Bar exam #fail: technology breakdown leads to Barmageddon

ExamSoft has a blonde bar exam moment. Elle Woods would make it work. Photo: MGM Studios
ExamSoft has a blonde bar exam moment. Elle Woods would make it work somehow. Photo: MGM Studios

SAN DIEGO, July 30, 2014 – Thousands of aspiring attorneys in the U.S. attempting to upload their bar exam essays before the deadline hit a massive roadblock Tuesday night, causing students to vent their frustration with the vendor and the entire situation on social media.

ExamSoft, a Dallas, Texas/Boca Raton, Florida based company that provides exam management software for 42 out of the 50 state bar exams, could not process all the uploads from people submitting their answers. Test takers trying to beat the clock received error messages.

Cue the freakout.

As the backlog grew, angry and frustrated people ranted and commiserated on social media. The hashtags #Barmaggedon and especially fan favorite #Barghazi caught hold and trended. Some of the comments offered rueful humor.

@BostonLaw2014 tweeted, “3 yrs of law school, 8 wks grueling tear jerking studying, the most difficult part? Trying to upload my exam to examsoft! UGH! #barexam2014

Imran Siddiqui tweeting as ‏@IASiddiqui1 ranted the thoughts of many caught up in the mess: “@ExamSoft — You had ONE job  #barmageddon

@HRHkatherine pointed out what so many had to be thinking: “Because it’s really smart to piss off an entire country of potential lawyers at the same time #examsoft #barghazi #barexam2014 #damages.”

Don’t you just know a few of the newly minted attorneys are going to feel like taking their bar licenses out for a spin on this one?

If @lauren89ru doesn’t pass, maybe she needs to reconsider a career writing for a TV comedy series. She tweeted, “#Sharknado is just a documentary of what happened during the #barexams this week with #examsoftgate. #barghazi.” But she topped herself when she tried to pump herself up.

“I believe
I believe that
I believe that my bar exam will upload.
I believe that my bar exam will upload. #usa #barexam @barpreplife

Above the Law legal blog editor Elle Mystal as ‏@ElieNYC observed, “I’m just waiting up for ISIS to claim responsibility for the #examsoft disaster.”

But there wasn’t a whole lot of sympathy from the legal profession, many of whom recall taking the exam with number two pencils and waiting weeks for their results to show up in the mail. An appellate attorney and legal analyst with the Twitter handle @SlickSharkey declared, “#Barexam -ers, in my day, we had to walk our exam booklets up to the front of the room ourselves! Uphill! Both ways! #barghazi #examsoft.” He also described himself as a bourbon drinker. Cheers.

Elle Wood of “Legally Blonde” fame would have made it all work out somehow, don’t you think?

As a result of the debacle, 15 states extended the exam deadline 24 hours; Georgia and Idaho extended it to Friday.

This is what people saw when trying to upload their bar exam essays via ExamSoft this week.
This is what people saw when trying to upload their bar exam essays via ExamSoft earlier this week.

Late Wednesday afternoon, ExamSoft posted an apology statement with an explanation on its Facebook page. It read in part:

“First and foremost, we apologize to the affected exam takers for the delay in processing answer files last night. We understand that this is a stressful time for bar exam takers, and your experience last night was unacceptable to us. We will work very hard to repair the trust you have placed in our care.

“For context, due to a technical reason that we are still investigating, it took us approximately 6 hours longer than usual to process all of the answer files onto our servers. As of very early this morning, the backlog of answers was nearly fully processed and those who are uploading their exam files are not currently experiencing a delay…

“We have been working around the clock to resolve this matter and assist everyone… We will continue to post real-time updates to Twitter and Facebook, but you can also see for a list of current upload extensions by state.”

Our verdict? ExamSoft, be glad you don’t have to tell it to Judge Judy. You would be toast.

Gayle Lynn Falkenthal, APR, is President/Owner of the Falcon Valley Group in San Diego, California. She is also a serious boxing fan covering the Sweet Science for Communities. Read more Ringside Seat in Communities Digital News. Follow Gayle on Facebook and on Twitter @PRProSanDiego. Gayle can be reached via Google +

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