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Opinions Heard on Bar Exam Elimination

DES MOINES, IA (AP) -- The Iowa Supreme Court is hearing attorneys, judges, and law professors give their opinions on what would happen if the state eliminated the requirement that all attorneys must pass the bar exam before beginning practice.   

Currently, only Wisconsin allows attorneys graduating from in-state law schools to skip the test.   

The Iowa State Bar Association has suggested Iowa adopt the policy called diploma privilege allowing students graduating from law schools at Drake University or the University of Iowa to practice law without taking the bar.   

Supporters say it will help reduce the debt of law students by allowing them to enter the work force sooner and may help slow declining law school enrollment.   

Opponents say the bar exam serves an important gatekeeping purpose of weeding out lawyers unprepared to begin practicing law.

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