Bar Exam

First state plans for online bar exam if in-person test is not possible

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If the novel coronavirus pandemic prevents a bar exam from being safely administered in person, the Massachusetts Board of Bar Examiners will offer an online test, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court announced Thursday.

The exam is scheduled for Sept. 30 and Oct. 1 at the Hynes Convention Center in Boston, according to the order. Massachusetts is a uniform bar exam state, but results of a remote exam would only apply in state, Law360 reports.

In an April 22 letter to law school deans, Massachusetts Chief Justice Ralph D. Gants wrote that he thinks the state is the first to commit to an online bar exam if an in-person test is not possible.

A spokesperson for the National Conference of Bar Examiners, which develops and produces the attorney licensing tests used by most U.S. jurisdictions, including Massachusetts, told Law360 that this is the first state that it knows of to commit to a potential online bar exam.

The organization is exploring whether an online bar is feasible in the event that COVID-19 prevents the traditional in-person exam from being given, according to the NCBE spokesperson.

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