All the law school deans were able to get together to offer their thoughts on how New York should handle licensing in light of COVID-19, so it makes sense that the student governments of the New York schools would join forces too.

Student leaders from the 15 New York law schools have drafted a letter — a spiritual follow-up to the original mass law student letter — calling for a modified diploma-privileged admission system at best and a temporary waiver with the requirement that graduates take the exam within two years at worst. They’re asking students to sign on through this form .

The modified diploma-privileged regime the students outline, drawing a great deal from the work done in this paper , which they call “Diploma Privilege Plus,” shows a great deal of consideration into balancing the needs of the current crop of heavily indebted students stepping out into the unknown and the duty to ensure that licensed attorneys meet a high threshold of competence. ● Completion of online courses or exams that the state has developed to supplement the UBE. Both the MPRE and NYLE serve as models for the administration of such a program.
● Affidavit from an employer or externship supervisor that the candidate possesses the knowledge and skills to practice law with minimum competence. Law schools have developed rubrics for externships and clinical courses that could be used to guide that assessment.
● Completion of CLE programs. New York could, if desired, specify programs in areas of particular client need and/or avoidance of common entry-level pitfalls.
● Completion of specified CALI lessons. The Center for Computer-Assisted Legal Instruction, “CALI,” maintains over 1,000 lessons on legal principles, including all subjects covered by most bar exams. In past posts on this subject, I’ve off-handedly offered enhanced CLE requirements and apprenticeship models as the sort of supplements that a diploma system could require. The students have fleshed out those ideas into a real framework for consideration.

As for practice waivers — the proposal that seems to have support across the board at this point — the students note that it resolves […]

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