The Path to Becoming A Lawyer, The Issue:

Nearly all states require the passing of a bar exam to practice law.

The bar exam, especially as of the last century, has raised a lot of controversy. Looking at statistics of those who have passed it, the legal profession has become increasingly concerned about the bar exam’s contribution to systemic inequality. Rather than favor those who may be better lawyers, the exam evidently favors those who are better test takers.

Often the best practitioners are technical masters of their own area of focus, contemplating issues, studying them, or simply knowing them through years of experience.  Although a lawyer may be on the clock, by no means should one race through a case like one might race questions on the bar exam. Doing so won’t necessarily correlate to how one will perform as a lawyer.  Here’s where “Diploma Privilege” may provide a better way.

What is diploma privilege?

Diploma Privilege occurs when a student, upon graduating from a law school in a state so allowing, is admitted to the bar without passing the bar exam. That’s right. “Go to law school and become a lawyer without passing the bar exam.”  

Diploma Privilege was first enacted in the United States in the year 1860, when Theodore Dwight founded a law program at Columbia College in New York City. Before founding the program, Dwight proposed to New York lawmakers that graduates of Columbia College would be admitted to the bar. Looking to draw in more lawyers to the state, New York legislature approved Dwight’s notion, and soon thereafter, enrollment to Columbia College boomed. Quickly, other states began to follow Dwight’s strategy to draw in more lawyers. (Editor’s Note: Lawyers such as Abraham Lincoln actually did not attend law school. For an upcoming related service, please stay tuned for JacksonReaders.com’s launch, helping lawyers practice without law school!)

In 1881, the American Bar Association assembled and revoked Columbia College’s Diploma Privilege, along with every other law school’s Diploma Privilege in the state of New York. The removal of Diploma Privilege became a trend in other states, such that as of 2020, Wisconsin is the only state to remain with Diploma Privilege for its law students. 

The purpose, then, of Diploma Privilege:

“The Bar is bar to the Bar. Lawyers need fewer bars.” 

DiplomaPrivilege is a media outlet that aims to advocate for law students by bringing to light the issue of the bar exam process and the route to becoming a licensed lawyer in the United States. Through frequent publications, articles, news posts, opinion pieces, and news about Diploma Privilege from around the country –we strive to educate the public on the controversial bar exam and provoke action in communities to help change legislature on Diploma Privilege.

Check out our HOW TO LOBBY information if you are interested in becoming an advocate for Diploma Privilege in your state. If you want to talk to us about lobbying, fill in your contact information found in the NEED TO DISCUSS LOBBYING? section, and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible. 

DiplomaPrivilege is a publication of LegalSolved’s publishing division.

DiplomaPrivilege.com Publisher: 

This is a Judiocracy LLC publication. Judiciocracy LLC was purchased in April 2024 by an investment group based out of Chicago. (LINK)

Edward “Coach” Weinhaus, Esq. is the Managing Partner of legal services firm LegalSolved LLC. LegalSolved offers both legal services and non-legal services, including its former publishing arm, LegalSolved Publishing, now Judiciocracy LLC. Judiciocracy publications also include BlockTribune, DiplomaPrivilege, VowBreakers, ALABnews, and AbusiveDiscretion.

Coach started his career as an investigative reporter on Capitol Hill more than 30 years before launching DiplomaPrivilege. In the meantime, he re-engineered the local news landscape founding the nation’s largest online local news operation based on public records.

Aside from running LegalSolved, Coach has been teaching law and entrepreneurship at UCLA Anderson since 2016. In the past, Coach served as faculty at the University of Chicago, Washington University in St. Louis, and Pepperdine University.

Stay up to date: Join our newsletter

Share This