The California State Bar’s Board of Trustees approved a plan that would grant temporary licenses to recent law school grads for less than two years.
The provisional licensing program, which had been ordered by the California Supreme Court, will serve as a stop-gap measure for law school graduates who haven’t yet passed a bar exam but wish to practice until the program ends in June of 2022. To remain licensed, participants will need to pass the bar once the program ends.
The state’s high court on Wednesday rejected a petition for diploma privilege, which would have allowed lawyers to be fully licensed without ever taking the exam.
Applicants for California’s provisional license program must be 2020 graduates of California law schools or of schools outside the state, if such graduates are permitted to sit for the bar exam under California law. There are no limits on the number of times an applicant may have taken and not passed the bar exam.
Participants must also be employed by, or have an offer from, an employer with an office located in California, and they also must agree to practice under a supervising lawyer who is an active licensee in good standing of the State Bar.
They must refer to themselves as “provisionally licensed” lawyers when in conversations with clients or potential clients, and in court pleadings. They may “not describe themselves as a fully-licensed lawyer, or imply in any way orally or in writing that they are a fully-licensed lawyer,” the board of trustees said.
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