As California state bar leaders prepare to meet behind closed doors Tuesday to consider the fate of the July bar exam, dozens of law school students and legal organizations have pleaded for an alternative path to practicing law.

A bar spokeswoman said the agency has received more than 100 comments, many of them from graduating 3Ls seeking diploma privilege, or a unique exemption to practice law without passing the bar exam first. Many of those students cite fears of taking the test in crowded venues, crushing debt and rescinded job offers as law firms retrench.

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