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Louisiana Bar Applicants Take Online, Open Book Test

Michigan and Indiana Bar exams will be virtual as well.

This week, bar applicants in Louisiana will be taking an online, open book bar exam.

And they’ll do it without a single proctor or supervisor looking on.

“The August 24, 2020 and October 10, 2020 remote bar examinations will be in open-book format, with no live monitoring or proctoring,” says the Louisiana Supreme Court in this press release. “Applicants will receive the exam questions by email and submit responses by email, to an address established by the Louisiana Supreme Court Committee on Bar Admissions. Applicants may use outside materials to complete the exam but are prohibited from seeking or accepting assistance from any other individual during the exam.”

The main reason behind the change: the state’s Committee on Bar Admissions determined it couldn’t rely on its software vendor to securely administer the exam remotely. So the committee threw the process wide open, letting test takers use any books or outside materials they choose.

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“The Louisiana Supreme Court Committee on Bar Admissions has worked diligently throughout this pandemic to find workable solutions which will allow applicants the ability to safely sit for the Bar Exam while being mindful of issues which may present themselves that could affect the applicants’ ability to test,” state Supreme Court Chief Justice Bernette Joshua Johnson says.

The open-book decision came after the Supreme Court announced in July that the exam would be held remotely and administrated on two separate days. Applicants will still be have to meet the state bar’s normal character and fitness requirements.

Other states have opted for various bar testing strategies to accommodate the pandemic. Some are paying outside vendors to administer the exam virtually. Some have shortened the exam or postponed it. And New York simply cancelled the exam, “in light of accelerating public health concerns and continuing governmental restrictions.

“Several other states, including Massachusetts, Michigan, Indiana, Maryland and Nevada, will offer the exam online like Louisiana,” according to The Hill. “Oregon, Utah and Washington, meanwhile, will grant some law school graduates ‘diploma privileges’ that allow them to practice without having passed the exam.”

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