An open letter to State Governors (NY only)

Sign Executive Order Supporting Practice-Based Admission

1,092 so far! Let’s get to 2,000 signers!

Dear Governor Cuomo: I am writing to urge you to sign an executive order allowing practice-based admission for recent law school graduates. A practice-based approach to admission (as detailed in pending New York State legislation, S8827A) would allow otherwise qualified graduates of accredited institutions to become licensed after an apprenticeship period. It is the only equitable solution to our current position. All fifteen deans of the New York law schools, more than 300 New York law school professors, 113 public interest organizations, and over 1,200 New York State residents have advocated for a new licensing approach for incoming attorneys. We need you to take decisive action so that the thousands of future lawyers can get to work, receive health insurance, and cease needing to rely on unemployment. The current plan to hold an online bar exam is technologically infeasible, socially inequitable, and was implemented without proper due diligence. As the Court of Appeals has previously recognized, New York cannot afford a risky, experimental approach to licensure. The demand for legal services in New York is also at an extreme high, given the pandemic’s ramifications and the upcoming end of the eviction moratorium. Therefore, I respectfully insist that you use your power as governor to allow for swift, fair licensing for incoming attorneys. In the past few weeks alone, online exams have faced extreme challenges, including cyberattacks, lost scores, data breaches, and lasting, uncompensated damage to examinees’ computer hardware. No online bar exam even close to the type New York plans to administer (which involves 30,000 simultaneous examinees across multiple jurisdictions) has ever been conducted. Further, New York’s online exam provider, ExamSoft, has refused to conduct stress tests or answer critical questions about their product’s safety. The trouble experienced in other jurisdictions also does not inspire confidence. Florida had to cancel its online bar exam mere days before the exam date because of technical infeasibility, and the Michigan bar exam (where ExamSoft administered the exam to less than 800 examinees) was the subject of a DDOS attack, prompting Examsoft to request the FBI and DHS to investigate. Online proctoring has further been associated with racial bias, and discriminates against disabled candidates. Some ADA examinees are even being forced to test in person by the NY Board of Law Examiners because ExamSoft’s online format cannot accommodate them. This utterly defeats the purpose of hosting a virtual bar exam during a pandemic and puts already-vulnerable candidates at risk of infection. For the safety and protection of all New Yorkers, I urge you to sign an executive order allowing this method of admission.

First sent on August 31, 2020 by United for Diploma Privilege New York

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