In response to the financial hardship that 2020 law school graduates would face due to the indefinite postponement of the bar exam, Chief Justice of the New Jersey Supreme Court Stuart Rabner will allow students who have not taken and passed the bar to practice law in New Jersey.
It’ll have a positive impact, more pro bono related. Letting them make appearances in court gives us the opportunity to put a lot of them on the pro bono work given the needs of the situation,” said McCarter & English LLP Firmwide Managing Partner Joe Boccassini. “For these law students, this is a prime opportunity for them to very quickly get experience that they might not get otherwise.”
Boccassini and practice group leaders have been working with McCarter Pro Bono Partner Michelle Pallak and organizations like Volunteer Lawyers for Justice in Newark to set up virtual legal clinics for phone or video conferences where people can call in and be set up with an attorney to help navigate their current legal needs, like the benefits being offered by federal government and housing issues related to rent and mortgage payments. These legal clinics are a great spot for new McCarter lawyers to cut their teeth, he explained.
“We’re bringing in a class of fall associates in October, and [now we can give them] a bit more range in what they can do, and [the rule] gives the law firm the ability to put them in situations earlier than we might have,” Boccassini said.