A Law Grad's Worst Nightmare Come True

by Nicole Weber | July 31, 2014

Day 1 of the bar exam is finally over. After saving the document containing all of your answers to the essay portion of the test, you sigh with relief as you pack up and head home to upload your answers online. But it’s not over yet: Day 2 of the exam, the multiple-choice, multi-state portion of the test, starts the next morning. You are ready to crash from exhaustion, but like most law students you are paranoid enough that you just might study some flashcards over dinner tonight to get your head in the game for tomorrow. And if your experience is anything like mine was, you are 99 percent sure you failed part 1 and it’s taking everything you’ve got to convince yourself that you can make up for it in part 2. Still, you are ready to forge ahead, and when you get home to upload your exam… 

…you get an error message.

Not just one, but multiple. The website simply will not let you upload your answers to the bar exam, and the state deadline for submission is 9 p.m. Is this real life? You call customer service and cannot get through. This saga continues, and you have to be back at the test center bright and early in the A.M.

Such was the reality for thousands of law graduates around the country this week, when ExamSoft, the company that distributes software which bar exam-takers are required to purchase in order to type their answers (which most do), faced major technical issues. For hours, students sat panicked at home or in their hotel rooms, trying over and over again to upload their exam files, only to receive repeated error messages. People took to Facebook and Twitter to go ballistic on ExamSoft, a company which, you can imagine, will have a hard time recovering from what has been dubbed “Barmaggedon.” It’s a snafu so unprecedented that commentators are advising ExamSoft to brace itself for lawsuits brought by grads who fail the exam (in New York, that’s  about 35 percent).

Even getting to Day 1 of the bar exam is an accomplishment in and of itself; at this point you’ve graduated law school and have been studying madly for weeks. Surviving the six hours of essay-writing torture is another feather in the cap. Having $100-plus software crash on you right when you are about to submit your answers is the last thing a weary soul needs.

So an extra congratulations to everyone who survived Barmaggedon… hopefully you are all off having a much-deserved rest and celebration. Perhaps you will take solace in the fact that the remainder of the summer looks much better for you than it does for the folks at ExamSoft who need to clean up this mess.

Read More:

Processing issue delays bar exam submissions (AP)
ExamSoft’s bar exam disaster (Washington Post’s Volokh Conspiracy Blog)
Would-Be Lawyers Take To Twitter To Scream At ExamSoft Over #Barghazi (ATL) 

Follow me on Twitter @VaultLaw

Filed Under: Law


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