Florida Bar Examiners: Consider All Other Options to an In-Person Bar Exam in July 2020

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The next administration of the Florida Bar Exam is currently scheduled to take place in person on July 28 and 29, 2020, in Tampa and Orlando. COVID-19 cases have increased in record numbers across the state of Florida in recent weeks, showing no signs of slowing down in the coming months. On June 19, with just 39 days until the scheduled bar exam, Florida reported 3,822 new cases of COVID-19, breaking the one-day record of 3,207 new cases set just 24 hours earlier. On June 18 and 19, mandatory mask orders were issued in the city of Tampa as well as in Orange County. On June 18, CNN reported that Florida is showing signs of becoming the "next epicenter of the national health crisis."

Subsequently, The Florida Bar has shown that accommodations need to be taken for the legal profession to prevent the spread and impact of the pandemic. From June 15-19, the 2020 Annual Florida Bar Convention was held virtually. On June 15, Florida Supreme Court Chief Justice Charles T. Canady extended the term of The Florida Bar's COVID-19 workgroup through the end of 2020.

In light of the continued impact of COVID-19, we strongly and urgently request that the Florida Board of Bar Examiners consider all other alternative measures instead of an in-person exam administration.

These measures include, but are not limited to the following:

  1. Online administration of the exam at the earliest possible date (similar to the administration being offered in Michigan and Maryland); 
  2. Diploma privilege opportunities (similar to those being offered to law grads in Utah and Washington state); or
  3. Any other feasible licensure options that do not require an in-person meeting of hundreds of students during this pandemic.

With fewer than 40 days to go until the exam is scheduled to be administered, we urge the Board of Bar Examiners to quickly and effectively enact an alternative means to bar licensure instead of an in-person July exam administration. For the health and safety of its thousands of examinees and the families and communities of the examinees, this must be done as soon as possible.

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If you would like to reach out to the members of the Board of Bar Examiners directly, their email addresses are listed below.

David C. Reeves, Esq.: dcreeves@mppkj.com

Jane A. Rose, Esq.: rosej@hillsboroughcounty.org

Dennis J. Alfonso, Esq.: dalfonso@mcclainalfonso.com

Patrick P. Coll, Esq.: pcoll@smithhulsey.com

John R. Dierking, Esq.: john.dierking@hklaw.com

Larry S. Hersch, Esq.: larry@herschlaw.com

Mindy McNichols, Esq.: mmcnichols@dadeschools.net

Deborah S. Minnis, Esq.: dminnis@ausley.com

Jennifer Martinez Mooney, Esq.: mooneyjm@fljud13.org

Rachelle Munson, Esq.: rachelle.munson@myfloridalegal.com

Paul J. Schwiep, Esq.: pschwiep@coffeyburlington.com

Stanley H. Wakshlag, Esq.: swakshlag@knpa.com

dcreeves@mppkj.com; rosej@hillsboroughcounty.org; dalfonso@mcclainalfonso.com; pcoll@smithhulsey.com; john.dierking@hklaw.com; larry@herschlaw.com; mmcnichols@dadeschools.net; dminnis@ausley.com; mooneyjm@fljud13.org; rachelle.munson@myfloridalegal.com; pschwiep@coffeyburlington.com; swakshlag@knpa.com