‘Barmageddon’ lawsuit settles – affected bar examinees to receive small compensation

In an update to a story we discussed back in August, bar exam software maker ExamSoft has settled a lawsuit brought by test takers who experienced major glitches in submitting their exams electronically last July. The case was a class action consolidated from five separate suits filed after last year's exams, the Maryland Daily Record reports. Bar examinees in 43 states who opted to use laptop computers for the exam paid between $100-$150 to use the ExamSoft software, which prevented them from accessing the Internet or other computer files during the exam, according to the National Law Journal (sub. req.). The problems arose when the test takers attempted to upload their exams at the end of the first day of the test and faced major delays that required states to extend deadlines and caused stress to the examinees. ExamSoft refused to refund the costs of the software to affected test takers, leading to the suit.

The $2.1 million settlement, approved by a federal district court in Miami this week, will offer about $90 a person to those examinees, according to the New York Times. The Times reports that scores on July's bar exam were lower than they had been in nearly a decade, and many test takers and law school deans pointed to the software glitches as partly to blame. In Ohio, which utilized the ExamSoft software last July, the overall bar passage rate for that exam was 76.9%, which was lower than it has been for the past five years. The National Conference of Bar Examiners defended the exam in a statement in October, stating that “The group that sat in July 2014 was less able than the group that sat in July 2013,” according to a Bloomberg Business article.