Paul L. Caron

Saturday, October 24, 2020

Connecticut, Maryland, New York, And Pennsylvania To Give Online Bar Exams In February

Karen Sloan (, New York Joins 3 Other States in Giving February Bar Exam Online:

New York’s February bar exam will be online.

The New York State Court of Appeals announced Wednesday that the upcoming exam would not be offered in person due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, making it among the first jurisdictions to commit to another online test in February. That decision came just two weeks after the state administered its first-ever remote exam, which earned mixed reviews. The court and the New York State Board of Law Examiners have deemed the test a success, while many test takers said it was unfair and riddled with glitches.

“While the Board of Law Examiners continues to gather and study the data, our preliminary assessment is that, despite the novel procedure, this was a very successful administration of the bar examination,” reads the court’s Wednesday announcement. “Of the 5,167 applicants who downloaded the exam software and were scheduled to take the remote exam on October 5 and 6, 2020, all but 17 successfully completed the entire exam.” ...

PennsylvaniaConnecticut and Maryland have also announced this week that they will give online bar exams in February. ...

Critics were quick to take issue with the decision to keep the exam online in February. New York Assemblywoman Jo Anne Simon, who is co-sponsoring a bill that would establish a diploma privilege for recent law graduates, said she is concerned the Court of Appeals only looked at high-level data on test completions, and ignored the actual experience of those who took the exam. Simon and New York State Sen. Brad Hoylman conducted a survey of bar examinees in the state and found that of the nearly 500 respondents, 41% said they experienced internet or software problems. Nearly three-quarters said the online exam was a “negative experience.”

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