The Texas Supreme Court, in an order issued Friday, canceled the two-day in-person July Texas bar examination in response to accelerating COVID-19 cases and hospital admissions in the state.

The court directed the Texas Board of Law Examiners (BLE) to keep plans for a two-day September in-person exam “subject to guidance from public health authorities” and add an alternative online test on October 5 and 6.

The order came after a nearly six-hour Board of Law Examiners emergency meeting Thursday in which dozens of exam applicants spoke about the difficulties they face preparing for an in-person exam during the pandemic. The Supreme Court of Texas met later Thursday. An advisory from the court reported that the justices considered proposals from the Board of Law Examiners’ as well as others offered by the 10 Texas law school deans, letters from recent law school graduates, and an online petition calling for a “diploma privilege” that would allow law school graduates to be licensed without taking the bar exam.

In its order, the court directed the BLE to establish procedures for new applicants to register for the September bar examination or for the online exam in October. Under existing orders, applicants also may transfer their application fees and delay their examination to February, allowing them to practice law under supervision of a licensed attorney.

Supervised Practice Cards

In May, the court adopted new Rules Governing the Supervised Practice of Law by Qualified Law Students and Qualified Unlicensed Law School Graduates in Texas. These rules apply to any qualified law students, including LL.M candidates, qualified unlicensed law school graduates, and law students enrolled in a law school clinical legal education program, who request eligibility to engage in the limited practice of law under the supervision of a licensed Texas attorney.

To read more about Supervised Practice Cards and learn how to apply, go here.