Adopt Diploma Privilege for the July 2020 Virginia Bar

Adopt Diploma Privilege for the July 2020 Virginia Bar

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Note: PLEASE describe whether you are a law school student, law school graduate, attorney, professor, law school dean, member of the community, etc. in your signature.

We are a collective of recent law school graduates who plan on practicing law in Virginia, as well as professors of Virginia law schools, practitioners in Virginia, and members of the community. We urge the Supreme Court of Virginia and the Virginia State Bar to adapt to the ongoing crisis brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic by extending diploma privilege to applicants who are currently registered to take the July 2020 Virginia Bar exam.

It is unsafe and inequitable to administer an in-person Bar exam in July 2020 given the risks of increasing the spread of COVID-19 through travel and large in-person gatherings. During the Virginia Bar Exam, hundreds of examinees are gathered together indoors over the course of two days. While the Virginia Board of Bar Examiners has suggested approaches to adjust the exam, these approaches are not adequate.

Holding the Bar exam in July poses extreme health risks to law school graduates, the Roanoke area, and Virginia. Examinees from across the country gather in large numbers indoors, while options to delay the exam or administer it online increase the already existing harms to examinees' finances, families, mental and physical health, and other resources.

Specifically, we respectfully request that the Court enact a diploma privilege for all recent graduates who are registered for the July 2020 Virginia Bar Exam. This includes out-of-state law students, LL.M. students, and exam re-takers. Washington, Utah, and Oregon have already enacted diploma privilege - it's time for Virginia to do the same.

You can view our petition here.

Should you have any questions, please contact:

Samantha Levin: sjlevin815@gmail.com,
Grace Lempp: glempp@email.unc.edu,
Alyssa Leader: aleader@live.unc.edu, or
United for Diploma Privilege: united4diplomapriv@gmail.com.

Suggested Tweet:
@VAStateBar, support an emergency diploma privilege for law students applying for admission to the Virginia bar. #DiplomaPrivilegeNow. Sign here: http://tiny.cc/VADiplomaPrivilege2020

Want to share your experience? Fill out a survey below:
Impact Survey for Virginia Bar Takers - for law graduates planning on sitting for the Virginia Bar examination in July 2020
Community Impact Survey for the Virginia Bar Exam - for all members of the Virginia community

Virginia Department of Health Online Complaint Report:
File a Complaint here.
VDH also welcomes phone calls regarding the in-person administration of the exam. You can call 540-283-5050.