In 2012, the Arizona Supreme Court provisionally approved a proposal from the state's law schools to allow qualified third-year students to take the bar exam in February instead of waiting until after graduation. The February bar proposal and the associated theory-to-practice residency are part of Arizona Law's continuing effort to respond to fundamental changes in the practice of law and to respond creatively to national debates about legal education.
With careful planning, a student who passes the February bar may:
The February Bar plan is not for everyone, however, and students have choices. For those not wishing to take the bar exam in February, the traditional third year curriculum remains unchanged, with the typical array of courses and experiential opportunities. Under the early bar plan, the first semester of the third year does not change. After finals in December, students prepare for the bar in January and February, and take a specially-created writing class to assist them with essay practice. After the exam, students spend 8 to 10 weeks in an intensive “theory-to-practice” residency, a capstone program that explores practice-oriented topics, including: serving the needs of clients, applied ethics and professionalism, cutting-edge issues in law and policy, the economics of modern legal practice, and issues at the intersection of doctrine and practice.