Bar Exam

A second state considers allowing its law-school grads to skip the bar exam


The Iowa Supreme Court will consider a proposal this summer that would allow graduates of Iowa’s two law schools to skip the bar exam if they practice law in the state.

The grads would still have to pass an ethics exam, take a class on Iowa law and procedure, and submit to screening, the Des Moines Register reports.

The idea, backed by the Iowa State Bar Association, is intended to shorten the period between graduation and practice, saving the money needed for living expenses and bar review during that period. Currently, Wisconsin is the only state that allows grads of its law schools to practice law without taking the bar exam—a system known as an in-state diploma privilege.

The average debt for law graduates is about $95,000 at the University of Iowa and about $106,000 at Drake, according to 2012-13 ABA figures cited by the newspaper.

Iowa State Bar Association President Guy Cook told the Register that the bar exam weeds out few grads. Only 6.8 percent failed their first exam between 2008 and 2013, and 62 percent of those who failed passed on their second try or in another state.

“What this proposal really does, at its core, is put more power back into the hands of the Iowa Supreme Court as opposed to some third-party testing service, so that the [court] decides what are the courses that a law student must successfully complete that would make that law student a competent lawyer in Iowa,” Cook told the newspaper.

Hat tip to How Appealing.

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