COVID-19 is creating a state of emergency for incoming public defenders. Diploma privilege is the only solution.

UCI Law third-year law student Emily Croucher and Stefanie Mundhenk write, “Public defenders and the communities they serve cannot wait for a postponed bar exam or provisional licensure. Our clients need us now more than ever, and emergency diploma privilege—which would immediately grant law school graduates fulfilling certain requirements with a license to practice law—is the only way to ensure that the Gideon mandate is fulfilled in the coronavirus era.