A Florida Supreme Court clerk mistakenly posted last year’s Florida Bar examination results online this week, leading an unknown number of people who took the February exam to be told they failed when they actually passed.
The clerk mistakenly posted last July’s results on the court’s website Monday instead of those from February, said Florida Supreme Court spokesman Craig Waters.
As a result, anyone who failed the test last July and took the test again this year saw the earlier results.
Results for those taking the test for the first time in February were not posted at all, Waters said.
The inaccurate results were online for 1½ hours before the court discovered the error and shut down the online results.
As a result of the mistake, the Supreme Court will change its policy and have a web administrator post the results in the future, Waters said.
“Supreme Court Chief Justice Ricky Polston was very unhappy when he learned of the error,” said Waters. “Like any lawyer, he certainly knows how difficult it is to wait for exam results. In response, he has ordered a change in the procedures that were used yesterday to post bar exam scores on our website.”
This was the first time an error occurred in the 18 years the court has been posting its results online, Waters said. The Florida Supreme Court was the first in the nation to post bar exam results online, he said.
According to the Florida Board of Bar Examiners, which oversees Bar admissions, 1,687 people took the exam in February and 3,651 in July 2013. It is not known how many people initially received incorrect results.
But one person who did was a May graduate of the Florida International University College of Law.
Christine Rickard, assistant professor of legal skills and values at the law school, said she received a call from the woman, who she declined to name, at about 10 a.m. Tuesday. She was distraught after seeing that she failed for the second time, Rickard said. After taking the test in July and failing, she had worked tirelessly to pass on the second try.
“I worked with her a lot—we spoke every day, I met with her twice a week,” Rickard said. “She was so upset she couldn’t even speak. She said, ‘I can’t believe I failed again.’ ”
Then about two hours later, the woman called Rickard back after refreshing her computer screen and said the results now showed she passed. She celebrated with a nice dinner with her boyfriend, Rickard said.
“This is the first time I ever heard of this happening,” Rickard said. “I’m really glad that they are changing the procedure in the future so this doesn’t happen again.”