Bar People – Getting a shake and a bump?

Yesterday’s earthquake in Los Angeles happened on the first day of the state bar exam.  According to a National Law Journal story, “Earthquake doesn’t faze law firms, or first day of bar exam,” by Amanda Bronstad:

. . .

“Any interruption weighs heavily upon the takers,” [ Robert Hawley, deputy executive director of the State Bar of California] said. As a result, the State Bar is gathering data on the disruption that, along with reports from experts in psychometrics, will be presented to the committee of bar examiners in order to measure the earthquake’s possible impact on test scores.

. . .

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3 thoughts on “Bar People – Getting a shake and a bump?

  1. As a writer at Anaheim Convention Center (where examinees equally, if not more so, experienced the Earthquake during Tuesday’s Essay 1-3 session [we were in an underground hall with just a 15 foot ceiling, flood lights were swinging and tables moved, half the people screamed and got under the tables and WE WERE NOT EVACUATED even though a fire alarm sounded once with 4-6 minutes to go in the exam period]), I was angered to hear that a Proctor caused the exam to become unfair and not uniform due to granting 5 extra minutes to the Ontario examinees (no fault of their own). I had a friend taking the exam in San Diego, and she said they also felt it and were jolted and unfocused the rest of the day. My other friend taking it in San Francisco at Cow Palace didn’t believe me at first when I told her we suffered through one of the biggest quakes in a decade – she even thinks it was unfair Ontario examinees were granted additional time!

    Anyhow, I approached the “State Bar of CA” table at the entrance to our secure examination area on Wednesday morning to ask about the complaint process for all examinees not having the same uniform time to complete their essays (5 minutes could mean the difference from receiving a passing grade and being able to write a thorough contract remedies discussion).

    Here’s how the brief discussion went (by the way, another student was there trying to find out how he could complain too):

    Me: “……but aren’t the examiners supposed to keep the time equal to other exam locations to keep it fair and uniform?”
    BAR Rep: “Not necessarily. I know from other proctors that the main proctor officially stopped the exam, and so had the right to restart it and give people time to finish.”
    Me: “I talked to my friend and she said it wasn’t officially stopped, just that the person announced quickly after the quake that they were getting 5 extra minutes.”
    BAR Rep: “I don’t care what your friend said, I know for a fact that time was officially stopped.”
    Me: “Well, anyway, how can I file a formal complaint about this?”
    BAR Rep: “You can write a letter or call JOHN RODRIGUEZ who is at the Los Angeles office.”
    Me: “So is this going to be treated as a formal complaint then? Is this a process or just a contact?”
    BAR Rep: “No, it’s what you can do…I am sure you will receive a letter in response.”

    Needless to say, she was getting defensive and acting as if those who felt it was unfair are basically in the wrong and have no recourse. I am not sure whether it was officially stopped or not…even so, the proctor ADDEDD 5 additional minutes to their time, not just “let them finish” whatever time was remaining. The earthquake lasted at most 20-30 seconds, not 5 minutes! I believe though, and will verify this with my friend again and others who took it at Ontario, that time was NOT officially stopped.

    The only suggestion I have for others, and what I am doing myself, is to call and ask to speak with the Los Angeles office Director JOHN RODRIGUEZ and to write him a letter. His contact information is below:

    John Rodriguez
    State Bar of CA
    1149 S. Hill St.
    Los Angeles, CA 90015
    213-765-1000

    F.Y.I., the main office for the State Bar is:
    San Francisco (Main Office)
    180 Howard Street
    San Francisco, CA 94105
    415-538-2000

    Best wishes for positive exam results for those affected by the
    earthquake!

  2. Pingback: Cal bar’s 5.4 trembler & 5 minutes more dispute « Legal Research Plus

  3. I was in the ontario center. We were told that we would have 5 extra minutes but we did not receive it. I would say that I wrote for about 10 minutes after the the shaking stopped. I must note the resilience of future lawyers, I was surprised to see so many people instantly emerge from underneath the tables and go right back to work. While I’m sure the quake had an effect test takers, (I for one, a recent east coast transplant, couldn’t stop my hands from shaking until halfway through the break) I believe it is negligible and the bar committee will act appropriately. The earthquake actually calmed me for the rest of the exam as I was able to remember that there are more important things in life, like being alive, and that I had finished most of the exam by that time. I think if you deserved to pass and performed appropriately you’ll pass and shouldn’t worry.

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