Bar Associations

Will Credit Card Snafu Keep Disabled Law Grad from Taking Calif. Bar?


The California bar exam starts tomorrow, and the last word from officials was that Sara Granda wouldn’t be allowed to take it.

The quadriplegic woman, who is indigent and receiving disability benefits, paid the more than $600 fee with a state-issued check, and hence the bar exam form she filed online lacked the required credit card information and was never processed. Nor does she have a credit card, reports the Sacramento Bee.

However, Sara Granda plans to petition the state supreme court today for an order requiring her to be allowed to take the exam, and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is personally calling for bar officials to relent, the newspaper recounts. A federal lawsuit she previously filed seeking a restraining order was dismissed Friday by a judge who said the state supreme court is the proper forum, since it has jurisdiction over the State Bar of California.

Granda, 29, is a May graduate of the University of California at Davis School of Law. She was paralyzed from the neck down in an auto accident when she was 17 years old.

As the clock ticked today, Schwarzenegger sent a letter to the state supreme court asking it to let her sit for the bar, reports News 10, a local ABC affiliate.

Meanwhile, bar officials made a filing with the supreme court today, seeking its guidance on the matter and asking that any order requiring Granda to be permitted to sit for the exam be restricted to the facts of her particular case so that no binding precedent is established, reports the Sacramento Bee in a follow-up article.

Bar officials say they have no record of receiving the $648 check issued by the state Department of Rehabilitation in March for Granda’s bar application fee and argue that she should either have submitted credit card information online and later sought a refund or filed a paper application.

She reportedly receives $870 per month in disability income to cover her living expenses.

The supreme court is expected to rule on the issue today.

“We are sympathetic to her case,” bar spokeswoman Diane Curtis tells ABC News, “but our hands are tied by statute.”

The bar exam application deadline had passed by the time the payment snafu was discovered, and the state bar reportedly takes payment only by credit card.

Earlier coverage:

Sacramento Bee: “Sara Granda—smart, spirited and disabled—gets her UCD law degree”

Updated at 5:15 p.m. to include link to ABC News article.

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