Washington Lawyer - September/October 2020 - 13

FEATURE

A

t the start of 2020, aspiring
attorneys could not have
imagined being thrust into
a world of uncertainty after
getting their JD, and now, with
much of the country still in the
grip of the coronavirus pandemic, they're
entering an entirely new territory: taking
the bar exam virtually, or not at all.

The pandemic has disrupted workplaces, wreaked havoc on the
economy, and upended career plans, and for bar examinees, it has sent
them scrambling to find jurisdictions that would allow them to take the
exam amid announcements of cancellations, postponements, restricted
registrations, and online-only options.
"The bar exam is already a stressful enough endeavor for recent law
school graduates," says Renée Hutchins, dean of the University of the
District of Columbia (UDC) David A. Clarke School of Law. "My heart goes
out to the 2020 class because they're already dealing with the regular
stress of taking the bar exam, and now also with the pileup of incredible
uncertainty with regard to the administration of that exam."
George Washington University Law School graduate Sydney West
describes the past several months as "being in limbo." "It's a very regimented timeline in terms of when you start studying for the exam," she
says, and any deviation can have a major impact on graduates' job
searches and employment start dates.
For the hundreds of recent law school graduates who were planning on
taking the July 2020 D.C. bar exam, the changes have been whiplashinducing. On April 10, the D.C. Court of Appeals announced the cancellation of the July exam; the following month the court released another
order rescheduling the fall Uniform Bar Exam (UBE) to September 9 and
10, before finally announcing in June that, in lieu of the UBE, it will
Top left: Getty Images/10'000 Hours;
bottom left: Getty Images/skynesher

administer a remote bar exam on October 5 and 6. The drawback,
however, is that the virtual bar exam will not produce a universally
portable UBE score for successful examinees.
The portability of UBE scores across jurisdictions that have adopted
the exam - 37 to date - allows for easier bar admission in multiple
states. Washington, D.C., adopted the UBE in 2016. (The D.C. bar exam
is administered by the D.C. Court of Appeals Committee on Admissions,
a separate and distinct entity from the D.C. Bar.)
"The number of people taking the D.C. bar exam has quadrupled
because of the UBE," says D.C. Court of Appeals Chief Judge Anna
Blackburne-Rigsby. "So, our July exam is typically our largest exam in
terms of examinees. In the last couple of years, we've had between
1,700 and 1,900 people taking the exam, and for the February exam,
it has been about 800 or 900."
This year, registrations for the September D.C. bar exam spiked enormously, in part because other UBE jurisdictions had limited the number
of seats to adhere to social-distancing guidelines. New York State's bar
authorities, for example, gave priority seating to graduates of the 15
in-state law schools.
In May, when the D.C. Court of Appeals opened priority registration for
the September 2020 D.C. bar exam, it was flooded with so many requests
that the court's computer system crashed. "We had more than 1,000

SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2020

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WASHINGTON LAWYER

13



Washington Lawyer - September/October 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Washington Lawyer - September/October 2020

Digital Extras
Your Voice
From Our President
Practice Management
ABA Delegates Corner
Calendar of Events
Re-Envisioning the Bar Exam feature
The New Normal in Legal Education feature
On Shaky Ground feature
How the Pandemic Has Transformed Courts Feature
The Science of Why Clients Ignore Counsel's Advice feature
Taking the Stand
On Further Review
The Learning Curve
Member Spotlight - Susan Biniaz
Member Spotlight - Whit Washington
Worth Reading
Attorney Briefs
Disciplinary Summaries
Speaking of Ethics
Pro Bono Effect
A Slice of Wry
Washington Lawyer - September/October 2020 - Cover1
Washington Lawyer - September/October 2020 - Cover2
Washington Lawyer - September/October 2020 - 1
Washington Lawyer - September/October 2020 - 2
Washington Lawyer - September/October 2020 - 3
Washington Lawyer - September/October 2020 - Digital Extras
Washington Lawyer - September/October 2020 - Your Voice
Washington Lawyer - September/October 2020 - From Our President
Washington Lawyer - September/October 2020 - 7
Washington Lawyer - September/October 2020 - Practice Management
Washington Lawyer - September/October 2020 - 9
Washington Lawyer - September/October 2020 - ABA Delegates Corner
Washington Lawyer - September/October 2020 - Calendar of Events
Washington Lawyer - September/October 2020 - Re-Envisioning the Bar Exam feature
Washington Lawyer - September/October 2020 - 13
Washington Lawyer - September/October 2020 - 14
Washington Lawyer - September/October 2020 - 15
Washington Lawyer - September/October 2020 - 16
Washington Lawyer - September/October 2020 - 17
Washington Lawyer - September/October 2020 - The New Normal in Legal Education feature
Washington Lawyer - September/October 2020 - 19
Washington Lawyer - September/October 2020 - 20
Washington Lawyer - September/October 2020 - 21
Washington Lawyer - September/October 2020 - On Shaky Ground feature
Washington Lawyer - September/October 2020 - 23
Washington Lawyer - September/October 2020 - 24
Washington Lawyer - September/October 2020 - 25
Washington Lawyer - September/October 2020 - How the Pandemic Has Transformed Courts Feature
Washington Lawyer - September/October 2020 - 27
Washington Lawyer - September/October 2020 - 28
Washington Lawyer - September/October 2020 - 29
Washington Lawyer - September/October 2020 - 30
Washington Lawyer - September/October 2020 - 31
Washington Lawyer - September/October 2020 - The Science of Why Clients Ignore Counsel's Advice feature
Washington Lawyer - September/October 2020 - 33
Washington Lawyer - September/October 2020 - 34
Washington Lawyer - September/October 2020 - 35
Washington Lawyer - September/October 2020 - 36
Washington Lawyer - September/October 2020 - 37
Washington Lawyer - September/October 2020 - Taking the Stand
Washington Lawyer - September/October 2020 - 39
Washington Lawyer - September/October 2020 - On Further Review
Washington Lawyer - September/October 2020 - 41
Washington Lawyer - September/October 2020 - The Learning Curve
Washington Lawyer - September/October 2020 - 43
Washington Lawyer - September/October 2020 - Member Spotlight - Susan Biniaz
Washington Lawyer - September/October 2020 - 45
Washington Lawyer - September/October 2020 - Member Spotlight - Whit Washington
Washington Lawyer - September/October 2020 - 47
Washington Lawyer - September/October 2020 - Worth Reading
Washington Lawyer - September/October 2020 - 49
Washington Lawyer - September/October 2020 - 50
Washington Lawyer - September/October 2020 - Disciplinary Summaries
Washington Lawyer - September/October 2020 - Speaking of Ethics
Washington Lawyer - September/October 2020 - 53
Washington Lawyer - September/October 2020 - Pro Bono Effect
Washington Lawyer - September/October 2020 - 55
Washington Lawyer - September/October 2020 - A Slice of Wry
Washington Lawyer - September/October 2020 - Cover3
Washington Lawyer - September/October 2020 - Cover4
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