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Over 3,000 California bar exams being scrutinized

| Dec 22, 2020 | Uncategorized |

People seeking their California law license had special challenges this year. Over 3,000 applicants who took the state Bar of California’s remote examination in Oct. had their proctoring videos flagged for review while dozen of other applicants said they received violation notices from that agency. In some cases, these review may cause significant delays with their state licensing.

Violation notices

It was reported that 8,920 applicants took the examination online. Almost 36 percent or 3,190 of the test takers’ videos were flagged for review.

Chapter 6 notices were issued to applicants when the review indicated that they may have violated examination rules and policies. This notice is not a finding of a violation or a sanction.

Applicants may submit a written response and evidence within 10 days of the notice and before any findings are made. But some chapter 6 notices were reportedly unsigned and undated.

Any submitted response and evidence will be reviewed to decide whether a violation notice will be affirmed, and any sanction imposed. Applicants can then ask for an administrative hearing if they disagree with that determination. A subsequent unfavorable decision can be appealed to the committee of bar examiners and ultimately to the state Supreme Court.

But appeals will place Oct. examination scores on hold until they are resolved. Applicants cannot take the Feb. 2021 examination if there are pending determinations of earlier scores.

The bar may impose a warning, a score of zero for the flagged examination and negative marks on the applicant’s character and fitness evaluations if it determines there was a testing violation.

Cited issues

Recent violation notices cited issues like examinees who did not keep their eyes always in view of their webcams, inoperable audio and examinees not being present behind their computers during the examination.

In some cases, applicants had a false sense of security because the audio worked for their mock examinations but not for the official exam. Other applicants complained that their eyes could not always be visible because they were concentrating on the test.

Some applicants received chapter 6 notices even though they took the examination at major law firms so their IT departments could help them comply with the exam’s rules and technology procedures. One applicant received a notice because he used an electronic device for calling the state bar and the testing software provider after two laptop crashes.

Attorneys can help protect rights during this process. They can assist you with assuring that your application and examination are reviewed appropriately.