Sept. 29, 2009 – A petition filed on Sept. 25 with the Wisconsin Supreme Court aims to extend the “diploma privilege” to graduates of all ABA-approved law schools or abolish it entirely.
Petitioner Steven Levine, a past State Bar of Wisconsin president, and 70 other State Bar members seek to amend SCR 40.03, which exempts from a bar examination requirement those graduates of an ABA-accredited law school whose curriculum includes the specific study of Wisconsin law. Among those State Bar members is Christopher Wiesmueller, the plaintiffs’ counsel in a federal class action lawsuit, Wiesmueller v. Kosobucki, 07-C-0211, challenging the constitutionality of the diploma privilege.
James A. Morrison, the chair of the Wisconsin Board of Bar Examiners, criticized Levine’s petition for overlooking the bar exam’s public protection purpose. Whereas the Wisconsin Supreme Court ensures the competency of UW and Marquette graduates to practice law through its involvement with those schools’ curriculums, the bar exam screens graduates of less familiar schools, he said.
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