A suggestion to improve the Bar exam

You have got to be kidding me.

ExamSoft, a company that has uploaded many aspiring lawyers’ typed exams over the years, temporarily failed to upload many states’ Bar exams this year, including Maryland’s.

I can just hear that old grizzled lawyer saying, “We wouldn’t have had that problem when I was taking the Bar exam. We just used the ol’ tried and true No. 2 pencils!” I get it. You also walked to school in the snow and hunted, killed and cooked your own food. When you were young, your phones didn’t have the “inter-webs.” Golf clap.

Let’s be clear: The Bar exam was a living hell for me. If anyone says otherwise about themselves, I give you permission to slap them. But considering law student debt, lack of job prospects and now this added stress, I feel their pain.

This uploading issue could disproportionately affect aspiring lawyers in Maryland because the essay portion carries two-thirds of the weight of the entire exam. Two-thirds of the test rides on ExamSoft working right. Two-thirds of increasing your chances of getting a job in this competitive market relies on technology.

Fortunately ExamSoft worked out an extension with Maryland test takers.

A suggestion for the Maryland State Board of Law Examiners is to allow for upload on the second day of the exam or give the test takers even longer to upload the exam from the beginning. But maybe the biggest issue here isn’t technology but the people making the Bar exam rules.

The upload deadline is a deadline based on old-school thinking that probably doesn’t have much experience with technology. Being able to type your Bar exams should still be an option for test takers. The Bar exam rules should be changed to accommodate blips in technology.

Law students can be a litigious bunch. Do you think some graduates will end up suing over this software error? Do you think the Maryland State Board of Law Examiners should alter the rules for uploading of the bar exams?

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