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Arizona Supreme Court OKs Proposal to Allow 3Ls to Take Bar Exam

Posted Dec 12, 2012 9:28 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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Arizona will allow third-year law students to take the bar exam in February under a three-year experimental program approved on Monday by the Arizona Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court order (PDF) approved an amended rule paving the way for the pilot program. Arizona is now the only state that currently allows 3Ls to take the bar exam, the National Law Journal reports.

All three law schools in Arizona had supported the proposal as a way to allow students to enter the job market more quickly. The NLJ quotes Sally Rider, associate dean of the University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law. The early exam “addresses several criticisms of legal education: it's too expensive, the third-year students are unfocused and students have to wait so long after graduation until they can take the bar and be ready to practice," Rider said.

Many employers won’t even interview applicants until they have their law license, according to Judy Stinson, associate dean for academic affairs at Arizona State University Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law. A bar exam after graduation "really does delay the amount of time before they start offsetting the cost of their education," Stinson told the NLJ.

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