The coronavirus pandemic has impacted everyone in this includes the legal industry. When people think about how the legal industry has been impacted by the pandemic, they often focus on virtual court hearings and the impact of people sitting behind bars without access to adequate legal representation. On the other hand, the coronavirus pandemic is also allowing some people to practice law without having to pass the bar exam. Of course, this is temporary.
Traditionally, students spend several years going to law school and studying for the bar exam in order to be allowed to enter the courtroom as a trained, legal professional. Unfortunately, right now, taking the bar exam is a challenge. Standardized testing during the pandemic is hard because students are usually tucked into tight quarters, facilitating viral transmission. Washington State has a desperate need for lawyers right now. Therefore, they have temporarily waived the requirement that individuals pass the bar exam after finishing law school before they are allowed to practice law.
With numerous people allowed to practice law for a short period of time without having to take the bar exam, it will be interesting to see what happens next. Many people have praised the decision from Washington State to allow people to practice law without passing the bar exam for now. On the other hand, there are some people who are concerned that not passing the bar exam might lead to wider disparities in the quality of legal representation that people have access to.
At the same time, it is still important for everyone to make sure that they understand that this waiver is temporary. In the end, students are still going to have to pass the bar exam in order to practice law in the state of Washington and around the country. Therefore, lawyers are still going to be held to the same legal standards as they were in the past. For now, this waiver represents a temporary reprieve for law students who have put themselves through the gauntlet in order to practice law. It is nice that they no longer have to put their careers on hold simply because of viruses prohibiting them from taking the bar exam.