Navigating the Bar Exam through COVID-19
Last updated May 26, 2020, 9:37pm (EST)
Helping students is our top priority at SmartBarPrep.
We understand that you may be experiencing stress given the uncertainty surrounding the July 2020 bar exam. That’s why we are closely monitoring how COVID-19 (Coronavirus) is impacting the situation.
We promise that should your exam be affected, we will offer flexible options for continued study regardless of when the exam is scheduled.
Below, you’ll see the measures we’ve introduced so far, along with a set of jurisdiction specific resources to help keep you informed during these uncertain times.
We know that everybody’s circumstances are different, and if you have suggestions for how we can better help you, please let us know by emailing us.
Since many jurisdictions have already postponed the exam to the Fall, if you purchase our July 2020 study materials you will automatically be given access through the Fall 2020 bar exam season.
For a complete list of jurisdictions that have made announcements concerning the July 2020 bar exam please see below.
- September 9-10
- September 30-October 1
Each jurisdiction will determine whether to offer the exam in: July 2020, early September 2020, or in late September 2020.
For the NCBE’s official statement click here.
An online bar exam option is currently being explored by the NCBE. On May 5th, the NCBE stated: “We also continue to study and formulate options for an emergency remote assessment for those jurisdictions that cannot administer an in-person bar exam due to COVID-19 restrictions.” For the NCBE’s official statement click here.
July 2020 Bar Exam: Status by Jurisdiction
Table last updated May 26, 2020, 9:37pm (EST)
The following table shows the current status of the July 2020 bar exam in each jurisdiction.
Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Idaho, Iowa, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Carolina, South Dakota, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming, Northern Mariana Islands, Palau, Puerto Rico*
One-day exam only: Indiana (July 28), Michigan (July 28)
Alaska, California, Delaware (Sept. 9-11), District of Columbia, Georgia, Guam, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Vermont
Administering on Sept. 9-10 only if needed: Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, North Carolina, North Dakota
|Sept. 30–Oct. 1|
Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts
Administering on Sept. 30-Oct.1 only if needed: Colorado
|July exam postponed; date to be announced||New Mexico, Rhode Island, Utah, Virgin Islands|
|July AND Sept. 9–10||Kansas, Minnesota, Nebraska, Texas+, Washington|
|July AND Sept. 30–Oct. 1||Kentucky, Tennessee|
|Custom date(s)||Louisiana (one-day exam on two dates: July 27 and Oct. 10)|
* The exam in Puerto Rico is traditionally administered in September.
+ The exam in Texas will be administered on September 9-11. (The exam in Texas is administered over 2.5 days, until Texas’s first administration of the Uniform Bar Exam in February 2021.)
Last updated May 26, 2020, 9:37pm (EST)
The following jurisdictions have made announcements about changes regarding the July 2020 bar exam. We will continue to update this page as we receive information from the jurisdictions.
The Supreme Court of Alabama issued an order on May 8 making certain temporary exceptions to the Rules Governing Admission to the Alabama State Bar. The order also makes temporary exceptions to the Alabama Rule for Legal Internship by Law Students, which allows third-year law students to perform many functions of a licensed attorney under the supervision of an attorney licensed in Alabama. The order allows any applicant for the July 2020 bar exam to participate as a student intern, and it allows participation to the earlier of (1) the student intern’s date of admission to the Alabama State Bar, or (2) the date of release of results for the February 2021 Alabama bar exam. The exam is still currently scheduled for July 28-29.
The Alaska Bar Association has announced that the exam will be held on September 9-10.
The Arizona Supreme Court issued an order on April 6 authorizing the emergency adoption of court rule changes allowing law school students and recent graduates the limited ability to practice law in Arizona under the supervision of an attorney licensed in Arizona. A link to the order is available in Chief Justice Robert M. Brutinell’s letter to 2020 law graduates. The bar exam is still currently scheduled for July 28-29.
The Arkansas Supreme Court announced on April 30 that it plans, through the State Board of Law Examiners, to administer the exam in July. If the exam cannot be administered in July, the exam will be rescheduled for September.
The Supreme Court of California announced in an April 27 news release that the exam will be postponed to September 9-10.
On May 14, the Colorado Supreme Court announced that it plans to administer the exam in July; if the exam is postponed, it will be held on September 30-October 1. In the event the July exam must be postponed, the Court may certify recent law graduates to practice under an emergency limited license rule.
The Connecticut Bar Examining Committee announced in a March 30 press release that the exam will be postponed until fall 2020. The Committee subsequently announced on April 24 that it will administer the exam on September 30-October 1. On May 6, the Committee announced that it will accept a maximum number of 500 applications for the exam, with a plan for prioritization of applications. The announcements and related updates can be found on the Committee’s web page. On May 11, the Connecticut Rules Committee adopted a temporary and emergency expansion of its legal intern rules.
The Supreme Court of Delaware announced on May 11 that the exam is rescheduled to September 9-11. (The exam in Delaware is administered over 2.5 days.)
District of Columbia
The District of Columbia Court of Appeals issued an order on April 10 canceling its administration of the July exam. In a May 4 press release and order, the Court announced that it plans to administer the exam on September 9-10. Due to limited seating, registration for priority registrants for the exam will be held May 18-28; if seating remains available after the priority-registration period, the Court will announce the opening of a non-priority registration period.
The Florida Board of Bar Examiners, with the approval of the Supreme Court of Florida, plans to proceed with the administration of the exam on July 28-29, according to a May 5 press release.
The Supreme Court of Georgia issued order on April 17 announcing that the exam will be rescheduled for September 9-10. The Court has also adopted a temporary rule allowing recent law school graduates to become provisionally admitted to practice law prior to taking the bar exam. The new rule also provides a process for lawyers admitted to the bar of another state who have recently moved to Georgia to obtain provisional admission.
The Supreme Court of Guam issued an order on April 9 announcing that the exam will be rescheduled for September 9-10.
The Illinois Supreme Court announced in a May 1 press release that the exam is postponed until September 9-10. The Court also entered an order temporarily relaxing rules to allow the Illinois Board of Admissions to the Bar the flexibility to prepare for and administer the exam in September, details of which are found on the Board’s announcements page.
According to a May 7 announcement, the Indiana Supreme Court handed down an order ordering the Indiana State Board of Law Examiners to conduct a one-day remotely administered exam on July 28. The exam will consist of the Indiana Essay Examination and a series of short answer questions on topics tested on the Multistate Bar Examination.The Indiana Supreme Court issued an order on April 8 amending the time limitations of its graduate legal intern rule. The order allows anyone who graduated from law school after November 2019 to potentially serve as a graduate legal intern until the February 2021 bar exam, provided they have not failed any exam prior to that date.
The Iowa Office of Professional Regulation has announced that the Iowa Board of Law Examiners intends to administer to the exam in July. If the exam cannot be administered as scheduled, the Board intends to administer the exam on September 9-10. The Iowa Supreme Court entered an order on May 6 confirming the decision.
In an April 15 press release, the Kentucky Supreme Court announced that it plans to administer the exam in July. If it cannot administer the exam in July, the exam will be rescheduled for September. On May 11, the Court entered an order stating that the Kentucky Office of Bar Admissions will administer the exam in July as well as offer an additional administration of the exam on September 30-October 1.
The Louisiana Supreme Court and the Louisiana Supreme Court Committee on Bar Admissions have announced that the 3-day bar examination previously scheduled for July 20, 22, and 24 has been canceled. The Committee will now administer a one-day bar examination on two dates: July 27 and October 10. The announcement indicates a priority schedule in anticipation of possible seating capacity limits to ensure compliance with public health guidelines and sets forth a priority schedule.
The Maine Supreme Court issued an order on April 15 stating that the exam is rescheduled for September 30-October 1. According to a May 4 announcement, the Maine Board of Bar Examiners is limiting the number of seats available for the exam; as of May 4, the Board reached its limit and is unable to accept additional applications. The Board subsequently announced on May 9 the availability of a limited number of additional seats and a three-tiered application period for those not already on the seating list.
The Maryland Court of Appeals issued an administrative order on May 26 tentatively rescheduling the exam for September 9-10.
The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court and the Massachusetts Board of Bar Examiners announced in a March 30 press release that the exam would be postponed until fall 2020. The press release was updated on April 6 to announce that the exam will be held on September 30-October 1. In an April 23 press release, the Court and the Board announced a plan for the exam to proceed: if the Uniform Bar Exam cannot be conducted safely in person on September 30-October 1, an alternative exam will be administered remotely and will grant admission only to Massachusetts; it also announced an expanded opportunity for graduates to appear in court under its student practice rule. On May 4, the Board released a notice with a plan for prioritizing seating arrangements for the September 30-October 1 exam in anticipation of a limited number of available seats for the exam.
The Michigan Supreme Court ordered on May 18 that a one-day online exam will be administered on July 28, consisting solely of the essay portion of the traditional exam.
The Minnesota State Board of Law Examiners made an updated announcement on May 20 confirming that it will administer the exam in July and on September 9-10.
The Missouri Board of Law Examiners announced on April 28 that the Missouri Supreme Court issued an order temporarily modifying its law student practice rule to extend the certification time period. The exam is still proceeding as scheduled in July. In the event the exam cannot be administered in July, it will be held on September 9-10.
The Nebraska Supreme Court issued an order on May 7 announcing that the exam will be administered in July along with an additional administration on September 9-10.
The Nevada Supreme Court issued an order on May 20 directing the exam to be conducted remotely on July 28 and 29. The exam will be taken open book and consist of eight one-hour essays and a performance test prepared by the Nevada Board of Bar Examiners.
The New Jersey Supreme Court announced on April 6 that the exam will be postponed until fall 2020. The order issued by the Court relaxes and expands Court rules to allow 2020 law school graduates to temporarily practice law under the supervision of experienced attorneys despite postponement of the exam. The Court has since announced that the exam will be administered on September 9-10.
The New Mexico Supreme Court issued an order on April 28 announcing that the exam will be postponed until September 2020, exact date to be scheduled. The order also includes planning for a possible temporary, limited supervised practice program for applicants awaiting an opportunity to take the bar exam, only if the exam cannot be administered in 2020.
The New York Court of Appeals announced in a March 27 press release that the exam would be rescheduled for fall 2020. The Board of Law Examiners subsequently made the following announcements on its website: The exam will be rescheduled to September 9-10. Due to limits expected on the number of large venues the Board typically uses to administer the exam, the Board will not be able to test all candidates typically applying to take a July exam. On April 30, the Court announced the prioritization of application filings for the September exam: the application filing period will be open from May 5 to May 15 for graduates of the 15 New York law schools only who are sitting for the bar exam for the first time. After May 15 the Board will reassess available seating in light of existing health and safety guidance; if seating remains available, the Board will then open the application period to a larger pool of candidates. The Court has also approved a program designed to provide temporary authorization for qualified law graduates to engage in the limited practice of law under the supervision of a qualified attorney, according to an April 28 statement on its website.
The North Carolina Board of Law Examiners has announced that it presently intends to administer the exam in July. If the exam cannot be administered as scheduled, it will administer the exam on September 9-10.
The North Dakota Board of Bar Examiners issued an April 10 policy statement indicating that it is planning to administer the exam on July 28-29. If the exam cannot be administered in July, it will administer the exam on September 9-10. At this time, North Dakota is limiting the number of examinees to 85, with priority given as indicated in the policy statement. North Dakota has an existing rule allowing graduates of ABA-approved law schools to temporarily practice law under the supervision of a North Dakota licensed attorney.
The Supreme Court of Ohio announced on May 13 that the exam will be postponed until September 9-10. The Court has also expanded its Practice Pending Admission during the Admission to the Practice of Law Process for recent law school graduates.
The Oregon Supreme Court issued an order making certain emergency modifications to the Oregon State Bar Rules for Admission. The Oregon State Board of Bar Examiners intends to administer the exam on July 28-29. If the exam cannot be administered in July, it will be administered in the fall. On May 11, the Board announced that it will continue with its plans for hosting a July bar exam, but with a maximum seating capacity of 500 applicants. As of May 15, the Board had reached its maximum seating capacity. Information for applicants regarding the maximum seating capacity is on the Oregon State Bar’s announcements for July 2020 bar exam applicants.
The Supreme Court announced on April 13 that the exam has been postponed indefinitely. The news advisory issued by the Rhode Island Judiciary indicated that the Court expects to issue an order on the matter soon.
The Supreme Court of South Dakota entered an order on May 6 announcing that if NCBE materials are not available for the July exam administration, the South Dakota Board of Bar Examiners is authorized to develop and administer a 10-question essay exam on July 28. Applicants may instead opt to take the regular bar exam in February 2021. If public health orders necessitate canceling the July exam, the Board will administer the regular bar exam on the next available dates that NCBE makes its materials available. The order also amends its supervised practice rule to extend the certification term for graduates who have applied for the July exam.
The Tennessee Supreme Court issued an April 2 press release announcing temporary rule changes to address ongoing concerns with the July 2020 bar exam. The rule changes include extending the time applicants can practice under supervision or pending admission to November 15, 2021, and permitting transfer of applications from the July exam to a potential fall exam or to the February 2021 exam. The Court issued an April 17 press release announcing that it will offer an additional administration of the exam on September 30-October 1 in addition to the July administration. On May 11, the Tennessee Board of Law Examiners posted an update and Court order confirming that the exam will be administered in July as well as on September 30-October 1. The Court order also approves a temporary policy recommended by the Board establishing a protocol for seating applicants due to limited seating capacity to comply with restrictions on the size of public gatherings.
The Texas Board of Law Examiners announced on April 28 that the Supreme Court of Texas issued an order determining that the Board should offer an additional administration of the exam on September 9-11 in addition to the July exam. (The exam in Texas is administered over 2.5 days, until Texas’s first administration of the Uniform Bar Exam in February 2021.) The order also specifies updated rules regarding the supervised practice of law by qualified law students and unlicensed law school graduates in Texas.
On April 21, the Utah Supreme Court issued an order modifying the bar examination passage requirement on an emergency basis for certain eligible law school graduates, according to an April 21 news release. Qualified candidates must have submitted an application to take the Utah bar exam on or before April 1, 2020; must have graduated from a law school with an overall first-time passage rater of 86% or greater in 2019; and must perform 360 hours of legal service under the supervision of an experienced attorney. For applicants who do not qualify for the alternative pathway, or for those wishing to gain admission through the bar exam, the Court intends to offer the exam in Utah at the earliest possible date in 2020 as soon as the exam can be administered safely.
The Vermont Supreme Court announced that by an April 6 order of the Court, the exam is rescheduled to September 9-10.
The Virginia Board of Bar Examiners announced on May 1 that it remains committed to administering the exam in July. Final decisions and details regarding the July bar exam will be made as soon as possible and will be announced on its website.
The Virgin Islands Supreme Court announced on April 16 that the exam will be postponed until the fall.
The Washington Supreme Court announced on May 13 that Washington will administer the exam in July and on September 9-10. Washington has an existing rule allowing recent law school graduates to practice law for up to 18 months in a limited scope under the supervision of a licensed attorney. On May 15, the Court issued an order temporarily reducing the minimum passing UBE score from 270 to 266. The temporary modified minimum passing score applies only to applicants who sit for the July 2020 or September 2020 UBE. In addition, applicants applying for admission by UBE score transfer from another jurisdiction who achieve a score of 266 or higher on the July 2020 or September 2020 UBE may transfer their score to Washington. The minimum passing UBE score reverts to 270 beginning with the February 2021 examination. The Court also approved changes to Washington’s licensed legal intern rule extending the licensing period and increasing the number of licensed interns who can be supervised by a lawyer.
The Wyoming Supreme Court issued an order on April 10 announcing an emergency rule that authorizes July 2020 bar applicants to be temporarily admitted to the practice of law with supervision, if certain conditions are met, in the event that the July exam is postponed. The rule is issued conditionally on the bar exam not being administered in July and will be of no effect if Wyoming is able to hold the July exam. The bar exam is still currently scheduled for July 28-29.