Clarifying Ohio Supreme Court’s consideration of Accelerated Joint Bachelor’s/Law Degree Proposed Program Rule Changes

The requirements regarding Accelerated Joint Bachelor’s/Law Degree joint programs not being completely intuitive without some background on them, we’d like to clarify some points in that regard.

Director of Bar Admissions, Lee Ann Ward, advises that “the language regarding joint programs is being deleted from the rule under the proposal ---  Indeed, the proposal keeps only the requirement that an applicant receive a bachelor's degree prior to admission to practice in Ohio; any 'time element' for receipt of a bachelor's degree prior to licensure has been deleted.

“The rule currently requires seven years of study for a joint degree program and so does not allow for a 3+3 program, rather simply allowing for approval of a 7 year joint program by the Court where an applicant might receive a bachelor's degree and a law degree at the same time which is an exception to the general rule requirement that the bachelor's degree be received prior to admission to law school.  For instance, Ohio Northern had for many years a joint pharmacy/law program that required 7 years of study and resulted in the degrees being awarded at the same time, and the Court approved that program years ago.  By eliminating any requirement that a bachelor's degree be received prior to admission to law school or approved under the 'special circumstances' noted in Section 1(B)(2) and (3), the schools would be free to set up a 3+3 program where an applicant would receive both a bachelor's and law degree.”

As the Court’s news service announcement then stated “the Court alerted Ohio college and university presidents to the proposal in a letter and noted that the decision whether to offer a 3+3 program lies with Ohio’s law schools, colleges, and universities. The ‘proposal would only allow for the possibility of 3+3 Programs’ since no law school offers one currently. ‘Thus, creation of 3+3 Programs is ultimately dependent upon the educational community’s desire to establish such programs.’”

Text of Proposed Amendments