To say that tensions are running high over the bar exam would be an understatement.

Thousands of recent law graduates are aggressively lobbying jurisdictions across the country to adopt emergency diploma privileges that would allow them to get licensed without taking the bar exam—arguing that in-person tests are unsafe and online ones are riddled with technical and ethical problems. Hundreds more showed up for in-person exams last month, donning masks and trying—sometimes with limited success—to socially distance. At least one examinee in Colorado tested positive for COVID-19, learning of the result mere hours after finishing the in-person exam. And many candidates say they are frustrated by ongoing changes in plans surrounding the exam, with some tests postponed or altered mere days ahead of time.

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