A tipster wrote in about HB 115 and how it will harm Georgia’s legal community, but having read the law, I am a bit befuddled by why it has even been proposed.
Basically, as it is now, the Supreme Court sets the standards by which an individual can become a lawyer in Georgia. Under this proposed legislation, that will still be the case, but a person can take the bar exam if they move in from out of state and attended a law school in another state that was not accredited, but still allowed the person to practice law in that state.
In essences, some states have law schools that do not meet the rigorous accreditation process of the American Bar Assocation, but nonetheless a student graduating from such a school can practice law in the particular state where the law school was located (I think John Marshall Law School used to be like this).
There has been a perceived (and I think proven) bias among accreditation boards like the ABA against religiously affiliated universities and law schools. As a result, some bright folks are graduating from these institutions and cannot become lawyers because the ABA didn’t recognize the institution.
I think, frankly, if someone can pass the bar exam (hell people. It is hell on earth) then we might as well call them a lawyer and let them practice. Might. As. Well.
I remain befuddled, however, because I don’t think there is really a need to move this forward, though I thought this was tried before and it basically came down to a few friends of some conservative legislators in the evangelical movement who had had this problem and wanted it fixed. That might now be the case.
I would note as well that in Georgia, if you are a lawyer in a state that will let a Georgia lawyer become a lawyer of that state without taking the bar exam, Georgia will reciprocate with lawyers from that state. Frankly, if the legislature wanted to really improve things and open the door for lawyers in Georgia, they could expand the number of states we do that with instead of doing something like HB 115.