Bar Exam

Plot Thickens: Bar Exam Chief Wasn’t Told of Grading Change

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Updated: The South Carolina Supreme Court’s decision to change the bar exam results for 20 test-takers was a surprise to the man who oversees the state Board of Law Examiners.

Board chairman George Hearn told that neither the court nor any of his board members informed him of the decision to change the final exam scores submitted to the court by law examiners.

The court says it decided to drop the section of the exam on wills, trusts and estates from the test because of a scoring error reported by the examiner for the section. Among the 20 who benefited were the daughters of a trial judge and a state representative who is chairman of the House Judiciary Committee.

The daughters, Catherine Harrison and Kendall Burch, both serve as law clerks for circuit judges.

A South Carolina Supreme Court justice told the publication that favoritism wasn’t a factor in its decision. “To my knowledge, there’s never been a change of a grade or score based on who your parent is,” said Justice Don Beatty. reports in a related story about a bar exam grading change that also provoked controversy 20 years ago—that of the daughter of a state senator.

The South Carolina Bar’s board of governors has issued a statement asking the state supreme court to explain more fully why it changed the bar exam results for 20 test-takers, reports in this update.

Story updated on 11/16/2007 at 1:15 PM.

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