116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
The Iowa Supreme Court will not adopt a proposed amendment to eliminate the bar exam requirement for law graduates in Iowa.
Chief Justice Mark Cady announced Friday the court will take no action at this time on the recommendations after hearing 25 witnesses during a hearing last week and receiving about 155 submitted comments from the public who made arguments for and against the Iowa State Bar Association's Blue Ribbon Committee on Legal Education and Licensure recommendations.
'The court further concludes that the current process for admission of lawyers by examination should be carefully studied, with the goal of achieving greater efficiency, expedition, economy and utility for the applicants for admission,” Cady said in the order.
The court will request the Iowa Board of Law Examiners to research, study and submit a report to the court by March 31, with a recommendation regarding:
-Should the Uniform Bar Examination be adopted and what process to follow.
-Whether law students should be allowed to apply and take the bar in February of their third year.
-Whether other adjustment or changes in the bar admission process should be considered.
According to the order, the court in a separate order will be requesting additional public comment on whether the Basic Skills Course requirement should be retained and whether the course or requirements should be revised.
Cady expressed his appreciation to the public for their input and the committee
who reviewed the issue in an effort to look for ways to increase the measure of competence, and also looked to save students money and keep more attorneys in the state.
The committee proposed adopting the 'diploma privilege,” similar to Winconsin's, which would eliminate the bar exam for graduates of Drake University Law School and the University of Iowa College of Law.
According to the committee's report, graduates now must wait about four months to receive bar exam results and many are forced to take out loans to cover this time out of work.
Attorneys interviewed by The Gazette in January had mixed feelings about eliminating the bar exam. Some were in favor because the bar has evolved over the years into multiple choice questions and doesn't cover law pertaining to Iowa. Other attorneys were adamant about keeping the bar exam because they felt it was part of the licensing process and should be a requirement for attorneys.
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