Florida Shows Us What July 2020 Bar Exams Will Be Like

Yesterday, the Florida Board of Bar Examiners released guidance that gives us a glimpse of what taking the bar exam in July 2020 will look like.

Highlights include:

  • All applicants will have their temperature checked and applicants with a temperature of 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit or higher will not be permitted to take the exam.
  • Applicants will be required to wear a mask throughout the entire test.
  • There will be one applicant per table, and they will be seated at least six feet apart from one another (this is actually much nicer than the usually squished bar exam seating arrangements.)
  • Out of state applicants may be required to quarantine for 14 days prior to the start of the exam.

Can we please just end this now? I am tired of having to counsel my students through various decisions based on how sick they might get if they choose to take an exam at a certain time or in a different state, because legal employers insist that they take the next bar exam, and bar examiners are determined to go forward with traditional testing, regardless of whether it is safe or healthy to do so.

Are we really so beholden to the status quo that we completely disregard the physical and mental health of our recent graduates? How can we be so cavalier and heartless as a profession? Is this how we want new attorneys to approach their jobs? Work at all costs, even if it could make you and those around you physically sick?

Excellent attorneys are forward-thinking and demonstrate compassion. They can change course and make a new plan when their current strategy isn’t working. They make a plan, reflect on that plan, and make a new plan.

The fact that this is really the plan for the class of 2020 demonstrates none of these qualities. Maybe the bar exam doesn’t test minimal competency after all.