Daily Briefs

ABA urges states that cancel bar exams due to consider alternatives


 The American Bar Association Board of Governors approved a policy resolution  late today that urges state licensing authorities to immediately adopt emergency rules that would authorize 2019 and 2020 law graduates who cannot take a bar exam because of the pandemic to engage in a limited practice of law under certain circumstances.

Nationwide, either the highest court or a bar admission group in each jurisdiction regulates licensing procedures for their states and territories. The rare policy resolution by the ABA board seeks to allow last year’s and upcoming graduates of ABA-approved law schools to practice under the supervision of a licensed attorney if the July bar exam in their jurisdiction is canceled or postponed due to public health and safety concerns arising from the coronavirus pandemic.

A handful of jurisdictions have already postponed their scheduled July bar exam. Some states, such as Tennessee and New Jersey, have adopted new rules to mitigate a hardship or disruption in the law graduate’s career. Others are expected to follow. The ABA recommendation would apply to only first-time bar takers and these individuals would have the ability to practice through 2021 without passing the bar exam.

“In this time of unprecedented change as we address the challenges of the world pandemic, the ABA is leading the profession to be resilient,” ABA President Judy Perry Martinez said. “By justifiably postponing bar examinations, states are protecting law students and the public’s health, but the lives and careers of law graduates are being adversely affected.

“We are offering guidance to state bar admission authorities that will assist them while still taking every precaution to guarantee clients are competently and professionally served,” she continued.

The resolution’s report noted that these legal needs “are already enormous and will continue to grow,” and that tens of thousands of graduating law students could “serve the public in this crisis” and improve access to justice for all U.S. residents.
 
 

U.S. to buy 30,000 ventilators from General Motors
 

The federal government will buy 30,000 ventilators from General Motors by the end of August for $489.4 million.

GM says it will cover its costs but won't make a profit on the devices, which will cost the Department of Health and Human Services just over $16,300 each. That includes the parts that hook the ventilators to patients.

HHS says in a statement that the ventilators will go into the Strategic National Stockpile for distribution to where they are needed most to treat coronavirus patients. GM will start by delivering 6,132 ventilators by June 1.

On March 18, GM began working with Seattle-area ventilator maker Ventec Life Systems to increase the company's production. A short time later the automaker began lining up parts suppliers and retooling an electronics factory in Kokomo, Indiana, to build the devices.

The ventilators that GM will sell to the government are capable of caring for critically ill coronavirus patients, GM said. They're a more basic version of one sold by Ventec to distributors for around $18,000.



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