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The Georgia state Senate will consider a proposal this week to open up the state’s bar exams to graduates of law schools not accredited by the American Bar Association. In 2005 and this year, Cobb County Republican Bobby Franklin has attempted to get the bar exam change passed on behalf of at least two young Republican legislative staffers in Georgia who graduated from a Christian law school in California that’s not accredited by the ABA. An e-mail sent out last week by Jay Cook, president of the State Bar of Georgia, said Franklin “has announced his intention to have a floor vote in the House on legislation that drastically reduces the educational requirements for taking the Georgia Bar Exam and which infringes on the Supreme Court’s constitutional authority to regulate the practice of law.” Two attempts to reach Franklin for comment were unsuccessful. Sears this month formed a study committee to look at the issue of nontraditional legal education. Sears said in February, before the committee was formed, that she would want the group to look at the issue of letting graduates of unaccredited law schools take the state’s bar exam. Georgia is in the minority of states that restrict bar test-takers to graduates of accredited law schools. Only 18 states, including Georgia, Florida and South Carolina, limit test-takers to ABA law school graduates, according to the National Conference of Bar Examiners. For years, graduates of John Marshall Law School in Atlanta were allowed to take Georgia’s bar exam. But in the late 1990s, the state Supreme Court said that unless the school won full ABA accreditation, its graduates would be barred from the exam. The law school gained ABA accreditation in February 2005.

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