The Delaware Supreme Court literally lowered the bar this week by changing the grade needed to become a certified lawyer in The First State as part of its attempt to increase racial diversity among lawyers and judges. Yet, those responsible for the change insist that it has not lowered standards.
Of course, certain barriers are put in place to keep unqualified people from doing very important jobs. Nonetheless, Delaware Supreme Court Chief Justice Collins J. Seitz Jr. said via a news release, “the bar exam is not supposed to be a barrier to entering the profession but is supposed to be a test of an applicant’s ability to successfully practice law in Delaware, and I believe these reforms will help better reflect that purpose.”
Despite lowering the standards, Seitz added “this is not a lowering of the standards but a modernization of the process to better reflect how other states handle admission to the bar.”
Delaware has one of the strictest bar exams in the country, and Seitz insists that will remain.
“The chief justice said these reforms will keep Delaware competitive in attracting top legal talent to the state and keep Delawareans interested in the law from going elsewhere,” the news release claimed.
Per the public news station, WHYY, in Delaware, the following changes will take place:
- Starting next year, the exam will be given twice annually — in February and July.
- The “cut” or passing score for the exam of 200 multiple choice questions will be reduced from 145 to 143.
- The number of essays will be cut from eight to four, and the number of areas of the law eligible for essays reduced from 14 to 10.
- Reduced clerkship requirement from 21 weeks to 12 weeks.
- Cut the number of legal proceedings potential lawyers must attend from a mandatory list of 25 items to 18 out of 30 potential items.
- Reduced the late application fee for law school grads and attorneys admitted in other state
As pointed out by National Review, Delaware State Bar Association President Chuck Durante welcomed the changes while deriding “traditional barriers” as being unwelcoming toward minorities.
“These changes are designed to remove certain unnecessary impediments to applications to the Delaware bar, to rip some barbed wire from the welcome mat, some traditional barriers that had developed into something quite artificial,’’ Durante said.
Then, curiously, Durante, who is white, went off on a race-based tangent about “white people” and how the old criteria for Delaware dissuaded black and Hispanic people from applying.
The attorney claimed, “attitudes must continue to evolve in Delaware. White people generally who have their antennae up, who understand what is happening in society, have learned the meaning of microaggression.”
“They’ve learned the meaning of how to be welcoming, how to be professional, how to make this community better suited for diversity in its professional class, including its lawyers,” he added.
To translate that, it sounds as if Durante thinks that “white people” at large need to continue to adapt to woke ideology and bow at the altar of diversity, equity, and inclusion.
Despite claims that the standards are still high, it does in fact change them, which automatically means less qualified candidates will be admitted to practice law in Delaware. Changes such as reduced clerkships and minimum legal proceedings will mean that new attorneys will have less experience.
If finances are what preclude qualified minorities from applying to the state bar, why not just focus on making those more affordable either via upfront reduction, scholarships, or grants? That would open the bar exam to all lower-income individuals — not just those of certain races, as Durante made clear was the goal.
There are two ways of immediately increasing racial diversity based on immutable demographics: One is blatant discrimination, which is illegal though it is oft attempted by the Left. The other is lowering standards so that there are more “winners” — so to speak.
Of course, in both cases, the final product — or in this case the quality of attorneys — is weakened because immutable characteristics rather than merit are prioritized. In the end, it will be the clients depending upon their attorneys to win in court who will suffer as the Delaware Bar exam sacrifices quality for DEI.
The views expressed in this piece are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.