The State of Oregon Considers New Ways To Become a Licensed Lawyer

The State of Oregon Considers New Ways To Become a Licensed Lawyer

Jan. 17, 2022–The Oregon Supreme Court unanimously supported the idea of two alternative routes to becoming a licensed lawyer in the state, instead of graduating from law school and obtaining a score of at least 270 on the Bar exam. The consideration of these alternative routes for licensing in this career became apparent during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, when the Oregon Supreme Court gave “diploma privilege” to Oregon law school graduates, allowing them to become licensed lawyers in the state of Oregon without passing the Bar exam.

The Oregon Board of Bar Examiners spent a year developing alternatives to the bar exam and went to the Oregon Supreme Court to present their new ideas.

The first proposed route would be a post-graduate supervision route, where graduates of law school would have a supervisor monitoring 1,000-1,500 hours of his/her legal work. The other route would be to alter the current law school curriculum to make it more rigorous and hands-on. This change would affect the three Oregon Law Schools, the University of Oregon, Willamette and Lewis & Clark College.

“I think that there’s more rigor associated with the Oregon Experiential Pathway,” Brian Gallini, dean of Willamette University’s College of Law said.”I also think it’s more closely aligned to the skills that are empirically measurable by what employers and the public expect.”

The Board of Bar Examiners plans on assigning a new developmental committee. The Oregon Supreme Court has not yet set a deadline for their work.


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