Bar Exam

A bar applicant is denied a law license for completing her sentences

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An Ohio bar applicant won’t be able to practice law just yet because of a complaint that she continued writing for up to 60 seconds after time was called on some bar exam essay questions.

In a Jan. 29 opinion (PDF), the Ohio Supreme Court denied a license to Jasmine Shawn Parker of Covington, Ky., but said she could reapply this year. The National Law Journal, the Legal Profession Blog and the Careerist have stories on the decision (PDF).

The Ohio Board of Bar Examiners had given Parker a zero on the exam question with the highest point value to penalize her for the alleged conduct. She passed the bar exam anyway, spurring the Board of Commissioners on Character and Fitness to recommend her license be denied, with the opportunity to reapply.

Parker’s problems began when a test taker complained that Parker had continued writing for up to 30 seconds on a set of two exam questions, and then for 45 to 60 seconds on two sets of two exam questions. The Board of Bar Examiners asked Parker’s tablemate about the allegations. He said he had observed Parker writing for maybe a second or two past deadline on the first exam day, and a little longer on an occasion on the second day, “long enough to get at least two lines of writing on paper.”

At first, Parker “adamantly denied” she had taken extra time on the questions and claimed her accusers were lying, the Ohio Supreme Court said. At the bar examiners hearing, she maintained on direct examination that she did not exceed time limits, but acknowledged on cross that it was a possibility. Before the Board of Commissioners on Character and Fitness, Parker said she had no memory of writing after time was called. Her initial response to the accusations, she said, was written in the heat of the moment and without mature reflection.

The supreme court said it would allow Parker to reapply in light of her “sincere remorse and her maturation as a result of this experience.” She is a 2011 graduate of Northern Kentucky University Chase College of Law.

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