Harvard Law Grad Suing NY Board After Failing Bar, Losing 160K Job

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FearLaw21

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Harvard Law Grad Suing NY Board After Failing Bar, Losing 160K Job

Postby FearLaw21 » Thu Jun 16, 2016 1:30 pm

The Harvard Law grad woman in this article cites "anxiety" "depression" and several other mental health issues in her lawsuit against the New York board and cites the "stigma" surrounding her failing to re-land a 160K job.

From LawNewz: http://lawnewz.com/uncategorized/harvar ... -year-job/

Thoughts? :roll:

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rcharter1978

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Re: Harvard Law Grad Suing NY Board After Failing Bar, Losing 160K Job

Postby rcharter1978 » Thu Jun 16, 2016 2:03 pm

FearLaw21 wrote:The Harvard Law grad woman in this article cites "anxiety" "depression" and several other mental health issues in her lawsuit against the New York board and cites the "stigma" surrounding her failing to re-land a 160K job.

From LawNewz: http://lawnewz.com/uncategorized/harvar ... -year-job/

Thoughts? :roll:


Is failing the bar the first time that big a deal anymore? Didn't Hilary Clinton and Michelle Obama both fail the bar the first time? It held neither of them back, and bar passage rates are pretty low right now so I'm curious about why her firm didn't at least give her one more try.

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rcharter1978

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Re: Harvard Law Grad Suing NY Board After Failing Bar, Losing 160K Job

Postby rcharter1978 » Thu Jun 16, 2016 2:09 pm

oh, she failed the bar twice. it still shouldn't be THAT big a deal, a lot of people have to take the bar exam multiple times. But she may, in interviews try to explain her bar failure by citing her anxiety and memory loss issues and firms are taking a pass on her. Good luck to her trying to prove that the lack of testing accommodations caused her to fail the bar exam.

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Re: Harvard Law Grad Suing NY Board After Failing Bar, Losing 160K Job

Postby bern victim » Thu Jun 16, 2016 2:12 pm

no harm since now she can land a 180k job

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Re: Harvard Law Grad Suing NY Board After Failing Bar, Losing 160K Job

Postby joeyc328 » Thu Jun 16, 2016 2:14 pm

Sounds like a top-tier east coast firm dodged a bullet

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Re: Harvard Law Grad Suing NY Board After Failing Bar, Losing 160K Job

Postby speed_the_loot » Thu Jun 16, 2016 3:43 pm

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Re: Harvard Law Grad Suing NY Board After Failing Bar, Losing 160K Job

Postby rcharter1978 » Thu Jun 16, 2016 3:54 pm

speed_the_loot wrote:IMO, it depends on the severity of her conditions and the reasonableness of her accommodation requests in relation to those conditions. (FWIW, she claims in her complaint that she suffered several "blows to the head" that caused her memory loss and cognitive dysfunction.) Apparently, according to the article, the NY Board grants accommodation requests regularly. Assuming they're telling the truth, why didn't they grant Wyche's requests? Did she attempt to discuss her situation with them?

Reading through the complaint, if what she's alleging is accurate, the NY Board made an arbitrary denial of her accommodation requests and is doubling down on that position. They basically claimed in the denial that she didn't have any of the conditions she alleged she had in her request, which was supported by several statements from her doctors.

TL; DR: This is more complicated than "Whiney Millennial Sues Somebody Because She Didn't Her Way."


But I think the issue is going to be the same...how can you prove that those lack of accommodations were the reason you failed the bar exam? And the damages also seem somewhat speculative because if you have memory loss and cognition problems is it likely you would have been able to keep a firm job? I don't know, how many people are successfully working at firms when they have problems with memory loss?

And I don't even really understand why memory loss would require additional time on the bar exam, if you can't remember something, are you going to remember it with 50% more time? I think the NY board looks at what you submit and they either grant or deny accommodations. I don't particularly think that because Harvard granted her request for particular accommodations that the bar is obligated to. She was not only asking for extra 50% time, she was also asking for a stop clock, and a small, private room. I don't know how often NY grants ALL of those accommodations to a single test taker and what sort of proof you need to show to get ALL of those things.

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A. Nony Mouse

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Re: Harvard Law Grad Suing NY Board After Failing Bar, Losing 160K Job

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Thu Jun 16, 2016 3:57 pm

She passed the bar on the third try after finally getting the specific accommodation she requested (taking it in a separate room alone) so her argument that the accommodations were an issue seems to have some teeth.

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Re: Harvard Law Grad Suing NY Board After Failing Bar, Losing 160K Job

Postby speed_the_loot » Thu Jun 16, 2016 4:02 pm

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Re: Harvard Law Grad Suing NY Board After Failing Bar, Losing 160K Job

Postby rcharter1978 » Thu Jun 16, 2016 4:07 pm

A. Nony Mouse wrote:She passed the bar on the third try after finally getting the specific accommodation she requested (taking it in a separate room alone) so her argument that the accommodations were an issue seems to have some teeth.


On the third try I think she got everything she asked for.....50% additional time, stop clock, private room. Its hard to imagine that a person wouldn't be able to pass under those conditions. But, did the lack of accommodations cause her to fail?

Yes, she passed when she had those accommodations, so they probably helped her to pass, but I think they would help anyone to pass. But can she prove that the lack of that stuff caused her to fail? I don't know, there are a lot of factors to consider, including the fact that ostensibly a person with memory issues and cognition problems may not have been well prepared the first time around due to her medical conditions.....but given an additional year to study and prepare may have been better able to pass under any condition. Perhaps she changed study styles/programs? There are just so many variables that it seems really hard to prove that the lack of accommodations was the reason that she failed the bar. And even if she could show that, I think she might still have a problem with damages.

I wonder if she is going to sue the firm for withdrawing her offer since she has a disability

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Re: Harvard Law Grad Suing NY Board After Failing Bar, Losing 160K Job

Postby speed_the_loot » Thu Jun 16, 2016 4:13 pm

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Re: Harvard Law Grad Suing NY Board After Failing Bar, Losing 160K Job

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Thu Jun 16, 2016 4:15 pm

It's a stronger case for the accommodations being a factor than most people have, though. She can also point out that she had a panic attack during at least one of the previous exams due to the conditions - so it wasn't just that she didn't know the material or couldn't write good enough essays. And she did lose her job for failing twice, and she hasn't been able to get a comparable one.

Honestly it seems a pretty ordinary ADA suit to me. I'm not saying she will/should prevail, but the complaint seems pretty standard.

And she didn't get fired for having a disability. She got fired because she wasn't licensed.

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Re: Harvard Law Grad Suing NY Board After Failing Bar, Losing 160K Job

Postby tommyd46 » Fri Jun 17, 2016 9:09 am

What is the purpose of the bar exam? It is to assure some base level of competence in persons licensed to practice law.

Is the client going to be charged for her "additional, untimed breaks" that she needs while working on a matter? What about the unsuspecting client who retains this person?

In the middle of a jury trial is she going to ask for an untimed break because she is stressed out?

A large firm environment doing research or drafting and checking documents might be appropriate but will she be limited in the types of matters she can handle?

I am not unsympathetic, I have a step son who was in a car wreck and sustained brain damage. He can't do what he used to do, but he works hard and takes care of himself and doesn't ask for any special treatment.

As a 40+ year sole, general practioner, who has undiagnosed ADD, ADHD, and dyslexia, who got no special accommodation, I suggest she quit asking for special treatment and get out there and compete as best she can and do the best she can. If she makes it, great, if not, do something else.

Just my 2 cents worth.

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Re: Harvard Law Grad Suing NY Board After Failing Bar, Losing 160K Job

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Fri Jun 17, 2016 9:46 am

I mean, the ADA exists and applies to the bar exam as it does to anything. How well she can do the job is a separate issue from accommodations on the exam, which doesn't really represent the conditions of practice in any way (and there are lots of ways to practice - maybe she never had any intention of doing litigation).

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Re: Harvard Law Grad Suing NY Board After Failing Bar, Losing 160K Job

Postby rcharter1978 » Fri Jun 17, 2016 10:41 am

A. Nony Mouse wrote:I mean, the ADA exists and applies to the bar exam as it does to anything. How well she can do the job is a separate issue from accommodations on the exam, which doesn't really represent the conditions of practice in any way (and there are lots of ways to practice - maybe she never had any intention of doing litigation).


I never wanted big firm life because I think its full of stressors, deadlines and anxiety. If thats the case, I don't see how she would have been able to handle those pressures with memory loss, panic attacks, anxiety, and cognitive delays. I can see people believing that Ropes & Gray dodged a bullet, because I could see her employment not going well....and resulting in a lawsuit.

I'm still not sure how she can show that the lack of accommodations is even a substantial factor, because I would counter that the fact she had additional time to study given her cognitive delays and memory loss was a much bigger factor in her passing the third time. However, the fact that they granted her what she asked for the third time period may be some admission that they felt she needed those extra accommodations.

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Re: Harvard Law Grad Suing NY Board After Failing Bar, Losing 160K Job

Postby unlicensedpotato » Fri Jun 17, 2016 10:55 am

bern victim wrote:no harm since now she can land a 180k job


Criminally underrated.

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Re: Harvard Law Grad Suing NY Board After Failing Bar, Losing 160K Job

Postby Bexy73 » Fri Jun 17, 2016 1:16 pm

rcharter1978 wrote:
I wonder if she is going to sue the firm for withdrawing her offer since she has a disability


I think she may be judicially estopped from doing so since she states in her complaint that she did not inform the firm about her disability or request reasonable accommodations. If the firm didn't know about her condition and it followed its normal policy (2 strikes and your out), then that would be a tough claim to make.

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Re: Harvard Law Grad Suing NY Board After Failing Bar, Losing 160K Job

Postby L_William_W » Fri Jun 17, 2016 3:09 pm

Believe me, I was depressed while I was studying for the bar, and after I flunked the first three times. By the grace of God, I passed on my 4th attempt.

No one enjoys taking the bar and it sucks to fail the bar. After I flunked, I stopped looking at Facebook since I was jealous of my classmates who passed. I stopped playing softball in my weekend league. I didn't go to any family gatherings. I spent two years in isolation. Nevertheless, I didn't blame anyone except myself. I simply didn't get the job done. When I found out that I passed on the 4th attempt, it was the happiest day of my life.

This lady went to Harvard and probably felt like she was invincible. Then, when she failed the bar (probably the first time she ever failed an exam in her life), she justifiably felt bad. Nevertheless, don't stoop to the level of blaming the NCBE. This is a frivolous lawsuit.

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Re: Harvard Law Grad Suing NY Board After Failing Bar, Losing 160K Job

Postby speed_the_loot » Fri Jun 17, 2016 4:58 pm

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Re: Harvard Law Grad Suing NY Board After Failing Bar, Losing 160K Job

Postby timmyd » Fri Jun 17, 2016 5:09 pm

Honestly, who the hell fails the bar? Granted, I haven't taken new York's bar, but Louisiana's was easy and that's supposedly on of the more difficult ones (or maybe it's just stranger). But for real, if you can't pass the bar first time you might just not be cut out for the legal profession. I don't really care if you went to Harvard or not.

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Re: Harvard Law Grad Suing NY Board After Failing Bar, Losing 160K Job

Postby rcharter1978 » Fri Jun 17, 2016 6:29 pm

speed_the_loot wrote:The thing is, she asked for the accommodations beforehand. She's not making some post hoc excuse for failing. She knew what she needed. Her doctors knew what she needed. And the NY Board denied her those accommodations anyway on flimsy bases. But she decided to take the test anyway.

A different world would create perverse incentives as a result of which no person with a disability could sit for the bar exam until they got all their requested accommodations. Otherwise, if they failed, people would claim that they didn't study hard enough. Or if they passed, people would claim that they didn't really need the accommodations in the first place.

This thread has become bizarre bootstrapping advocacy. "She should've willed herself out of that traumatic brain injury."


I don't think she should have willed herself out of the brain injury. I do think that there is as valid an argument that given her brain injury and the resulting problems (memory loss, cognitive delays) that the additional time to study may have been as big, if not a bigger factor in her passing the bar the third time. I think she will have a hard time showing that given her situation, it was the lack of testing accommodations that made her fail and not simply having additional study time.

I'm not sure what the deal is with her paperwork -- but I can see where, in the field of cognitive delays, memory loss and other issues of brain function that there may be disagreement among professionals. It sounds like the medical experts disagreed....I remember filling out the accommodations form and whether or not you had prior accommodations was just one question. And she was asking for a LOT of stuff, so I could see where they would look at her request with a jaundiced eye.

I think across the board -- people are more and more suspicious of some of these requests because there are some people, maybe even only a few, who just want extra time and they find a doctor who they can get to write them into a certain diagnosis.

I do think that there is an argument that if they REALLY didn't think she needed the accommodations they wouldn't have granted them to her the third time. If you don't think someone needs accommodations you shouldn't give it to them, and if she needed it the third time, than you can argue that she really needed them the other two, and clearly the NY Board thought so or else they wouldn't have given her what she had asked for.

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Re: Harvard Law Grad Suing NY Board After Failing Bar, Losing 160K Job

Postby speed_the_loot » Fri Jun 17, 2016 11:32 pm

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Re: Harvard Law Grad Suing NY Board After Failing Bar, Losing 160K Job

Postby rcharter1978 » Sat Jun 18, 2016 8:03 am

speed_the_loot wrote:Whether she needed additional study time to pass the bar has no bearing on whether she needed all her requested accommodations as well. She might have needed both.

And I'm not even arguing that the accommodations were necessary. Rather, I'm arguing that their lack substantially reduced her chances of passing on the first and second tries. I don't think people with disabilities need to make a showing of strict necessity for accommodations.

Also:

Yes, she passed when she had those accommodations, so they probably helped her to pass, but I think they would help anyone to pass.


If you think the accommodations "would help anyone pass," then you must think that their lack was a substantial factor in her failing the bar the first two tries.


I would think that what caused her to fail is a pertinent question for her suit. If she would have failed with or without the accommodations than I don't see how she has a case, because how can she establish causation. If what she really needed was additional study time and she would have failed even with the accommodation than it seems to me she can't show that the lack of accommodation caused her failure.

I would see that the person with a disability would need to show that the lack of accommodation caused them to fail, or as you say was at least a substantial factor in failing.

I don't think saying that additional time would help anyone to pass is the same as saying that the lack of accommodations was a substantial factor in her failing the first two times. The same way that no person without the disability could really show that their lack of 100% additional time was the cause of their failure. Just because something helps you pass doesn't mean it is a substantial factor in your failure. Everyone would like to be able to have additional time, that doesn't mean its a substantial factor in their failure, just because everyone would benefit from additional time.

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Re: Harvard Law Grad Suing NY Board After Failing Bar, Losing 160K Job

Postby rcharter1978 » Sat Jun 18, 2016 8:03 am

speed_the_loot wrote:Whether she needed additional study time to pass the bar has no bearing on whether she needed all her requested accommodations as well. She might have needed both.

And I'm not even arguing that the accommodations were necessary. Rather, I'm arguing that their lack substantially reduced her chances of passing on the first and second tries. I don't think people with disabilities need to make a showing of strict necessity for accommodations.

Also:

Yes, she passed when she had those accommodations, so they probably helped her to pass, but I think they would help anyone to pass.


If you think the accommodations "would help anyone pass," then you must think that their lack was a substantial factor in her failing the bar the first two tries.


I would think that what caused her to fail is a pertinent question for her suit. If she would have failed with or without the accommodations than I don't see how she has a case, because how can she establish causation. If what she really needed was additional study time and she would have failed even with the accommodation than it seems to me she can't show that the lack of accommodation caused her failure.

I would see that the person with a disability would need to show that the lack of accommodation caused them to fail, or as you say was at least a substantial factor in failing.

I don't think saying that additional time would help anyone to pass is the same as saying that the lack of accommodations was a substantial factor in her failing the first two times. The same way that no person without the disability could really show that their lack of 100% additional time was the cause of their failure. Just because something helps you pass doesn't mean it is a substantial factor in your failure. Everyone would like to be able to have additional time, that doesn't mean its a substantial factor in their failure, just because everyone would benefit from additional time.



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