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Florida Supreme Court Chief Justice Apologizes for Bar Exam Delays
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“Our inability to offer the bar examination in August was a failure,” said Charles Canady, Chief Justice of the Florida Supreme Court, in a public apology issued Wednesday for the mishandling of the state’s bar examination.

In a video posted online, the Justice admitted to the failure after three postponements of the bar exam, leaving Florida’s future attorneys in career limbo. 

“We acknowledge and accept the criticism that has been directed at the Court and the Board of Bar Examiners,” Canady said in a video posted online. “Our inability to offer the bar examination in August was a failure. We apologize for that failure.”

  
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The in-person exam, usually held twice in a year in late February and late July at the Tampa Convention Center, was called off this summer because of COVID-19 health concerns and replaced with an online test scheduled for Aug 19.

However, in a late-night announcement Sunday, The Florida Board of Bar Examiners scrapped the state’s bar exam scheduled for August 19, a week after bar examinees reported a number of issues with the testing platform and urged the Board to find an alternative to the online test.

The announcement ignited outrage on social media among recent law grads who have been preparing for the attorney licensing test the entire summer.

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“The cruelty and utter lack of regard for 3400 examinees, countless firms, gov agencies, and CLIENTS cannot be overstated. FBBE has dropped the ball every step of the way. This is sick. #floridabarexam” wrote one user on Twitter.

The public apology came the same day that the online bar exam was set to take place as a group of law students protested in front of the State Supreme Court in Tallahassee. 



“We acknowledge and accept the criticism that has been directed at the court and the Board of Bar Examiners,” Canady said. “I can’t guarantee you that the path forward will be flawless, but I can guarantee you that we have learned from this mistake and that it will not be repeated.”

Law grads were not touched by Canady’s apology.

“This does nothing to help us. It reassures that we will continue to be harmed mentally, financially, & professionally,” Johnny Carver, who graduated from the University of Miami School of Law this spring, tweeted on Wednesday.

Canady also said he would allow “applicants (to) work in the law under the supervision of licensed attorneys until they can take the rescheduled bar exam in October 2020.” A date has not yet been decided. 

“We also understand that a three-month delay in licensure is a serious matter, a disruption in life that takes a financial toll and an emotional toll,” he said in the video. “And we know that for some applicants, such a delay will cause severe hardship.”



 

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