Like the two previous admission ceremonies, the Tuesday induction for the new admittees to the Indiana bar was held virtually. But this time, along with introducing themselves to the state and federal judiciary, the freshly minted lawyers took a few minutes to thank those who helped them get to this day.
Starting with the July 2021 bar exam, Hoosier applicants who score just under the 264 needed to pass will have their tests automatically reviewed and will no longer have to submit a written request to have their answers reassessed.
Indiana will again be administering its bar exam remotely in February but, unlike the test given during the summer, this time the exam will be two-days and applicants will not be allowed to consult any outside materials.
Indiana’s decision to adopt the Uniform Bar Exam came after a year of study, and the decision wasn’t unanimous. As Chief Justice Loretta Rush explained, “I really respect the dissenting opinion and in many ways a lot of us agree with what they are saying. But we really felt the time had come.”
Citing the “continuing uncertainty and disruption of the COVID-19 emergency,” the Law School Admission Council has announced that all the remaining LSAT exams will be delivered remotely instead of in-person through April 2021.
The overall passage rate for the Indiana August 2020 bar exam reached 74%, about 10 percentage points higher than the overall pass rate for the previous four July bar exams. Likewise, 84% of those taking the test for the first time passed while 53% of the repeat takers were successful, the highest rate for repeaters since 54% passed the February 2015 bar.
In an order issued by the Kentucky Supreme Court on Friday, the commonwealth has joined the growing list of states adopting the Uniform Bar Exam, putting Indiana in an even smaller group of non-UBE jurisdictions.
Although the testing software was supposed to allow individuals to take the July 2020 Indiana Bar Exam while remaining safely in their homes during the COVID-19 pandemic, the technology malfunctioned so badly that the Indiana Supreme Court will be forced to administer the test by relying on email and the applicants’ integrity.
The Indiana Supreme Court issued an order Wednesday again revamping the July 2020 bar exam, opting to send test questions by email and allowing applicants to refer to notes and course materials during the test. The test is still scheduled to be administered remotely Tuesday under the new format.
The Hoosier state is postponing its bar exam by one week to Aug. 4, because of ongoing problems with the testing software, the Indiana Supreme Court announced Friday afternoon.
A late change in the way the Indiana bar exam will be administered has raised sufficient fears of some applicants about the potential for wide-spread cheating that they are asking the test to be open-book. But the Indiana Supreme Court rejected a petition from dozens of law school graduates who will take the bar exam remotely next week.
The nearly 500 applicants who have registered to take the Indiana Bar Exam in July will need to have external webcams, quiet rooms and be prepared to write extensively for the test that will be given remotely for the first time because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The coronavirus emergency is forcing many changes to legal education in Indiana. Law schools and the judiciary are changing procedures, canceling events and finding alternatives as the prohibitions on large gatherings appear likely to continue for the foreseeable future.
Noting the uncertainty over whether the bar exam will be administered in July, the Indiana Supreme Court has issued an order that will allow the law school Class of 2020 to represent clients and do legal work on a limited basis.
The Indiana Rules for Admission to the Bar and the Discipline of Attorneys now include language addressing pro bono publico licenses following amendments made by the Indiana Supreme Court that will take effect next year.
As predicted, the February 2019 bar exam results rose after the appeals process, but the overall passage rate of 50 percent is still the lowest in at least the past 17 years.