Florida Set to Hold Bar Exam Online Again in July Due to Virus

April 12, 2021, 6:39 PM

Florida’s July bar exam will be held remotely, the third time the state has adjusted its administration of the biannual test for lawyers in training amid the pandemic, court officials said Monday.

Applicants taking the exam on July 27 and July 28 will be required to download the same software used for the February bar exam, the state’s Supreme Court said in a statement.

Last summer, Florida delayed an online exam until October over technology concerns. More than 3,100 applicants took that test, with a 71.7% pass rate for first-time test takers. That was down slightly from July 2019 when 73.9% passed the in-person test.

More than 1,800 applicants took the February bar exam that also was administered remotely, court officials said in a separate statement. Formal induction ceremonies to swear in 502 new attorneys approved for admission to the Florida Bar will be held remotely on May 3.

New York, California, and Washington, D.C., announced earlier this year that July bar exams in those jurisdictions also would be held remotely. More states are expected to follow.

Florida was among several large states to delay summer bar exams and administer them remotely last year.

The state does not offer “reciprocity” to experienced lawyers already admitted to practice in other states, meaning those attorneys generally need to pass the bar exam if they want practice in Florida.

The Florida Board of Bar Examiners is currently doing a “comprehensive analysis” of the practice of law in the state, which will be used to inform recommendations about whether to change the minimum bar passage score, Michele Gavagni, the group’s executive director, told Bloomberg Law in March.

As many as 15 states held their February tests in person, including Virginia, South Carolina, Alabama and Montana.

To contact the reporter on this story: Jennifer Kay in Miami at jkay@bloomberglaw.com

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