The Legal Beat
Woman Who Took Bar Exam While In Labor, Gave Birth, Then Finished From Hospital Passes Test
Posted on Wednesday December 02, 2020
Back in October, we wrote about the many trials and tribulations of those who took the remote bar exam, but focused on one of the most stressful experiences of them all. Brianna Hill, a recent graduate of Loyola University Chicago School of Law, had what we referred to as “the mother of all test-taking experiences.”
She was in active labor during the first day of the Illinois bar exam, but was unable to leave her seat due to stringent online testing rules. She went to the hospital after finishing up the essay portion of the test to give birth, and completed the multiple choice portion of the bar exam the next day from the hospital. Above the Law was the first report on her labor-intensive experience, and the story was quickly picked up by publications across the country and even across the globe.
At the time, Hill told us, “I really hope I passed but I’m mostly just proud that I pushed through and finished.” Almost two months have gone by, and bar exam results are now being released. The world wants to know: Did she pass the test?
You better believe it!
Hill elaborated on her nightmarish bar exam experience on Facebook, writing, “I was told to medically withdraw after the first day because there would not be a way for me to finish in the hospital.”
“I hemorrhaged after birth and took the second day of the test while anemic. I only slept for 1.5 hours before the second day of the test because my sweet baby was SO grunty. I breastfed my baby in between sessions,” she wrote. “I did all of this because I did not see any other option to accomplish both my goals- become a lawyer and a mom.”
There has got to be a better way for people to become lawyers in this country without forcing them to compete in endurance torture trials. As one of my colleagues so eloquently noted, “Being a woman shouldn’t be an additional hurdle to receiving your [law] license and yet here we are.”
We spoke to Hill after finding out she’d passed the test, and this is what she told us:
I am so happy I passed the bar, but this experience has made even more clear to me how the bar is not always a test of competency as it is a test of privilege. I was so fortunate to have incredible support and I just hope my story can emphasize some of the areas in the legal profession that could be modified to become more equitable. Now, I can’t wait to start my career on top of starting my life as a mama!
Congratulations to Brianna Hill on her inspirational success on the bar exam. From now on, she can think of her cute little bar exam baby as her trophy.
Staci 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.