During the summer of 2015 the ACLU of Utah became aware of the Utah State Bar policies that make it difficult for breast feeding mothers to take the state Bar Exam.
Utah State Bar Urged To Change Bar Exam Policies For Breastfeeding Mothers
After advocating on behalf of a mother who was breastfeeding at the time of her Bar Exam, the Utah State Bar made an individual accommodation permitting her to bring a lactation pump to the exam and providing a private pumping space during the lunch break.
While provision of accommodations for this individual was a positive step, we remain concerned that without broader changes to the Board’s policies and procedures for providing accommodations for those who are breastfeeding, other candidates may forgo or be wrongfully denied necessary accommodations.
The ACLU of Utah and the national ACLU’s Women’s Rights Project continue to urge the Utah State bar to adopt a policy that explicitly extends eligibility for accommodations to those who are breastfeeding, and to modify procedures, public information materials and forms to make them fully applicable to and inclusive of breastfeeding.
The ACLU and Law Students for Reproductive Justice conducted a survey to determine what policies and practices are in place states across the country for accommodating those who are breastfeeding during the bar exams.
The report card findings highlight the widespread barriers that women face in pursuit of their legal careers. State boards must acknowledge that their outdated policies contribute to this problem and must take an active role in eliminating these barriers. Dismantling these barriers helps woman thrive both in their career and family life.