Friday, May 08, 2020

Will Florida Bar Exam Put Lives at Risk, or Risk Impossibility of Performance (Above the Law blog)

COVID-19: My heart goes out to 2600 recent law grads will take the Florida Bar exam under extraordinary circumstances. I pity them. Taking the Bar exam should be a fun time, like it was in Memphis when I took it in 1986 (in the same classroom where Tom Cruise a/k/a "Tom Cruise Maypother IV" was later filmed taking the Tennessee Bar exam during the filming of the movie, The Firm. At least Florida Bar exam members aren't being required to dress like Barbie dolls (the Virginia Bar long required women to wear high heeled shoes, on a gymnasium floor in Appalachia, the only site available).

From Above the Law blog:

Florida Promises Most Packed July Bar Exam Ever To Own The Libs

While most states are looking into postponing the exam and staggering schedules, Florida is charging ahead. 

While law school deans bristle at the grave injustice of New York (and Massachusetts) considering a staggered exam schedule in the era of COVID, Florida is fulfilling its mission to Make America Great Again by promising to hold the bar exam in July… and packing convention centers to do it!
It’s a move that’s applauded by the state’s law school deans who chose not to lobby the state for a delay or to explore alternative licensure, but instead wrote only that they’d prefer a September exam in addition to the July exam. Way to go! Really grasping the core issue.
Perhaps it’s time for the Grim Reaper to haunt the bar examiners.
• Administration in Tampa and Orlando. The Board will administer the July 2020 General Bar Examination at the Tampa Convention Center and the Orange County Convention Center to create additional space for social distancing. The Board will assign each applicant to either Tampa or Orlando.
• Screening Questions and Temperature Checks. FDOH officials will ask screening questions and check the temperature of all applicants, administrators, and proctors before they can enter an exam site. Applicants with a temperature of 100.4° or higher will not be allowed to sit for the exam. Applicants who leave the exam site will be required to be screened again before re-entry.
It’s not like there’s a problem with asymptomatic transmission or anything! Apparently the whole “Florida Man” meme applies to the bar examiners too.
• Social Distancing. Only one applicant will sit at a table, and tables will be at least six feet apart in all directions. Applicants must remain six feet apart when in line to enter or exit an exam site and during the administration of the exam.
• Wearing Masks. All applicants will be required to wear a mask during the exam and when in line to enter or exit an exam site. Applicants will not be allowed to sit for the exam if they do not wear masks. Applicants will be asked to leave the exam if they remove their mask during the exam. Administrators and proctors also must wear masks.
Over 2,600 people sat for the last July administration of the bar examination. Assuming an equal distribution of folks, that means each location will have 1,300 applicants which means the line will be around a mile and a half long. That seems… unlikely.
And what about out-of-state applicants — that category that so rankles deans — well, they had best budget for an extended stay in Florida!
• Out of State Applicants. The Governor of the State of Florida has issued Executive Orders 20-82 and 20-86 relating to persons traveling to Florida from out of state. Based on these or any subsequent Executive Orders, applicants traveling to Florida for the bar exam may be required to quarantine for 14 days or some other time period prior to the start of the examination.
This is one of those slow-motion disasters that the NCBE could easily prevent by declaring that they simply won’t provide a July examination to the states, requiring everyone to move to September. But they’ve exhibited the sort of backbone we’ve come to expect and proclaimed that they’re here to support July bar exams for anyone willing to hold them.
Good luck, Floridians.

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