Think there is only one path to licensure as an attorney? Think again. According to a recent article published in the ABA Journal, the Oregon Supreme Court is considering a recent report filed by the Oregon State Bar Board of Bar Examiners. The Board has submitted a task force report suggesting supervised practice or law school experiential-learning programs as bar exam alternatives for attorney licensure. The long-standing bar exam will not be affected.
“We produced something that I think takes a really holistic approach to licensure. The [uniform bar exam] is still there for those who want it, but for those who go to school in Oregon, there is the [Oregon experiential pathway], and there’s a supervised practice pathway for those who come from out of state,” Brian Gallini, Dean of the Willamette University College of Law who is also a member of the Oregon task force, told the ABA Journal.
As the pandemic continues to change the corporate landscape, all industries are learning to adjust. In June 2020, Oregon granted temporary diploma privilege due to the pandemic, as well as administered a remote bar exam in February 2021. According to the article, the task force report determines minimum competence to practice law and cites research from the Institute for the Advancement of the American Legal System identifying legal processes, identifying legal issues and conducting research as core competencies to practice law.
Starting in 2024, law school students would be required to complete two years of specific learning. The program would include legal research, writing, issue spotting, argument development, written and oral advocacy and legal analysis. Students will also be asked to complete between 1,000 and 1,500 hours of supervised practice with a licensed Oregon lawyer who has at least five years of practice experience and no record of public discipline.
The National Conference of Bar Examiners told the Journal that it, “continues to support jurisdictions, including Oregon, with its bar exam experience and work,” and highlighted that the organization “is currently engaged in the multiyear endeavor of reimagining the bar exam to meet the changing needs of our legal community.”
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