Bar examiners had a rough go of it during the pandemic. Not nearly as rough as the examinees, mind you, but rough nonetheless. Some jurisdictions started wondering OUT LOUD if a generalist doctrinal memory test was even worth it. Law students argued against it. Law professors debunked it. Deans questioned it. And judges critiqued it.
The response from bar examiners was measured and reasonable if you define measured and reasonable as “threatening to prevent critics from getting licenses.”
Against this backdrop, consider the menu for the New York bar exam in Manhattan posted on Reddit:
The kosher meal is always better on the airlines, but I’m not sure it’s ever $20 better. Seriously, for $53 the Rabbi should be on hand to answer questions about the meal.
Turning to the non-kosher options… Jesus Christ! In what universe is spiced zucchini $33?
And lest you wonder, this is not a subscription for the whole exam. You have to pay this both days. So a kosher lunch throughout the exam is $106. Examiners had better treat everyone to a Donda concert for that.
The saddest part of the Reddit thread are the folks lamenting that Manhattan is just that spendy. But, um, IT’S NOT.
Manhattan is expensive and the Javits Center is in the middle of nowhere, but it’s not that far to a Fresh & Co. and there’s a Shake Shack in Hudson Yards. When I took the exam, I walked up toward Port Authority where there’s a bevy of options. It’s about 15 minutes each way but it’s worth it to spend $9 and not $33.
The bar examiners will doubtless pawn this off on the Javits Center trying to screw as many people as possible by taking advantage of its monopoly on food within two blocks of the exam site, but… that’s kind of the problem. Because we don’t HAVE to have the exam at the Javits Center. We could have this exam in a bunch of hotel convention spaces. Or at the multiple law schools in the city.
Or, and hear me out on this one, we don’t have to have a two-day one-shot exam… at all.
Joe Patrice is a senior editor at Above the Law and co-host of Thinking Like A Lawyer. Feel free to email any tips, questions, or comments. Follow him on Twitter if you’re interested in law, politics, and a healthy dose of college sports news. Joe also serves as a Managing Director at RPN Executive Search.