We love controversies, real or imagined. And this one, based on the volume of email we’ve received about it, is definitely real.
Many ATL readers are in the middle of studying for bar exams right now. And some of those preparing for the New York bar have something to complain about other than the soporific nature of BarBri.
This reader email is representative of others we received:
The New York Board of Law Examiners has instituted a “laptop program,” where applicants interested in taking the exam by laptop can enter a “lottery” to do so. Some win, some don’t.
But don’t you think that’s more than a little unfair, given that (at the very least) laptop applicants get a time advantage? The average speed of someone handwriting is around 30 words per minute; the average typing speed of a typical laptop user is significantly higher.
The BOLE is telling people hey, tough luck, maybe we’ll try to fix it next year. But a lot of people who haven’t handwritten an exam in years are screwed. Meanwhile, you’d think there’d be plenty of available potential test sites with power for computers: conference rooms in hotels, law schools, etc…
Update: As noted in the comments, this policy is not new. Apparently it has been around since at least 2005. But that shouldn’t stop people from bitching about it.
An email message from the BOLE outlining their policy, plus an ATL reader poll, appear after the jump.
Here’s the Board’s explanation of their policy (as communicated to a lottery loser):
Due to the overwhelming demand for laptop seats, coupled with a shortage of suitable testing space with sufficient electrical supply to support a laptop examination, we are not able to offer you a laptop seat at this time. Additional seats will become available as candidates selected in the initial lottery fail to follow the necessary steps to qualify their computers or withdraw from the program completely.
A second lottery is scheduled to be drawn on June 26, 2007, and you have been automatically entered for this drawing, which will include seats in Albany, New York City, Long Island and Buffalo. As noted in the application materials, seat assignments are normally made based on the applicant’s place of residence, but you may be required to be seated at a different location due to the availability of seats at each laptop location, if chosen in the second lottery.
We appreciate your patience. As additional information becomes available, we will notify you by email.
NYS Board of Law Examiners
What do you think of this policy? Take our reader poll:
New York State Board of Law Examiners [official website]