The absolute worst gut shot in law must be finding out at the last moment that you can’t sit for the bar exam. Months of long, hard days studying. Maybe some sunk prep course costs. Travel plans for the week of the bar ruined. Terror at the prospect of not being able to practice and the even starker fear that the firm may not be able to honor its offer to a non-licensed attorney.
And knowing that the “good” outcome is having to go through all of it again from scratch in February — while either drowning in debt or juggling a full-time job.
Everything about getting turned away at the last minute sucks, but THIS story raises the bar for bars lowering the bar.
To be clear, a koala has a better chance of passing the bar than this guy and that’s a problem.
In any event, it seems that Indiana only got the fingerprints yesterday, leaving no time to work out a fix.
But how is any of this necessary?
Presumably, the logic of fingerprinting lawyers is to run a background check for character and fitness. But that’s something that can be handled at any point during the interminable period between testing and getting sworn in! Assuming he’s not a jewel thief who burned off his prints with acid years ago, this is just a matter of bad fingerprinting and scheduling another session would cure the problem.
This is just so completely unnecessary and entirely the fault of the exam. In a more logical world, there wouldn’t be a fingerprinting deadline because the applicant would march up to the state licensing agency with a law degree from a school that meets robust accreditation requirements and the character and fitness process could happen on a rolling basis throughout the year. The only reason we have deadlines for any of this is to accommodate the archaic attachment to administering a test of dubious value in a semi-annual ritualized event.
No matter where you are in your career, keep up the pressure on the bar exam process. There are better ways to manage the profession. Do your part to bring about that reform.
Joe Patrice is a senior editor at Above the Law and co-host of Thinking Like A Lawyer. Feel free to email any tips, questions, or comments. Follow him on Twitter if you’re interested in law, politics, and a healthy dose of college sports news. Joe also serves as a Managing Director at RPN Executive Search.