Despite detractors, age-old privilege likely to remain
After years of schooling and months of cramming, more than 150 would-be Wisconsin lawyers converged on Madison last week to take the bar exam, just like aspiring attorneys in every other state.
But no one from the law schools at Marquette University or the University of Wisconsin was among them.
It's the same way nearly every year, thanks to one of the first legalities that students at both schools commit to memory: Wisconsin is the only state in the country to maintain a "diploma privilege" that exempts most graduates of the state's law schools from taking the bar exam.
This means nearly two-thirds of Wisconsin's 21,000-plus licensed attorneys never had to take the state bar exam, including 33 of Milwaukee County's 47 circuit judges, six of the seven state Supreme Court justices, Mayor Tom Barrett and Attorney General Peg Lautenschlager.