Bar exam applications suck (believe me, I know — I’ve had to fill out quite a few of them). Bar applicants need to supply every single piece of personal information imaginable, from their birthday and Social Security number to their 10-year work history. If anyone with criminal intent ever got their hands on that information, we can’t even begin to describe how screwed those poor bar applicants would be.
As it turns out, some bar applicants are getting a taste of what it feels like to be violated by a state bar outside of a timed test-taking situation.
Which state bar just exposed an untold number of exam applicants to identity theft due to a break-in?
The State Bar of Nevada recently advised “an undisclosed number of applicants” that their confidential personal information may have been stolen from its storage facility. Here’s the letter, in pertinent part:
The State Bar of Nevada has learned that criminals have forced their way into a State Bar storage facility and stolen some confidential records. Through investigation and in cooperation with the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department we discovered that information furnished by you to the State Bar of Nevada may have been stolen. The State Bar has taken measures to secure all records to counter subsequent thefts and breaches in security.
According to tipsters who reached out to the Data Breaches blog, the Las Vegas Metro PD has already reached out to an unknown number of exam takers after apprehending a man in possession of their personal information. Since the Nevada Bar is reportedly not taking calls or correspondence on this matter, these are just some pertinent questions we’d love to see Executive Director Kimberly Farmer respond to:
What are the state bar’s data retention and storage policies? How far back do the paper records in storage go and how many cartons of records were stolen? According to [a Data Breach tipster's] friend, the thief was caught with personal information from other Bar Exam takers. Were any of them from other states from individuals seeking licensing in Nevada?
And will the state bar now start securely shredding older records or do they intend to continue to store them but just boost physical security for the storage center?
Until we get the answers to those questions, past and present exam applicants will have to take comfort in the fact that the Nevada Bar is offering a year of free credit monitoring and is “truly sorry this incident occurred and sincerely regret[s] any inconvenience it may cause.” Aww, that makes it all better!
(If you’re interested, you can see the full letter from the Nevada Bar on the next page.)