The Welcome Matt <$BlogRSDUrl$>

Monday, July 25, 2005

Going Like a Lamb to the Slaughter 

In a couple of hours, I'll hop in the car (not Johann--he had another malfunction!) and head out to the hamlet of Roanoke, Virginia to take the bar exam. It seems kind of weird to me that they only administer the bar exam in one city in Virginia, and that it's Roanoke. Most of the people taking the bar exam are probably intending to practice in DC or its Northern Virginia suburbs, and probably quite a few in Richmond, and maybe in the Tidewater/Hampton Roads area (Norfolk, Newport News, Virginia Beach, etc.). None of these three places is anywhere near Roanoke.

It seems Roanoke, though, opens its Civic Center to the bar examiners each July for free. It's a good strategy for the city. It brings in lotsa revenue, I'm sure. I've book two nights in a hotel, and I'll have to eat out a couple of times while I'm there. Deep down inside, though, I suspect the bar examiners are a little miffed that a majority of licensed Virginia lawyers will actually be working in DC, not Virginia. So they picked Roanoke because then at least all these DC lawyers would get a small taste of what Virginia is really like. I suspect they even have a southern accent in Roanoke. Heck, it's practically in Tennessee.

But that's not the only weird thing about the bar exam. Check out this direct quote from our instruction letter:

NO extraneous objects, including but not limited to, NOTE PAPER, BOOKS, STUDY MATERIALS, OUTLINES, NEWSPAPERS, BRIEFCASES, SUITCASES, BAGS (including women's handbags), CELL PHONES, BEEPERS, PAGERS, PALM PILOTS, FOOD, DRINK (including water), OR ANY OTHER OBJECTS WILL BE PERMITTED INSIDE THE EXAMINATION ROOM, BATHROOMS OR LOBBY AREAS. Any such items will be confiscated. Leave them in your locked vehicle or in your hotel/motel room. The Board will not be responsible for their loss, if that should occur. Noise-making devices, alarm clocks, or alarm watches, which produce an audible signal, are
not permitted. An applicant with such device will be asked to put it
outside the examination area, or it may be held by the staff until the close of the examination. The use of any material or equipment for the purpose of sound depression (other than soft foam earplugs) must have advance clearance by the Board. Violation of ANY OF THE ABOVE RESTRICTIONS could result in disqualification of your exam.

Diabetics need not apply. Thirsty? Tough. You won't be able to get a drink when you're practicing law--why should you get one now? Car keys? Leave 'em hidden on top of the tire of your car. I hope the ticking of my watch isn't too loud. I have to have some way to keep track of time.

But it gets better. Here's the dress code:

Dress for all applicants shall conform to the standards suitable for a
lawyer appearing in a court of record, i.e., a suit or jacket and tie for
males, and a suitable dress or suit (pantsuits are acceptable) for females; however, applicants are encouraged to wear shoes with soft soles, such as tennis or athletic shoes, to reduce noise and resulting disturbances to other applicants.

That's right. I'll be wearing a suit, tie, and tennis shoes. Apparently the Roanoke Civic Center has a lot of metal grates on the floor that are really noisy when walked on with dress shoes. So instead of taking the logical options of 1) covering the grates with a mat of some sort, 2) not requiring us to wear a suit, or 3) not administering the bar exam in the Roanoke Civic Center, the bar examiners have chosen to make each applicant look like an idiot. Perfect.

The big question, though, is whether we'll all feel like idiots by the time the test is over.

The worst of it is, they reconsidered the suit rule when I took the bar in 1994, and affirmatively made a decision to keep it. Because "we should begin our professional life dressed in a professional manner." But with tennis shoes.
enjoyed it and I will be adding it to my favorites. I have a really cool
heh heh heh heh heh .... Gotta love hotel roanoke
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