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Tyler Gordon: Advocate for Diploma Privilege

Tyler Gordon believes diploma privilege could lead to a brighter future in West Virginia.

WVU Law student Tyler Gordon '20


The 3L at WVU Law recently wrote an article for West Virginia Lawyer magazine to explain how students and the state would benefit from the reinstatement of diploma privilege. The magazine is published by the West Virginia State Bar.

The practice of diploma privilege allows law school graduates to be automatically admitted to the state bar without taking the bar exam. The student must earn their J.D. from a law school in that state and meet character and fitness requirements. Since 1842, 32 states and the District of Columbia have granted law school graduates diploma privilege at some point in their history.

West Virginia eliminated diploma privilege in 1988. Today, only Wisconsin grants diploma privilege to graduates of the state’s two law schools.

In his article, Gordon argues that with diploma privilege, WVU Law can help drive growth in West Virginia by encouraging talented young attorneys to live and work in the state after they graduate from law school.

“I am a West Virginia native, and I want to stay in this beautiful state,” Gordon said. “I want to see the brightest students at WVU Law become West Virginia’s best attorneys. Equally important, I want to see talented students from out of state come here to develop their skills, and then live and work here after they graduate from law school. Diploma privilege is a great way to encourage that.”

Gordon asserts there are several benefits associated with diploma privilege. It will remove unnecessary stress from law students’ lives and eliminate the financial burden that comes with registering and preparing for the bar exam. It will allow WVU Law to focus less on teaching for bar passage and focus more on teaching valuable, real-world lawyering skills.

Gordon also argues that reinstating diploma privilege in the Mountain State would foster an even closer relationship between the Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia, the West Virginia State Bar and WVU Law. It would demonstrate the state’s faith in the quality of WVU Law’s curriculum and its faculty and administration, he said.


Gordon is from Sophia, West Virginia. He graduated from Concord University in 2017 with a BA in Interdisciplinary Studies. He is expected to earn his J.D. in May 2020 with a Labor and Employment Law Concentration.

At WVU Law, Gordon is a member of the Student Bar Association and he serves as WVU Law’s representative in the Young Lawyers Section of the State Bar, which helps support new attorneys with resources and mentorship opportunities. He also serves as WVU Law’s Liaison to the American Bar Association and he is a student attorney in the Veterans Advocacy Law Clinic. Gordon is a member of the Moot Court Board and serves as a teaching assistant in the Legal Analysis, Research, and Writing program.

 

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