Virginia Lawyer

VaLawyer_Feb2012

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After 100 Years, by Gordon Hickey Bar Examiners Still Protecting the Public One day in June 1910, 161 young men—well, they were all men, though not necessarily all young—sat down in a room in Roanoke and took the first Virginia Bar Examination. The first question was in four parts: • What is a freehold estate? • What is an estate in fee simple? • What is an estate in remainder? • What is the distinction between a vested and a contingent remainder? A little while later they ran into question five on the thirty question test. It was in two parts: • A, who is 20 years of age, is engaged in the livery business, and is sued in assumpsit by B, who hired a hack from him, for injury caused by the negligence of A's driver: • A, a lunatic, denounced B in the newspa- per as the murderer of C; B sues him for damages: 18 VIRGINIA LAWYER | February 2012 | Vol. 60 Can there be recovery in (a), in (b)? These days the questions might be: • What's a hack? • And how much money might you lose in a suit after calling someone a lunatic? In the end, 133 men passed the exam. Many of the twenty-eight who failed were joined by a few newcomers when thirty-eight men took the next exam in November 1910. Fifteen passed that second exam. And so it has gone for more than 100 years. Current Board of Bar Examiners President Robert E. Glenn tells us that in July 2011, 1,513 men and women sat for the exam, with 1,156 passing. To date, more than 83,000 people have sat for the bar exam in Virginia. The first woman licensed by the board, by the way, was Rebecca Pearl Lovenstein, in July 1920. Perhaps not so coincidentally, the 19th Amendment was ratified one month later. W. Scott Street III, who has been secretary of the Board of Bar Examiners for 40 years, said that www.vsb.org

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