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State should remove obstacle to taking bar exam

I was delighted to read the Globe’s Aug. 30 editorial supporting rethinking legal education, because I have personally benefited from such open-mindedness (“Three-year law school deserves second look amid upheaval”).

In 2004, I graduated from the fully online Concord Law School. Its four-year program costs less than $40,000 in total, but is only recognized in California, where I was admitted to the bar. I could not be admitted in Massachusetts because the American Bar Association does not approve online law schools, and ABA approval is required to take the bar exam.

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I sued in the state Supreme Judicial Court, and the court graciously waived its accreditation rule in my case, and allowed me to take the bar exam. I now practice law in Massachusetts without the significant debt that burdens so many others.

The state’s highest court should change its admission rules to permit all attorney-graduates of non-ABA-approved law schools to take the bar exam. Such a change would do more than address the problem of excessive debt accumulation, which either prevents many from attending law school or precludes their devoting time to public service once they have graduated. It would foster a more diverse bar by making legal education and subsequent bar admission more broadly available to people of all economic levels.

Ross Mitchell

West Newton

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