Lawyer hopefuls can plan on taking the Florida Bar exam online Oct. 13, the Florida Supreme Court said in a news release Wednesday.
It’s been a bumpy road. Administering the test that is required to practice law in Florida has been complicated by coronavirus concerns, computer glitches and rescheduling.
Before the pandemic hit, the exams were scheduled for July in Orlando and in Tampa, where thousands typically would sit for as long as two days of testing at the Tampa Convention Center. But health concerns about all those test-takers in close quarters for long hours got the exam moved online.
An Aug. 18 test date was moved to Aug. 19 to make sure everyone could vote in Florida’s primary election. Then the exam, which was to be administered through software developed by ILG Technologies, was cancelled because of repeated glitches.
Last week, Florida Supreme Court Chief Justice Charles Canady apologized via video for the state’s failure to get the exam done and vowed it would go forward in October. Meanwhile, more than 100 Florida lawyers signed on to a petition asking for an emergency rule allowing prospective lawyers to forgo the test in favor of a plan that would include supervised practice of law and a “pathway to admission” that doesn’t hinge on the high-pressure exam.
October test-takers will need computers installed with the necessary software from ExamSoft, described in the release as a company with more than 20 years of experience delivering online exams. More information about the software installation and mock exams to familiarize people with the program will be available in September, according to the release.
Details about a testing back-up plan will “be announced once they are complete,” the release said. Applicants are encouraged to check the Florida Board of Bar Examiners website, floridabarexam.org, for updates.