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Harvard Law Students Want to be Licensed Without Taking the Bar Exam

Harvard Law Students Want to be Licensed Without Taking the Bar Exam

“emergency diploma privilege”

They’re using the Coronavirus crisis as their reasoning. This seems like a bit of stretch, doesn’t it?

The College Fix reports:

Harvard Law students want licenses without having to take bar exam

Approximately 200 Harvard Law School students have signed a letter asking administrators to “publicly advocate” on their behalf for being granted law licenses without taking the bar exam.

The reason for the “emergency diploma privilege” request, according to The Crimson, is the ongoing coronavirus situation.

Letter co-author Donna Saadati-Soto said “it would be unfair to ask students” to take the bar exam since the pandemic “limits the ability of some students to prepare.”

The students are asking Law School officials to take four specific actions:

[A] public statement supporting the emergency diploma privilege across the United States; sharing the students’ letter with other law schools; sending a statement supporting the privilege to the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts; and hosting a virtual town hall for students to discuss their needs with the administration.

Last week, Massachusetts announced its bar exam would be postponed from late July to “an undetermined date in the fall.” Saadati-Soto and her peers claim this puts their future employment and “financial security” at risk.

In addition, Ms. Saadati-Soto was certain to not omit the intersectionality factor:

[She] said students who can secure employment before the postponed exam might have to decide whether to work full-time or study for the exam full-time — a decision she thinks would eliminate traditionally marginalized students from the legal profession.


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Lawyers are not an “essential service”, perhaps except for public defenders (if these students really want to, and spend a few years doing it).

    freddy33 in reply to tz. | April 6, 2020 at 4:19 pm

    I beg to differ. Ask the three EMTs that I have done wills, etc. for in the last two weeks. The courts I practice in have not shut down and the filing deadlines in my cases aren’t getting pushed back in certain cases as na matter what the virus does, spring is here and crops need to be planted (so chapter 12 cases must move forward).

    Also remember there is this little thing called the Sixth Amendment.

      SuddenlyHappyToBeHere in reply to freddy33. | April 7, 2020 at 1:00 pm

      Your argument is that there are not enough lawyers already? I suspect there are a sufficient number to take care of the issue(s) you cite.

      JusticeDelivered in reply to freddy33. | April 7, 2020 at 8:36 pm

      Give them a diploma, one which clearly states, BEWARE: that they have not passed the bar exam.

healthguyfsu | April 6, 2020 at 11:42 am


Only if they agree that if they ever get sick they will be treated by doctors who have not passed their exams.

Nope. Not happening.

This opportunistic attempt to get a benefit they have not earned, by exploiting an unrelated natural disaster, proves that they will make fine lawyers. I say they pass.

Let them collect their Democrat party membership credentials immediately. As for this test, they should take have to take it to get a license to practice this sort of self-interested ambulance chasing.

Already demonstrating a cavalier lack of regard for law, regulation, process and procedure.

Better that they should model their career using Obama as role model. First, write your autobiography and let the world know just how interesting, clever and brilliant you are.

@Harvard Law Students … tough … live with the consequences of Covid-19 just like the rest of us.

blacksburger | April 6, 2020 at 6:22 pm

The bar exam exists to insure that those who pass it can competently handle the legal problems of their clients.

I would never go to a lawyer who had no passed the bar exam. The exam exists for the public, not for the lawyers.

The Friendly Grizzly | April 7, 2020 at 1:11 am

I have a question for the lawyers who comment here at legal insurrection. Is Harvard really all that great? Or, like so much else in this world, is it just a brand name reputation?

The “tell” is the cryptic comment about studying full time or working full time. All of us went through that summer of cramming, even if we graduated Harvard in the top 10%. Do it as if the bar exam were in late summer. If you can’t retain the knowledge for a few more months until this year’s exam, you should not be a lawyer. You could just as easily have argued that the exam itself is unfair because “maginalized” students (what does that even mean at Harvard?) or those who choose to be community organizers rather than to get well paying jobs cannot afford to pay for a bar prep (cram) course.

But all that begs the larger question of whether the bar exam itself needs to be toughened to fulfill its purpose of not letting incompetents and flakes loose on the public.

Why would any graduate of Harvard Law not be able to pass any state’s bar exam cold? Are those students not the best and the brightest? Is a Harvard Law education not the best in the world? Are the exams designed to measure competency not brilliance? What on earth are these students worried about?

    Milhouse in reply to Oldfogey. | April 7, 2020 at 3:06 pm

    No law school teaches what is needed to pass a bar exam. Nobody fresh out of any law school can pass one cold. Bar preparation is a separate course that one must take after ones law degree.

SeekingRationalThought | April 7, 2020 at 9:20 am

Perhaps one state could take the hit for all of us and grant licenses to the entire Harvard class so that the would all go there to practice. That might geographically limit the harm they could do. N. Dakota comes to mind, but it wouldn’t be fair to N. Dakota. Unfortunately, even dweebs like these have rights so we can’t limit them to one state. But we can dream, can’t we? Anyone who would hire one of these bozos is an idiot.

Bar exams are designed, imperfectly at best, to measure knowledge regarding particular situations that may come up in legal practice. They cover subjects in depth that law students may have taken three years before in which they may not have gotten a particularly good grade. In some states, the bar exam tests the law of that state, not generic law that the elite schools teach. And it’s perfectly possible to fill a transcript after the required first year courses with trendy nonsense like “Animal law & policy” or “Becoming a law professor” (I stopped looking in the B’s). So what takes place in law school for SOME students may be far away from what anyone would traditionally call legal education and might not qualify even as education in the broadest sense of the word.

Shall we do that with structural engineers, too? How about aeronautic engineers? Doctors? Hair stylists? Tell you what, let’s build houses and high rises and not bother licensing either the design engineers, or the tradesmen building them?

Alternately, if those Harvard stars are so worried about this, then just give them Associates Degrees, or whatever the equivalent is in the legal profession.

harleycowboy | April 7, 2020 at 1:13 pm

Do they have a medical department? I always wanted to be a doctor.

Iain Sanders | April 7, 2020 at 4:58 pm

In future, you could always ask Harvardians their year of ‘graduation’. Unless they want all of those erased, too.

texansamurai | April 7, 2020 at 4:59 pm

what a boon for the affirmative action crowd–no grades/no attendance/no bar exam–” eyes a hahvud lawyuh “

OH Deplorable | April 8, 2020 at 9:11 am

200 tentative lawyers, #@$&%!!!. That just what the world needs is more lawyers…………..NOT. My granddad had a saying about lawyers, “lawyers prey on human misery, if you don’t have any, they’ll create it for you”.