L.D. 1352 would allow for study under a supervising attorney to be eligible to take the Maine Bar Exam, similar to Vermont’s Law Office Study Program
AUGUSTA, ME- Yesterday, members of the Judiciary committee voted “Ought to Pass as Amended” for L.D. 1352, An Act to Remove the Barriers to Becoming a Lawyer. The vote at present is 8 – 5 with Republicans, Democrats and the Tribal Representative all in support of the bill.
Rep. Adam Lee (D-Auburn), a lawyer himself, offered an amendment to the bill that would model Maine’s law on Vermont’s Law Office Study Program.
It would allow an individual to study under a supervising attorney for 4 years to then be eligible to take the Maine Bar Exam. The bill would maintain the requirement that incoming lawyers must pass the Maine Bar Exam to practice in Maine.
It would also allow for those that have been through the study of law at a foreign law school to receive partial credit towards the 4-year apprenticeship.
Statement from bill sponsor, Rep. David Boyer (R-Poland):
“Maine’s judicial system is in disarray. There are a backlog of cases, caused by multiple factors including rural lawyer shortages and lack of representation for Maine’s indigent population. LD 1352 would provide an alternative path for new lawyers while maintaining rigorous testing standards to ensure all Mainers receive adequate counsel.
If the bar exam is how we measure a lawyer’s competency to provide representation, why should it matter if a lawyer went to law school or studied under an attorney for four years?”