Paul L. Caron

Sunday, October 4, 2020

87-Year-Old Hopes To Pass California Bar Exam On Fifth And Final Try Tomorrow After Studying 'Several Minutes Every Day'

San Francisco Chronicle, ‘Probably My Last Chance’: 87-Year-Old Seeks One Last Try at Bar Exam:

California Bar ExamLike most people 87 years of age, Porter Davis is running out of time.

"This year is probably my last chance,” he said. “A lot can happen when you’re 87.”

Davis said he is trying to tie up loose ends in his life. The biggest loose end from his nearly nine decades on Earth is passing the California bar exam and becoming a lawyer. There may be 1.3 million lawyers in the U.S., according to the American Bar Association but, Davis said with a sigh, none of them is him.

As a young man in the 1960s, he attended two law schools [his LinkedIn page says he attended UC-Hastings in 1958-62] and took the bar exam four times. He flunked out of one of the law schools. He also flunked the bar exam, all four times.

That was then, Davis said. With a lifetime of experience, he’s smarter now. He’s ready to try again — if a technical impasse with the State Bar gets resolved.

“I believe in being optimistic,” he said. The exam will be administered Monday and Tuesday.

Davis, a retired real estate broker and former construction worker from Larkspur, dug up all his old law books. He paid $2,500 for a bar exam study course consisting of 12 more law books. He’s studying, at least several minutes every day.

Davis recently sat down at an outdoor cafe near his home to show how a man who is running out of time studies for an exam. Davis, who claims to be the oldest person ever to take the bar exam, picked up the first of his 12 exam-prep books and began turning the pages quickly. He looked at each page for about one second, before turning to the next page.

“I’m getting a mental image of the material,” he said. “I’m taking a photograph that goes into your subconscious mind.”

It took him a full half-minute to study the first 30 pages of the book.

“I don’t believe in memorizing things,” Davis said.

It might be a moot point, as they say in his prospective trade, because of a bunch of red tape at the State Bar. The exam registrar sent Davis a form letter saying the office couldn’t find records of the four bar exams that Davis flunked in the 1960s, which would have entitled him to try again. ...

This year, about 10,000 people will take the California bar exam and, based on past results, about 6,000 of them will flunk. Because of the pandemic, applicants will take the test at home and must agree to be monitored by their computer video cameras, to make sure they are not looking up answers.

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Porter has been my friend for 45 years, and I know how badly he wanted to take this bar exam. He has studied using the method he described, but it has been for HOURS per day for four months, not just minutes per day! And he is quite frustrated by the people who have been unwilling to search for the records they have required, to prove that he took the bar exam four times in the 1960s. He even has a witness to that fact!

Posted by: Karen Cowell | Oct 7, 2020 2:03:46 PM

Based upon his method of study, the State Bar is doing him a favor if they prohibit his taking the exam.

Posted by: Lenny | Leonard M Fuld | Oct 5, 2020 7:57:18 AM