With COVID-19 cancelling law school commencements and placing even the July bar exam in jeopardy, the Wisconsin Supreme Court has streamlined the process for new attorneys to practice law in Wisconsin by temporarily cancelling bar-admission ceremonies. Instead, qualified applicant may complete the admissions process, in absentia, by executing the Certificate Mailing Address Form online and by electronically submitting a signed copy of the Attorney Oath of Admission.
Currently, Wisconsin is the only state to offer diploma privilege to law school graduates of the state, allowing graduates from UW Madison and Marquette Law School who meet the requirements to practice law in Wisconsin without first taking the Wisconsin bar exam. The new procedure will license those graduates to practice law upon receipt of a confirmation e-mail from the Clerk of Supreme Court. Successful applicants will then have 30 days to join the State Bar of Wisconsin—an extension from the usual 10 days allotted.
The situation looks more complicated for other states, with many considering either following in Wisconsin’s footsteps with diploma privilege or requiring some form of contingent supervised practice.