The Illinois Supreme Court announced today that due to continuing public health concerns raised by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Illinois in-person bar examination scheduled for September 9-10, 2020, has been canceled. In its place, the Illinois Board of Admissions to the Bar will offer a remote version of the exam on October 5-6, 2020, using questions prepared by the National Conference of Bar Examiners. This exam will satisfy the requirements of Illinois Supreme Court Rules 701 and 704.
The Illinois Board of Admissions to the Bar has been in close and frequent contact with the Illinois Supreme Court, monitoring the ever-evolving science and guidelines as the nation, state, and local authorities navigate this once-in-a-generation pandemic. As an independent commission of this Court, the Illinois Board of Admissions to the Bar has worked to assure the goals of public protection and a safe, secure bar exam.
The Board carefully monitored developments in Illinois. Consistent with the encouraging statistics and the governor’s reopening pursuant to the Stage IV guidelines, the Board worked to identify multiple venues that would allow for social distancing and precautions, in guidance with federal, state, and local authorities. As the statistics in Illinois over the past week have shown discouraging signs of a resurgence, however, the Board recommended to the Court that it consider a remote bar exam.
The test will cover the same topics as the in-person exam and will qualify applicants for admission in Illinois only. It will not result in a Uniform Bar Exam score. However, the Illinois Supreme Court has authorized the Illinois Board of Admissions to the Bar to consult with other jurisdictions administering the NCBE remote exam to arrange for reciprocity.
All registrants for the September exam have automatically been registered for the October remote exam and have until August 7, 2020, to withdraw with a refund or defer taking the exam until February 2021. In addition, the Board will open applications for those wishing to apply for the remote exam for admission in Illinois. The Office of Bar Admission will notify applicants by email regarding details of the exam.