It's no surprise the world of education has shifted due to COVID-19, but nobody could have imagined it would so dramatically affect all levels of academia at the extent seen currently.
With the announcement in May by the Louisiana Supreme Court that the bar exam would be waived for those graduating law school, Jennifer Frederick, an assistant united states attorney that grades bar exams, finds this decision to be unfair to those students that were preparing to take the test.
“People who went before these people and people who are going to come after these people, it’s going to be looked at as maybe not so fair,” Frederick said. "And these people may even have a harder time getting jobs or being taken seriously sometimes because they didn’t have to take the bar exam.”
With the studying process and job hunt for law students already being stressful, LSU undergraduate and future law student Delanie McDonald said graduates will have to take the bar exam eventually. She shared her frustrations in the test’s postponement, saying this decision sets students up at a disadvantage.
“For those students that have already studied for the bar and not been able to be employed, and then a full-time job with studying for the bar, for them not to be able to take it, is kind of a big slap in the face,” McDonald said.
“Because they’re not able to take the exam that could make them be an attorney when they were sitting there studying for months and months and months and that was all they were dedicating their time to,” she continued.
Recent online reports also show complaints of privacy violations and software that enables cheating on the bar exam, prompting students to further question law school during the COVID-19 era.
Reflecting on how the pandemic might impact future law students, Lafayette attorney Trey Hightower hopes those in charge are more prepared in order to not negatively affect upcoming graduating classes the way that others have been within the past few months.
“One of the reasons for the decision by the Supreme Court to effectively waive the bar exam requirement was because they didn’t have enough time to plan for it and properly accommodate test takers for the exam," Hightower said.
"And so hopefully with the additional time that has passed they have been actively working on how to administer bar exams in the future that takes into account COVID-19 concerns,” Hightower said.
The October exam, like August, will be administered in a remote open-book format without live proctoring.