Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Opportunity Denied

The Delaware Supreme Court affirmed the decision of its Board of Bar Examiners denying an applicant's petition for partial certification of qualifications to sit for the bar examination. The applicant is a member of the Bucharest, Paris and New York bars and is presently a clerk for a (recused) justice of the court. The Board concluded that the LL.M. that the applicant had received from Harvard Law School "is not the equivalent of a juris doctor degree from an ABA-approved law school" and that the board "does not have the authority to waive any of the Supreme Court Rules or grant exceptions to those Rules."


The Board was within its discretion, supported by the law school accreditation standards of the ABA, as well as scholarly opinion, to conclude that [the applicant's] one-year LL.M. degree was not the functional equivalent of a three-year J.D. degree and, moreover, that [her] legal education in European civil law, her experience working for an American law firm for several months, plus her experience working as a law clerk for one year was insufficient to bridge the gap between her LL.M. and a J.D. degree

It seems to me that this applicant is sufficiently credentialed to be allowed to sit for the bar exam. If the rules in Delaware do not permit her the opportunity to prove her competence through taking and passing the bar, perhaps those rules should be amended. (Mike Frisch)

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I agree, Mike, since she passed the NY bar and is practicing as a full member. She is not asking even to waive in, just to take the same bar exam other members of the NY bar would need.

Posted by: Alan Childress | May 7, 2008 9:12:31 AM

Many European jurisdictions do not even require an LLM type degree to sit for their equivalency exam provided there is "reciprocity".

Surprisingly France grants reciprocity to NY Bar members, where the NY bar will require that a French bar member pass an accredited LLM program before even sitting for the bar exam.

It seems to me that US jurisdictions place an unfair tax and burden on foreign jurisdictions who offer a greater degree of possibility and ease (notwithstanding language barriers) to the candidate.

Posted by: Jack S. | May 7, 2008 12:49:07 PM

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