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Madison lawyer runs into bar exam roadblock

By: Jack Zemlicka, [email protected]//August 8, 2011//

Madison lawyer runs into bar exam roadblock

By: Jack Zemlicka, [email protected]//August 8, 2011//

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Steve Levine

Madison attorney Steve Levine wants to know what those who sat for the most recent Wisconsin bar exam thought about the experience.

But he ran into a roadblock when the Wisconsin Board of Bar Examiners denied his request to obtain the names and addresses of the 209 people who took the exam in July.

Now, Levine said his only alternative may be to petition the state Supreme Court to apply the open records law to his request.

He requested that the BBE review his request at its next meeting on Sept. 23.

“I’m sure they’ll refuse it again,” Levine said. “But if this were any other state agency, they would have to comply.”

In an email sent to Levine on Friday, BBE Director Jacquelynn Rothstein denied his request to obtain the contact information for those who took the July exam and said the information is confidential under Supreme Court Rule 40.12.

Rothstein could not immediately be reached for comment.

But Levine argued that the rule allows the BBE or the Supreme Court to disclose such information to “other persons or agencies.”

“Everyone except lawyers has to comply with this,” he said. “If they aren’t embarrassed about it, then I don’t know.”

Levine said the information would allow him to survey test takers on the content of the exam, along with how much money people spent on preparing and studying for the bar.

A staunch supporter of either abolishing or expanding the ability of law school graduates from Marquette Law School and the University of Wisconsin Law School to avoid taking the bar, Levine wants to solicit those who took the exam as a comparison to those allowed to practice through the diploma privilege.

“This is part of the effort to change the whole bar exam process,” he said.

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