New law graduates would be able to practice law without passing the bar exam if a new proposal by the Utah Supreme Court takes effect in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The University of Utah S.J. Quinney College of Law served a key collaborator in the proposal, unveiled by the Utah Supreme Court on April 9. Utah is among the first states in the nation to address how to handle bar exams for the Class of 2020 as COVID-19 continues to cast uncertainty on the future.

In a proposed Order for Temporary Amendments to the Bar Admissions Procedures During the COVID-19 Outbreak, the Utah Supreme Court suggests qualifying graduates will not be required to take the bar examination, but will instead be allowed to begin practicing immediately after meeting other requirements for admission. Among other requirements, applicants must complete 360 hours of post-graduate supervised practice under the guidance of a licensed and experienced Utah attorney. You can see the Court’s proposed order, reasons for the order, and comment section here:


University of Utah S.J. Quinney College of Law Dean Elizabeth Kronk Warner and Professor Louisa Heiny  provided research and insight into the court’s proposal. Both are available for media interviews to discuss the proposal, what it could mean for 2020 graduates and the historic shift taking place in legal education due to COVID-19. Kronk Warner and Heiny can address whether measures taken in Utah may be adopted in other parts of the country also grappling with how to proceed with bar examinations this summer.

 Dean Kronk Warner and Professor Heiny are available via phone, Zoom, Skype or email.