The Nevada Bar exam has been postponed due to software problems.

The Nevada Bar was originally scheduled for July 28, 2020 and July 29, 2020; however, officials of the exam found glitches in the testing software and therefore postponed the bar exam to August 11, 2020 and August 12, 2020. The announcement came less than 72 hours before numerous students were about to sit for the exam.

This decision is one that could potentially affect many students who may not be able to take the exam on the newly scheduled exam dates. If a student is not able to take the bar exam in August, they will have to wait until the February 2021 bar exam. Impacts of the postponed bar exam could be severe for many students. Students are putting a hold on their jobs, earning money, etc. in order to study.

The Nevada Board of Bar Examiners will post updates on its website on July 31, 2020 and August 5, 2020 to give a report on the technical issues of the software and the progress that has been made.

Original Post:

 With the uncertainty surrounding COVID-19, many states have started to make modifications and reschedule the Bar Exam. For Nevada, the decision was made by the Nevada Supreme Court on May 20, 2020. [1]

The Court took directives issued by the state and federal health agencies and the Governor of the State into consideration when making their decision. The Board of Bar Examiners made a proposal to the Court. That proposal included:

  • Eliminating the Multistate Bar Exam (MBE)
  • The essay portion of the exam will include eight Nevada essay questions and a performance test
  • The exam will be conducted online using ILG Exam 360, with exceptions for applicants who require accommodation or who choose to handwrite the exam.
  • Exam will be open book

On May 20, 2020 the Court issued an order in ADKT 0558 that approved the Nevada Board of Bar Examiners proposal. Since the Board cannot administer the bar exam in person consistent with the social distancing requirements, and the National Conference of Bar Examiners has not approved the MBE to be administered remotely, ultimately the MBE is excluded from the July 2020 Bar Examination. Furthermore, the Board has developed specific procedures designed to ensure a reliable grading system for the essay-based exam. Because the exam will be administered online, there is no way to prohibit the use of outside materials. Therefore, there are strict time restrictions for the essays that would make looking at outside material nearly impossible if the applicant wishes to answer all questions adequately. [2]

There were alternatives to the Board’s proposal including diploma privilege and postponement; however, the Court received public comment and weighed other options independently researched by the court. Diploma privilege is a method for lawyers to be admitted to the bar without taking a bar examination. Ultimately, the Court rejected diploma privilege because they felt it does not establish minimal competence to practice in the state of Nevada. The Court rejected postponing the exam until September because they did not anticipate the MBE being administered at home and did not feel two months gave the Board enough time to properly administer the test consistent with COVID-19 protocols. [2]

The court stated, in ADKT 0558, they agree with the Board that proceeding with the modified bar examination in July 2020 “is in the best interest of the State of Nevada and the applicants.” [2]. The modified bar examination provides stability to applicants, protects the applicants from the spread of COVID-19, the 8 essays include what is seen on the MBE tests, and there are reliable grading protocols to ensure the applicants have the proper competence.

The Nevada Bar Examination will take place on July 28, 2020 and July 29, 2020.

[1] The news release on Nevada Supreme Courts approval can be found here: https://www.nvbar.org/nevada-supreme-court-approves-modified-bar-exam-for-july-2020/

[2] The full text of ADKT 0558 issued by the Nevada Supreme Court can be found here: https://www.nvbar.org/nevada-supreme-court-approves-modified-bar-exam-for-july-2020/