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At least for this July, those people wanting to sit for both state essay bar exams in Rhode Island and Massachusetts will not face a conflict with the date of the tests. And in the future, the essay exam schedule in Rhode Island may be permanently changed to avoid a conflict with the two states’ tests. A conflict with events planned at the facility where the exams are held in Providence, R.I., has forced the state Board of Bar Examiners to move the date of the Rhode Island essay exam from July 26 to July 24 this year. As a result, there will not be a scheduling conflict with the Massachusetts essay bar exam, which is also held on July 26. The multistate bar exam is always held the last Wednesday in July. Each state currently holds its bar essay exams the day after. But, according to Kathleen Cacchiotti, Rhode Island Board of Bar Examiners executive secretary, it took the Rhode Island Convention and Visitor’s Bureau to break the deadlock. “We found out early last year that the Rhode Island Convention Center, our site for the exams, was booked on Thursday, July 26, for the National Governors Council. Since the two exams [multistate and essay] have to be taken concurrently, we moved the date to Tuesday, July 24, 2001,” said Cacchiotti. “The decision to move the date, which removed the conflict with Massachusetts, has proven so popular the Board of Bar Examiners has recommended to the supreme court that the date change be a permanent item.” The high court expects to consider the topic sometime in June, and, if granted, the board anticipates the change to take effect for the year 2002, she said. No plans have been made to change the February exam dates, which still show Rhode Island and Massachusetts essay exams scheduled for the same day. There is a wait of six months before the next round of exams is held. Some states require the multistate bar exam to be taken in their state in order to qualify to sit for the essay exam, but neither Rhode Island nor Massachusetts has that requirement. As such, exam-takers who will sit for both state bar exams have their choice on where to spend that Wednesday. Cacchiotti estimates that 200 people will sit for the Rhode Island exam this year. The deadline for the July exam application was May 1. The deadline for the next Rhode Island exam, administered in February 2002, is Dec. 1, 2001. With applicants now being able to sit for two essay bar exams in the same week for different states, it means hitting the books a bit harder. At least one bar review business has seen a small jump in people signing up for dual courses. “We haven’t seen that much of an increase in people signing up for our courses, but there has been an increase in people taking two courses at once,” said George Herrell, assistant eastern regional director for BAR/BRI, the largest law exam tutoring firm in the country. “Although it is a lot of work to study for the bar exam, adding an additional state essay day is a small step compared to the benefit of being accredited in both states at once.” Both Massachusetts and Rhode Island offer applications online, as well as all the materials formerly available by mail or in person on their Web sites. The Rhode Island Web address is www.courts.state.ri.us/supreme/ barexaminers.htm. In Massachusetts, the Web site is www.state.ma.us/bbe.

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