Alabama Supreme Court Order Provides Alternate Test Dates for July 2020 Bar Exam

Montgomery, Ala. – All those registered to take the July 2020 Alabama Bar Exam now have alternative options. A July 12 Order from the Supreme Court of Alabama, which promulgates the rules governing admission to the Alabama State Bar, gives applicants for the July exam the options, without penalty, of continuing to sit for the July exam with protocols in place, sitting for an alternate September exam, or postponing to the February 2021 exam.

The alternate bar exam is to be administered September 30 – October 1, 2020. The opportunity to be considered for this additional exam is open only to applicants for the July 2020 bar exam.

Since the Spring, the Alabama State Bar has worked to develop exam administration protocols consistent with guidance of local, state and federal public health authorities, and on May 8, the Supreme Court entered an Order directing that the July 2020 Alabama bar exam be administered as scheduled with necessary precautions given the COVID-19 situation.

Since that time, there has been an upward trend in the number of COVID-19 cases in Alabama, and the Alabama State Bar has received communication from a number of interested parties, particularly examinees and law school deans.

We appreciate the Court’s action to provide applicants an alternative if they feel at risk in taking the exam in July. In addition, applicants are permitted to participate as legal interns with a “3L Practice Card” until the earlier of their date of admission to the Alabama State Bar or the date of release of results of the February 2021 bar exam.

The following email was sent to those registered for the July 2020 Bar Exam on July 13, 2020.

In accordance with the Order, you must declare the exam (July or September) for which you wish to be considered for admission. The deadline to make this declaration is Tuesday, July 21, 2020. No declarations will be accepted after the deadline and any applicant who fails to submit a declaration by the deadline will be considered for admission to the July 2020 bar exam only. The declaration form is available at https://forms.gle/RjbrqVfdzDMpxU3g7. Note: By rule, this is also the deadline for the Admissions Office to receive a withdrawal/postponement request.  The online form may be used to withdraw from consideration for both exams (July and September). Applicants who select the withdrawal option will carry forward their application fee and be given the opportunity to re-apply for the February 2021 exam.

Additional information for those who elect to be considered for the September exam:

  • You will not be required to submit another application; however, you will remain under a continuing duty to supplement your application and provide any necessary amendments.
  • If you have already purchased the license to use ExamSoft, the license will be transferred and you will owe no additional fee to ExamSoft. If you have not purchased an ExamSoft license, you will be given the opportunity to do so.
  • If you were granted special accommodations for the July bar exam, you will be granted the same accommodations for the September exam unless the nature of your request changes. Any request (new or updated) for special accommodations for the September exam must be received by Friday, August 7, 2020. Additional information is available at https://admissions.alabar.org/special-accommodations.
  • Any hotel reservation is the responsibility of the applicant.

In addition to the Order, updated exam administration protocols for the July 2020 bar exam are attached. The following changes have been made since the protocols were circulated on June 22, 2020:

  • Examinees are permitted to remove their mask/face covering during the timed portion of the exam, but the Alabama State Bar encourages that examinees wear masks/face coverings at all times. The Jefferson County Health Officer entered an Order requiring the wearing of a mask/face covering at all times in public places. The Order provides an exception for private meetings, which are defined as meetings not open to the general public, if a consistent six-foot distance between persons is maintained. The Alabama State Bar Exam is a private meeting not open to the general public.
  • Examinees are permitted to bring their own personal bottle of hand sanitizer (subject to inspection by exam site personnel). In addition, hand sanitizer will be provided by the Alabama State Bar and available at each section.
  • Examinees are permitted to bring an analog wristwatch (subject to inspection by exam site personnel). Examinees are not allowed to bring a digital or electronic wristwatch or any other type of clock. The exam administrator will make periodic announcements of time remaining, but because of the addition of venue space it is impossible to provide a clock or timer that will be visible by all examinees.

The exam administration protocols for the July 2020 bar exam are subject to further changes, up to and during administration of the exam. Any changes will be communicated directly to those applicants who have elected to be considered for admission to the July exam. These COVID-19 exam administration protocols will be in place for the September exam, with updates as needed given the status of the pandemic in September. For updates visit https://admissions.alabar.org/bar-exam-covid19.

If you have any questions, please contact the Admissions Office at 334-269-1515.

The Alabama State Bar (ASB) is the official licensing and regulatory organization of lawyers in Alabama. Since 1923, when the Alabama State Bar was created by an act of the legislature, ASB programs and activities have continuously served the public and improved the justice system. It is dedicated to promoting the professional responsibility and competence of its members, improving the administration of justice and increasing the public understanding of and respect for the law.

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