenarios as we can anticipate. We are consulting with outside testing, technology, and exam security experts to consider various options and alternative methods of testing if the traditional group setting must be canceled or modified.

But no matter what happens, we are committed to ensuring that law students have every opportunity to become licensed so that they can put their legal education to work in helping those affected by this crisis.

More questions are raised for students.

This raises a lot of questions for students:

Which bar exam will my jurisdiction administer? Even if my jurisdiction decides to administer a July bar exam, will the NCBE cancel the July date altogether? 

(Note: Since this announcement was just made, no jurisdiction has yet announced which bar exam it will administer. We do suspect New York will pick the September 9-10 option, as it wanted the bar exam to be administered prior to the major Jewish holidays in September.)

Can someone register for all three bar exams? (One would sit for another bar exam before getting results from the previous bar exam — but if a student decided that they wanted to get as many bites at the apple as possible, this is a potential solution. It would require travel to other jurisdictions and likely only work if the student ultimately wanted to be licensed in a Uniform Bar Exam jurisdiction.) 

Should a student register now for a July bar exam in different UBE states that are not as affected by COVID in order to meet filing deadlines? (Will the student be refunded if the bar exam is canceled?)  

What will my bar review course do to accommodate me? What will my job do to accommodate me? What will my living situation be like? 

Either way, it looks like there will be a potential of three dates for jurisdictions to choose from. Jurisdictions have until May 5 to choose which bar exam to administer. We will update this post on which states are delaying the July 2020 bar exam as more information is obtained.

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