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The first indication that COVID-19 would upend the bar exam status quo arrived March 22, 2020, in the form of a working paper penned by 11 legal academics and educational policy experts.

The paper argued that it would be unsafe—if not impossible—to administer the upcoming July bar exam in convention halls with hundreds of law graduates packed together. Instead, the academics urged bar exam authorities to rethink the exam and paths to attorney licensure and swiftly announce alternatives.

Their words proved prescient. One year into the COVID-19 pandemic, the bar exam looks wildly different in most of the country. Examinees log into the exam from their bedrooms, kitchens or wherever they can find some peace and quiet and a strong Internet connection. Facial recognition technology scans their pictures to ensure they are who they claim to be. And their computer cameras and microphones track and record them to ward off cheating.

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Karen Sloan

Karen Sloan is the Legal Education Editor and Senior Writer at ALM. Contact her at [email protected] On Twitter: @KarenSloanNLJ Sign up for Ahead of the Curve—her weekly email update on trends and innovation in legal education—here: https://www.law.com/briefings/ahead-of-the-curve/

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