July 23, 2012
Beginning tomorrow (in most states) and continuing through Wednesday and in some jurisdictions through Thursday, soon-to-be-lawyers will be subjected to the Bar Exam, the great hurdle to entry into our chosen profession.
After the Americans with Disabilities Act passed, there was a round of litigation over whether bar exams were compliant (whether enough time was given for the learning disabled, whether there were sufficient provisions for persons unable to take essays by hand, etc.). For an example case, see 722 N.W.2d 559. These issues still wind up in the courts regularly, as a new class of bar applicants faces down the exam.
Another issue related to the A.D.A. is the character and fitness portion of the exam (which isn’t necessarily conducted this week, but is still considered a portion of the exam). Many potential attorneys over the years have claimed that this portion of the exam discriminates against individuals with mental impairments. See, e.g. 881 F.Supp. 300.
While I was still in law school, an attorney told me that, after the Bar, for the rest of your career, you always remember the last Wednesday in July. To everyone sitting for the exam this week: good luck. We here at the reference attorneys look forward to welcoming you to the profession.
Westlaw has a 50 State Survey on Bar Admission, which is available at 0015 SURVEYS 25. To run your own survey, try the following search in all state statutes (ST-ANN-ALL on Westlaw): pr, ca(bar /3 exam! Admission). I saw 1076 documents.
More Bar examination/ADA cases can be found with the following simple search: bar /3 exam! & americans /3 disabilities. I retrieved 220 results in ALLCASES. For an alternative take on the history of the bar, see 9 Geo. J. Legal Ethics 359.