Did your attorney even take the Louisiana bar exam? If they did, was it the "express version" or the regular version? Did you ever think you would have to add these to your list of questions to ask a potential lawyer? Yikes!
The Louisiana Supreme Court decided (by a vote of 4-3) to allow those registered to take the July and October, 2020 bar exams and otherwise qualified (ie. graduating law school) to automatically "earn" a law license. This covered over 500 new Louisiana lawyers. Waiving the bar exam is something that hadn’t happened since the Korean War, nearly 70 years prior.
In Case You Were Wondering...
About 30%-35% of applicants fail the bar exam every year. In the period prior to the exemption (July, 2019), pass rates were as follows: LSU (84.38%); Tulane (76.67%) Loyola (70.80%); and Southern (51.13%).
3 Justices disagreed vehemently with the Supreme Court's decision, saying that the state would be licensing unqualified attorneys who may be unfit to serve the public. Justice Genovese asked "What other professions are allowing a professional license without testing?"
In my opinion, the decision to license attorneys without having to pass the bar exam may intensify the public’s already scarred perception of the practice of law and unleashes potentially unqualified lawyers on the unsuspecting general public. It also doesn't do any favors for those new attorneys, who will always have an asterisk by their name when seeking jobs and representing clients. My advice to those new attorneys: Sit voluntarily for the bar exam as soon as possible to separate yourself from the rest of the pack.
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