Virus vexes bar exam, leaving young future lawyers in limbo

Virus Outbreak Bar Exam

This photo provided by Jennifer C Hughes shows Emily Hughes as she poses for a photo in her home office in Xenia, Ohio on April 5, 2020. Hughes, in her final year of Law School at the University of Cincinnati, is studying to pass the bar exam. However, amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the organization that develops the exam — the National Conference of Bar Examiners — has raised the possibility that the July test may not be offered. But it doesn’t plan to decide until May 5, leaving some 46,000 law students in limbo. (Jennifer C Hughes via AP)

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — The summer bar exam is up in the air because of the coronavirus, and that leaves some 46,000 law students in limbo who are waiting to take the high-stakes test.

The delay threatens a pipeline of young lawyers who often provide legal help for some of the nation’s most vulnerable populations.

The National Conference of Bar Examiners says it will decide May 5 on whether to offer the test as planned in late July. Many in the profession believe the decision should come sooner.

Alternatives being considered include breaking test takers into small groups, administering the test online or allowing the 2020 class to practice without taking it.

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