Wednesday, December 12, 2012
The Arizona Supreme Court will begin allowing on a trial basis 3Ls to take the bar exam beginning in February. Part of the impetus is to give students an advantage in the hunt for a job so they can begin practicing law almost immediately after graduating rather than waiting until the summer bar exam results are posted in the fall. The experiment will last through 2015 when the Arizona Supreme Court will evaluate its success. This will make Arizona the only state in the nation where students who are required to attend an ABA accredited law school can sit for the bar months before they graduate. The National Law Journal has the full story:
The Arizona Supreme Court gave the green light December 10 to an experimental proposal allowing third-year law students to take the bar exam before they graduate, a move law school officials hope will give students a leg up in the job market.
Under the revised rule, 3Ls who meet eligibility requirements can take the bar exam offered in February, several months before graduation. The proposal was approved as a temporary pilot project from January 2013 until the end of December 2015. Law school officials and other stakeholders will have to file a report with the court by November 1, 2015.
"It addresses several criticisms of legal education: it's too expensive, the third-year students are unfocused and students have to wait so long after graduation until they can take the bar and be ready to practice," said University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law associate dean Sally Rider. "It addresses all those concerns."
. . . .
But Judy Stinson, associate dean for academic affairs at Arizona State University Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law, said the proposal included provisions aimed at addressing those concerns. The revised rule requires students to have no more than eight semester hours left to finish after the exam and restricts their course load leading up to the exam.
"It's a nice step by the Supreme Court to allow us to really help our students," Stinson said. She noted that a number of public employers and small firms in the state won't interview applicants until they're licensed to practice, so the revised rule means students won't have to wait in limbo before applying for those jobs. The status quo "really does delay the amount of time before they start offsetting the cost of their education," she said.
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