Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Bar Exam Taker Fails To Upload Answers, Disqualified From Exam

Bar examination takers, heed this warning.

The Utah Supreme Court has upheld the State Bar's decision disqualifying an applicant from the Bar exam "for failure to upload his typed essay exam answers within the required time frame." The court rejected claims that the Bar had acted unconstitutionally, denying him procedural due process and equal protection of the law.

The applicant had signed up to take the exam on a laptop. He completed the essay portion but failed to upload his answers. He left the exam for dinner with his wife without completing the process and did not upload his answers by the 10 pm deadline. He discovered the problem on the second day of the exam but was advised by a proctor that he would not be allowed to finish the two-day exam.

The applicant had "received seven separate notices informing him that failure to upload his answers could result in his disqualification" from the exam. Only two of 243 applicants failed to follow this instruction.

The court held that the Bar was not obligated to provide the applicant with a formal hearing while the examination was being administered. The Bar has a significant interest in the efficient administration of the test. The applicant was not permanenty deprived of the opportunity to take and pass a future exam (as the applicant has done). The court concluded that the issue was not mooted by his later admission because it might recur and avoid review.

Please read and follow all bar examination instructions to the letter. If you are a law student, closely follow exam directions and rules. Sometimes the failure to do so can be a problem for both your career and your GPA. (Mike Frisch)

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"Mr. McBride’s interest in taking the Exam pales in comparison with the interests of a welfare recipient". McBride, ¶23. Good to know that when we are denied the right to practice our profession and earn a living, we will still be able to sign up for welfare.

This appeal should have been dismissed as moot.

In any event, the court failed to correctly consider the Mathews factor of the "probable value, if any, of additional or substitute procedural safeguards". Once the Bar refused to let McBride sit the second day of the exam, the die was effectively cast and there really was no practical way that a post-deprivation hearing could have reversed that summary decision. What really was the likelihood of their determining that their examiners had erred in excluding him and that therefore he should now be admitted without examination?


Posted by: FixedWing | Nov 3, 2010 2:44:02 PM

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