Lose the Tie, Avoid the Buffet

These are frightening times and they don’t get less frightening when you see something like this: “A message to the legal profession: We will not forget how you treated us during the global pandemic.”


It’s bad enough that lawyers get ridiculed and vilified for doing their jobs, but now they’re being remembered for … well, I’m not sure what.

You’re probably wondering now whom the entire legal profession is treating (either well or badly) during the pandemic. The answer is, people who don’t want to take the bar exam. The quote is from a tweet from something called “United for Diploma Privilege” which describes itself as a “national movement of law students, grads, law professors, and lawyers mobilizing in solidarity for Diploma Privilege for all, including LLMs and repeat takers.”

The organization apparently was formed in March as Covid-19 spread, at least in part because a lot of would-be lawyers don’t want to be stuck in rooms with a whole bunch of other people during a pandemic. Their solution is to admit to the bar anyone with a diploma (presumably one related to law). You get the impression the group thinks this is a good idea whether there’s a pandemic or not, but Covid definitely makes the case for this stronger.

I’m not opposed to this idea, but I’m mystified by the “message to the legal profession.” I’m glad people will have intact memories after surviving a pandemic, but so what? I assume this means there will be nonlawyer militias gunning for bar executives.

Be that as it may, state bars are definitely wrestling with the problem of administering or not administering bar exams. There have been some weird decisions and/or accommodations.

Virginia, for example, has loosened its dress code. You now don’t have to wear a tie — “due to Covid-19, ties are not required.”

Does Virginia know something the rest of us don’t know? Do ties transmit viruses?

As someone who took bar exams in two Western states many, many years ago, I was astonished to see a dress code for an exam. I’m quite sure I didn’t own a tie back then. I guess this explains my good health.

In Oklahoma, applicants have to sign a “Covid-19 Code of Conduct and Release,” that among other things, says the bar and its employees are “absolutely immune for any liability related to administering the Oklahoma Bar exam.”

New lawyers don’t get to be new clients.

Florida has moved its bar exam online. There are some interesting requirements. One is that you have to have a webcam so that the Board of Bar Examiners can watch you. You will be “proctored remotely.”

This is a state that may need a dress code. I’m picturing online proctors checking out naked test-takers. Will your choice of jammies affect your moral character rating? Can you be disqualified if your cat is working the keyboard?

What happens when the wi-fi goes down? You know there’s going to be litigation over this.

In Arizona, you can take an in-person test in July or opt for an online exam in October, but there’s a catch — online scores can’t be transferred to other states.

Maine, apparently, either has very few rooms or an enormous number of law students. The board there canceled the July exam, rescheduled it for September, and then announced it was sold out. Minnesota and Nebraska solved the seating problem by keeping the July exam and scheduling an extra exam in September. I have no idea why the extra exam date couldn’t have been right after the premiere. Maybe proctors need a couple of months to recuperate.

And then there are states that are just going ahead with the exam as usual. In Arkansas, for example, the Board of Bar Examiners says it won’t postpone the test because things will just be worse later. You might as well get sick now and get it over with.

In Iowa, at least as of last week, you can’t apply in person and the exam orientation will be remote but you still have to show up at a Holiday Inn in Des Moines to take the test. I’m hoping everyone avoids the buffet.

Perry Mason, episode 3. Still terrible. Even worse.

Among the highlights (lowlights, actually):

Della Street bullies her way into a prison in the nick of time to stop cops from beating a confession out of her lawyer’s client. The guards and police seem powerless to stop her.

Perry gets the amorous pilot next door to fly him to a casino where he needs to ask questions. The pilot, naturally, wins a lot of money.

Paul Drake punches Perry twice rather than talk to him. But he talks anyway by the end of the episode.

Sister Alice, the evangelist, arrives at the prison followed by backup singers.

At last someone confesses — but it’s not the end of episode, she didn’t do it, and she took the confession back a couple of minutes later.

Once again, no one confesses at the end of the episode.

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