Thanks to the pandemic, law school graduates in America have been beset by a host of technical difficulties that wound up cancelling bar exams. Across the pond, law students who sat for the ethics portion of the UK’s Bar Professional Training Course fared no better at all.
The exam, similar to the MPRE, was administered by Pearson VUE for the Bar Standards Board, complete with remote proctors. To “protect the integrity of the test” and be sure that no cheating was taking place, students who took the online test were not permitted to leave the room or break eye contact with their screens. Students who chose to take the exam in person were permitted bathroom breaks. This created a major problem for remote test-takers who had to use the bathroom during the almost three-hour exam.
Law students reportedly begged and pleaded with proctors for bathroom breaks, only to be refused. Desperate times call for desperate measures, so some law students opted to urinate in bottles and buckets — without looking away from their computer screens while doing so. RollOnFriday has the account of Tian Juin See, just one of the law students who was forced to perform this incredibly awkward deed:
“I tried to hold it, but a little while later I asked again and he said no,” said Tian.
“It became rather unbearable and it was having an effect on my concentration,” he said. Despite “literally begging” the proctor, Tian was told that “policy doesn’t allow the use of toilets during exams. I told him that if I’m not allowed, I’m going to have to pee in the bottle, but he still wouldn’t let me use the toilet.”
“Finally, I couldn’t hold it anymore,” said Tian. “So I dumped out the water in my bottle all over my carpet,” though he couldn’t see where he was pouring it as the proctor said he was not allowed to turn away from the camera, “and attempted to take a piss into my bottle, blindly, while trying not to move around too much or look away from my screen.”
“When I was done I raised the now yellow bottle to the webcam as if to say: ‘Are you happy now?’”
Here’s the evidence See posted to Twitter after the exam:
Sophie Lamb, another aspiring barrister, said she had to urinate in a bucket during the test. In an interview with The Sun, she said: “I had to put the bucket under the chair and I was wearing a long dress and had to squat down, but make sure my face was still on camera,” adding, “To be honest it was a bit ridiculous. The fact that this is an organisation that is meant to be promoting our ethical standards, but also our welfare.” She ultimately wasn’t able to complete her exam — the program crashed.
UK law students had to risk their health and safety by taking the ethics exam in person or risk their privacy by taking the ethics exam remotely. The Bar Standards Board really did a piss poor job of handling this “un-pee-believable” situation.
UN-PEE-BELIEVABLE Law students forced to urinate in bottles and maintain eye contact with screens for nearly three hours in remote exams [The Sun]Aspiring barristers forced to urinate in bottles [RollOnFriday]
Staci Zaretsky is a senior editor at Above the Law, where she’s worked since 2011. She’d love to hear from you, so please feel free to email her with any tips, questions, comments, or critiques. You can follow her on Twitter or connect with her on LinkedIn.