THE STATE BAR SEEKS GUIDANCE FROM SUPREME COURT ON BAR EXAM APPLICANT

MEDIA CONTACT:  Diane Curtis   415-538-2028   diane.curtis@calbar.ca.gov

San Francisco, July 27, 2009

The State Bar of California filed this morning with the California Supreme Court a request for guidance on how to proceed with Sara Granda's effort to take the July 2009 bar examination.

Ms. Granda's case has been the subject of wide media attention. Ms. Granda, a paraplegic who graduated from UC-Davis School of Law, requested and obtained special accommodations from the State Bar to take the California bar examination, which begins tomorrow. However, Ms. Granda never completed the actual application process, which is required to be able to take the examination.

The application deadline for the exam is April 1, with an absolute deadline - established by statute - of June 15. The State Bar wrote to Ms. Granda on April 23, 2009, telling her that no application had been received and that it had to be filed by June 15. No application was received by the State Bar. Once the June 15 date passed without an application on file, the State Bar, under the statute, was powerless to make an exception in favor of Ms. Granda.

In light of the compelling circumstances of the case, the State Bar is asking the California Supreme Court for guidance. The State Bar serves the Supreme Court as its administrative arm in admissions and attorney regulatory matters. The State Bar does not have the authority to excuse statutory noncompliance on its own. The Supreme Court, however, has ultimate authority regarding the bar exam and the bar has referred this to the Supreme Court for its consideration and action, and will not oppose a Supreme Court order for Ms. Granda to take the July 2009 exam.

Founded in 1927 by the state legislature, the State Bar of California is the administrative arm of the California Supreme Court in bar admissions and discipline matters, serving the public and seeking to improve the justice system for more than 80 years. All lawyers practicing in California must take and pass the California bar exam to become licensed to practice law in California. By July 2009, membership reached more than 223,000.

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