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A magnitude 5.4 earthquake that rattled the Los Angeles area on Tuesday caused minor disruptions for lawyers in downtown and for students taking the California bar exam at sites near the epicenter. The earthquake’s epicenter was about 30 miles southeast of downtown Los Angeles. No damages or injuries were reported. Downtown office buildings housing several law firms, including Latham & Watkins, reported swaying for about 20 seconds. Some courthouses also were evacuated. Students taking the first of three days of the California bar exam at five locales in Southern California were minutes shy of finishing the morning session when the earthquake struck just before noon. The exam was taking place at hotels near Los Angeles International Airport and in Century City, Calif., as well as in downtown Los Angeles and at convention centers in Anaheim and Ontario, Calif., about 10 miles from the earthquake’s epicenter. Robert Hawley, deputy executive director of the State Bar of California, said he received no reports of health or safety issues following the earthquake and that some of the buildings were inspected during the break between sessions. “Any interruption weighs heavily upon the takers,” Hawley said. As a result, the State Bar is gathering data on the disruption that, along with reports from experts in psychometrics, will be presented to the committee of bar examiners in order to measure the earthquake’s possible effect on test scores. Also in Ontario, Allen Easley, who moved from Minnesota to become the new dean of the University of La Verne College of Law earlier this month, reported soon after the earthquake that all was OK at the school. “I just hung pictures on my walls last week, and a few of them are a little crooked. But no damage anywhere,” he said in an e-mail.

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