The postponement of bar exams amid the COVID-19 pandemic is creating attorney licensing delays that will hit low-income clients the hardest.

That’s according to a coalition of more than 125 public interest law organizations that recently joined the bar exam fray. The groups sent a letter to the National Conference of Bar Examiners and the 30 jurisdictions that are planning either for in-person bar exams next month or online October exams, asking them to adopt an emergency diploma privilege that would enable law graduates to be licensed without taking the bar exam. Their letter argues that disrupting the flow of new attorneys into the profession will have the deepest impact on government employers, direct legal service providers and public interest organizations, which will in turn exacerbate the nation’s access to justice problem at a time when the legal needs of low and middle-income Americans are higher than ever.

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