After endless hours of study and countless BARBRI classes, you thought you were ready for the most stressful event of your life – sitting for the bar exam. Although the stakes are incredibly high and the bar exam’s difficulty is legendary, you figure you’ve got a much better than even chance of passing. And the stats bear you out. You’re ready, you’re prepared, and you figure the chips will fall your way. But what happens if something unexpected happens – a force of nature or an illness for example. Following are some true-life bar exam nightmares.
Having a Seizure in the Middle of the Exam
This actually happened in 2012 to a student sitting for the Virginia bar exam. An hour into the test, the unfortunate fellow had a major seizure and had to be carried from the exam room. He suffered a nasty gash on the forehead that required 15 stitches; there was blood all over the place. Needless to say, the poor guy had to sit for the bar at a future date. Meanwhile, most of the people in the exam room ignored the medial drama around them, bloodshed and all, and continued taking the test as if nothing happened.
In 2001, a graduate of Northwestern University Law School went into labor in the middle of her bar exam. The courageous student managed to complete the examination, despite having contractions that were only 15 minutes apart. When she finished the exam, she walked a block to the hospital where her son was delivered. And she passed her exam!
Aspiring attorneys in North Carolina in July, 2012 had to endure a power outage that knocked out the air conditioning for several hours during the bar examination. As reported by Lawyers Mutual, one student describes the debacle:
“During the afternoon session in Raleigh today there was a storm, followed by a power outage that lasted about an hour. People’s computers batteries died mid-essay and everyone freaked out. They gave everyone extra time to make up for it but it probably threw a lot of people off their game. I was super glad I decided to handwrite the exam. I would’ve felt like a real moron if I’d paid the computer fee and then still had to handwrite…. No a/c plus no power plus a few thousand freaking out students in what is essentially a livestock holding facility in July would be brutal.”
Meanwhile, in 2013 a snowstorm in Missouri caused a power outage that wiped out the exam’s afternoon session. Although the Missouri Board of Law Examiners urged participants to “travel with caution”, they refused to postpone the test. One of the test takers told Above the Law, a popular legal blog, that people sitting for the bar couldn’t even hand write the test because they were in the pitch dark basement of a cheap hotel.
Do you have any bar exam catastrophes of your own to share?
Did the batteries die on your laptop? Did you get a flat tire on the way to the exam? Were you running a 102 degree fever? Tell us about your experience.