Thursday, February 4, 2010

Utah Grants Waiver Of ABA-Accreditation Requirement

The Utah Supreme Court recently granted a petition for extraordinary relief and allowed waiver of the requirement that the petitioner have graduated from an ABA-accredited law school in order to sit for the bar examination. The petitioner graduated from Western State University which, at the time of his graduation, was accredited by the California State Bar but not the ABA. He was told by the Utah Bar that he would be allowed to sit for the bar exam if he was admitted in California and practiced there for at least five years.

 Petitioner was authorized to sit for the Utah bar in 1988 but did not show up for the exam. In 2008, he moved to Provo to care for his ailing mother. When he reapplied to take the exam, he was advised he was ineligible due to the ABA problem. He filed the petition for extraordinary relief rather than appeal the Bar's decision.

The court here granted the waiver, noting that it "has no desire to encourage a flood of individualized waiver petitions...where an attorney had actively practiced law, without blemish, for nearly thirty years and comes highly recommended by judges, clients, and fellow attorneys, waiver of the ABA-accreditation requirement is appropriate." The court also referred the issue to the Bar and the court's rules committee to consider changes to give the Bar authority to waive the requirement in the future subject to discretionary court review.

A good result that does not mindlessly follow procedural rules but rather does the right thing. (Mike Frisch)

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