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Bar Exam Blues November 11, 2007

Posted by fitsnews in SC Politics.
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my cousin vinny

WHAT WOULD VINNY GAMBINI DO?

FITSNews – November 11, 2007 – With so much attention being focused of late on South Carolina’s bar exam (and our Supreme Court’s questionable grading procedures), we figured now was as good a time as any to remind those of you who failed the test that it’s not the end of the world.

Take Vincent Gambini, for example, who failed the New York bar exam the first six times he took it, yet somehow still managed to keep hooking up with A-list Hollywood hottie Mona Lisa Vito (a.k.a. Marisa Tomei).

Then there’s Matt Damon’s character from Francis Ford Coppola’s film “The Rainmaker,” who passed the Tennessee bar exam, won one case and then promptly quit the legal profession. WTF, Matty??? And what about Frank Abagnale from Steven Spielberg’s “Catch Me If You Can,” you know, the guy played by Leonardo DiCaprio who passed the Louisiana bar exam after studying for only two weeks? Wonder which section of that test got thrown out?

Anyway, what we’re really trying to say here is “bar exam, schmar exam,” people.

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Comments»

1. Believe It Not - November 11, 2007

As we’ve said many times before, you don’t have to be a lawyer to be an idiot. Just look at sic(k) willie, folks. Save that law school tuition and all that time taking the bar exam. Just read fitsnews regularly, and you’ll prove yourself to be a natural born idiot. Worked for us. 🙂

As we always say, “stupid was, as stupid did.”

2. Corly - November 11, 2007

We have found a few key things:

1 – Shearhouse (Clerk of Court) “thinks” he was contacted around Halloween.

2 – Poston in Greenwood was the WTE grader.

3 – Burch was working on changing the grading prior to Halloween.

Folks there it is. Plain evidence that Burch and Harrison started the whole review after the results came out. There is no excuse. This must come to light.

A full ODC investigation must begin.

Sic: Please keep this going. I know you must be getting thousands of hits and tips from this. Keep the info coming and we will see what happens.

3. Summervillian - November 11, 2007

The infamous Burch e-mail that’s going around, with the names of some bar failers redacted for their privacy:

From: Goodstein, Diane S. Law Clerk (Kendall Burch)
Sent: Tuesday, October 30, 2007 1:57 PM
To: Nicholson, J. C. Law Clerk (Samantha Adair); Macauley, Alexander S. Law Clerk (Mary Williams); Russo, Thomas A. Law Clerk (Jesse Cartrette); Cothran, Ralph F. Jr., Law Clerk (Anne Hanley)
Subject: Bar Exam

Hey Y’all,
First of all I’m so sorry about the bar exam. This sucks. I need to know if any of you failed the Wills part of the exam and your score. My Dad and Catherine Harrison’s dad have been on the phone with the powers that be, and if we can get a big enough group together that failed the Wills section they are going to take it to the Sup. Ct and see if they’ll regrade our exams. Apparently, the examiner for the Wills section has been asked not come back. We have a slim chance, but I think that it is worth it. So far I have a list of 10 people that have failed the exam. They are Me, REDACTED. If you all know of anyone else that failed the Wills section PLEASE let me know because we need to show the court how outrageous they are. Again, I’m so sorry we all failed. I really can’t believe it.

Kendall Burch
Law Clerk
The Honorable Diane S. Goodstein
Post Office Box 234
St. George, South Carolina 29477
843-832-0332

4. Fred - November 11, 2007

I still believe there was a grading mistake….again there is no way I scored as low as they said I did on what I thought was one of the easier sections of the exam. I thought only the UCC section was challenging. I really don’t care….I am just glad I don’t have to do it all again in a few months like some. And I feel no shame in saying that. Just pass baby, just pass.

5. Regina - November 11, 2007

There will be no ODC investigation. The newly-installed disciplinary counsel is Lee Coggiola, who is not only a Supreme Court employee and best buds with Judge Toal, but whose last job was chief staff attorney for the Court of Appeals, which is led by, you guessed it, Judge Hearn, whose husband was contacted by Catherine Harrison’s big daddy to inquire about that “appeals” process.

I have to take a shower after typing that.

6. Summervillian - November 11, 2007

Summervillian, that e-mail makes it damn clear that more was going on behind the scenes than any of the parties involved would admit to.

Fred, couldn’t help but notice that there was no Fred on the first pass list but there is on the second. You’re not a little biased in this, are you?

7. Jimmy Byrnes - November 12, 2007

If that is the case and the Hearns are against the whole situation, if they want to save face for the whole bar and the legal profession in South Carolina, then Judge Kay Hearn will not offer for the State Supreme Court for the next two seats that come available and Jim Harrison will not run for re-election!

Dum Spiro Spero!

8. The Bar Exam « Not Very Bright - November 12, 2007

[…] From: Goodstein, Diane S. Law Clerk (Kendall Burch) Sent: Tuesday, October 30, 2007 1:57 PM To: Nicholson, J. C. Law Clerk (Samantha Adair); Macauley, Alexander S. Law Clerk (Mary Williams); Russo, Thomas A. Law Clerk (Jesse Cartrette); Cothran, Ralph F. Jr., Law Clerk (Anne Hanley) Subject: Bar ExamHey Y’all, First of all I’m so sorry about the bar exam. This sucks. I need to know if any of you failed the Wills part of the exam and your score. My Dad and Catherine Harrison’s dad have been on the phone with the powers that be, and if we can get a big enough group together that failed the Wills section they are going to take it to the Sup. Ct and see if they’ll regrade our exams. Apparently, the examiner for the Wills section has been asked not come back. We have a slim chance, but I think that it is worth it. So far I have a list of 10 people that have failed the exam. They are Me, REDACTED. If you all know of anyone else that failed the Wills section PLEASE let me know because we need to show the court how outrageous they are. Again, I’m so sorry we all failed. I really can’t believe it.Kendall Burch Source. […]

9. Corly - November 12, 2007

Awesome email Burch’s daughter sent out to all her loser CSOL state clerk friends.

She will going down now too. I am glad someone got that.

10. anon - November 12, 2007

Fitsnews, please keep this story going. The newspapers might stop writing, but the pressure will remain on these guys if you keep this story going. Good job on bringing all of this to light.

11. Judge Jean - November 12, 2007

I don’t know what all of you are talking about. We’re FITS to judge ourselves.

If you don’t believe me, then prove me wrong and Queen Annette and I will pick up your bar tab. Believe me, compared to ours, we’d never notice it.

12. Attorney Tremendous - November 12, 2007

Regina: Your comment is outrageous. To bring in other attorneys just to add fodder to the rumors circulating without any basis is unprofessional and offensive. You have no grounds for bringing two very fine attorneys and one exceptionally fine Judge into the fray.

Attorney Tremendous

13. Bar_Gate2007 - November 12, 2007

Catherine Harrison, her father James Harrison, Kendall Burch, and her father Judge Paul Burch need to all be smacked with Ethical Violations for flagrantly violating Rule 402 which prohibits contacting the Supreme Court or the Board of Bar Examiners regarding any facet of the Bar Exam.
Can the Supremes be cited for ethical violations of their own rules??!!
If you are as upset about this as I am, please submit a greivance.
You can either submit to the Supreme Court (what good that would do!) or:
Henry B. Richardson, Jr.
South Carolina Board of Commissioners on Grievances and Discipline
P.O. Box 11330
Columbia, SC 29211
Phone: (803) 734-2038
Filing Method: Submit a detailed letter
For more guidance on how to file a grievance see:
http://www.scbar.org/public/lawline/lawline_grievance_against_attorney.asp
Anonymity: Yes
DON’T LET THIS GET SWEPT UNDER THE RUG!!

14. anon 2 - November 12, 2007

Bar_Gate,
Can you write a grievance anonymously? Sorry, but I think we are all scared to piss Queen Jean off as we all know that we will be in trouble as she does not play by the rules.

15. Regina - November 12, 2007

To Bar Gate:

As I said in my previous post, Henry Richardson is no longer disciplinary counsel.

Lee Coggiola is.

Good luck.

16. Fred - November 12, 2007

SUMMERVILLIAN

Nope..not biased. I had no involvement in any of this. I kind of wished they would have simply regraded them. To this day I do not believe I flunked that section…..any other section and I might would have believed it. It appeared to be straightforward with almost everything passing outside of probate (joint accounts, gifts, etc). I know one person who passed and he didn’t even know what the WTE section was asking. At least I knew what they wanted. I passed and that is all I care about. Dumb people pass and smart people fail…the bar is a joke anyways.

Now the girl that started this…..ouch. She can’t be that smart considering she posted it all on facebook. How stupid can you be?

17. Regina - November 12, 2007

To the Tremendous Attorney:

First of all, I didn’t drag the CJ into it. She’s already in it since the SCT controls the bar exam and the results would not have been change without her approval.

Second, if a complaint is filed and actually investigated, I will owe you and disciplinary counsel an apology. However, I am betting that she will protect her benefactors, and friends, and their kin. It will all just go away (like a couple of DUI’s and a hit-and-run I can think of).

As you should know from practicing here, if it weren’t for patronage and nepotism, SC wouldn’t have a legal system at all! It’s a rotten sinkhole of moral squalor and you know it.

Also, maybe lay off the Krispy Kremes & you wouldn’t be so Tremendous.

18. Rob - November 12, 2007

Hey Corly, why don’t you shut the hell up about the loser friends?

Sorry not all of us can be the uber-elite, but you know damn well how many kids get in law school simply because their mommies and daddies are judges and lawyers. Are you so different as to say you’ve never tried to have any strings pulled in your life? Don’t blame her for trying. Blame those that actually made the decisions.

I know Kendall personally and trust me she is neither A: a loser, B: corrupt, or C: stupid. If you honestly expect me to believe that you wouldn’t try to cling to every possible chance of passing, you can kiss my big hairy ass.

Rob

19. What? - November 12, 2007

Regina,

Was their really a couple of DUI’s?

20. Skeptic - November 12, 2007

The amazing thing about all of this, particularly the e-mail from Burch to other law clerks (none of whom passed even with the change, by my count) and the comments by Fred is that these people actually believed the section was flawed simply because they failed it. Their terrible logic is that their must have been something wrong with the WTE section because I failed.

First, its not like the bar exam is unforgiving; you can fail *two* sections. Thus, if the WTE section made a difference for you, you also failed at least one other section. So, if you managed to fail another section, why was it so impossible to fail the WTE section as well? (And I will be the first to admit that qualified people fail all of the time, but they suck it up and take it again). Second, there were literally hundreds of other people who passed (along with countless reads of the question, hundreds of people who took the exam, and the exams going through a thorough grading) without problem. If the WTE section was so bad or flawed, there would have been outrage BEFORE the results came out. I was once a law student and law students will raise hell about anything as soon as possible, especially a flaw in the bar exam. Even if that is only a perceived or imagined flaw.

21. Gal Leo - November 12, 2007

An honest question from somebody who doesn’t have a dog in this fight:

It strikes me that not all of the information is out. I just don’t buy some of the conspiracy theories, the theory that Harrison is evil, or the theory that Toal is an idiot.

At the same time, the points made here that some (most?) lawyers might be afraid to file a complaint — out of fear of retribution — seem reasonable.

Are there any other parties that can check in on this? The Bar Association? The Legislature? Clearly, unless the Chief Justice is willing to part with more information, it seems that an investigation of some sort would be appropriate, but through what entity, given the various conflicts and fears of retribution?

It strikes me that the Legislature would be the only interested party that is not exposed to any fear of retribution (however remote). Give Harrison’s role, maybe the Senate Judiciary could take it up?

I would be curious to know the thoughts of those who actually understand the process here.

22. anonymous - November 12, 2007

Dear Rob,
I know several people involved in this and I failed because of a section other than Wills Trusts, which I found incredibly easy. I am all for regrading if there is an issue and I am all for using connections to help you get places, no one would be anyone in SC without the good ole boy network.
However, I believe in using a connection to get an interview, to have your application reviewed, to have something regraded but not to get a job sight unseen, get into lawschool without ever actually submitting an application, or to have an entire section of the Bar thrown out without any explanation. If there was a problem with the grading than the exam should have been regraded and those people who then passed would have done so on their own merit. I am willing to bet that there are some people who passed with Wills Trusts who if it were actually regraded would have still failed fair and square. But, now they are going to walk across that stage in the next few days and I am desparately trying to get my supplemental application in so that I can take the whole thing over again.
I know Kendall also and am disappointed in the way that she behaved along with several other girls who helped instigate this. As for Catherine, I mean seriously, how dumb can you be? Facebook? Who isn’t on facebook or myspace these days – she doesn’t deserve to be admitted for the sole reason she was stupid enough to post something of that nature on such a popular website…
All that being said, I know two people like Summervillian who failed it and accepted it and were ready to move on without joining the bandwagon to get passed unethically and to those people, fine, good for you, you got lucky. Those people should be recognized as innocent bystanders and not targets of all this bitterness.

23. Regina - November 12, 2007

To What:

Silly me. There weren’t any DUI’s. None at all . . . .

and no hit-and-run, neither.

I don’t know what I was thinking.

24. Anon - November 12, 2007

Hey Rob — No one would blame anyone if all they had done was “cling to every possible chance of passing” But once they DIDN’T PASS, then I absolutely have the right to be LIVID that they broke the rules of ethics — and I have to say that this has to be some kind of record to publically admit what amounts to an ethical violation before you have even had the chance to be sworn in — to get their grades changed. And as it has been pointed out MULTIPLE times, it’s not like they only failed one section — you have to fail two to be a fail grade. The worst part is that, as a lot of lawyers have stated to me in conversations about this, evidence of their stupidity doesn’t rest with failing the Bar — lots of smart people have done that before. No, evidence of their real stupidity is going online (either by e-mail or on Facebook) and talking about it. With this kind of record, it won’t be the last you see of these two. If they can’t keep their mouths shut about this, they have no chance of keeping their clients’ information confidential. I can see it now — Catherine Harrison goes online and brags about how one of her clients is hiding tons of discovery documents and isn’t that funny, only to be astonished when the other side looks up her Facebook entry. Kendall Burch e-mails other people and asks them if they too are hiding documents. And how does anyone licensed to practice law (or soon to be on November 13) not know that e-mails and instant messaging can always be dug up and in this day and age are always asked for. I don’t care who you know personally — both these girls have to be IDIOTS!!! And not only IDIOTS, but IDIOTS who will not hesitate to contact their politically-connected daddies when they screw up. Both of them need to grow up. Obviously, getting through college, law school and a few months of working haven’t done the trick — as an attorney who has practiced 15 years and is trying to raise two children to be decent and upstanding citizens, they are the epitome of exactly what we try to teach our children not to be — adults who don’t take responsibility or the consequences of their own actions. As long as their daddies keep bailing them out, they never will.

25. Fred - November 12, 2007

Skeptic….try reading what I said instead of putting words into my mouth. I thought it was easy, I thought I passed that section. There is no way my score on the UCC should have been higher than the WTE…no way. Not saying I didn’t fail it but I sure as hell was shocked when I saw my score. Now if it would have been Civil Procedure, which I suck at, then no wondering. Again, I thought the WTE question was easier than my law school exam on the subject. Why is it so hard for some of you to believe it might have actually been an innocent mistake? Not saying it was but it is a possibility, just as it is a possibility it was a back door deal. I don’t know and I got a feeling none of us will ever know. After tomorrow they can do whatever they want….I will have my license then.

Again…I had nothing to do with this mess. I am just grateful I don’t have to take it over again. I have no idea why the Sup. Ct. decided to toss it. I would have supported a regrading instead of tossing a whole section. It makes no sense. Even though I benefited I understand what it would feel like to be on the other side. It would hurt. As post 22 states…..I am an innocent bystander who didn’t even attend law school in SC, although I did attend USC for a semester. I don’t know any of the parties involved in this mess….just hate that I am somehow involved now….and not by my choosing.

26. Fred - November 12, 2007

Oh and skeptic….I hope you can tell the difference in a mistake in grading and a flawed question. I have never said the question was flawed. I thought it was a very straight forward question about non probate assets and a will. What you are attempting to say and what I am saying are two totally different and unrelated things.

27. Skeptic - November 13, 2007

Fred–

Sorry if you misinterpreted my comment (and vice-versa). Naturally, if you thought the WTE section was easy, then you would have been right to presume that you passed the section. But simply because you didn’t pass the section does not a fortiori mean there was an error. You are an innocent bystander. If there was a grading error, then you were definitely a victim of that. If there wasn’t, then you are an innocent bystander (perhaps innocent beneficiary might also be an apt term) in a situation caused by others’ alleged wrongdoing.

It wouldn’t surprise me if this situation involved a little of everything. There may have been some kind of grading error. There may also have been some improper contact. Even assuming there was some kind of error, the fact remains that some people likely violated the no-contact rule. But the violation of that rule may very well have led to the discovery and remedy of the error. Its the probable violation of the rule and the perceived hubris that bothers people–not that a few extra, innocent people passed as a result.

28. Judge Jean - November 13, 2007

Did anyone see that the Speaker’s brother is on the JMSC? One of the candidates JMSC will be reviewing will be none other than … the now-former partner of John Harell.

As with the bar exams, it’s all just coincidence, right?

29. Cheese'n'Rice - November 13, 2007

Fred –

Two DIFFERENT people graded your WTE section. TWO. YOU FAILED both times. Scoring error, my ass. Apparently, over 400 other people didn’t have problems passing either that section or 6 others.

Don’t fool yourself. Hell, I thought Contracts II was easy, and I nailed a C+. I also thought Secured Transactions was hard and I got an A.
Must’ve been scoring errors on both.

Call a spade a spade. You’ll gain a whole lot more respect that way.

30. What? - November 13, 2007

Kudos Regina, isn’t it great how bad grammar can exemplify sarcasm?

31. Fred - November 18, 2007

Cheese n rice….do you really think 2 people grade these things? Seriously? And just for the record….just how do you know 400 people passed the WTE section. Hell, for all you know 300 could have failed that one section. Results aren’t given to those that pass…they just know they passed. So….your apparently isn’t so apparent anymore.

I don’t know what happened….but I do know what happened on Tuesday.

32. Updated Timeline « Not Very Bright - November 21, 2007

[…] From: Goodstein, Diane S. Law Clerk (Kendall Burch) Sent: Tuesday, October 30, 2007 1:57 PM To: Nicholson, J. C. Law Clerk (Samantha Adair); Macauley, Alexander S. Law Clerk (Mary Williams); Russo, Thomas A. Law Clerk (Jesse Cartrette); Cothran, Ralph F. Jr., Law Clerk (Anne Hanley) Subject: Bar Exam Hey Y’all, First of all I’m so sorry about the bar exam. This sucks. I need to know if any of you failed the Wills part of the exam and your score. My Dad and Catherine Harrison’s dad have been on the phone with the powers that be, and if we can get a big enough group together that failed the Wills section they are going to take it to the Sup. Ct and see if they’ll regrade our exams. Apparently, the examiner for the Wills section has been asked not come back. We have a slim chance, but I think that it is worth it. So far I have a list of 10 people that have failed the exam. They are Me, REDACTED. If you all know of anyone else that failed the Wills section PLEASE let me know because we need to show the court how outrageous they are. Again, I’m so sorry we all failed. I really can’t believe it. Kendall Burch Source. […]


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