Bar Exams

As bar exam week wraps up, we have some delightful stories about how people celebrated the completion of what could be the last test they’ll ever take.

None of these stories are coming out of Massachusetts, which means that none of these people finished the bar while being harassed about their fundamental religious rights. Instead, we have stories about beer and (unrelated) car accidents.

But we’re going to start with the guy who left the bar exam in a limo, because clearly that’s the right thing to do…

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This is what you could call a slow news week. It’s kind of the exact opposite of the week that inspired me to start writing these missives. Back then, the Supreme Court was handing down rulings and the Zimmerman trial was getting off to a disastrous start for the defense. It all seems so long ago.

The latter days of the summer are always slow in law as partners and judges go on vacation and students await the return to school. The bar exam provides some light entertainment and OCI generally provides a gem or two, but otherwise it’s a slow period.

And that’s when people can get tripped up by satire masquerading as news.

Here’s a short round-up of a few key stories from the week including how satire fooled a lot of the ATL-verse and some high profile cases that had milestone moments…

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From earthquakes to power outages to going into labor, we’ve written about almost every kind of bar exam horror story that exists on this earth. But we’ve never seen or heard of one that has been motivated by alleged religious bias — until today.

Everyone knows that things like hats, hoods, scarves, and visors are not allowed to be worn during the bar exam. But religious headgear, like Sikh dastars and Jewish yarmulkes, is permitted, as long as special written approval has been obtained before the test from a state’s board of bar examiners.

When there’s a miscommunication somewhere along the line, things don’t always go as planned. Yesterday, a proctor in Massachusetts passed a distasteful note to a Michigan Law graduate of Muslim faith during the morning essay session. We have a copy of that note…

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You mean you can’t draw power from this bad boy?

Last year, during the North Carolina bar exam, there was a power outage. This outage stressed and inconvenienced students. North Carolina makes some students take the bar in a barn, so it was entirely foreseeable that the power would go out.

But I think the point is that power outages are pretty foreseeable everywhere. Bar exam proctors should know exactly what to do when the power goes out. There shouldn’t be confusion. People shouldn’t be running around acting like it’s 10,000 B.C. during an eclipse.

Then again, I’m going to give a slight pass to the people who administer the bar exam in Hawaii. When the power goes out, I’m sure that proctors expect would-be Hawaiian lawyers to act more like Hawaiians and less like uptight, stressed out lawyers everywhere else…

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* Zynga is suing the makers of Bang With Friends alleging that the latter chose its name to take advantage of market confusion with Words With Friends. To remedy the suit, the app is considering a name change to “Bangville,” which actually works better because Bang With Friends is all about pathetically bothering everyone on Facebook to give you something you can’t go out and get yourself. [BBC]

* Ariel Castro gave some testimony. It was crazy. Enjoy! [Jezebel]

* A comprehensive legal analysis of Better Off Dead. Spoiler alert: the Paperboy was a penal code violating machine. [The Legal Geeks]

* 10 Things Only Someone Who’s Taken the Bar Exam Would Know [Policy Mic]

* Just where is the FISA Court? 10 points to Gryffindor for the “Room of Requirement” reference. [Konklone]

* The NBA luxury tax is supposed to help parity. So why doesn’t it? [The Legal Blitz]

* Brutally honest Craigslist ad for temp document review work. This will probably come down at some point, so the ad is reproduced after the jump…

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Ed. note: We are having an Above the Law retreat this afternoon, so we may be less prolific than usual today. We will return to our regularly scheduled programming tomorrow.

* “I think I am now the hardest-working justice. I wasn’t until David Souter left us.” Justice Ginsburg celebrates her twentieth year on the high bench in true diva style. [USA Today]

* Sorry, EA, the Ninth Circuit thought your First Amendment free expression defense to allegedly stealing college sports players’ likenesses was a load of hooey. [Wall Street Journal]

* “It’s a decision that clearly favors the merchants.” A federal judge gave the Fed a spanking in a ruling on its cap for debit card fees earned by banks after consumer swipes. [DealBook / New York Times]

* “What makes this discriminatory? I don’t think there’s anything in Title 7 that says an employer has to be consistent.” Ropes & Gray’s “token black associate” had his day in court. [National Law Journal]

* The firm that outed J.K. Rowling as author of “The Cuckoo’s Calling” will make a charitable donation as an apology — getting the book to the bestseller’s list wasn’t charitable enough. [New York Times]

* As the bar exam draws to a close today, here’s something to consider: 12,250 people signed up to take the test in New York alone. Are there jobs out there for them? Best of luck! [New York Law Journal]

* The feds want to make a better return on their investment on law student loans. Perhaps it’s time for those good old gainful employment regulations. [Student Loan Ranger / U.S. News & World Report]

* Cleveland kidnapper Ariel Castro is expected to speak at his sentencing hearing today, where a judge will decide if a term of life in prison plus 1,000 years is appropriate punishment for him. [CBS News]

I could have gone with a picture of the other thing in the title.

Tuesday was the first day of the bar exam. That means now we get to share “stupid bar exam stories.” Yay!

Our first batch of bar exam adventures can be summed up by the student who hired a guy on TaskRabbit to sit in a café all morning and save her a seat for lunch near the Jacob Javits Center. It sounds extreme, but that bar exam is all about extremes.

Anyway, the girl was trying to get other students to go in with her on her bar exam “valet,” and she described TaskRabbit this way: “Task Rabbit is also available to run any emergency errands (if you need advil, tampons, or extra pencils from the store) during the lunch hour and while we are in the exam.”

As it turns out, at other testing centers, we had people who kind of needed emergency tampons and pencils….

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Tomorrow, many readers will begin the last exam of their lives (excluding DMV renewals). Most are hunkered down poring over notes, taking last-minute practice exams, and generally questioning the life decisions that brought them to this moment.

But more than a few are searching for almost anything to distract them from incessant studying today. This post is for them. We’ve gathered together some random thoughts on the exam, some time-wasting links, and of course a thread to commiserate.

Gear up for some ATL Classic tales of bar exam woe, a Downfall video, tales of a dumb test-taker, and cat pictures!

Good luck!

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The bar exam is next week tomorrow. Good luck, test takers. I hope you guys are firing on all cylinders as you prepare for this important test.

Certainly, the people who administer the exam are ready to bring their unique brand of pathetic administration to your big day.

I feel like every year, the New York Board of Law Examiners competes with the New Jersey Board of Law Examiners to come up with the biggest exam screw-up of the season. NY BOLE holds the all-time lead — they once accidentally released the entire pass list online, then tried to pull it back and to deny the accidental release. Of course, New Jersey once lost the exams, so it’s a pretty close race.

This year, New York is taking the early lead in the clubhouse. It appears that NY BOLE doesn’t know how to use the “Bcc” field when emailing test takers with their personal exam ID numbers. So, that’s pretty embarrassing….

(Please note the UPDATE at the end of this post.)

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I feel like everybody complains about the place where they take the bar exam, and everybody is right. It’s like that line in Office Space where Ron Livingston says that every day is worse than the last, so every day is the worst day of his life. Every test center is the worst test center in the country because that’s the test center you are in, or if you are lucky, that’s the test center you were in that one time.

Sure, we’ve done stories about people who have taken the bar in a barn, and I imagine that taking the bar in an earthquake zone is pretty terrible, but for me, the worst test center is the Jacob Javits Convention Center on the West Side of Manhattan.

It’s cold even when it’s hot outside, it’s ugly, and it’s cavernous. It leaks. It’s just an altogether horrible place to spend two days taking the most important test of your life.

And there’s no food [cue Walrus music]. But at least that is about to get better…

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