Court News Ohio
Court News Ohio
Court News Ohio

Proposed Supreme Court Rule Changes Involve Accelerated Joint Bachelor’s/Law Degree Programs

Image of a lawyer walking between a library stack of law books

Proposed Ohio Supreme Court rule amendments could open the door for colleges and universities to offer joint "3+3" bachelor's/law degree programs. (Keith Brofsky/Photodisc/Thinkstock).

Image of a lawyer walking between a library stack of law books

Proposed Ohio Supreme Court rule amendments could open the door for colleges and universities to offer joint "3+3" bachelor's/law degree programs. (Keith Brofsky/Photodisc/Thinkstock).

More college freshmen who intend to become lawyers may be able to reach their goal one year sooner if proposed rule amendments announced today by the Ohio Supreme Court are adopted.

Ohio’s law school deans asked the Supreme Court to consider allowing applicants to apply for the bar exam after graduating from a six-year joint bachelor’s/law degree program instead of the traditional seven-year program (four years of undergraduate study, plus three years of law school).

Under the amendments to Rule I of the Supreme Court Rules for the Government of the Bar of Ohio, applicants for admission to the practice of law in Ohio would only be required to obtain a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university before admission to the practice of law rather than before admission to law school.

As it stands now, bar exam applicants who graduate from a “3+3” program must seek a waiver of the rule in order to sit for the exam, according to Lee Ann Ward, director of the Office of Bar Admissions at the Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court alerted Ohio college and university presidents to the proposal in a letter and noted that the decision whether to offer a 3+3 program lies with Ohio’s law schools, colleges, and universities. The “proposal would only allow for the possibility of 3+3 Programs” since no law school offers one currently. “Thus, creation of the 3+3 Programs is ultimately dependent upon the educational community’s desire to establish such programs.”

The Supreme Court set January 22, 2014 as the deadline to submit public comments on the proposed amendments.

Access the text of the proposed amendments. Comments should be submitted in writing to: Ward, 65 S. Front St., Fifth Floor, Columbus, Ohio 43215 or leeann.ward@sc.ohio.gov.

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