Spokane Journal of Business

Bar set to hold summer exam in Spokane

First one set for 2010, to run along with exam in Bellevue

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The Washington State Bar Association plans to add an annual bar exam in Spokane beginning in summer 2010. The organizations board of governors approved the plan last month.

The WSBA says it currently holds two exams a year, in February and July, both at the Meydenbauer Center, in Bellevue. The addition of a summer exam in Spokane thats conducted simultaneously with the one in Bellevue will allow participants to choose whether to take that test on the west side or east side of the state, says Judith Berrett, the organizations director of member and community relations.

An average of nearly 1,400 people have taken the bar exam annually over the last 10 years, but the summer examwith about 890 of those studentshas been the most popular. Berrett says a site for the Spokane exam hasnt been chosen yet.

I am delighted that the WSBA will be reaching out to our future members east of the mountains by holding the summer bar exam in Spokane, as well as the Seattle area, says WSBA President Stanley Bastian. The WSBA has conducted extensive research into the costs, logistics, and staffing needs of holding a Spokane bar exam, and while it will not be without challenges, we believe this is an excellent way to serve the legal community in Eastern Washington.

Gonzaga University School of Law Dean Earl Martin says he is pleased with the decision.

Since I arrived at Gonzaga in July 2005, I have been a strong proponent of the WSBA holding a Spokane bar exam, for the benefit of Gonzaga graduates and others in Eastern Washington, Martin says. I am very pleased that the state bar recognizes the value of coming to Spokane. Holding a summer bar exam in Spokane concurrently with the exam held in Bellevue will make taking the bar exam more accessible, more affordable, and less stressful for many future members of the bar. I applaud the WSBA Board of Governors for taking this action.

The WSBA is part of the judicial branch, exercising a governmental function authorized by the state Supreme Court to license the states 32,600 lawyers. The WSBA regulates lawyers under the authority of the Supreme Court and also serves its members as a professional association, all without public funding. As a regulatory agency, the WSBA administers the bar admission process, including the bar exam; provides record-keeping and licensing functions; and administers the lawyer-discipline system. As a professional association, the WSBA provides continuing legal education for attorneys.

The governance of the WSBA is vested in its board of governors. There are three governors from the states 7th Congressional District, in King County; one from each of the states other eight districts; and three at-large members.

Bastian, the president, is from Wenatchee, and the president-elect is Mark A. Johnson, of Seattle. Peter J. Karademos, of Spokane, represents Eastern Washingtons 5th Congressional District on the board. The board meets every six weeks at various locations around the state, and its meetings are open to the public. Much of the work of the WSBA is carried out through 23 standing committees, 26 sections, and the Young Lawyers Division, which itself has many committees.

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