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Wis. Supreme Court Upholds Bar Exam Waiver for In-State Law Grads

Posted Oct 5, 2010 6:28 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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Is there a relationship between acing the bar exam and being a good lawyer? Wisconsin Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson isn’t so sure.

She raised the issue when she joined other members of the court Monday in refusing to repeal the state’s diploma privilege, which allows graduates of state law schools to become lawyers without taking the bar exam.

The supreme court unanimously turned down a petition asking it to either extend the diploma privilege to all graduates of ABA-approved law schools or to repeal the privilege entirely, according to stories by the State Bar of Wisconsin, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, the Badger Herald and the Marquette University Law School Faculty Blog. The diploma privilege is allowed by a state supreme court rule.

The State Bar of Wisconsin quotes Abrahamson, who said during discussions she has confidence in state law schools, but the quality and grading systems of other law schools are different.

She also questioned the relevance of good law school grades and acing the bar exam. “I am not convinced that the bar exam has a relationship to being a good practitioner,” Abrahamson said. “I am not sure that getting a law degree, and how well you do in law school, are necessarily related to practice.”

Hat Tip: Legal Satyricon.

Related coverage:

ABAJournal.com: "Out-of-State Law Grad Settles Suit Over Wis. ‘Diploma Privilege’ for $7,500"

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