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Virus won't nix release of July bar exam materials to states

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Sufficient interest has been expressed despite the coronavirus to go forward with releasing materials for the July bar exam, the group that makes the test has decided.

Only 19 states and jurisdictions had announced by the Tuesday deadline set by the National Conference of Bar Examiners that they plan to cancel or postpone the summer exam, a spokeswoman said Wednesday.

“Based on this information, NCBE has determined that there will most likely be a sufficient number of July examinees to administer the bar exam,” the group said in a statement on its website.

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the organization had raised the possibility that the July test may not be offered because it requires hundreds of students and monitors to gather in a single location, potentially spreading the virus. That had left some 46,000 law students and lawyers seeking to take the test in limbo.

Still, how the high-stakes test for being a lawyer ultimately will play out is unclear. Many of the states that haven't announced plans otherwise are expected to go ahead with the two-day bar exam seating in July 28-29, but many have made no formal determination.

The Ohio Supreme Court, for example, was holding Wednesday to its earlier statement on the matter. Its website says the impact of the ongoing COVID-19 crisis on the July exam “is not certain at this time.”