PHILADELPHIA BAR ASSOCIATION RESOLUTION URGUNG THE PENNSYLVANIA SUPREME COURT TO ALLOW ADMISSION TO PRACTICE OF 2020 GRADUATES OF ABA ACCREDITED LAW SCHOOLS BY DIPLOMA PRIVILEGE
WHEREAS, an outbreak of a severe, novel respiratory disease, which has been named coronavirus disease 2019 (“COVID-19”), started in late 2019 and currently has spread throughout the world to many countries, including the United States; and
WHEREAS, the World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have declared COVID-19 a pandemic; and
WHEREAS, the President of the United States has declared the COVID-19 outbreak a national emergency and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary has declared the COVID-19 outbreak a public health emergency; and
WHEREAS, the Governor of Pennsylvania has proclaimed the existence of a disaster emergency throughout the Commonwealth due to the spread of COVID 19; and
WHEREAS, COVID-19 has raised public health and safety concerns about the viability of in- person administration of the Pennsylvania Bar Examination; and
WHEREAS, due to these concerns, the July 2020 Pennsylvania Bar Examination has been postponed to October, with plans to administer the test online; and
WHEREAS, the Association is concerned that some registrants for the Pennsylvania Bar Examination lack the broadband connectivity and facilities to successfully take the test; and
WHEREAS, in states that have recently administered their bar examinations online, technical issues have called into question the efficacy and reliability of this test taking method.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the Philadelphia Bar Association urges the Pennsylvania Supreme Court to amend the Pennsylvania Bar Admission Rules to allow current registrants for the Pennsylvania Bar Examination, who have received a Juris Doctorate or Bachelor of Laws degree in 2020 from a law school accredited by the American Bar Association, and who otherwise qualify for bar admission, to have the option of receiving a diploma privilege to be admitted to the practice of law in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, which diploma privilege to practice law would continue until the earlier of (i.) one year after termination of the Governor’s COVID-19 declaration of a disaster emergency; or (ii.) the date on which the individual is notified that the individual failed the Pennsylvania Bar Examination.
AND BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Board of Governors authorizes the Chancellor or the Chancellor’s designee(s) to communicate the contents of this resolution to the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania, the Pennsylvania Board of Law Examiners, the legal profession, the media and the public, and to take such other action as may be necessary to effectuate this resolution.
PHILADELPHIA BAR ASSOCIATION
BOARD OF GOVERNORS
ADOPTED: July 30, 2020