DC Court of Appeals Limits Seating for July Bar Exam

Law school deans across the country have expressed outrage over the D.C. Court of Appeals’ May 2 announcement that seating for the July 2022 Uniform Bar Exam will be limited to 1,100 and that preference will be given to students from D.C.-area law schools.

The next administration of the July 2022 Uniform Bar Exam will take place at the D.C. Armory on July 26 and 27 with the seating capacity for the exam set at 1,100, which includes all standard and accommodated seating with registration closing once the seating capacity is reached, according to an announcement on the D.C. Court of Appeals website.

A letter, signed by more than 100 law deans, was sent to Court of Appeals Chief Judge Anna Blackburne-Rigsby, expressing concern about the limited seating.

“We write as deans from law schools across the country because we are very concerned about our  students’ ability to take the D.C. Bar this summer,” the letter states. “Many of our students were planning to do so, but learned yesterday that seating capacity will be limited to 1,100 and priority will be given to those who attended law school in the District of Columbia.”

In an email to Law.com on Thursday, a D.C. Court of Appeals spokesperson explained the reason for the limited seating.

“The limit is due to the spacing available at the D.C. Armory,” he said. “The D.C. Convention Center is able to accommodate the largest number of people, but is unavailable. The next and largest venue to administer the exam is the D.C. Armory. Multiple smaller venues would not comport with best practices for licensure exam administration.”

For July 2020 and July 2021, the bar was administered remotely, the Court of Appeals spokesman said, adding that the July 2019 exam was administered at the University of the District of Columbia, which is not available this year.

The National Conference of Bar Examiners (NCBE) has not received notice of any other seating limitations in other jurisdictions, according to a NCBE spokesperson.

The letter from the deans requests that “you do everything possible to find additional seating capacity. Our students had planned and relied on the ability to take the D.C. bar in July. It is tremendously disruptive for them to learn on May 2 that they likely will be unable to do so, especially since the deadline for registering to take the bar exam in some other UBE jurisdictions has now passed.”

You can read more about these concerns here.

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