There seems to be a bit of controversy surrounding the South Carolina Supreme Court’s decision to let 20 people who failed the bar exam become lawyers in our state.
Passing the bar is hard in this state, because we want the best practicing law here, and of course there were people who took the bar in July that did not pass. Well, there were a few squeaky wheels who didn’t want to take their medicine and take the bar again, if in fact they would have been able to pass it then. A couple of those in question happened to be daughters of two very legally connected individuals, Rep. Jim Harrison, Chairman of the South Carolina House Judiciary Committee, and circuit judge Paul Birch.
According to the Post & Courier(Nov. 10th 2007) when Harrison learned his daughter failed, he put in a couple of calls, one to Daniel Shearouse, clerk of the Supreme Court, and one to attorney George Hearn, who is chairman of the Board of Law Examiners, which administers the test. Hearn is married to Appeals Court Chief Judge Kaye G. Hearn of Conway, who is up for a seat on the state Supreme Court.
Flash forward to a ‘scrivener’s error’ , a bar examiner erroneously passed an individual on the wills, trusts and estates section even though they had failed the section. ONE PERSON was given a passing grade when they didn’t earn it. Hmm, the Supreme Court says to itself, what to do, what to do. Should we change the one person’s grade to fail, or should we let the one person pass the bar unearned? Suddenly, in a collective moment of brilliance they decide to throw out the exam section entirely, allowing an additional 19 people who did not earn a passing grade to pass the bar. This is our states top legal minds at work?
Apparently to the court, this one person’s situation brought up what was “fair and equitable for those examinees” who also failed the section. Since their circumstances were not “equal” in the least, obviously the “fair” thing to do was let the failing grades of the students who did not pass the test stand.
Maybe we could suggest this kind of reasoning to all of our teachers in South Carolina- make a grading mistake on one paper and pass the whole class.
What an absolute embarrassment for our state and our entire legal community. I’d like the names please, of all 20 people passed, so that I don’t inadvertently hire one of South Carolina’s new ‘legal beagles’.