The person who knows exactly what its been like when everyone else asks me what the fuck I am going to do. What I am going to do is contact our Governor. Duh…
When you look up New York City in the dictionary you see my face. Or at least that’s what my mom has been saying for the past decade. So when I got into law school in Pennsylvania in 2017, it was no surprise that she reacted like I was leaving for Antarctica. However now, in 2020, where graduating from a Pennsylvania law school means that I am categorically and discriminatorily denied from sitting for the September administration of the Universal Bar Exam in New York, it feels very much like I am in Antarctica and in truth, because of these decisions, I am literally frozen in time.
What I am really struggling with is the lack of empathy shown towards the graduates of out of state law schools during this unprecedented time. At the umpteenth hour, and during a global pandemic, the highest court of one of the most influential states in this country not only makes one of the most shocking decisions regarding the administration of a seemingly universal exam, but in the process, casually suggests that those of us who intended to sit in New York and begin our lives there, just hop on over to another jurisdiction, or take it at a later date. Very few words, pregnant with implication and impact. Planning for this event takes years. You know. And New York is one of the only states to ask for character and fitness applications only after a person has sat for the bar. So really, there is no hopping on over to Connecticut or New Jersey, and speaking of Connecticut, they followed suit and prioritized their graduates as well. So here I am, here we are- New York City residents, out of state graduates left outside the profession, in licensing limbo during a global pandemic.
It would have been beautiful to see the COVID-19 tri-state unity extended to the administration of the UBE. Other states can have us apply without character and fitness, or NCBE can help New York set up satellite testing sites. At the very least, you can tell the May graduates unable to apply, solely by virtue of the state in which their law school sits, that they will be given priority at the next first available test. Which brings me to, the later date option. An option that many May graduates choose. I however am 33 and on my parents’ last financial nerve. I think all millennials are, have you seen the news? So I don’t really have the luxury of taking whatever job and waiting around until February. Unless, someone is going to step in and defray the loans I took out from entering repayment; which is just another crack that 2020 graduates have fallen through…
The bottom line is Governor, we need your help.
B.D. on behalf of the Graduates of out of State Law Schools.