A Big Spike in Law Students Are About To Receive Licenses Without The Bar Exam
The new incoming class to a century-old law firm, Davis Wright Tremaine, will have five new lawyers who didn’t take the bar exam due to diploma privilege.
Bahareh Samanian, Davis Wright Tremaine’s director of lawyer recruiting, told Bloomberg Law she had no issue hiring these lawyers. “These associates established their capabilities and we chose them because we are confident they will become excellent, successful lawyers who will fit well in our firm,” Samanian said.
These licensed lawyers who didn’t complete the bar are not alone. In 2021, over 1,000 law school graduates were admitted into the bar despite not completing the exam.
What exactly are law firms judging their potential hires on? Here’s what Portland based law firm Stoel Rives managing partner Melissa Jones had to say. “This year all our incoming associates opted to take the bar exam. While we didn’t require it for locations that had the diploma privilege, we did encourage it,” Jones said. “That said, once our first year associates join us, they are evaluated on the quality of their work and their citizenship and other contributions, and the bar exam really is not a factor.”
Seattle University School of Law professor Robert Chang says diploma privilege is actually beneficial for law students. “Legal education would be so much better if they didn’t have to teach to the test,” Chang said.
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