A Message to Alumni Regarding the Florida Bar From Dean Erin O'Hara O'Connor

Press Date
August 21, 2020

I write to seek your assistance in supporting our graduates who registered to take the July bar exam here in Florida. If you have not already heard, the Florida Bar Exam, originally scheduled for July and recently rescheduled to August 19, has been delayed yet again, this time to a date yet to be determined in October. This is devastating news for our graduates, who were already dealing with a longer-than-normal bar exam period due to the first delay. Our recent graduates have endured a summer of much uncertainty with changing exam plans and very little clear information from the Florida Board of Bar Examiners. A temporary supervised practice right will be put in place, but it will not be effective until sometime in September, about the time the graduates need to return to study. As a result, many of our graduates are feeling frustrated, defeated, burned out, and anxious for what the future holds for them.

I have several pleas for you. If you have already hired one of our recent graduates, please do not delay their start date due to the bar exam being postponed yet again. Our talented and motivated graduates need to get to work as many of them are facing unexpected financial and family hardships due to the issues with the bar exam. Please also allow them time off to study again for the exam. Additionally, if you have job opportunities for recent graduates, please email me at lawdean@law.fsu.edu or our Career Services Office at careerservices@law.fsu.edu. Some of our excellent graduates are still seeking employment or seeking employment anew as the global pandemic has forced some firms to rescind offers or severely delay start dates. Even if you aren’t sure that you can commit to employment beyond one year, that year can give a graduate a place to start and a reference for permanent employment down the road. If you know a graduate who has been preparing for the bar exam, please reach out to offer words of support or comfort. They will get past the exam eventually and be stronger for it, but their frustrations and anxieties are justified, and they need our support.

One of the best things about our FSU Law family is how alumni support and assist our students. This is a special quality that was obvious to me from my very first days as dean—from mentoring to providing scholarships and hiring students, alumni are always willing to assist the next generation of FSU Law graduates. Thank you for all you do for the law school! The graduates and everyone here will appreciate any assistance you can provide.

-Dean Erin O'Connor