Bar Exam Tech Disaster Inspires Lawsuit Threats, Operatic Profanity

If there's one group of people you do not want to piss off, it's recent law school grads. They have all the cockiness and self-regard that comes with finally being able to put "Esq." at the end of their names, without the emotional scarring appurtenant to the actual practice of law. Piss off this crowd by fucking with their state bar eligibility and you have a recipe for disaster.


ExamSoft is a program, theoretically, that allows test-takers to use their laptops for exams and securely upload the completed exam to the proper examining body. Why anyone would want to take an exam on a laptop (and pay an extra fee to do so; testing and licensing processes are nothing if not profitable) instead of writing it out is beyond me, a person with horrible penmanship who passed the New York Bar. And yet, a shitload of people do this for the most important test they will ever take.

Which brings us to Tuesday night. We are smack dab in the middle of bar season, and thousands of recent graduates, after studying their asses off all summer, sat for the bar in states across the country. After the exam, they tried uploading their test to their respective state examiners before the deadline, via the ExamSoft program they were required to use. Obviously, missing the deadline means you do not get credit for the exam. So, of course, ExamSoft went boink!

Almost everyone using ExamSoft experienced issues uploading their exams as time slowly ticked away and the deadline approached. Frazzled from a daylong trial of issue-spotting and breaking down archaic shit like the rule against perpetuities, these people were not prepared to deal with the possibility that it might all have been for naught.

As it became clearer that this software was actually going to completely derail their bar exams, people lost their shit. They threatened lawsuits (smh, law students) and cursed a lot. Some did both.


A representative message-board post:

"Fuck you Examsoft. Fuck you fuck you fuck you."

How about comments on ExamSoft's Facebook account?

"I hate you. Thank you for your understanding."

" Are you freakin' kidding me? Do you understand what bat exam means to us? Your auto upload? Down! Website down! Phone down! Seriously?"


One guy got a real nice law burn in, too.

"Your software won't connect to the internet. Your webpages won't load. You won't answer your support lines. It's not a "server lag". It's a shitshow.

Should I have put that in IRAC form?"

Was there a Casual Encounter post on Craigslist about this? You bet.

I am a single law student currently waiting to upload my exam for the NY bar. It's not uploading so looks like I'm in for a long night and would like some company. Internet connection here is good, so should be no problem. Nothing kinky. Strictly business. Breaks every 3 min to check Softest.

If you plan to study afterwards please bring your own notecards.

ExamSoft owned its massive failure and worked with most states throughout the night to push back the submission deadlines to the following day, but even that caused a furor among test-takers. Most people taking the bar Tuesday were also planning to take the bar Wednesday. It's usually a two-day affair: The state-specific written portion takes one day, and the multiple-choice, multi-state exam that everyone deals with takes another.


There are also many candidates who take multiple state bars—two days for New York, then New Jersey the next, for example. Others come from out of town to take the test. All of this nonsense is not ideal, to say the least, when you're taking the exam that decides whether you become a practicing attorney, or whether you get to plunk down another couple thousand to do it all over again next year.

It's one giant shitshow, and the only software option sold to students failed miserably at the only service it offers. If you are writing your test by hand, you hand it in right there, and you don't fuck around with uploading it through some program. The only thing ExamSoft does for you is lets you transmit your laptop-written exam. Above the Law called it the biggest bar exam disaster since they've been around, but it serves as an important reminder: Never trust technology. It will fuck you so hard if it gets the chance.