The Arizona Supreme Court this week agreed to let third-year law students take the bar exam before they graduate from law school.
The change will make Arizona the only state to regularly offer such an opportunity, though it is limited for now.
After the University of Arizona's James E. Rogers College of Law proposed the idea, other law schools in the state backed it and the state Supreme Court accepted the proposal on a preliminary basis, said Marc Miller, dean of the UA law school.
The opportunity to take the bar before other law students in the country can give Arizona students a competitive edge as they apply for jobs in or out of the state, and internationally, Miller said.
Students who wish to take the bar exam in their third year will have an adjusted curriculum for their final spring semester. They will begin with bar exam preparation courses in the first part of the semester, then take the exam, then turn their attention to professional preparation courses, Miller said.
The Arizona Supreme Court is allowing the opportunity for the spring of 2014 and 2015, which could give Arizona students a several-month advantage against their peers who must wait to take the exam until sometime in the summer after they graduate, Miller said.