Woman Suffers Stroke In The Middle Of Taking The Bar Exam


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The Februrary 2020 administration of the bar exam has officially come and gone, and now there is nothing left for would-be lawyers to do but await their pass/fail fates. Here’s something to distract recent test-takers while they play the months-long waiting game and make other members of the legal profession gasp as they take in the abject horror of a truly frightening bar exam nightmare.

This tale of terror comes from a familiar face to Above the Law. You may remember Kay Lorraine as the oldest woman to graduate from University of Hawaii William S. Richardson School of Law at the age of 70. Here is her story:

I am now 73, and I had a mild stroke during the morning of day one of last week’s bar exam. I have taken the bar exam a couple of times (it’s rough to retain huge amounts of info when you are in your 70s). In 2018, I withdrew from the bar exam in order to fly to Texas to work pro bono for nearly 8 months with RAICES, reuniting children with immigrant families.

I went into the February 2020 bar exam feeling pretty confident. I had hired a tutor and I was relaxed and ready to go. Unfortunately, about 35 minutes in, I had a Transient Ischemic Attack (which is not terribly uncommon but mine lasted for about an hour and 40 minutes, which is uncommon). I went to Straub Emergency Room and they took good care of me.

I also fully intend to take the July bar exam and, damn it, I intend to pass.

According to the American Stroke Association, a TIA stroke is “a temporary blockage of blood flow to the brain” with warning signs that couldn’t possibly have boded well for someone who was in the middle of taking the bar exam:

  • Weakness, numbness, or paralysis on one side of the body
  • Slurred speech or difficulty understanding others
  • Blindness in one or both eyes
  • Dizziness
  • Severe headache with no apparent cause

We wish Kay good health and the best of luck on the bar exam this summer. Please let this serve as a reminder to take care of yourselves before, during, and after the test.

What was the craziest thing that happened during the February 2020 bar exam? If you survived or witnessed some horror story in action, let us know. You can email it to us (subject line: “Bar Exam Horror Story”) or text us (646-820-8477).


Staci ZaretskyStaci 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.





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