After canceling the July bar exam due to COVID-19 concerns, the Louisiana Supreme Court says recent law school graduates will be allowed to practice law without taking the bar.

The pandemic has “placed an unprecedented and extraordinary burden on applicants registered for the July and October 2020 Louisiana bar examinations,” the court’s majority says in its order. The court set additional requirements for recent graduates, including 25 hours of continuing legal education courses which must be completed by the end of next year.

Three justices dissented from the decision.

“Gifting a license to practice law is wrong,” Justice William Crain writes, saying the decision does “an incalculable disservice to the public, our profession, and these otherwise deserving students.” Washington, Oregon and Utah have made the same decision, he says.

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