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Lawyers for Orlando, Fla.’s Barry University School of Law have petitioned the Florida Supreme Court to release the impounded Florida bar exam results of Barry students and to allow other graduates who have not yet taken the exam, to do so. Their request follows a Feb. 4 decision by the American Bar Association to grant Barry’s law school in Orlando provisional accreditation. Barry students and graduates have been in limbo for at least two years, waiting for the ABA to certify the law school. As the lone arbiter of legal education in the country, the ABA had turned down the law school’s application for accreditation four times since 1999 citing concerns over the school’s financial stability and its students’ qualifications. Still, many students continued to pursue their law degree in hopes that the school would soon be given accreditation. Of the 111 students who have graduated the law program, 69 have taken the bar exam, but the results have remained sealed, preventing them from practicing law. While the Florida Supreme Court has already ruled that students would be given their test results if the school became accredited within 12 months of their graduation, some students graduated more than a year ago. Stephen H. Grimes of Holland & Knight, who represents the students, asked the court not to “unfairly penalize students for the ABA’s arbitrary and lengthy accreditation process.” He said the process is “intended to ensure the quality of Florida’s legal education, not to prevent students educated in Florida from entering the legal profession.” Grimes urged the state’s high court to make its ruling quickly so the remaining law school graduates would have enough time to apply and study for the next bar exam, which is scheduled for July 23-24. “For those who passed, we ask that they be allowed to complete their applications for admission. For those who did not pass, we ask that they be allowed to retake the examination. And for the graduates who did not yet sit for the exam, we ask that they be permitted to do so,” wrote Grimes in his petition. The Florida Board of Bar Examiners has yet to file its response.

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