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Post #barpocalypse prep: Collaborate and automate to amplify bar exam change efforts

Bar Exam

Please scream inside your hearts.

This request by a Japanese theme park to its visitors has become the mantra of 2020. COVID-19 pandemic, lockdowns across the globe, earthquakes, historic wildfires, civil unrest, NASA prediction of an asteroid the day before Election Day, presidential candidate bitten by a bat, COVID blood thieving monkeys, tarantulas and locusts, murder hornets, aggressive rats, alcoholic killer monkeys, and an “unsurvivable” Category 4 hurricane… all of this has put such a burden on people, family, and communities.

Emergency managers are tired. We’ve had years of training on resilience and preparing for long disaster responses, but nothing could have prepared us for 2020. Our saving grace in disaster response is helping one another, combining resources, and archiving information.

If we’re tired, it’s no doubt that others are exhausted—including this year’s bar exam applicants. I empathize so much with this year’s applicants. They’ve been in a long game of disaster and hypervigilance, with no training for such a response. Even though they’ve been dealing with bar exam debacles for months, there is still a long road ahead.

To best prepare for the remainder of the journey, and allow everyone to rest fully once it’s over, I offer ways to help one another, combine resources, and streamline their incredible efforts for impact, efficiency, and posterity.

  • Gather and collaborate with diploma privilege advocates in other states.
  • Share files in a central cloud location, with subfolders by state. Redact as needed. Basically, merge all the documents and photos everyone has into a central repository. Set phones and computers to automate into this location.
  • Automate this cloud location to back up to several locations.
  • Use the following identifiers in your file names: state, date of action referenced in the file, explanation of what the file shows, keywords that make it searchable later (e.g., FLORIDA_July xyz 2020_email received from xyz about abc)
  • Automate social media accounts to archive and save all your social media postings about the topic. Save those in the shared file (such as a Zapier account that saves all tweets to a spreadsheet).
  • If you are running a diploma privilege or bar exam website, consider a plugin that pulls in all #diplomaprivilege hashtags (not just the ones from your own account, pull from everywhere).
  • Code your site, or find a plugin, to pull from those folders in the shared cloud location, like a carousel or feed.
  • Set a battle rhythm and mail merge auto-process for sending, receiving, and archiving FOIA requests.
  • Share and collaborate on spreadsheets with email addresses, twitter handles, and contact information of those you’ve contacted about this topic. Add columns for name, agency/org, contact info, state, twitter handles, and categories (such as media, congressional rep, senator, law dean, etc) for easy sorting later.
  • Share and collaborate on spreadsheets for media coverage. Add columns for publication/outlet, reporter’s name, contact info, and state.
  • Delegate. Have applicants in each state send a cloud folder of their info to one repository. The state repository could then share those into a larger collaborative folder at a regional or national level.

For all the failures of technology during #barpocalypse, I encourage this year’s applicants to use technology to your advantage. To achieve maximum impact in your states and on the broader bar exam issues, use the technology to help one another and make the data collection easier. Amplify your voice while automating the processes. 

It’s a long road ahead with unknown changes, so I advise this year’s applicants to follow the emergency manager’s style: rely on one another, combine resources, and archive everything into a central location in case it’s needed in court one day.

Brandy Mai Brandy Mai is a 3L at Mitchell Hamline School of Law. She is a career crisis communications professional, emergency manager, and public safety instructor who is certified to manage and teach the coordination and communication of critical information during all stages of a disaster cycle.