New York Personal Injury Law Blog » Bar Exam


February 27th, 2008

Bar Exam Reversal: How Did New York Bar Examiners Screw This Up?

I’ve been scratching my head since learning the story of Eric Zeni, the recent law grad who was told that he failed the New York bar exam after portions of his essay answers were lost due to a software foul-up. And then, through his persistence and appeal, he learned that the law examiners “were able to go back to the software company’s computer archives and retrieve my essay,” and then gave him a passing grade.

Now this is just amazing, since his essay answer was retrieved after he was notified by the New York State Board of Law Examiners that he had failed. So I have some questions:

In a press release, the BOLE claimed that the lost essay information “could not be recovered” for 47 students. How did this information become available after the results were posted?

Why wasn’t every single rock overturned looking for lost data before the exams were graded?

How many others exam takers were told they had failed the test because their answers couldn’t be found, when we now see that all possible avenues of retrieval had not been explored?

The BOLE claimed to have done a grade approximation for 15 candidates whose answers were not recovered. Why did this methodology fail?

How many people had to retake the exam who may have actually passed the first time?

What relief can someone obtain against the Board of Law Examiners if they had legitimately passed the exam, but were forced to spend 100+ hours studying for it again?

Is anyone in Albany investigating?

My last thought, and this is about Eric Zeni. When he first posted here, under the pseudonym “Anthony,” he could have ripped the BOLE up, down and sideways for the screw-up. His actual words were a model of discretion.

Having now passed, he once again had the opportunity to rip into BOLE for having told him he failed when all efforts had obviously not been exhausted to find his answer. Once again, he was a model of discretion and charity, refusing to walk down that road.

So not only did this recent graduate win his first case, and win it in a forum for which there is no precedent and no appellate process, but he exercised superb discretion in the way he conducted himself. And that, my friends, is a great thing to see in a newly minted lawyer.

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