Oregon Leads Attorney License Reform with New Pathway: the SPPE
Several Lewis & Clark Law faculty and administrators were key leaders of the movement to provide a rigorous alternative to the bar exam, including Associate Dean John Parry, Associate Dean Libby Davis, Advocacy Director Jo Perini-Abbott, Assistant Dean of Career Services Devra Hermosilla, and professors Sandy Patrick, and Tung Yin.
Oregon has announced itself as a leader in attorney licensure reform, creating an alternative pathway to licensure for Oregon attorneys: the Oregon Supervised Practice Portfolio Examination (SPPE). The SPPE offers a choice for those law graduates who do not want to take the Uniform Bar Examination. Applicants within the SPPE must commit to practicing for 675 hours under the supervision of a licensed Oregon attorney and have a portfolio of their work assessed by the Board of Bar Examiners for competence.
This move is the culmination of three years of work and collaboration among the Oregon State Bar Board of Bar Examiners, practicing attorneys in Oregon, the Oregon bench, Oregon law schools, and national leaders including IAALS (Institute for the Advancement of the American Legal System) and the NCBE (National Conference of Bar Examiners). Lewis & Clark Law is proud of the work their faculty and administrators did to lead this movement, including Associate Dean John Parry, Associate Dean Libby Davis, Assistant Dean of Career Services Devra Hermosilla, Advocacy Center Director Jo Perini-Abbott, and professors Sandy Patrick, and Tung Yin.
“There was unanimous support for this program from all the stakeholders including the Oregon Supreme Court, the Board of Bar Examiners, the licensure reform committee and the advisory group that was made up of over 50 practicing lawyers, judges, and members of the legal community,” said Jo Perini-Abbott who co-chaired the Oregon State Bar Task Force that designed the SPPE. “The SPPE is at least as rigorous as studying for, and taking, the traditional bar exam.”
In recognition of this work, the Institute for the Advancement of the American Legal System has awarded the Oregon State Bar task force its highest award, the Rebuilding Justice Award, and Professor Perini-Abbott will accept the award in her role as chair of the task force.
“Congratulations to the many who worked on the task force to design and develop this important alternative to the bar exam for law graduates,” said Lewis & Clark Law School Dean Jennifer Johnson. “While this is a milestone achievement, we anticipate that the majority of our law students will continue to take—and successfully pass—a bar exam. We are also pleased that there will be a NextGen bar exam available in Oregon in the future.”
The SPPE will be officially offered as of May 15, 2024.