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Failed The Bar Exam? Have You Considered A Lawsuit?

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Failing the bar exam can be a real speedbump to the start of your legal career. Of course, plenty of folks have parlayed a fail on the bar into notable legal careers, but the additional time, energy, and money is a real bummer. Add to that the fact that the most recent bar exam happened during a gd pandemic on a cobbled-together online system known for tech issues, well, that’s gotta sting just a bit more.

Enter Jordan Evan Greenman, a graduate of the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University. He has filed a petition with the Arizona Supreme Court, asking them to ignore his pesky little failing grade on the bar exam and make him a real lawyer anyway. But this isn’t just a case of sour grapes: during the exam, Greenman — like a bunch of other folks — had ExamSoft (the exam software) crash on him. And as he failed by only 5 points, he believes that made all the difference, as reported by Bloomberg Law:

According to Greenman, the software crashed during the first of two multistate performance tests. He said he got one out of six points on that portion of the test, worth 10% of the overall exam score, and that he tallied consistently higher on other sections of the exam.

ExamSoft’s technical issues are well known, with the CEO saying he “understand[s] the anger” test takers have. But as Greenman’s lawyer/former ConLaw professor, Ilan Wurman, noted, actually failing has a big impact, “In this case, because he was just shy of passing, you can imagine the psychological harm this has had on him.”

And because Greenman is not the only person to experience tech glitches mid-exam, “This legal action will be closely watched,” according to Aaron Taylor, executive director of the AccessLex Center for Legal Education Excellence. “It’s likely that others are already in the works.”

Indeed, the Association of Academic Support Educators has already asked state courts to make scoring adjustments in cases of applicants experiencing tech problems. Delaware and Colorado have already done so, and Marsha Griggs, professor at Washburn University School of Law, said she hopes even more states will do so, “We laud the states that took actions like Delaware and Colorado, and hope to see California and others follow suit, even if retroactively.”

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Hopefully Greenman (and others in a similar position) will become an esquire, whether by legal action or a second sitting for the bar exam.


Kathryn Rubino is a Senior Editor at Above the Law, host of The Jabot podcast, and co-host of Thinking Like A Lawyer. AtL tipsters are the best, so please connect with her. Feel free to email her with any tips, questions, or comments and follow her on Twitter (@Kathryn1).

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