This is not how you want to start your legal career, especially in the days of information eternality via the almighty Google.
We’ve all had the same urge that overtook Jasmine Parker of Covington, Kentucky. You’re working on a timed exam, the proctor calls time, and you are mid-sentence. It is at that point that you must weigh the benefit of those few additional words against the risks of being caught and against the obvious ethical issues.
The short answer? It’s not worth it.
Parker allegedly continued writing on not one, but at least two sections and possibly even more, reports the ABA Journal. A fellow applicant expressed his concern that she had continued writing for less than thirty seconds after Questions 1 and 2 on the first day and around 45 to 60 seconds on Questions 7 and 8, as well as Questions 11 and 12.
On the high end, that's two and a half minutes extra for six questions or twenty-five seconds per question. How much is that worth? Maybe a point or two.
After substantiating the allegations by talking to Parker's tablemate, and hearing Parker's vehement denials, which included attacks on her accusers, the Board of Bar Examiners punished her by giving her a "zero" on her highest-scored question.
She passed anyway. Until she didn't.
Even if one passes the bar exam, they still have to face the Board of Commissioners on Character and Fitness. The board decided to sua sponte review Parker's indiscretions and because of her "intemperate and irresponsible" response to the allegations, including testifying under oath that she didn't continue writing, they decided that she was unfit for the practice of law. (She later stated that she did not remember continuing to write.)
The Ohio Supreme Court affirmed that decision late in January, though she'll be able to reapply for the bar after February.
The delay in admission to the bar likely won't hurt her much -- it's not like there are jobs to be had anyway. Plus, she can now say that she appeared before the Ohio Supreme Court. How many recent grads can make that claim?
However, if you search for her full name, Jasmine Shawn Parker, the top results on Google right now are people discussing her ethical issues. That's the problem with information eternality -- unless she does something even more monumental, ethically challenged or not, her two minutes and thirty seconds of extra writing will continue to haunt her, on the first page of Google's search results, for the rest of the Internet's life.
- In re Application of Parker (Ohio Supreme Court Slip Opinion)
- Late Writing And Poor Attitude Sidelines Bar Applicant (Legal Profession Blog)
- Study 100 Hours, Pass the Bar Exam? (Greedy Associates)
- The Top 10 Strangest Things Seen During a Bar Exam (Greedy Associates)