Law school graduates protest bar exam delays

Published: Aug. 19, 2020 at 5:05 PM EDT
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (CNS) - The July Florida Bar examination been postponed once again and is now set for October, but this latest round of delays has law school graduates at their wits end.

Prospective attorneys who have been studying and racking up debt for years protested in front of the Florida Supreme Court demanding action.

As late as Sunday, FIU Law graduate Michael Ellis was expecting Wednesday would be the day he would cross his last hurdle to becoming a lawyer.

“I should be, I think, on a lunch break right now,” said Ellis.

But late Sunday night, he got the news the bar exam would be delayed until October.

“I believe the term was technical difficulties. And that’s it,” said Ellis.

This is the third time the exam has been delayed.

Each day that goes by means more studying and more debt for grads like Kristen Overstreet.

“You put your life on hold. People take out loans to do this exam and study for three or four months. Now these people can’t pay their what they call ‘bar loans’ back,” said Overstreet who is a graduate of Stetson Law.

A few dozen grads took to the State Supreme Court to make their dissatisfaction known.

“These aren’t subjective criticisms. These are objective failures,” said Ellis to the crowd.

They’re asking for a test to be administered sooner or automatic entry to the Florida Bar for grads based on their school’s success rate on the last examination.

“A different alternative to this exam or somehow just go ahead and take it so we can move on with our lives,” said Overstreet.

More than anything, the protesters said they want more transparency from the Florida Board of Bar Examiners.

“They vow to make us respectful of the time of others and those commitments are not reciprocated by the Florida Board of Bar Examiners,” said Ellis.

The exact date of the October examination is still to be determined, leaving some of the grads skeptical it will happen at all.

We reached out to the Florida Board of Bar Examiners for comment on this story, but didn’t hear back.

However, a statement posted to The Florida Supreme Court’s Facebook Page Monday said: “The board remains committed to offering an examination to applicants in 2020 and will reschedule the examination for a date to be determined in October.”

Copyright 2020 Capitol News Service. All rights reserved.

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