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Bar News - August 14, 2009

NH Bar Exam Now Allows Laptops


The New Hampshire Board of Bar examiners will offer July Bar exam test-takers the use of laptops while writing their essays. Anyone taking advantage of this option must pay an additional $50 fee.

Of the 131 candidates registered to take the exam on July 28 and 29, 77 agreed to spend the extra $50 for the laptop luxury.

The Franklin Pierce Law Center will host the Bar exam and provide power outlets for this class of laptop pioneers. The Bar Examiners Board has chosen ExamSoft software, which offers computer use while denying internet access. Other states that use ExamSoft to administer their Bar exams include California, Florida, Texas, New York and Pennsylvania.

Tennessee is also allowing laptops for the first time this July. The state is using the exam as a pilot program and has limited the number of participants. Only 50 students at the Nashville location will have the opportunity and each must pay an additional $100 fee. The advantage of New Hampshire’s small size is that it provides all test-takers with the laptop option. The addition of New Hampshire and Tennessee brings the national total to 42 states now allowing the use of laptops during bar exams.

All new advances come with a few precautions and possible glitches: the Bar Examiners believe they have taken sufficient precautions to prevent cheating, and there could be the possibility of losing answers in a computer crash. However, after years of college and law school, there are many who trust their work to personal computers. They believe the speed and legibility that typing their responses provides far outweighs the risks on exam day.

Laptop use is only for the essay portion on July 28.

Additional resources available:
The National Conference of Bar Examiners (NCBE)
Tennessee Board of Law Examiners

If you are in doubt about the status of any meeting, please call the Bar Center at 603-224-6942 before you head out.

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