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In re Rules Governing Admission to Mississippi Bar

Supreme Court of Mississippi

May 30, 2019

IN RE: RULES GOVERNING ADMISSION TO THE MISSISSIPPI BAR

          ORDER

          LESLIE D. KING, PRESIDING JUSTICE

         Before the Court en banc is the Petition to Amend the Rules Governing Admission to the Mississippi Bar. After due consideration, the Court finds the petition should be granted as set forth in Exhibit A.

         IT IS THEREFORE ORDERED that the Petition to Amend the Rules Governing Admission to the Mississippi Bar is hereby granted as set forth in Exhibit A. These amendments apply to applications for and after the February 2020 Mississippi Bar Examination.

         IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the Clerk of this Court shall spread this Order upon the minutes of the Court and shall forward a true certified copy hereof to West Publishing Company for publication in the next edition of the Mississippi Rules of Court and in the Southern Reporter, Third Series, (Mississippi Edition).

         SO ORDERED.

          AGREE: RANDOLPH, C.J., KITCHENS AND KING, P.JJ., MAXWELL, BEAM, CHAMBERLIN AND ISHEE, JJ.

          COLEMAN, JUSTICE, OBJECTING TO THE ORDER IN PART WITH SEPARATE WRITTEN STATEMENT:

         ¶1. I agree with today's order to the extent that it establishes a three-failure limit on the ability of candidates to take the Bar exam. However, I do not agree with the provision in the new rule allowing such candidates to retake the exam after completing twelve more hours of law school classes.

         ¶2. In short, the Court does not have enough information to take such action. We have no data before us to support-or contradict-the proposition that candidates who fail the bar exam three times will be rendered competent to practice law after studying-and paying for the study-of twelve additional law school hours. We do not have evidence or data before us on which to judge whether a candidate who requires an additional twelve hours of law school over and beyond the amount that suffices for candidates who pass more quickly can be qualified to practice law. We have no data or evidence on which to judge whether alternative measures, such as requiring candidates who fail the exam three times to submit personalized plans to the Bar Admissions Committee for approval, would be more effective.

         ¶3. I would impose the three-failure limit, but I would not allow those candidates who fail three times to retake the Mississippi Bar exam.

          CHAMBERLIN, J., JOINS THIS SEPARATE WRITTEN STATEMENT IN PART.

          GRIFFIS, JUSTICE, OBJECTING TO THE ORDER IN PART WITH SEPARATE WRITTEN STATEMENT:

         ¶4. I agree with the Court's decision to grant the Petition to Amend the Rules Governing Admission to the Mississippi Bar. After three unsuccessful attempts, an applicant should not be allowed to retake the examination without additional legal education. However, I disagree with the Court's decision to allow an unlimited number of re-examination attempts. I would impose a maximum number of attempts.

         ¶5. Justice Coleman is correct. No data or evidence before this Court leads me to believe that the completion of twelve additional credit hours at a law school is necessary to prepare an applicant for re-examination. Other educational opportunities may be available that are more beneficial and less costly. ...


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