Illinois for Diploma Privilege

safety & fairness for all

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We are a team of recent law graduates who are fighting to ensure that there is a safe, fair, and equitable path to licensure for all 2020 Illinois bar applicants.

On July 6th, we filed our request for emergency diploma privilege with the Illinois Supreme Court. At the time of filing, we had 1,389 signatures and 150 impact statements. Our petition forcefully advocated for diploma privilege and highlighted the many reasons why diploma privilege is necessary.

As you probably know, the Illinois Board of Admission to the Bar announced on July 6th that they were still planning on moving forward with an in-person exam, though they warned us that things could change at any moment and the September exam may ultimately be cancelled. IBAB also notified applicants today that the hotel we were told to book would be closed during the planned administration of the September exam. These recent updates further demonstrate that the remedy that best addresses the mounting instability is licensure through diploma privilege.

Read the filing here

On July 9th, the Supreme Court ordered the Illinois Board of Admissions to the Bar to respond to our petition.
On July 13th, the Illinois Board of Admissions to the Bar submitted their response
On July 16th, the Supreme Court of Illinois denied our petition in a one sentence order
Also on July 16th, IBAB released their protocols for the exam. IBAB doubled down on their plans to administer an in person exam and stated that there are no plans for a remote exam being made at this time. Notably, the email provided that if Illinois reverts to Phase 3 and reduces the maximum number of persons allowed in a gathering, they will have “no choice” but to cancel the bar exam

Are you upset with the handling of the Illinois bar exam? Speak out about it!

Illinois Law School Deans

The deans at Northwestern, Loyola, & Chicago-Kent have said they support diploma privilege! The rest of the Illinois deans have still not publicly supported diploma privilege, unlike the deans in Washington Oregon Tennessee, California, & Texas. Consider emailing your dean to request they publicly support the petition.

  1. University of Chicago School of Law, Dean Thomas Miles

  2. DePaul University College of Law, Dean Jennifer Rosato Perea

  3. Loyola University Chicago School of Law, Dean Michael Kaufman

  4. UIC John Marshall Law School, Dean Darby Dickerson

  5. Southern Illinois University School of Law, Dean Camille Davidson

  6. Chicago-Kent College of Law, Dean Anita Krug

  7. University of Illinois College of Law, Dean Vikran Amar

  8. Northern Illinois University College of Law, Dean Cassandra Hill

  9. Northwestern Pritzker School of Law, Office of the Dean

State & Local Government

Public Health Officials

  1. Director of Illinois Department of Public Health, Dr. Ngozi Ezike: [email protected]

  2. Commissioner of the Chicago Department of Public Health, Dr. Allison Arwady: [email protected]

  3. Director of Policy of the Chicago Department of Public Health, Jesse Lava, [email protected]

Now that you have their attention, what do you say?

(1) Raise awareness

  • Many legal and public health professionals are unaware of how the IBAB is planning to administer the exam. Make sure they are informed.

  • Express your concern that admission to the bar should be safe and equitable and it is neither right now.

  • Share your story and the concerns of others.

(2) Ask for help

Sample Script:
Good afternoon [NAME],

I am a recent law school graduate currently studying for the Illinois Bar exam. I [write/call] to express my concern about the fact that the Illinois state bar is still planning an in-person bar exam this September despite the current pandemic. This would require thousands of applicants and administrators to travel to Chicago, many from outside the state, and congregate indoors for 2 days in close proximity.

I, along with many other applicants, strongly believe that this is an unjustifiable risk to public health. I am also very concerned that many applicants will not have a safe or equitable path to licensure in the next year. Therefore, a petition was submitted to the Illinois Supreme Court with over 1,300 signatures to request that they follow other states & grant diploma privileges to practice. I urge you to support this proposal.

If you would like to discuss this further, please contact me at [PHONE NUMBER] and [EMAIL].I hope that you find this situation as concerning as I do, and that we are able to convince the state bar examiners to take an alternate course of action that guarantees the safety and equity of applicants and the public.


[Sig Block]

(If emailing, attach proposal to the email)

(3) Make it personal

Let them know how this impacts you personally and why you believe emergency diploma privilege is the right answer

If you are an attorney barred in Illinois...

  1. Will your firm or organization consider issuing a public statement? We will be joining you soon to advocate on behalf of clients. Would you advocate on our behalf now?

  2. In addition to the groups listed above, will you contact the ABA, Illinois State Bar Association, write an op-ed, or press the IBAB to speak out on behalf of test takers?

  3. Will you help draft petitions or lawsuits if students want to pursue those routes?

Go to for more information on #DiplomaPrivilege4All

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