Resignation of Michele Gavagni & David Reeves from the Florida Board of Bar Examiners

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Florida Bar Examinee 2020
Florida Bar Examinee 2020 signed this petition

Michele A. Gavagni has been the Executive Director of the Florida Board of Bar Examiners ("FBBE") since 2006. David C. Reeves has been Chair for less than a year.

In their complete and utter failure to administer a summer 2020 bar exam, Gavagni and Reeves have demonstrated that they are incompetent and should no longer hold leadership positions on the FBBE.

We call for their immediate resignation from the FBBE.

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More details:

The class of 2020 has faced countless challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic. Law grads, specifically, have had to conquer the added challenge of passing their state bar examination to practice law and obtain legal employment.

In Florida, the July bar examination was originally scheduled for a normal administration in Tampa on July 28 and 29. After realizing the COVID-19 pandemic posed a threat to the safety of examinees, on May 5, the FBBE decided that they would split up their 2,000+ examinees in two cities: Tampa and Orlando. 

As time endured, COVID-19 worsened dramatically in Florida. Weeks went by with radio silence from the FBBE as the exam neared and other states changed their exam procedures.

Finally, on July 1, after two months of radio silence from the FBBE and less than a month before the scheduled in-person exam, the FBBE announced their plans for a remote administration of the bar exam to take place on August 18. The Board later changed the exam date again to August 19, after realizing that the exam date conflicted with the Florida state primaries.

Throughout July and August, Florida bar examinees and other jurisdictions began recognizing serious technical problems created by ILG360, the software vendor that had been hired by several states to administer their bar exams. Reports about these tech problems came out in publications like the Miami Herald, Tampa Bay Times, Law360, and WCTV, to name a few.

The FBBE remained silent.

Other jurisdictions even changed their plans after realizing how poor the ILG360 software was. On July 29, the Indiana Supreme Court announced that they would not hold their remotely proctored exam as scheduled, but instead would conduct an open-book examination via e-mail. Nevada modified their remote bar exam plans, too. And on August 12, the Louisiana Supreme Court, which had planned on using ILG360 to administer their late 2020 bar exams, changed to an open-book, email-based exam, after recognizing that ILG360 could not technologically handle their examinees.

The FBBE remained silent.

Several live trial exams were scheduled to take place in Florida to test how the exam software would run with thousands on it at a time. With less than 12 hours before the first one was scheduled to take place on August 10, the FBBE cancelled and postponed it to August 17, fewer than 48 hours before the August 19 bar exam would take place. And for the entire week after cancelling their initial trial exam...

...the FBBE remained silent.

And finally, in the late evening hours on Sunday, August 16, the FBBE announced that the August 19 exam administration would be cancelled and postponed to October. This announcement came less than three days before the exam was scheduled to take place.

Bar examinees in Florida wasted their entire summer studying for an exam that Michele Gavagni and David Reeves promised to administer and failed to follow through.

Bar examinees in Florida eschewed personal and family responsibilities during a global pandemic to focus on preparing for an exam that Michele Gavagni and David Reeves promised to administer and failed to follow through.

Bar examinees in Florida spent countless hours of their lives, thousands of dollars, and exhausting amounts of mental energy trying to get ready for an exam that Michele Gavagni and David Reeves promised to administer and failed to follow through.

Bar examinees in Florida do not deserve to be subject to the incompetence of Michele Gavagni and David Reeves any longer. We demand that they resign from their positions on the FBBE and be replaced with individuals with greater respect for their bar applicants and those applicants' families and lives.