Virginia to Allow Law Students to Take the Bar Exam After Only 5 Semesters

The Virginia House of Delegates has now passed a bill allowing students at approved law schools to take the bar exam after completing only five (5) semesters of full-time legal study.

Only one House lawmaker voted against the bill, which has yet to get a Senate vote.

The bill would give students “a head start on job opportunities,” according to Catherine Crooks Hill, Secretary-Treasurer for the Virginia Board of Bar Examiners. That can be helpful to law students who “carry such tremendous debt,” she said.

Current Virginia law requires applicants for the bar exam to have completed all degree requirements before they can sit for the bar exam.

There are currently fifteen other states that also allow 3Ls to take the bar exam before graduation. Most of those states add a time provision that requires early test-takers to take the exam no more than 30 to 120 days before graduation. The Virginia bill that just passed does not establish such a time window.

The passage of this bill comes as law schools across the country are trying to do everything they can to help their graduating students secure jobs, as a variety of factors, including the pandemic, has made it difficult for many recent law school graduates to find solid employment. It remains to be seen if measures such as this one will actually give law graduates a better chance of landing a job than if they had to wait the standard time to take the bar exam.

You can read more about this issue here.

If you are sitting for the bar exam right now or just finished taking it as you read this, we want to wish you good luck and positive results!

We sincerely hope all of  your hard work and studying has paid off. Of course, you will not know the results for some time, so if you have any concerns or want to discuss how the exam went for you, please do not hesitate to call or email us for expert guidance.