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California’s Big Bar Exam Decision

April 22, 2020, 12:34 PM

Groups led by law school students and California-based law school deans are urging the state’s Supreme Court to scrap bar exams for the rest of 2020.

Lobbying Campaigns: Allied in purpose, the factions disagree on how best to allow would-be test-takers to practice law--whether via a provisional license, which would mandate they be overseen by a licensed attorney and eventually pass the bar, or through an emergency diploma privilege that would allow them to forgo the exam entirely. Both sides have been pressing their case through op-eds and letters to the high court, which will decide how to proceed by April 30.

Making Sense: A diploma privilege is “the only alternative that makes sense during a global pandemic,” said Donna Saadati-Soto, a Harvard Law School 3L who co-leads the student coalition. “Postponement gives students few answers to vitally important questions” regarding how smoothly they’ll be able to start their careers.

Sam Skolnik has the story.

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DAILY BRIEF

Law Firms

Baker McKenzie to Run Shorter Virtual Summer Associate Program
Baker McKenzie is shortening its summer associate program to a five-weeks and taking it virtual as the coronavirus pandemic continues to force law firms to change their summer offerings for law students.

In-House

TD Bank Looks Internally for New Top In-House Lawyer
Toronto-Dominion Bank has tapped Norie Campbell to serve as group head and general counsel of TD Bank Group following the departure last month of its former legal chief.

Self-Driving Startup Picks Up New Legal Chief in Ex-Ambassador
Cruise LLC, the autonomous vehicle technology outfit backed by General Motors Co. and SoftBank Group Corp., has hired Jeffrey Bleich as its new chief legal officer.

Business of Law

Male Legal Group Leaders Still Top Paid, Despite Recent Pay Cuts
Men continue to earn more than women working in the same in-house legal positions, while corporate counsel in the U.S. are paid significantly more than their counterparts overseas, according to a new survey conducted by legal consultancy Major, Lindsey & Africa.

Patent Filings, Litigation May Shift in Economic Crisis
The economic shutdown caused by the coronavirus will force companies to confront difficult patent decisions. Fewer patent applications are expected to be filed with the government, and more applications likely will go abandoned, as businesses tighten their budgets. Some companies also will have to prioritize which patents to protect.

Wall Street Internships Are Surviving Pandemic’s Economic Wrath
Some 22 million Americans filed for unemployment in the past month as businesses shut down to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus. But internship programs, a key source of future employees for big companies, have proven surprisingly immune to the economic devastation.

Ethics

Montana Judge Draws 30-Day Ban After Repeated Conduct Violations
A Montana state judge who violated political endorsement rules and lied about her credentials was suspended for 30 days without pay by the state’s highest court.

WAKE-UP CALL


In Pre-Covid 2019, Kirkland Topped $4 Billion Revenues
In today’s column, the 100 biggest U.S. law firms averaged 5% gains in both gross revenues and average profits per equity partner in 2019, and 11 firms topped $2 billion revenues in the latest Am Law rankings; DLA Piper had near 10% revenue gains last year, but it’s still among firms making austerity cuts to prepare for the economic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic; as law firms switched to remote working, some practice partners have had to turn into “mini managing partners.”

WHAT ELSE WE’RE WATCHING

David Lat, founding editor of Above the Law and a Covid-19 survivor, joins u/bloomberglaw on Reddit to answer questions about the coronavirus and where the pandemic-caused recession leaves the legal industry. Lat, an attorney turned legal journalist and recruiter, spent 17 days in the hospital—including 6 days in critical condition in the ICU. Join our Reddit AMA on Thursday at 2 p.m. EST.

CORONAVIRUS UPDATES

  • Over 802,522 people in the U.S. have been diagnosed with Covid-19 and 43,400 people have lost their lives. Global confirmed cases of Covid-19 surpass 2,550,000 worldwide, with deaths topping 175,000.

  • The Eastern and Southern Districts of New York extended deadlines for suspending jury trials and other procedures as the virus continues to infect New Yorkers.

  • The Supreme Court of Virginia will hold a remote admission ceremony for newly licensed attorneys June 17, the original in-person ceremony was scheduled for June 3.


Follow the latest changes in court operations using our interactive map.

Follow Bloomberg Law reporters on Twitter as they track updates from courts across the country with the hashtag #COVID19Courts.

PRACTITIONER INSIGHTS

INSIGHT: How to Prepare for the Covid-19 CARES Act Enforcement Wave
The CARES Act, a $2 trillion Covid-19 stimulus law, contains $877 billion in corporate and small business relief—and significant enforcement appropriations. Sidley Austin’s Jaime L.M. Jones gives steps for businesses, especially those in industries like health care unaccustomed to enforcement scrutiny, to take now to mitigate enforcement risk.

INSIGHT: Employer Tips for Accommodating Non-Binary Workers
An employer’s failure to acknowledge an employee’s non-binary gender identity could create liability for gender identity discrimination under state or local law, Liebert Cassidy Whitmore attorneys write. They offer best practices for employers to ensure their policies and practices don’t unnecessarily impose or reinforce binary notions of gender.

INSIGHT: E-Oversight Is More Important Than Ever During Covid-19
The SEC made clear in a Foreign Corrupt Practices Act settlement that it views robust e-oversight as an essential component of compliance. Buckley LLP attorneys say it is imperative that adequate internal controls are in place to ensure all transactions and communications are subject to review.

INSIGHT: Avoid Pandemic Relief Pitfalls--Best Practices for Businesses
Businesses receiving economic relief from the CARES Act have federal agency guidelines to follow closely. Covington attorneys say they would be wise to think ahead about how prosecutors, regulators, and oversight bodies will look back on their actions and offer best practices.

WORKFLOWS

Armstrong Teasdale announced that Ramona Palmer-Eason has joined the Kansas City office as a partner | Clark Hill hired Jeffrey J. Lorek as Senior Counsel in both the Litigation and Labor and Employment groups in Washington | Gregory Chin has joined Duane Morris as a partner in the Corporate Practice Group in San Francisco; he arrives from Mintz | Nexsen Pruet’s Columbia, SC office recently added Darra James Coleman as Special Counsel and Alice Harris as a Member to the Health Care practice | Jones Day hired Matthew Bull as a partner to its Antitrust & Competition Law Practice in Brisbane, Australia | White & Case added Dongho Lee as a partner in its Global Mergers & Acquisitions Practice in Seoul, Korea from Herbert Smith Freehills | Chase Kaniecki has joined Cleary Gottlieb as a counsel in Washington, focusing on international trade and national security matters | Brown Rudnick recently added Richard Obank and Colin Ashford as partners to its European restructuring team in London from DLA Piper.

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To contact the reporter on this story: Bruce Kaufman in Washington at bkaufman@bloomberglaw.com

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