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Louisiana bar exam to be administered online in July due to COVID-19 concerns



LOUISIANA – For the second year in a row, Louisiana’s bar exam will be administered remotely due to continuing health risks associated with the coronavirus pandemic.

“The July 2021 remote bar examination will be in open-book format, with no live monitoring or proctoring,” Louisiana Supreme Court Chief Justice John Weimer said in an order issued April 7. “The exam will be administered utilizing the services of a third-party software vendor.”

The announcement comes on the heels of a recommendation of the Committee on Bar Admissions (COBA). Although other states that administered bar exams online in 2020 experienced some technical problems and complaints from test takers, Louisiana did not encounter such problems, Louisiana Supreme Court spokeswoman Trina Vincent told the Louisiana Record.

“I am not aware of any technical glitches or system crashes that occurred with the remote administration of the Louisiana bar examination in 2020 or 2021,” Vincent told the Record in an email. “It is my understanding that technical glitches occurred in other jurisdictions using certain software, which was not utilized in Louisiana.”

Information regarding the software vendor for Louisiana’s July exam will be released in the coming weeks, she said.

“The Louisiana Supreme Court Committee on Bar Admissions will publish information regarding the third-party software vendor no later than May 1,” Vincent said.

Applicants will download the software to their laptops in order to take the remote bar exam, according to the state Supreme Court. The law school graduates taking the exam will be allowed to use books and materials, but seeking advice from other individuals will be prohibited, Weimer’s order states.

“Applicants who violate … this order shall fail the exam and will be prohibited from sitting for any future Louisiana bar examination for a period of five years,” the order says. It adds that violators could be found in contempt of the high court and be subject to attorney discipline rules.

To qualify to take the test, applicants also have to meet specified character and fitness regulations and pass the Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination, the Supreme Court said.