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The Slowest Bar Exam Results in America

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By William Vogeler, Esq. on May 08, 2017 1:58 PM

Waiting for bar examiners to post exam results in the District of Columbia is like waiting for Congress to fund the government on the eve of a shutdown: you don't know when it's going to happen but it feels like they're not taking the consequences seriously.

It has been especially stressful for hopeful admittees because the DC bar has not posted its February results but says the regular deadline for applying for the July exam has already passed (the late filing deadline is May 18th). A similar situation faces test-takers in Arizona, California, Georgia, Nevada, and Rhode Island.

For a profession that demands timely performance, it doesn't feel right.

Exceptions and Waivers

The DC Committee on Admissions says it will waive the late fee for those who fail the February exam to the take the July exam. Other states offer similar accommodations, such as exceptions to the deadlines for July applicants.

However, it is still a kick in the gut when the bar examiners don't announce your test results until after the deadline to take the next test. Nevada, which claims it will announce results on May 17, says this about taking the July exam:

"APPLICATIONS MAY NOT BE SUBMITTED AFTER MAY 1. NO EXCEPTIONS"

With a $1,305 non-refundable application fee due before the deadline, it is pretty much a crapshoot whether to wait or pony up. So whatever happens in Vegas, apparently does stay in Vegas.

Estimated Results

While every other state has either released results or given a release date, the DC and Michigan bars are among the slowest and offer only "estimated" dates. Michigan has a history of changing release dates, which has left prospective attorneys in the lurch months longer than those waiting for results in other states.

The earliest they have been released in the last eight years was April 20, according to the Excellence In Law School website. The latest was May 19. Last year was May 12.

"And then there's the District of Columbia," says Joe Patrice from Above the Law. "Their results are still outstanding and they have no expected date yet for release, which is crazy because they use the f***ing UBE!"

Not exactly a legalism, but perhaps a truism.

Editor's note, May 11, 2017: This article has been updated to clarify that the late filing deadline for the DC Bar Exam is May 18, 2017.

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