Bar Exams, Screw-Ups

When You Can’t Provide Power During the Bar Exam, You Must Expect People To Complain About Their Scores

They should have a booth at the North Carolina state fair for the best homegrown law graduate.

It is time for bar exam results already?

You know, if state boards of law examiners were actually attuned to the economic realities for recent law graduates, they would be trying to get bar exam results out as soon as possible. Right now there are a lot of kids who can’t even credibly start looking for jobs until they get their bar results.

Of course, when dealing with state boards of law examiners, we’re dealing with a group of people who administer exams under blackout conditions. In large barns. Without air conditioning. Bar examiners are not the most responsive group of people in the universe.

Still, one state got its bar results out quickly — which should allow a lot of time for failing students to challenge their scores…

Last month, we reported on the various problems that North Carolina had with its bar exam. One test site — which appears to have been a giant livestock pen at the state fairgrounds — lost power, causing all kinds of drama as the students tried to finish their essays on laptops that were being slowly drained of battery power.

Here’s the scenic building where they held the exam:

It should be no surprise that that this building had a bit of a rodent problem during the bar. As a tipster said:

On the way to the bathroom during the morning session of the multi-state, I passed a couple of applicants crouched up on their chairs, trying to avoid the mice running underneath their feet and continue bubbling their scantron. A couple of braver test-takers took some sort of active charge and proceeded to poke the poor things with their pencils to get them away.

Between the rodents and the lack of power, you could say there were some uneven testing conditions. In an attempt to make things fair, North Carolina announced that there would be a two-pronged approach to grading the July bar exam. Here are the rules, according to the North Carolina Bar press release:

The North Carolina Board of Law Examiners met today and carefully considered how to score the July 2012 North Carolina Bar Examination. After careful consideration, the Board of Law Examiners agreed upon the following methods to ensure fairness to all applicants.

No applicant to the July 2012 North Carolina Bar Examination will have to retake any portion of the July 2012 North Carolina Bar Examination.

All 12 essay questions on the July 2012 North Carolina Bar Examination will be graded. The examination will then be scored two ways:

1. All applicants’ scores for the MBE and all 12 essay answers will be scaled in the manner used to generate scores in prior years; and

2. All applicants’ scores for the MBE and the 6 essay answers for the morning session will be scaled in the manner used to generate scores in prior years.

All applicants who receive a passing score under either method of scoring will have passed the July 2012 North Carolina Bar Examination.

Well, the results are in. And with all this confusion, it feels like “failing” the July 2012 North Carolina Bar is only a temporary situation. As one tipster says:

Unfortunately I didn’t pass but I’m going to challenge my grade. My battery died after about 40 minutes with no power.

Oh, I think we’ll be seeing a lot of challenges of this nature. Bar Exam + Drama = Recount!

It’d be easy to make fun of the entire state of North Carolina, but the state is apparently still “in play,” so I’ll keep my powder dry. Instead, let’s end with a student who was able to see the bright side of the NC fiasco:

Despite the power going out, a mouse infestation, and the two-tiered grading system, we appear to be first in the country yet again!

Indeed. NC is usually the FIRST state to announce bar exam results. Having to score the exam two ways didn’t seem to delay things by much.

Congratulations to all who passed. Time to start scurrying around and turning the power on — for your job searches.

Earlier: Bar Exam Horror Stories: There Will Be Blood (and Power Outages)
Congratulations to All Bar Exam Finishers! (And more horror stories from across the land.)
FIRST? North Carolina Bar Exam Results Are Out

(hidden for your protection)

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