Pheffer Amato Participates in Legislative Round Table on COVID-19’s Impact on Law School Graduates

August 19, 2020

South Queens, New York Today, Assemblywoman Stacey Pheffer Amato (D-Rockaway) participated in a legislative roundtable on COVID-19’s impact on law school graduates specifically as it relates to the bar examination and diploma privilege. The round table was live streamed today and was hosted by Senator Brad Hoylman and Assemblymember Jo Anne Simon.

The round table discussed the impact of COVID-19’s impact on recent law school graduates specifically as it relates to the New York State Court of Appeals decision to administer an online bar exam in October and alternative pathways to attorney licensing including diploma privilege. The New York Bar exam is typically held twice a year, in February and July. This year due to the pandemic, the two day in person exam, originally scheduled for July was postponed until September, then cancelled and replaced with an online exam for October 5-6. Many states who have attempted or already administered an online exam have reported multiple technical glitches[1] fueling the call for what is a called “Diploma Privilege” which would serve as an alternative method for licensing attorney’s without having them take the bar examination.

"Today’s roundtable was a great opportunity to hear from many law school graduates and Deans, the NYS board of law examiners, the Association of Legal Aid Attorneys President, and several academic experts on how we can work together to admit thousands of new attorneys into the legal profession during these unprecedented times” Pheffer Amato said. “It is imperative that we carefully review the plan for an online exam this October and ensure that the technology is feasible, reliable and accessible for all who are taking it. Many graduates- some of my constituents- have overcome tremendous barriers to take the bar examination and as a state we must ensure that they are able to begin safely practicing the law."