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Bar News - November 13, 2009

Bar Exam Memories: An Uncomfortable Accommodation

Hon. Paul Moore
The following is one of a series of anecdotes about taking the bar exam submitted by Bar members. Did you have an experience you would like to share? Send it to Read other Bar exam memories.

Prior to taking the bar exam in July 1998, I contacted the Board of Bar Examiners at the Supreme Court and requested permission to sit on the end of the last row during the two-day test. The reason for my request was that I have a spinal injury which makes it difficult for me to sit on a hard chair for several hours without getting up to stretch my legs; I wanted to avoid distracting any of my fellow test-takers by standing and moving around the room.

The Court was kind enough to grant my request and I was instructed to contact the proctor upon my arrival. On the first day of the exam, the proctor showed me to a room adjacent to the main auditorium, which held two gray metal desks and one leather chair. On one desk, there was a telephone and several banker boxes; the other desk had been cleared for my use during the two-day exam.

Approximately ten minutes into the exam, the phone on the desk next to me started to ring. I let it chime twice and then answered it, only to find that the caller had hung up. I ignored the interruption and settled back into my essay when the phone rang again. I answered the call and explained to the person on the other end that I did not work for Facilities and that I could not take a message as I was taking the bar exam. The caller thanked me for my cooperation (I am being kind here) and ended our conversation.

I resumed my essay. The phone rang, again. By the time I answered it, the caller had hung up. Aggravated, I placed the phone in the large document drawer of the desk and continued with my essay. Within a few minutes, the phone went off again, causing the metal desk to vibrate loudly with each ring. I answered the phone and "politely" told the caller that Jim or Bob was not there and unplugged the phone.

Thirty minutes later, two gentlemen with dollies walked into the room and explained that they were there to move the banker boxes and furniture out of the room. I explained to them that I needed the furniture and requested that they take everything but my desk and chair. They dismissed my appeal and began to move the items as we engaged in a somewhat heated discussion on why I needed the desk and chair for my exam.

At that time, the proctor entered the room and asked me why I was talking to these two gentlemen while taking my test. After a rather quick explanation, the proctor instructed the two men to come back during lunch to move the furniture. At that time, a third man walked into the room and started to move some of the boxes. The proctor and I asked him what he was doing and he replied that he had received a complaint that the phone was not working and he was there to fix it.

I explained that I was taking the bar exam and the phone kept ringing and distracting me so I had disconnected it, which initiated a lecture on why I should not be "playing with state property." He then went on to say, in a rather dry tone of voice, "I would think that someone smart enough to get through law school would have just called the switch board and had them deaden the line."

Annoyed, I escorted him from the room and went back to my essays. For the next few hours, the phone did not ring, no one came to move furniture, and I was not troubled by Facilities. Finally, I could work my way through the exam uninterrupted!

Oh, in case you were wondering I passed.

Hon. Paul Moore is a special justice of the Milford District Court.

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