Michigan Law Joins Other Law Schools in Urging Reconsideration of NY Bar Exam Decision
May 2, 2020
Hon. Janet DiFiore Chief JudgeThe New York Court of Appeals20 Eagle Street Albany, New York 12207
Dear Chief Judge DiFiore:
We are deans of non-New York based law schools who have among the most substantial numbers of students who sit for the bar in your state each year. Collectively, the undersigned schools had over two thousand JD and LLM graduates take the New York bar exam in 2019. We write in response to your Court's April 30 Notice stating that, in light of the conditions created by the COVID-19 pandemic, you will offer limited seating for New York's September 9-10 administration of the Uniform Bar Exam and will give priority to JD and LLM graduates of the 15 New York-based law schools.
We recognize that the Court's decision is framed against the need to protect public health in the midst of a pandemic that has brought devastating loss of life, with New York hit especially hard. And we are mindful of the very difficult decisions and trade-offs that all institutions, including your Court, must make at this time.
Still, as you can imagine, the news of your approach has fallen hard on the many students who had planned to sit for the bar in New York this summer or fall, a number of whom have already physically returned or relocated to New York during this pandemic. And we worry that the resulting delay in the exam's administration and admission to practice will fall hardest on the most economically vulnerable of our graduates and on those whose continued presence in the United States will be compromised by the delay.
We stand ready to help find solutions that could expand testing capacity in feasible ways. We write collectively to offer our support to put in place some combination of the following measures to mitigate the effect of your April 30 decision on graduates from out-of-state schools:
We stand ready to work as a group to help identify additional proctors and alternative locations, both inside and outside New York State, and to facilitate any of these solutions.
We are grateful to you for considering these proposals, and we recognize the tremendous work you are doing to navigate an unprecedented public health crisis which has inflicted great loss on the world and on the people of New York State. We would welcome discussion with members of your Court or the New York State Board of Law Examiners about how we can help with any of these proposals.
Camille NelsonDean and Professor of LawAmerican University Washington College of Law
Vincent D. RougeauDean, Boston College Law School
Angela Onwuachi-WilligDean and Professor of LawBoston University School of Law
Erwin ChemerinskyDean and Jesse H. Choper Distinguished Professor of LawUniversity of California, Berkeley School of Law
Jennifer L. MnookinDean and Ralph and Shirley Shapiro Professor of LawUniversity of California, Los Angeles School of Law
Thomas J. MilesDean and Clifton R. Musser Professor of Law & EconomicsThe University of Chicago Law School
Kerry AbramsJames B. Duke and Benjamin N. Duke Dean of the School of Law and Professor of LawDuke University School of Law
Mary Anne BobinskiDean and Asa Griggs Candler Professor of LawEmory University School of Law
Christopher Alan BraceyInterim Dean Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs Professor of LawGeorge Washington University
William Michael TreanorExecutive Vice President, Law Center Dean, and Paul Regis Dean ProfessorGeorgetown University
Danielle Holley-WalkerDean and Professor of LawHoward University School of Law
John F. ManningMorgan and Helen Chu Dean and Professor of LawHarvard Law School
Mark D. WestDean and Nippon Life Professor of LawUniversity of Michigan Law School
James HackneyDean and Professor of LawNortheastern University School of Law
Kimberly A. YurackoDean and Judd and Mary Morris Leighton Professor of LawNorthwestern Pritzker School of Law
Theodore W. RugerDean and Bernard G. Segal Professor of LawUniversity of Pennsylvania Carey Law School
Kimberly M. MutchersonCo-Dean & Professor of LawRutgers Law School
Jenny S. MartinezRichard E. Lang Professor of Law and DeanStanford Law School
Risa GoluboffDean and Arnold H. Leon Professor of LawUniversity of Virginia School of Law
Nancy StaudtDean and Caroline Cayne Distinguished Professor of LawWashington University School of Law
Heather K. GerkenDean and Sol & Lillian Goldman Professor of LawYale Law School
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